Wednesday, November 04, 2009


"Because" is a ballad written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon/McCartney) and performed by The Beatles. It features a 3-part harmony vocal performance between Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison, overdubbed three times to make nine voices in all. The results of this have been compared in sound to the Beach Boys. It appeared on the 1969 album Abbey Road, and is the song that precedes the extended medley that formed side two of the original LP record.


The song begins with electric harpsichord played by George Martin and then joined by Lennon's guitar doubling the harpsichord and played through a Leslie speaker. Vocals and bass guitar enter in what Alan Pollack calls the "mini-bridge."

The song was one of the few Beatles songs to include an analog synthesizer arrangement (although analog keyboards such as the Mellotron had been used often by The Beatles, few songs featured the use of a traditional analog synthesizer with voltage-controlled oscillators). The Beatles at the time of Abbey Road were among the first contemporary rock bands to experiment with the Moog synthesizer.

According to Lennon, "Because" was inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata." "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."


The main recording session for "Because" was on 1 August 1969, with vocal overdubs on 4 August, and a Moog synthesizer overdub by George 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.

A vocals-only version of the song can be found on Anthology 3 and Love and is an example of three part harmony from Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison, although the latter is slowed down and includes quiet nature sound effects. Both versions include the 'Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh' at the beginning.


* John Lennon: triple-tracked lead harmony vocals (middle register), lead and rhythm guitars.
* Paul McCartney: triple-tracked second harmony vocals (high register) and bass.
* George Harrison: triple-tracked third vocals (low register) and double-tracked Moog synthesizer.
* George Martin: electric spinet Baldwin harpsichord.

Cover versions

The song has been covered by:

* Pedro Aznar, on his first solo album, Pedro Aznar.
* Lynsey De Paul covered the song for the evanescent musical documentary All This and World War II in 1976.
* Alice Cooper, who sang it in the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie in 1978.
* Elliott Smith, whose version was used in the closing credits of the film American Beauty.
* Negativland also edited samples of the song's backing vocals on their No Business album for the cuts "Old Is New" and "New Is Old," in which they are made to repeatedly intone the tracks' titles, seemingly indicating the band's stance on sampling.
* Alejandro Dolina, whose version appears in his album Tangos del Bar del Infierno and is used as the opening theme for his radio show La Venganza SerĂ¡ Terrible.
* The Nylons, on their album of the same name, released in 1994.
* Vanessa-Mae, performing the song on a solo violin with a background choir singing the lyrics for George Martin's In My Life.
* Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood; the song was featured in the Beatles-themed musical film Across the Universe, sung by the six main characters, plus three minor characters, to simulate the triple dubbing.
* Solveig Slettahjell on her 2007 album Domestic Songs.
* George Clinton & album, How Late 2 U Have 2BB4UR Absent?.

Album: Abbey Road
Released: 26 September 1969
Recorded: Abbey Road: 1 August-5 August 1969
Genre: Art rock
Length: 2:45
Label: Apple Records
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


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