It seems that even though the year is rapidly coming to an end, 2012 sees the loss of yet another legendary musician. Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar has sadly passed away at the age of 92. While most probably aren’t familiar with his extensive body of work, Shankar has been one of the most noteworthy influences on the history of rock and roll. He’s generally credited with bringing the sitar to western music thanks to his collaborations with John Coltrane and, most famously, the Beatles. After befriending George Harrison and honing his skills, the Fab Four were really able to bring the instrument to the masses in tracks like “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” and “Within You, Without You.” Thanks to the craze he was able to spread, everyone from the Rolling Stones (“Paint It Black”) to Steely Dan (“Do It Again”) began incorporating the sitar into their music. As for Ravi, himself, he grew into rock star status in the 60s with legendary performances at the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock, pretty unarguably the two most famous festivals in the history of music. He also performed alongside a legendary line up at the Concert for Bangladesh organized by his friend, George Harrison. Shankar has earned himself 3 Grammys, and is up for another one this year in the Best World Music album category. His legacy will continue, not only with the incredible music and influence he left behind, but his incredibly talented daughters, sitarist Anoushka Shankar, and 9 time Grammy Award winning jazz/roots musician Norah Jones.
R.I.P. Ravi Shankar, and thanks for forever changing the landscape of rock and roll and almost single handedly putting India on the musical map in the West.