The Beatles they are, without a doubt, one of the essential ensembles for understanding the evolution of contemporary music. Commonly praised for their recording methods (groundbreaking for the decade they were active); They are also known for their ambivalence when it comes to songwriting. However, it is often the composers themselves who become their most scathing critic, and John Lennon was no exception.
And it is that although his musical catalog is vast and successful, the main voice of the Beatles he was not always satisfied with all the songs that made it to completion. Such is the case of one of the pieces that were included in ‘Let It Be’, the group’s last recording effort, released in 1970. It really is one of the songs most sung by fans, but Lennon came to regard her as “a piece of garbage”.
“The original theme was complete shit.“, he said once Lennon. “I was singing out of tune, and instead of getting a decent choir, we got fans from outside. They arrived and sang all out of tune. Nobody was interested in doing the original melody.”
You might be interested in: The legendary concert of The Beatles on the roof is coming soon to IMAX theaters
The subject in question is nothing more and nothing less than “Across The Universe”, which has been reversed on multiple occasions and even inspired a film of the same name in 2007. And despite the purity and calmness of the cut, the truth is that it was born from a moment of tension in the personal life of John Lennon, after an argument with his first wife, Cynthia.
“I was lying next to my first wife in bed, and I was irritated,” remembered Lennon.
“She kept talking about something and had gone to sleep and I kept hearing those words over and over again, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it became more of a cosmic song than an angry song… it pulled me out of bed. I didn’t want to write it down, but I was a little irritated and went downstairs and couldn’t fall asleep until I put it on paper.”
You might be interested in: Yoko Ono Says New ‘Get Back’ Documentary Proves She Didn’t Break The Beatles
The irony is that, despite the sublime energy of the song, it was a real headache to record it. The tensions between Lennon Y Paul McCartney they were beginning to break out during this period, and at the heart of the conflict was the belief that their songs were not receiving the care and attention they deserved. Although they had agreed to sing the falsetto harmonies on “Across The Universe,” during the recording session for Abbey Road in 1968, Lennon considered that the harmonies of Paul they were out of tune and he didn’t hesitate to let her know.
In an attempt to meet his partner’s expectations, Macca hired two members of Apple Scruffs, the fan club of the Beatles, to cover the need for falsettos. Naturally, the strategy did not convince Lennon.
“The Beatles did not make a good recording. I think unconsciously sometimes we – I say ‘we’ although I think Paul did it more than the rest of us 😲- Paul, somehow unconsciously, was trying to destroy a great song… I mean, we were playing experiment with my great pieces, like ‘Strawberry Fields,’ which I always thought was shot wrong.”.
In 1971, Lennon admitted that “Across The Universe” had always been one of the favorite songs he had written with the Beatles: “It’s one of the best lyrics I’ve ever written. In fact, it could be the best.”. And he added:
“It’s good poetry, or whatever it’s called, without chewing. You see, the ones I like are the ones that remain as words, without melody. They don’t have to have any melody, like a poem, you can read them.”
In a certain way, and despite how it finally debuted on the market, “Across The Universe” was the harbinger of what was to come. The Beatles they broke up a couple of years later, freeing Lennon of the creative chains that kept him bound in the Liverpool Quartet.