Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 174
Mon. July 22, 2013
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“Because” is a touchstone for The Beatles final album. “Because” ignites The Fab Four’s Side Two medley with this earthy lullaby. “Because” is like opening the pages of the most wondrous lyrical picture book. While “Golden Slumbers” closes Abbey Road, it is this childlike lullaby makes the voices of John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney singing in unison sound like your floating on a celestial cloud of harmony. Too truly experience a taste of John, Paul and George’s exquisite harmonies on “Because” you need to feel the acapella version from The Beatles’ Anthology 3:
While the harmonies are the star we can’t forget that “Because” was also famous for it’s chord sequence, inspired by Beethoven, John told David Sheff in All We Are Saying, “Yoko was playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano. She was classically trained. I said, ‘Can you play those chords backward?’ and wrote Because around them. The lyrics speak for themselves; they’re clear. No bullshit. No imagery, no obscure references.”
You can tell that John, Paul and George were inspired by Brian Wilson and co. If you listen closely, “Because” was a definite tribute to The Beach Boys. Mirroring the tension that The Wilson Brothers experienced during making their opus Smile, The Beatles were also on the brink of disbanding, even after the recording and the release of one of their most beloved albums of all time, Abbey Road, the Fab Four would be no more. Engineer Geoff Emerick was there first hand to witness the vocal sessions for “Because” in the studio when he wrote, with Howard Massey, in his book, Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording of the Beatles, “The three Beatles sang “Because” over and over again that afternoon; they probably did each pass twenty or thirty times. But John kept at it, as did George Harrison, who, to my surprise, never uttered a word of complaint. They new they were doing something special and they were determined to get it right. There was no clowning around that day, no joking; everyone was serious, very focused. Their goal was to be able to sing each pass all the way through from start to finish—it was almost a matter of pride—That day I saw the four Beatles at their finest: there was one hundred percent concentration in all of them—even Ringo, sitting quietly with his eyes closed, silently urging on his bandmates on to their best performance—all working in tandem to get that vocal nailed, spot on. It was a stark example of the kind of teamwork that had been sorely lacking for years. It’s tempting to imagine what the Beatles might have been able to accomplish if they could only have captured and sustained that spirit just a little while longer.” Echoing the harmonious love between bandmates/brothers that was flickering towards extinction, unfortunately, the last song recorded during these sessions, “Because” became The Beatles swan song on Abbey Road.
To George, “Because” wasn’t just another Beatles song, in 1969, The Quiet Beatles raved what he loved most about John’s “Because,” when Harrison explained, “John wrote this tune. The backing is a bit like Beethoven. And three-part harmony right throughout. Paul usually writes the sweeter tunes, and John writes the, sort of, more the rave-up things, or the freakier things. But John’s getting to where he doesn’t want to. He just wants to write twelve-bars. But you can’t deny it, I think this is possibly my favorite one on the album. The lyrics are so simple. The harmony was pretty difficult to sing. We had to really learn it. But I think that’s one of the tunes that will impress most people. It’s really good.”
You can hear how ‘good’ “Because” sounds by putting on some headphones and re-experience John, Paul and George’s spectacular three part harmony. Overdubbed twice creating a nine part harmonious symphony, “Because” was the first song on The Beatles side two medley of Abbey Road. Inspired by Beethoven and The Beach Boys, even though it appeared on last Fab Four album, “Because” remains the reflection of the Beatles unity that expired when their glorious Abbey Road voices faded to black. Go back and relive the beauty, The Beatles swan song on vinyl; Her majesty better known as “Because.”
Tonight we dedicate the delicate harmonies of “Because” to our dearly departed Uncle Patrick. A lover of all things Beach Boys, we knew he appreciated the harmonic brilliance of “Because.” We hope the celestial joy of this Beatles beauty finds its way to Patrick today. Wherever you’re smiling, Patrick, this one’s for you.