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"Come Together"
Single by The Beatles
from the album Abbey Road
A-side "Something"
Released 6 October 1969
Format 7"
Recorded Abbey Road Studios
21 July 1969
Genre Blues-rock
Length 4:18
Label Apple Records
Writer(s) Lennon/McCartney
Producer George Martin
The Beatles singles chronology
"The Ballad of John and Yoko"
(1969)
"Something" / "Come Together"
(1969)
"Let It Be"
(1970)
Music sample
"Come Together"
Abbey Road track listing

"Come Together" is a song by The Beatles written primarily by John Lennon[1] and credited to Lennon/McCartney. The song is the opening track on The Beatles' September 1969 album Abbey Road. One month later it was released as a double A-sided single with "Something", their twenty-first single in the United Kingdom and twenty-sixth in the United States. The song reached the top of the charts in the US,[2] and peaked at number four in the UK.[3]

Contents

Origin

The song's history began with Lennon writing a song for Timothy Leary's failed gubernatorial campaign in California, United States against Ronald Reagan, which promptly ended when Leary was sent to prison for possession of marijuana.[4]

Recording

Lennon played rhythm guitar and sang the vocal; Paul McCartney played bass; Ringo Starr played drums; and George Harrison played lead guitar. It was produced by George Martin and recorded at the end of July 1969 at Abbey Road Studios.[5] Lennon says "shoot me" which is accompanied by McCartney's heavy bass riff.[5] The famous Beatles "walrus" from "I Am the Walrus" and "Glass Onion" returns in the line "he got walrus gumboot", followed by "he got Ono sideboard". Bluesman Muddy Waters is also mentioned in the song.

Although McCartney composed the electric piano part, Lennon looked over his shoulder to learn it so he could perform it himself on the recording.[6] Music critic Ian MacDonald reports that McCartney sang a backing vocal,[7] but Geoff Emerick said that Lennon did all the vocals himself, and when a frustrated McCartney asked Lennon, "What do you want me to do on this track, John?", Lennon replied, "Don't worry, I'll do the [vocal] overdubs on this."[6]

Release and acclaim

"Come Together" was released as a double A-side with "Something" and as the opening track of Abbey Road. The single was released on 6 October 1969 in the United States and 31 October 1969 in the United Kingdom.

For a time, the song was banned by the BBC, as they believed the song's reference to "shoot[ing] Coca-Cola" could be construed as either a cocaine reference or an advertisement of a soft drink.[citation needed]

Rolling Stone ranked "Come Together" at #202 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[8]

On the compilation album Love, "Come Together" is the 19th track. Sections of "Dear Prudence" and "Cry Baby Cry" fade in at the end of the track.

"Come Together" was the only Beatles tune Lennon sang during his 1972 Madison Square Garden concert; that version of the song appears on the concert album Live in New York City.

Lawsuit

In 1973, "Come Together" was the subject of a lawsuit brought against Lennon by Big Seven Music Corp. (owned by Morris Levy) who was the publisher of Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me". This was because it sounded similar musically to Berry's original and shared some lyrics (Lennon sang "Here come ol' flattop, he come groovin' up slowly" and Berry's had sung "Here come a flattop, he was movin' up with me"). Before recording, Lennon and McCartney deliberately slowed the song down and added a heavy bass riff in order to make the song more original.[9] After settling out of court, Lennon promised to record three other songs owned by Levy.[10] "You Can't Catch Me" and "Ya Ya" were released on Lennon's 1975 album Rock 'n' Roll, but the third, "Angel Baby", remained unreleased until after Lennon's death. Levy again sued Lennon for breach of contract, and was eventually awarded $6,795.[11]

Personnel

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[12] and Geoff Emerick[13]

Covers

John Lennon and his band played this song during his famous, "Live in New York City" concert. The concert was recorded at Madison Square Garden on August 30, 1972--Lennon's last full-length concert performance--the show was finally made available in 1986.

Aerosmith version

"Come Together"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (soundtrack)
B-side "Kings and Queens"
Released 1978
Format Record
Recorded 1978
Genre Hard rock, Blues-rock
Length 3:46
Label Columbia
Producer Jack Douglas
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Get It Up"
(1978)
"Come Together"
(1978)
"Chip Away the Stone"
(1978)

American hard rock band Aerosmith performed one of the first and most successful cover versions of "Come Together". It was recorded in 1978 and appeared in the movie and on the soundtrack to the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which the band also appeared. The single was an immediate success, reaching #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, following on the heels of a string of Top 40 hits for the band in the mid-1970s. However it would be the last Top 40 hit for the band for nearly a decade.

A rare live demo of the song was also released months later on Aerosmith's live album Live! Bootleg. The song was also featured on Aerosmith's Greatest Hits, the band's single-disc compilation released in 1980. The song has also surfaced on a number of Aerosmith compilations and live albums since then, as well as on the soundtrack for the film Armageddon.

The Aerosmith version is still frequently heard on mainstream and album rock radio stations. Aerosmith still occasionally performs "Come Together" in concert.

Since 2006, New Zealand telecommunications company Telecom used a cover of this song for its "Come Together" campaign.

Other notable covers

The song has since become one of the most covered songs of all time:

See also

  • Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music

Notes

  1. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 201.
  2. ^ Wallgren 1982, p. 57.
  3. ^ everyHit.com 2009.
  4. ^ The Beatles Bible.
  5. ^ a b Lewisohn 1988, p. 181.
  6. ^ a b Emerick & Massey 2006, p. 285.
  7. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 358.
  8. ^ Rolling Stone 2007.
  9. ^ Miles 1997, p. 553.
  10. ^ Wenner 2000, p. 90.
  11. ^ Self 1992.
  12. ^ MacDonald 2005, pp. 358–359.
  13. ^ Emerick 2006, p. 285.

References

External links

Preceded by
"Wedding Bell Blues" by The 5th Dimension
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
29 November 1969 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam

Simple English

"Come Together"
Single by The Beatles
from the album Abbey Road
A-side "Something"
Released 6 October 1969
Format 7"
Recorded 21 July 1969,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Blues-rock
Length 4:18
Label Apple Records
Writer(s) Lennon/McCartney
Producer George Martin
The Beatles singles chronology

"The Ballad of John and Yoko"
(1969)
"Something" / "Come Together"
(1969)
"Let It Be"
(1970)
Abbey Road track listing

"Come Together" is a song by The Beatles written mostly by John Lennon[1] and credited to Lennon/McCartney. The song is the first song on the Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road. One month later it was released as a single with "Something", their twenty-first single in the United Kingdom and twenty-sixth in the United States. The song reached the top of the charts in the US,[2] and peaked at number four in the UK.[3] The song was also featured in a scene in the movie A Bronx Tale starring Robert De Niro.

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