Published on July 16th, 2021 | by Madhudvisa dasa

Hare Krishna Mantra — Hit Record in 1969!

George Harrison and the London Hare Krishna devotees recorded the Hare Krishna mantra in 1969 and released it as a “single.” A 45 RPM record. That record rocketed to the top of the music charts worldwide.

In July of 1969 George invited the devotees to make a recording of the Maha Mantra for release as a single.

Harrison produced and performed on the song, for which Mukunda provided the musical arrangement and played mridangam, and Yamuna and Shyamsundar served as lead vocalists.

Malati, Janaki, Gurudas and others joined in as chorus singers, in addition to playing percussive instruments such as kartals.

Released by Apple Records in August, and credited to Radha Krishna Temple (London), “Hare Krishna Mantra” peaked at number 12 on the UK’s national singles chart and was a commercial success around the world. The devotees twice performed the song on BBC-TV’s Top of the Pops and played a series of concerts across Europe to meet public demand. Mukunda later said: “We went from street people to celebrity status. Overnight.”

Aided by the association with Harrison, the single established the ancient mantra in the cultural mainstream, while also attracting many new members to ISKCON’s centres.

For the growing London temple, this achievement was accompanied by a more tolerant attitude from a previously wary public. In addition, in the Gaudiya Vaishnava faith, the international popularity of the Radha Krishna Temple’s recording was viewed as the fulfillment of a prediction by the Hare Krishna movement’s sixteenth-century avatar, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who had written: “One day, the chanting of the holy names of God will be heard in every town and village of the world.”

About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

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