The Inner Light is the first Harrison composition to be featured on a Beatles single. The lyrics are a rendering of the 47th chapter (sometimes titled "Viewing the Distant" in translations) of the Taoist Tao Te Ching.
The Indian instrumental track was recorded under George's supervision at EMI Studios in Bombay, India during sessions for George's soundtrack to the film Wonderwall; the vocals were recorded at Abbey Road studios. George did not play on the instrument track. The musicians on instrumental track were Aashish Khan (sarod), Mahapurush Misra (pakhavaj), Hanuman Jadev (shehnai), Hariprasad Chaurasia (bansuri), and Rijram Desad (harmonium).
"In the original poem, the verse says 'Without going out of my door, I can know the ways of heaven.' And so to prevent any misinterpretations — and also to make the song a bit longer — I did repeat that as a second verse but made it: "Without going out of your door/You can know all things on earth/ Without looking out of your window/ You can know the ways of heaven" — so that it included everybody" - George
- January 12, 1968 (5 takes, instrumental)
- February 6, 1968 (vocal overdubs)
- February 8, 1968 (vocal overdubs)
- Lady Madonna / The Inner Light (single) (1968)
- "Rarities" (1978)
- Past Masters (1988)
- Mono Masters (2009)