Friday, February 8, 2013

Hare Krishna Top 10

(Countdown — presently at nr 2)

2. Stevie Wonder: Pastime Paradise
3. John Lennon and Yoko Ono: Give Peace a Chance
4. Marc Bolan and T Rex: “Frowning Atahuallpa (My Inca Love)”
5. Jedi Mind Tricks feat. El Eloh: “Books of Blood: The Coming of Tan”
6. Pretenders: “Boots of Chinese Plastic” 
7. Lee Perry: “Baby Krishna” 
8. George Harrison: “My Sweet Lord”
9. Goldblade feat. Poly Styrene: “City of Christmas Ghosts”
10. Ruth Copeland feat. George Clinton & Parliament: “Hare Krishna”
      Other aspirants for the nr 10 position:
      Tony Scott: “Hare Krishna (King Britt Funke remix)”
      Nina Hagen: “I Love Paul”
      Boy George: “Bow Down Mister”

(Scroll down)

Stevie Wonder:
Pastime Paradise” (1976)

Soul legend and musical genius Stevie Wonder showing what he's made of. A great song with conscious lyrics striking at the materialistic and pleasure seeking society of modern times, ending with a black gospel choir (West Angeles Church Of God In Christ Mass Choir) singing “We shall overcome” and a choir of Krishna-devotees singing the Maha Mantra in the background: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare (from 2:37). 
Sincerity, beauty, fantastic music.


Stevie Wonder (born Stevland Hardaway Morris 1950) is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and was a child prodigy who developed into one of the most creative musical figures of the 20th century. Blind since shortly after birth, Stevie Wonder signed with legendary record company Tamla Motown at the age of 11. By age 13, he had his first major hit, “Fingertips”, a nr 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the youngest artist in its history to top it and launching him into the public consciousness. The rest is history.

13 years old

He has had 20 US nr 1 hits, more than 30 US top ten hits, received 22 Grammy Awards (the most ever awarded male solo artist), and sold more than 100 million albums. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists with Stevie Wonder at number 5. American music magazine Rolling Stone named him the 9th greatest singer of all time. He has been inducted into both the Rock And Roll and Songwriters Halls Of Fame, and  by popular vote into The SoulMusic Hall of Fame. 1999 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize, and in 2009 he became the 4th artist to receive the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award.
He has co-worked with every thinkable and unthinkable musician of any class and in all kinds of ways, duetted with among others Luciano Pavarotti, Julio Iglesias and Busta Rhymes, co-written songs with among others Paul McCartney, and toured with among others the Rolling Stones. 

Stevie Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr's birthday a holiday in the United States. In 2009, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Messenger of peace

“Pastime Paradise” is from the double album Songs in the Key of Life, released in September 1976. The album is sprawling in style, unlimited in ambition, and sometimes lyrically difficult to fathom, and was hard for some listeners to assimilate, yet it is regarded as Stevie Wonder's crowning achievement and one of the most recognizable and accomplished albums in pop music history. 
The song is innovative and haunting with a prematurely modern soundpicture and conscious lyrics. To this, God conscious Stevie Wonder added a black gospel choir singing “We shall overcome” and a group of Krishna-devotees playing kartalas (small hand-cymbals) throughout the song and singing the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra at the end. (The devotees are Agnideva devi dasa, Baradras das, Bhakta Eddie, Bhakta Gregory, Bhakta Kevin, Cinmayi devi dasi, Duryodhana Guru devi dasa, Jayasacinandana devi dasa, Jitamrtyu devi dasi, Rukmini devi dasi, Vedavy dasa, Yogamaya dasa.)

“Pastime Paradise” has been sampled by many artists, among others hiphoppers Mary J. Blige and Coolio, and there are even more covers of it  one of the most prominent by Patti Smith from 2008. Lately it was remixed by brilliant house producer Quentin Harris, who didn't have to do much about the prematurely modern soundpicture itself.

Songs in the Key of Life became the first album of an American artist to debut straight at nr 1 in the Billboard charts, where it remained for 14 weeks. Two tracks became nr 1 single hits. The album won three Grammy Awards, one for Album of the Year, and ranks 56th on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


John Lennon and Yoko Ono:
Give Peace a Chance” (1969)

John Lennon using his fame to try to make a difference. Recorded in John’s and Yoko’s hotel room on their honeymoon, with famous friends, at a Bed-In demonstration for peace. Instrumentation: acoustic guitars, tambourines, and beating on suitcases, later drenched in echo by genius producer. Simple, sublime, beautiful. 
The last words of the actual lyrics are “Hare Krishna, Hare Hare Krishna” (1:58), and during the extended repeating of the refrain – “All we are saying is give peace a chance – Lennon adds “And chant the Hare Krishna (2:56). Long glimpse in the clip of Krishna devotees singing along and dancing (2:01–13).

John Lennon (1940-1980) was second-guitarist, singer, and one of the main songwriters of the Beatles – the most famous, popular and successful band in history, further presentation superfluous. 
In the latter 60's he and the rest of the Beatles became interested in spirituality and met many of the famous yogis and gurus of that time. In 1969, a year of intense search for social and personal liberation for Lennon (he had already been to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and later would enter primal therapy and left-wing politics), he and fellow Beatle George Harrison first came in contact with the Krishna Consciousness movement. Later that year they also met Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, who stayed as a guest at Lennon's Tittenhurst estate for 3 months while he was in England.

Give Peace a Chance is the first solo single issued by John Lennon, released on the 4th of July 1969, when he was still a member of the Beatles. It was written by Lennon during his and Yoko Ono's Bed-In demonstration for peace, on their honeymoon, in a hotel in Montreal, Canada. On 15 October the same year it was was sung by half a million demonstrators in Washington DC at the Vietnam Moratorium Day, and it became an anthem of the American anti-war movement during the 1970s. 
The recording session was attended by dozens of journalists and various celebrities, including Timothy Leary, Tommy Smothers, Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, Petula Clark and Allen Ginsberg. The Krishna devotees seen in the clip had been visiting with the Lennons for several days, discussing world peace and self-realization. It is said that because of this song, people all over the world soon began to identify the chanting Krishna devotees as harbingers of a more simple, joyful, peaceful way of life.

Lennon and Ono (lying in bed in the middle of the picture) surrounded by devotees, Lennon reading Back to Godhead no. 23. Left to right: Rukmini devi dasi, Melvani the Muslim, Jayapataka das brahmacari, Baradvaja das, Himavati-Hana Kalbert, Himavati devi dasi, Yoko Ono, Sripati das, John Lennon, Hansadutta Das, Dayal Nitai das

Give Peace a Chance reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It  is one of John Lennon's most famous songs, and it's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll
Some of all who in one way or another have covered the song: ex-beatle Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, jazz legend Louis Armstrong, soul legend Stevie Wonder, Jazz Crusaders, U2, black funk band Hot Chocolate, new romantic Adam Ant, Joni Mitchell, heavy metal-singer Sebastian Bach, boy band Bros, Terence Trent D'Arby, Red Hot Chili Peppers-bassist Flea, Peter Gabriel, ethno-techno star Ofra Haza, Bruce Hornsby, Al Jarreau, Soul II Soul-founder Jazzie B, Lenny Kravitz, Cyndi Lauper, rock'n'roll legend Little Richard, rappers LL Cool J and MC Hammer, white soul singer Michael McDonald, Guns n' Roses-bassist Duff McKagan, Alannah Myles, Randy Newman, Tom Petty, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Prince-musicians Wendy & Lisa...


Marc Bolan and T Rex:
Frowning Atahuallpa (My Inca Love)” (1968)

Flower Child, influential guitarist and glam rock pioneer Marc Bolan in a rare track ending with the singing of “Hare Krishna”, repeated at length, with increasing frenzy (2:23 – 3:59). Innocent, strange, beautiful.

Marc Bolan was an English (Jewish) singer-songwriter, guitarist and poet. He is best known as the frontman of glam rock group T Rex. He died in a car crash 1977, 30 years old.

Marc Bolan and T Rex started in the latter 60's as a psychedelic folk rock acoustic duo, their music filled with Bolan's otherworldly poetry, and they were famous in the hippy underground scene. When he later plugged the guitar in and put on mascara, it became glam rock. A million artists and bands up until today owe their looks and style to him from that period, and another million guitarists their riffs and poses. 
As innovative, influential guitarist he co-worked with many artists, such as close friend David Bowie, the Beatles' Ringo Starr, Elton John, Jeff Lynne, Ike and Tina Turner and many more. His songs have been covered by artists in all genres throughout the years. 
One of Bolan's guitars, a Gibson Flying V, recently turned up on the Antiques Roadshow and the value of the guitar was estimated to approximately £60.000.

