“Ladies and Gentlemen – the Beatles!”
If you Google the phrase “The Inner Light” in quotes, the first several entries will be about the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation which I wrote and which won me the Hugo Award for Science Fiction Writing. But it wasn’t always so.
If Google had existed prior to June 1, 1992, that same search would have resulted in an entry about the Beatles song, “The Inner Light.” It was written by George Harrison, with music in the Indian raga style and lyrics based on the 47th chapter of the Tao Te Ching. LISTEN TO IT HERE.
When it came time to give the ST:TNG episode a title, I was excited about paying tribute to my favorite band (assuming they would feel honored or even knew). Actually, to call the Beatles “my favorite band” doesn’t quite do it justice. To this day I believe that the Beatles were the single biggest force for cultural change during the coming of age of my generation.
And so: “The Inner Light.” That very phrase seemed an apt title for a story about someone (Capt. Picard) who experiences an entire lifetime within the theater of his mind. Only later did I listen closely to the lyrics and realize that the song was even more appropriate than I had thought. READ THEM HERE.
I have not been able to find out if George, who died in 2001, knew of the episode and my tribute to the Beatles. If anyone knows how I can reach Dhani Harrison to ask him, please let me know.
Meanwhile, stay tuned to this spot to see more Beatles musings and visit my archive to read my post about the musicologist Tim Riley’s excellent song-by-song analysis in his book “TELL ME WHY,” and my interview with Howard Sounes after the release of his Paul McCartney biography, “FAB.”