NewYork TimesThe Hare Krishna mantra appears in a number of famous songs, notably those sung by The Beatles (and solo works of John Lennon, George Harrison (notably on his hit “My Sweet Lord”) and Ringo Starr). There is a reference to singing kirtan of Hare Krishna mantra in The Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus” (the line “Elementary penguins singing Hare Krishna”). Ringo Starr’s song “It Don’t Come Easy” contains the words “Hare Krishna!” and was written with the help of George Harrison. Later Paul McCartney produced a single with a picture of Krishna riding on a swan on the cover, although there wasn’t any chanting of Krishna’s names inside. Of the four Beatles members, only Harrison was actually Hindu, and after he posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2009, his son Dhani Harrison uttered the phrase “Hare Krishna” during the ceremony.
The mantra also appears in The Pretenders’ Boots of Chinese Plastic. One song from 1969 by the Radha Krsna Temple, simply entitled Hare Krsna Mantra reached no. 12 in the UK music chart and appeared on the music show Top of the Pops. It also made the no.1 slot in both German and Czechoslovakian music charts. Less well-known but equally relevant to fans of pop music culture are recordings of the Hare Krishna mantra by The Fugs on their 1968 album Tenderness Junction (featuring poet Allen Ginsberg) and by Nina Hagen. Also, certain members of the hardcore bands The Cro-Mags, The Dicks, Inside Out, Youth of Today, Shelter and 108 (band) were vocal Hare Krishna supporters in the 1980s and 1990s.
Placebo produced a Hare Krishna mantra track on their 1996 36 Degrees single, featuring traditional Eastern instruments. Hare Krishna is referenced to briefly in The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Clooney as the organization that brainwashed the mother of the main character and threatened her grandparents after her mother escaped for a short period of time.
George Harrison put a Hare Krishna sticker on the back of the headstock of Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson ES-335. The sticker also appeared on Gibson’s 2005 reproduction of the guitar.
Kula Shaker, Boy George, and members of the Rubetts have recorded music tracks about Krishna Consciousness.
The Washington D.C. Production duo Thievery Corporation Releases a track on the 2008 album entitled, “Hare Krishna”.
In The Muppet Movie (1979), a Hollywood agent in a swamp tells Kermit the Frog he is lost, to which Kermit replies, “Have you tried Hare Krishna?” The reference becomes a running gag in the movie.
In The Simpsons episode entitled “Homer and Apu” (Season 5, Episode 94, February 10, 1994), after seeing Christians singing in an Indian airport, a Hare Krishna devotee remarks “Oh, great – Christians”. Also, in the episode “The Joy of Sect” (Season 9, Episode 191, February 8, 1998) a Hare Krishna devotee asks Bart if he’s ever heard of Krishna Consciousness. In reply to which Homer says, “This, Bart, is a crazy man!”
In the episode of South Park entitled “Starvin’ Marvin in Space” (Season 3, Episode 44, November 17, 1999) there’s a scene involving Mr. Garrison telling his class that, “The Hare Krishnas are totally gay.”
Tenacious D had a track on their demo tape called “Krishna”