A sitar used by musician George Harrison, purportedly during the recording of The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood, was auctioned for $62,500 (approximately Rs 40 lakh) in the United States, BBC reported on Friday. The auction, conducted by Nate D Sanders Auctions, began with $50,000 as the opening bid on Thursday.
The auctioneers have not released the name of the winning bidder. The Indian stringed instrument is “almost certainly the one he used to record Norwegian Wood,” a statement by the auction house said. The song is believed to have led to the “The Great Sitar Explosion’’ in rock music, and increased Harrison’s ties with Indian music and culture. He later travelled to India to improve his skills under sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
Harrison was first introduced to the instrument by musician David Crosby in 1965 before he bought his own from a store called Indiacraft on London’s Oxford Street, the statement said. The instrument was manufactured by Kolkata-based Kanai Lal & Brother, and eventually gifted to a friend of Harrison’s first wife, Patti Boyd.
“We had recorded the Norwegian Wood backing track and it needed something,” Harrison was quoted as saying in The Beatles Anthologies. “We would usually start looking through the cupboard to see if we could come up with something, a new sound, and I picked the sitar up.”