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It’s been a long time since the Beatles headed for India, seeking a rest from their tumultuous lives and a chance to develop the spiritual tools to help them make sense of their preposterously influential position in the world. Nirvana was what they sought, and tonight, live in New York, at least one of their number will finally be successful.
OK, so strictly speaking Sir Paul McCartney will not be transcending this mortal realm and attaining a state of bliss in which his human desires are blown away, leaving nothing but eternal accord with his creator, but he will be playing some loud rock music with the three surviving members of the band Nirvana, and in a lot of ways that’s nearly as good.
Sir Paul will join Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear for a special performance at tonight’s benefit concert for families effected by Hurricane Sandy, which effectively means he’ll be playing the Kurt Cobain role, right down to being the sole left-handed guitarist in a group of northpaw rockers. JUST LIKE KURT OMG! etc
This odd union came out of a conversation between Sir Paul and Dave, in which they planned to do something special for the concert, which takes place tonight in Madison Square Garden.
According to Sir Paul, Dave invited him to a rehearsal room to work out a new song in the time-honored tradition of rockers everywhere. They agree to meet up and “jam with some mates,” only Dave failed to reveal the exact significance (or indeed identity) of the mates in question.
Sir Paul told the Sun: “I didn’t really know who they were. They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said ‘Whoa? You guys haven’t played together for all that time?
“And somebody whispered to me ‘That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
And speaking of Sir Paul’s India trip, the sad news has emerged today that Ravi Shankar – the man who taught George Harrison to play the sitar, and ambassador for the instrument in particular and Indian music in general – has passed away.
By way of tribute to an astonishing talent, here’s a relatively recent performance he gave with his daughter Anoushka, playing “Raga Anandi Kalyan”:
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic