- Come Together
"Come Together" Single by The Beatles from the album Abbey Road A-side "Something" Released 6 October 1969 (US)
31 October 1969 (UK)
Format 7" Recorded 21 July 1969,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Blues rock Length 4:18 Label Apple Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney Producer George Martin The Beatles singles chronology "The Ballad of John and Yoko"
"Something" / "Come Together"
"Let It Be"
Music sample"Come Together" Abbey Road track listing 17 tracks
- Side one
- "Come Together"
- "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"
- "Oh! Darling"
- "Octopus's Garden"
- "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
- Side two
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, and peaked at number four in the UK.
Origin and meaning
The song's history began when Lennon was inspired by Timothy Leary's gubernatorial campaign for governor of California titled "Come together, join the party" against Ronald Reagan, which promptly ended when Leary was sent to prison for possession of marijuana. It has been speculated that each verse refers cryptically to each of The Beatles (e.g. "he's one holy roller" allegedly refers to the spiritually inclined George Harrison; "he got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola" to Ringo, the funny Beatle; "he got Ono sideboard, he one spinal cracker" to Lennon himself; and "got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see" to Paul); however, it has also been suggested that the song has only a single "pariah-like protagonist" and Lennon was "painting another sardonic self-portrait".
John 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. In the intro, Lennon says "shoot me" which is accompanied by McCartney's heavy bass riff. 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. Music critic Ian MacDonald reports that McCartney sang a backing vocal, but recording engineer 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."
McCartney does sing on the track and can be clearly heard but his vocals were added later as an overdub. McCartney later said he was disappointed he didn't sing with Lennon.
“ Even on Abbey Road we don't do harmonies like we used to. I think it's sad. On Come Together I would have liked to sing harmony with John and I think he would have liked me to but I was too embarrassed to ask him and I don't work to the best of my abilities in that situation. ”
Release and acclaim
On the compilation album Love, "Come Together" is the 19th track. Instrumentals and some backing vocals from "Dear Prudence" fade in followed by the "Can you take me back" section of "Cry Baby Cry" as a transition.
This classic 1960s rock anthem with deep bluesy style was unlike any other song of its time in that it was constructed entirely of verse/refrains. There is no bridge and no chorus; one guitar solo is all that interrupts this radical song structure. For the first eight bars the tonic note, D, is repeated and then eventually it moves to the V chord and then to the IV chord. It then moves to the VI minor chord, which is a progression rarely used, except in the song "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". The refrain in actuality is three bars long, because the melody keeps going after the last A5 chord and comes to rest on the D5 chord after that. It is also important to mention the introduction of F# in the melody with a B minor triad. The tonic is held for four bars between each verse and is the same as the contents of the introduction.
Within the verse there are four one-bar structures; each one a non-sequitur. The lyrics end each time on the abrupt beat four of each measure, giving the verse an AAAA phrasing structure. The phrasing structure in the second half of the verse is two bars of BB. The C phrasing structure of the refrain has three measures becoming one long phrase and ending on the word "me" which ties everything together. There is an eleven-bar verse/refrain from a ten bar form. The one bar phrase into the two bar phrase and the three bar overlap creates plenty of deceleration and pushes the title line of the song to the spotlight. The melody of the verse stays within the range of a perfect fourth. Using mostly three notes (D, F, C) the tonic, flat three and flat seven, it moves away later only for contrast when it hits the II (E) and stays on that note for two bars. The refrain stands out as the highest notes in the piece (A). John Lennon decided to use modal interchange.
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". Levy contended that 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. After settling out of court, Lennon promised to record three other songs owned by Levy. "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. Lennon countersued after Levy released an album of Lennon material using tapes that were in his possession and was eventually awarded $84,912.96.
- John Lennon – lead vocal, rhythm guitar, electric piano, handclaps
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass guitar
- George Harrison – lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, maracas
John Lennon solo version
"Come Together" was the only Beatles' tune Lennon sang during his 1972 Madison Square Garden concert. It was Lennon's last full-length concert performance, and his only one after leaving the Beatles. He was backed by the band Elephant's Memory. This version of the song appears on the concert album Live in New York City.
"Come Together" Single by Aerosmith from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (soundtrack) and Aerosmith's Greatest Hits B-side "Kings and Queens" Released 1978 Format Record Recorded 1978 Genre Hard rock, blues rock Length 3:46 Label Columbia Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney Producer Jack Douglas Aerosmith singles chronology "Get It Up"
"Chip Away the Stone"
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 also featured on Aerosmith's Greatest Hits, the band's first singles 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 perform "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; covers are listed as follows:
- The Supremes covered the song on their 1970 album, New Ways But Love Stays.
