How The Beatles Song “Come Together” Was Written As The Band Came Apart

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The Beatles have a slew of number one hits but the classic, “Come Together,” recorded in 1969 has a wild history and an ironic end. 

the beatles come together 

While recording The White Album, The Beatles were coming apart from the inside.  Bitter rivalry was eating away at the core of the band like acid eating away at metal.  Egos grew to ginormous levels, while bank accounts fueled greed even if only at a subconscious level.  Paul McCartney and John Lennon had shown their abilities to write music as a team was over.  The last great Beatles song, “Come Together,” written by John Lennon was the final curtain call for Beatlemania.

Following the release of The White Album, The Beatles had reached the point of full internal collapse.  All four members of the band were rarely in the same room together and never recording together. 

When LSD guru Timothy Leary made the decision to run for governor of California, he asked Lennon to write the song “Come Together” because that was the slogan for his campaign.  While in his famous bed-in with Yoko Ono in 1969 Lennon scribbled the first lyrics to the song.

Timothy Leary got into some legal trouble before the election, effectively stopping his campaign before it started; so Lennon decided to write The Beatles song “Come Together.”

According to Lennon the original song was different when he brought it in for the Abbey Road sessions, according to Rolling Stone “it was much faster than the final version and more obviously modeled on Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me” — the opening line, “Here come old flat-top,” is a direct lift from Berry’s 1956 recording. (Shortly after the release of Abbey Road, Berry’s publisher charged the Beatles with copyright infringement; the case was settled in 1973, with Lennon agreeing to record three songs owned by the company.”

John Lennon

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Though Lennon wrote the song it was his nemesis Paul McCartney that altered the song to make it the brilliant track it is today.  McCartney said “let’s slow it down with a swampy bass-and-drums vibe. I came up with a bass line, and it all flowed from there.” 

Lennon details how the rest of the song came together in Rolling Stone: “Lennon said that the ‘over me’ break at the end of the chorus began as an Elvis parody. The lyrics are a rapid-fire pileup of puns, in-jokes and what he called “gobbledygook” that he made up in the studio. The message was clear when he cried out at the end of the second verse, ‘One thing I can tell you is you got to be free.’ But for Lennon, the hypnotic rhythm was the most important thing: “It was a funky record, it’s one of my favorite Beatles tracks. It’s funky, it’s bluesy, and I’m singing it pretty well.”

The Beatles song “Come Together” is one of the coolest rock songs ever written.  The beat and the lyrics ice the soul and force the hand to turn up the volume.  What is so interesting about this song is the fact that The Beatles were literally dissolving as a band.  Imploding.  Exploding.  Spontaneously Combusting. The show is over, turn out the lights.  Four friends that have now become enemies.  “Come Together” was the last song all four members of The Beatles recorded together. 

 

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