Marc Bolan gone electric, with his Gibson Flying V

“Frowning Atahuallpa (My Inca Love)” is the last song on the first T Rex album, My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows (1968). This romantic, melancholy psychedelic folk song is allegedly the first time that the Maha Mantra appears in British music.
Although the track is strange and Marc Bolan's singing technique is childishly peculiar, the prolonged and increasingly ecstatic singing of “Hare Krishna” (which appears intended as a short outro, at least shorter than almost doubling the length of the track) suggests some degree of sincerity in the chanting.



Jedi Mind Tricks feat. El Eloh:
“Books of Blood: The Coming of Tan” (1997)

Conscious hip hop duo Jedi Mind Tricks chanting (the second half of) the Hare Krishna Mantra: Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare (2:13). And after some well-informed truth-telling to The Children of Lie, the lyrics end: “Praise to His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada” (3:34).

Srila Prabhupada, the man who took Krishna Consciousness to the West

DJ Stoupe and Vinnie Paz 

Underground hip hop duo Jedi Mind Tricks was formed 1993 by the icons rapper Vinnie Paz and producer DJ Stoupe, and is still active. They have done many collaborations with both local MCs and veteran rappers like GZA from Wu-Tang Clan. Guest rapper El Eloh in this track is a prominent one of the less known.

The record sleeve T-shirt print:
Looks like Krishna in His Supersoul form, right where He is situated, in the heart, 
from one of the illustrations in Srila Prabhupada's edition of Srimad Bhagavatam

“Books of Blood: The Coming of Tan” is from their first album The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological, And Electro-Magnetic Manipulation Of Human Consciousness.
The record sleeve-picture (the picture in the clip) is based on an illustration from the Srimad Bhagavatam (and the T-shirt print looks like another one, of Krishna), and in the corner it is marked with the obligatory hip hop quality sign: “Parental Advisory Explicit Content”. And yes, in the lyrics there is reference to “the epic sanskrit history of the world, Mahabarata”, which contains the Bhagavad Gita, and both this and the Hare Krishna mantra are definitely some hi-quality parental advisory explicit content.

A dark track with an uncanny vibe of an outdated timeline. But praising Srila Prabhupada, the man who took the Maha Mantra, Krishna ConsciousnessBhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam to the West in the 60's, is rocket fuel in the Hare Krishna Top 10 space.


“Boots of Chinese Plastic” (2008)

Spiritually conscious, cool Chrissie Hynde delivering Right Knowledge in rock'n'roll 4-lines-format: “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama too / Govinda I am still in love with You / I see You in the birds and in the trees / That's why they call me Krishna Mayi” (0:46).
Flash appearances of Krishna in the video at 1:03, 2:09 and 2:18.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Chrissie Hynde's band the Pretenders debuted in 1979, soon to hit the UK and US charts with the single “Brass in pocket, and are still active. In 2005 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Boots of chinese plastic” is from their latest album, Break Up the Concrete from 2008. 

Chrissie Hynde is known for her increasing concern and activism for vegetarianism, animal rights, and environmental issues. In a recent interview she is also noted for the more or less outspoken message of spirituality in many of her songs. About Boots of chinese plastic”:

CH: It’s very, very literal. I did quite a lot of press for that album, and you know, nobody ever once asked me about that song, and I thought that was really kind of far out  chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Haretalking about Jesus Christ. Certain things you have to keep a veil on, and I thought maybe I didn’t on that song. But I seem to have got away with it.
Q: Maybe the reason people missed the message is that it’s a great rock and roll song and has that cool Bo Diddley beat – so maybe people got into that groove but didn’t pay attention to the words.
CH: Well, that’s good.
Q: Is it?
CH: Sure. If they’re still chanting Hare Krishna. If the're still thinking about Jesus Christ.


Chrissie Hynde is among the vegetarian celebrities honored by 
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) 
in a line of US stamps


Lee Perry:
“Baby Krishna” (2004)


Reggae genius Lee “Scratch” Perry, one of the main developers of reggae music and accredited with having invented the dub, sings to Baby Krishna. World- and time-conscious lyrics.

Lee Perry is famous both as musician and producer. He has been active from the late 50's­­­­ and still is. In 1973 he built his famous studio The Black Ark in his back yard (later on bare ground, having removed the floor, to be in barefoot contact with Mother Earth when making music). Everything he recorded in his studio was done using basic recording equipment, but through his genius inventiveness Perry made it sound unique. He remained behind the mixing desk for many years, producing songs and albums that stand out as high points in reggae history.

