Because (Beatles song)
|Song by the Beatles from the album Abbey Road|
|Released||26 September 1969|
|Recorded||1–5 August 1969,
EMI Studios, London
|Abbey Road track listing|
"Because" is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and recorded by the Beatles in 1969. It features a prominent three-part vocal harmony by Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, overdubbed twice to make nine voices in all. It first appeared on Abbey Road (1969), immediately preceding the extended medley on side two of the record.
The song begins with a distinctive electric harpsichord intro played by producer George Martin. The harpsichord is joined by Lennon's guitar (mimicking the harpsichord line) played through a Leslie speaker. Then vocals and bass guitar enter.
"Because" was one of few Beatles recordings to feature a Moog synthesiser, played by George Harrison. It appears in what Alan Pollack refers to as the "mini-bridge", and then again at the end of the song. The group were among the first in contemporary rock and roll to experiment with a Moog, though the instrument had been used before (notably by bands such as the Doors, Simon & Garfunkel and the Monkees, whose "Daily Nightly" was the first rock recording to feature the Moog).
According to Lennon, the song's close musical resemblance to the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata was no coincidence: "Yoko was playing Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' on the piano ... I said, 'Can you play those chords backwards?', and wrote 'Because' around them. The lyrics speak for themselves ... No imagery, no obscure references."
With regard to the controversy Lennon initiated by citing Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" as an inspiration, musicologist Walter Everett notes that "both arpeggiate triads and seventh chords in C# minor in the baritone range of a keyboard instrument at a slow tempo, move through the submediant to ♭II and approach vii dim 7/IV via a common tone." But while acknowledging the unusual shared harmonies, Dominic Pedler notes that the relationship is not the result of reversing the order of the chords as Lennon suggested.
"Because" concludes with a vocal fade-out on D dim, which keeps listeners in suspense as they wait for the return to the home key of C#. Mellers states that: "causality is released and there is no before and no after: because that flat supertonic is a moment of revelation, it needs no resolution." The D dim chord (and its accompanying melodic F natural) lingers until they resolve into the opening Am7 chord of "You Never Give Me Your Money"
George Martin on "Because": "Between us, we also created a backing track with John playing a riff on guitar, me duplicating every note on an electronic harpsichord, and Paul playing bass. Each note between the guitar and harpsichord had to be exactly together, and as I'm not the world's greatest player in terms of timing, I would make more mistakes than John did, so we had Ringo playing a regular beat on hi-hat to us through our headphones." The main recording session for "Because" was on 1 August 1969, with vocal overdubs on 4 August, and a double-tracked Moog synthesiser overdub by Harrison on 5 August. As a result, this was the last song on the album to be committed to tape, although there were still overdubs for other incomplete songs. This approach took extensive rehearsal, and more than five hours of extremely focused recording, to capture correctly. McCartney and Harrison both said it was their favourite track on Abbey Road. "They knew they were doing something special," said engineer Geoff Emerick, "and they were determined to get it right."  Versions of the song without instrumentation can be found on 1996's Anthology 3 and 2006's Love. Both versions highlight the three-part harmony by Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, though the Love version is slowed down and includes overdubbed birdsong.
- John Lennon – triple-tracked lead harmony vocals (middle register), guitar
- Paul McCartney – triple-tracked second harmony vocals (high register), bass
- George Harrison – triple-tracked third harmony vocals (low register), Moog synthesiser
- George Martin – electric spinet Baldwin harpsichord
|1971||John Williams||Off the Record|
|1976||Lynsey De Paul||All This and World War II|
|1977||Devo||The Truth About De-Evolution (soundtrack)||The song is performed (and distorted highly) during the film's closing credits.|
|1978||Alice Cooper & The Bee Gees||Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (soundtrack)|
|1981||Shampoo||In Naples 1980–81||Lyrics rewritten in Neapolitan.|
|1982||Pedro Aznar||Pedro Aznar|
|1987||Mike Marshall||Gator Strut|
|1994||The Nylons||The Nylons|
|1998||Vanessa-Mae||George Martin's In My Life||She performed the song on a solo violin with a background choir singing the lyrics.|
|1999||Elliott Smith||American Beauty (soundtrack)|
|2004||Alejandro Dolina||Tangos del Bar del Infierno||Also used as the opening theme for his radio show La Venganza Será Terrible.|
|2005||George Clinton||How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent?|
|2005||Negativland||No Business||A complete deconstruction of the song on "Old is New" and "New is Old", adding voice effects and additional track overlaying|
|2005||Ná Ozzetti & André Mehmari||Piano e Voz|
|2007||Solveig Slettahjell||Domestic Songs|
|2007||Various artists||Across the Universe||The six main characters and three minor characters in the film combined to perform the nine vocal parts.|
|2009||Martin John Henry||Abbey Road Now!|
|2009||Gerry Rafferty||Life Goes On|
|2013||Al Di Meola||All Your Life|
- Sheff 2000, p. 191.
- Snopes.com 2009, pp. 1.
- Walter Everett. The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology Oxford University Press, Oxford 1999. pp. 259–260
- Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. pp. 428–433
- Wilfred Mellers. Twilight of the Gods: The Music of the Beatles. Schirmer/Macmillan 1973. p. 118
- Buskin, Richard, insidetracks, p. 64-65
- Lewisohn 1988, pp. 184–185.
- "77 – 'Because'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 365.
- 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 1-84413-828-3.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
- Pollack, Alan W. "Notes on "Because"". Notes on ... Series.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
- "Because". Snopes.com. 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009.