- Diana Ross covered the song on her 1970 album Everything Is Everything.
- Chairmen of the Board covered the song on one of their first LPs (1970).
- Tina Turner covered the song for the 1976 musical documentary All This and World War II. Prior to that, her cover was featured on her and then-husband Ike's album of the same name. This version peaked at #57 on the U.S. Hot 100 and #21 on the R&B charts in 1970.
- The Brothers Johnson released a cover of the song on their 1976 album Look Out for #1.
- Eurythmics covered the song in 1987, but it was not released until 2005 as a bonus track on the digitally remastered version of Savage.
- Michael Hedges released his version on the 1987 album Live on the Double Planet.
- Michael Jackson, who owned the rights to the song, also covered "Come Together" for the concert portion of the film Michael Jackson: Moonwalker (1987). The same recording also appears on Jackson's studio album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (in a shorter edit), and was performed live at certain concerts during Jackson's HIStory World Tour. The longer version appears on Jackson's 1992 single "Remember the Time", the music video was released on the box set Michael Jackson's Vision.
- Shalamar covered the song on their 1990 album Wake Up.
- Boris Grebenshchikov & Joanna Stingray released their version and its video in the 1990s.
- Soundgarden covered the song on the "Hands All Over" (1990) single, giving it a very grunge sound. The band's cover also appeared on its Loudest Love EP.
- Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin recorded in 1997 a unique version for the Beatles' tribute album In My Life in which McFerrin performs the characteristic bass and guitar intro with his voice, and Williams sings.
- Defunkt covered "Come Together" on the 1992 album Downtown Does The Beatles Live at the Knitting Factory.
- Axl Rose and Bruce Springsteen played "Come Together" before Lennon's induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
- Gotthard recorded "Come Together" for their 1994 album Dial Hard.
- Christos Dantis remixed and covered the song on his 1994 album 4.
- Marcus Miller included an instrumental version on his album Tales (1994).
- Pride and Glory covered this song on their album Pride and Glory (1994).
- Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller played with McCartney on a version of the song for the 1995 HELP charity record, under the name The Smokin' Mojo Filters. This version made #19 on the British chart in December. In 2005 Weller recorded a new version of the song as part of a double A-sided single.
- Delbert McClinton released the song as a single from the 1995 Beatles tribute album Come Together: America Salutes The Beatles.
- A very short cover of "Come Together" was featured on the 1995 compilation album The Hole Truth... and Nothing Butt by Butthole Surfers.
- Enrique Bunbury covered the song on his 1997 single Planeta Sur.
- Catupecu Machu covered this song on their 1997 album Dale!.
- Black Label Society covered the song for their album Kings of Damnation 98–04.
- Spiralmouth covered the song on their 1999 self-titled album, their arrangement also incorporating elements of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)".
- Tom Jones released a live version of "Come Together" on his album 1999 Reload.
- Elton John covered the song as a tribute to Lennon during his One Night Only: The Greatest Hits Live at Madison Square Garden 2000 concert.
- Alkinoos Ioannidis covered the song in concerts, a version was released on his live album Ektos topou kai hronou (Εκτός τόπου και χρόνου) in 2000.
- Craig David performed a live version on Top of the Pops 2 in 2003.
- Toxic Audio covered the song on their album Captive Audience in 2003.
- Avishai Cohen covered the song for his album Lyla in 2003.
- The Lynne Arriale Trio recorded a jazz version of the song, which was the title track of their album Come Together in 2004.
- The Plague recorded the song in the late 1970s. It remained unreleased until their compilation album The X Tapes was released in 2005.
- Sugababes covered the song as a B-Side for their single "Ugly" in 2005.
- Saxophonist Warren Hill, who is very much known to perform popular song covers, performed "Come Together" from his release PopJazz in 2005.
- The Roots sampled this song on their 2006 Best of the Roots mixtape produced by J. Period.
- Victoria Beckham and Damon Dash sampled the song as an intro to one of Dash's mixtapes.
- The Punkles did a punk cover version on their fourth album For Sale (2006).
- The Rutles' song "Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik" is a pastiche of this song.
- Vyvienne Long performed this song for an Irish radio station.
- Labyrinth covered the song on their 2007 album 6 Days to Nowhere.
- Joe Cocker covers the song on the 2007 soundtrack to the film Across the Universe.