Throughout his career he has worked with lots of notable fine musicians and bands such as Bob Marley, Sly Dunbar, Keith Richards, George Clinton, Paul McCartney, Clash, Beastie Boys, Moby, The Orb, and many more.

“Baby Krishna” is from Perry's later career, Panic in Babylon, 2004. The same year, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Lee Perry #100 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

In 2012 he received the Jamaican Honours System award “Order of Distinction”, a high National Order, with the motto “Distinction Through Service”.


George Harrison:
“My Sweet Lord” (1970)

                            Video clip here 

Ex-Beatle and “closet devotee” George Harrison's classic mega-hit, ending with a gospel choir singing the Maha Mantra (from 2:54).

George Harrison was the lead guitarist of the Beatles: the most famous, popular and successful band in history – further presentation superfluous. 
In the latter 60's he and the rest of the Beatles became interested in spirituality and met many of the famous yogis and gurus of that time. 1969 he and fellow Beatle John Lennon met Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and soon after that he embraced the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition and became a lifelong Krishna-devotee. 
George Harrison donated money to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and also his own mansion outside London, which was renamed Bhaktivedanta Manor, after founder acharya Srila Prabhupada, and rumour has it that his last will included 20 million pounds to ISKCON. 
He left the body 2001, surrounded by devotees and with his wife singing the Maha Mantra in his ear. 

“My Sweet Lord” was written in December 1969 in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the Beatles officially still together. It was written in praise of Krishna, while at the same time rejecting religious sectarianism through its deliberate blending of Judaeo-Christian “Halleluyah”s with the Maha Mantra and Vedic names of God. It was a worldwide, long-time, number one hit-single and bestseller, ranked on Rolling Stone Magazine's list as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

George Harrison in Vrindavan, 
at the samadhi of Sri Jiva Goswami 


Goldblade feat. Poly Styrene:
“City of Christmas Ghosts” (2008)

Punk legend Poly Styrene guest vocals on a Christmas song by Goldblade, beautifully ending with Poly singing “Hare Krishna / Hare Rama” (from 2:31).

Cover of debut single 1977
Poly Styrene, or Marianne Elliot-Said, or later Maharani Devi Dasi, was the front person and singer of pioneering punkband X-Ray Spex (1976-79). Known as the only person that Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols) had only nice things to say about. The archetype for modern-day feminist punk. 
1983 she was initiated a Krishna-devotee, and while living in the temple at the Bhaktivedanta Manor (a donation by The Beatles' George Harrison) she recorded at the temple's recording studios.
Poly was active 1976-2011. Her last album “Generation Indigo” was released in march 2011, a month before she left the body.

This song is a remix of Goldblade's “City of Ghosts”. Band leader John Robb: 
“She was a joy to work with in the studio. We asked her to sing like she used to, and at first she said it would be difficult, then she walked into the vocal booth and did it in one take, adding an improvised Hare Krishna chant at the end that brought the song an unimagined power and beauty.”

See you later sister.

Maharani Devi Dasi


Ruth Copeland feat. George Clinton & Parliament:
“Hare Krishna” (1971)

Conscious flower child Ruth Copeland in a nice gospelish track summing it all up with “Love” and “Hare Krishna”. Featuring singer, songwriter, bandleader, music producer and funk innovator George Clinton and his legendary band Parliament.

Ruth Copeland – “the first lady of P-Funk” – was active late 60's till mid 70's, both together with George Clinton/Parliament and solo. As solo artist she released three albums and three singles, of which “Hare Krishna” was one.

George Clinton has continued with his own career as well as working with other artists, such as genius Prince, hailed hip hop collective Wu-Tang Clan, and Primal Scream, arguably the greatest band on earth of all time.

George Clinton


Other aspirants for the nr 10 position were:

Tony Scott, “Hare Krishna (King Britt Funke remix)” (2005) 
A trip-hop remix of a cool-jazz classic. (From 2:23)

Nina Hagen, I love Paul (1983)
Punk queen Nina Hagen singing the Hare Krishna mantra
in the refrains (1:15 and 3:04).

Boy George, “Bow Down Mister” (1991)
Sweet pop song by former Culture Club and Jesus Loves You-singer, 
gay icon, and Krishna-devotee Boy George.


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