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Published: Friday, 12/14/2012

Ravi Shankar

Every time you listen to the Beatles’ sitar-infused 1965 hit “Norwegian Wood,” you hear the influence of Ravi Shankar on Western pop music.

Mr. Shankar, who died this week at age 92, was the world’s most famous ambassador of Indian music. He made a name for himself with recitals in the USSR in 1954, in Europe and the United States in 1956, and in Japan in 1958.

Appearances at the Monterey and Woodstock festivals put Mr. Shankar on the counterculture map in the late 1960s. His performance at the Concert for Bangladesh made him a star. His hypnotic sitar strumming conveyed the beauty of India’s musical heritage.

When he wasn’t recording his own music, Mr. Shankar composed movie soundtracks. Western classical music fans know his work from his collaborations with artists such as Philip Glass. He was among the most influential musicians of our time.

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