“Circles” is a George Harrison composition which is now on “The Beatles (White Album) 50th anniversary edition”.
Songwriter: George Harrison
Recorded: May, 1968
George Harrison: vocals, organ
** This is a George Harrison composition and home demo version, but no other member of The Beatles took part.
White Album 50th Anniversary Edition
Written by George Harrison in Rishikesh, India, “Circles” is one of those demos from his home in Esher, Surrey. Indeed, out of the 27 demos from that period, 19 became a part of the 1968 album, “The Beatles”. Obviously most people refer to that album as the “White Album”. However, this song didn’t receive any further attention for that album.
While studying Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his ashram, Harrison took a lot onboard. In this case, the theme of the song is reincarnation and the cyclical aspect of human existence. Of course, in Hindu culture, they believe strongly that the soul continues to pass from one life to the next. Therefore, Harrison is reflecting this in his song. Hence, we get “Circles”.
The song is slow and while some people think it is all doom and gloom, others take relaxing vibes from it. Despite the demo having a prominent, eerie organ sound whining away in the background, Harrison’s philosophical message is clear enough. But is more of a niche song rather than a commercial offering.
The Beatles didn’t record this song together in the recording studio, indeed it was a solo effort from George Harrison. Be that as it may, the song is crisp and clear even though it is a home recording.
“Circles” appears on The Beatles’ 2018 release, the “White Album 50th Anniversary Edition”. It is on disc 3, the Esher Demos, where it sits after track 22 “Child of Nature” and before “Mean Mr Mustard“.
A few of the home demos from Kinfauns, Harrison’s bungalow in Surrey, are on the 1996 album, “Anthology 3” but this one didn’t make it. In fact, we had to wait until 2018 to even hear it!