- Another jazz version from French trumpeter Erik Truffaz with the Sly Johnson was included on the album Rendez-vous - Paris in 2008.
- Carly Smithson covered this song on American Idol, so did Kris Allen on season eight, and Crystal Bowersox on season nine.
- Olly Murs performed this song for Rock Week on the X Factor in 2009, as did Matt Cardle on the 2010 series.
- Twin Atlantic covered the song in 2009 for XFM Scotland and released it on their 7" Vinyl "What is light? Where is laughter?".
- In 2009, the song was included in a posthumous release by Jeff Healey, Songs from the Road.
- Meat Loaf covered the song live. It also appeared on one version of his single "Not a Dry Eye in the House", which contained two Beatles' covers, "Let It Be" and "Come Together".
- Dutch mash-up artist MadMixMustang mashed-up this song with Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls".
- Pain of Salvation covers this song occasionally, while playing live.
- The Canadian funk band Schizophonic, has regularly covered this song, while playing live, since their formation in 2010.
- Brisbane bands Hungry Kids of Hungary, with Ball Park Music, covered the song to promote the Come Together Brisbane campaign in 2011.
- RMM's Tropical Tribute to The Beatles, features the cast of the album performing the song. This version peaked at #38 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart.
- ^ Sheff 2000, p. 201.
- ^ Wallgren 1982, p. 57.
- ^ everyHit.com 2009.
- ^ The Beatles Bible.
- ^ Gould, Jonathan (2008). Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain and America. London: Piatkus. p. 575. ISBN 978-0-7499-2988-6.
- ^ a b Lewisohn 1988, p. 181.
- ^ a b c Emerick & Massey 2006, p. 285.
- ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 358.
- ^ The Beatles Bible, Page on Come Together.
- ^ Rolling Stone 2007.
- ^ Rolling Stone 2010.
- ^ Miles 1997, p. 553.
- ^ Wenner 2000, p. 90.
- ^ Self 1992.
- ^ Edmonson, Jacqueline. John Lennon: A Biography. 2010, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-0-313-37938-3, p. 149
- ^ "Tales overview". Allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r213037.
- ^ "PopJazz overview". Allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r787780.
- ^ "Warren Hill - PopJazz". SmoothViews.com. http://www.smoothviews.com/cdreviews/hill_popjazz.htm.
- ^ "Come Together (Venir Juntos)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1996-04-13. http://www.billboard.com/song/familia-rmm/come-together-venir-juntos/767323. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "The Beatles Bible: Come Together". The Beatles Bible. http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/come-together/.
- Emerick, Geoff; Massey, Howard (2006). Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 1-592-40179-1.
- "Something / Come Together". everyHit.com. http://www.everyhit.com. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised Edition ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-844-13828-3.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Many Years From Now. London: Seeker & Warburg. ISBN 0-436-28022-1.
- "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2007. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/500songs. Retrieved 5 October 2007.
- "The Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Beatles Songs". Rolling Stone. 2010. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/photos/28431/194023/1. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
- Self, Joseph C. (1992). "Lennon vs. Levy - The 'Roots' Lawsuit". abbeyrd.net. http://www.abbeyrd.net/lenlevy.htm. Retrieved 30 March 2009.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
- Wallgren, Mark (1982). The Beatles on Record. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-45682-2.
- Wenner, Jann S (2000). Lennon Remembers (Full interview from Lennon's 1970 interview in Rolling Stone magazine). London: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-600-9.
- Stevens, John (2002). The Songs of John Lennon: The Beatles Years. Boston: Berklee Press. ISBN 0-634-01795-0.
- The Beatles Complete Chord Songbook. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard. 1999. ISBN 978-0-634-02229-6.
- Lyrics and video of Come Together
- Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "Come Together"
- The Beatles Bible: Come Together
"Wedding Bell Blues" by The 5th Dimension
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
29 November 1969 (one week)
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Look at other dictionaries:
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come together — verb come together, as if in an embrace Her arms closed around her long lost relative • Syn: ↑close • Hypernyms: ↑move • Verb Frames: Something is ing PP * * * come together [phrasal verb] … Useful english dictionary
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come together — Synonyms and related words: add, adhere, affiliate, ally, amalgamate, approach, assemble, assimilate, associate, ball, band together, be in cahoots, be intimate, blend, bunch, bunch up, cabal, cement a union, center, centralize, clinch, close,… … Moby Thesaurus
come together — assemble, gather together … English contemporary dictionary