In 1969, the infamous American psychologist Timothy Leary officially announced that he intended to become governor of California. The LSD Guru made the big statement the day the Supreme Court cleared him of marijuana tax evasion charges.
Ronald Reagan, who was to become the fortieth president of the United States, also ran for high office. The Republican went to the polls promising conservative voters to re-employ “lazy people” from social programs and pacify student rebels who stage anti-war protests.
Leary appealed to the audience that his opponent was attacking. Timothy chose the slogan “Come Together, Join the Party”. For his election campaign, John Lennon wrote a musical composition, discussed later in the article.
The history of the song Come Together – The Beatles
On June 1, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held a famous bed action at the Queen Elizabeth II Hotel. At John’s invitation, Timothy Leary joined them in Montreal, with his wife Rosemary.
They also participated in the recording of the legendary song Give Peace a Chance. Their names are mentioned in the lines “Everybody’s talking about: John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary”.
On June 2, John offered to help Timothy in the election. Leary asked that a catchy song be composed in his spirit of the political program.
Lennon got down to business:
This thing was created in the studio. This is special jargon. The expression “come together” Leary decided to use when he was trying to become president or something else. He asked me to write a song for the campaign. I tried and tried, but nothing worked, and then I composed Come Together …
The Beatles recorded a demo of the track and sent the tape to Leary. Timothy sent it out to all California radio stations ready to put the song on the air.
Already in December 1969, Leary went to jail on a marijuana possession case. For obvious reasons, his election campaign is over. But the story of the song Come Together did not end there, because John Lennon and his colleagues in The Beatles decided to include it on the Abbey Road album.
Recording and release
The Beatles recorded Come Together over several days from July 21 to 30, 1969 at Abbey Road Studios. John recalled working on the track:
During the recording of Come Together has changed. We said: “We need to slow down. Gotta do this, gotta do that.” In the end, what came out came out. I said, “You know, I don’t have an arrangement, but you probably know what I need.” I guess it happened partly because we played together for a very long time. I said, “Let’s do something funky.” I think I also set the pace. They immediately picked up the tune.
Paul McCartney spoke about his contributions:
I suggested: “Let’s slow it down, creating a gooey atmosphere with bass and drums.” I came up with a bass guitar part from which everything leaked out.
Lennon was pleased with the result:
It was a cool record, one of my favorite Beatles tracks, or shall we say, one of my favorite Lennon tracks. It’s funky, it’s bluesy, and I sing it quite well. I like the sound of the record. You can dance to it. I would buy it!
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
In the US, Come Together was released as a single on October 6, 1969, and British music lovers could buy the record from October 31. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number four on the UK charts.
Since 2004, it has been featured in Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Timothy Leary’s reaction to the release
Leary was upset about the release of the track:
Although musically and lyrically the new version was certainly much better than my campaign song, I was a bit taken aback that Lennon would do this to me… When I sent John a timid protest, he responded with typical Lennon charm and wit that he was a tailor and I was a customer who ordered a suit but did not return for it. That’s why he gave it to someone else.
A Hard Day’s Write, Steve Turner
John Lennon later commented on the situation:
[Come Together] would not do him any good. You can’t campaign to a song like that, can you? But then Leary accused me of stealing his slogan.
The meaning of the song Come Together
Understanding what Come Together is about is by no means easy, because the text is full of mysterious allusions, allusions and slang expressions. In addition, in the words of the composition, obviously, real people are mentioned.
Although the track was originally conceived as a political song, its main idea has clearly changed since then. Some researchers believe that Lennon makes it clear how tired he is of fame, and speaks of his intention to devote himself to his family.
Perhaps each of the members of The Beatles is mentioned in separate verses:
- He one holy roller is George Harrison
- He wear no shoe-shine is Paul McCartney
- He got Ono sideboard is John Lennon
- Got to be good-looking is Ringo Starr.
Do you know what the song Come Together by The Beatles is about? Share your opinions in the comments.
Allegations of plagiarism
Lennon used the line “Here come old flat-top” from You Can’t Catch Me by Chuck Berry in the lyrics of Come Together. He also borrowed a guitar riff from Chuck.
The infamous Morris Levy, Berry’s publisher, sued John for plagiarism.
Lennon admitted that he wrote Come Together, based on one of the songs of Chuck Berry (Chuck Berry), but denied direct borrowing.
Come Together is a piece of mine based in part on an old Chuck Berry piece. I left the line “Here comes old flat-top”. It doesn’t sound like a Chuck Berry track at all, but I got dragged to court because I once admitted his influence many years ago. I could change it to “Here comes old iron-face”. In any case, the song has nothing to do with Chuck Berry or anyone else on earth.
John delayed participation in the court session for a long time, and later concluded an agreement with Levy. They agreed that Lennon would record an album of cover versions and include several songs in it, the rights to which belonged to Morris.
Come Together – The Beatles
Next, I propose to watch the online music video for the song Come Together.
Come Together cover versions
The composition was performed by many famous artists, including Michael Jackson (Michael Jackson), Guns N’ Roses, Nazareth, Tina Turner (Tina Turner), Oasis and others.
Let’s watch the video of Michael Jackson Come Together.
Rock band Aerosmith recorded Come Together for the film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, collaborating with George Martin. Their version was released as a single and peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Arctic Monkeys played Come Together at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Then the song was on the 21st place in the British hit parade.
- The BBC didn’t want to play the song because the lyrics mention Coca Cola, which the company thought was an advertisement.
- When the legend of Paul McCartney’s death was born, fans decided that the line “One and one and one is three” meant the surviving three Beatles.
Come Together in questions and answers
- Who wrote Come Together?
The words and music were composed by John Lennon, but Paul McCartney also contributed.
- Who was Come Together for?
It was written for the election campaign of Timothy Leary, but then The Beatles decided to finalize and release the track.
- What is the song Come Together The Beatles about?
There are clear references and hidden allusions to all the Beatles in the words.
Come Together – The Beatles Lyrics
Here come old flat top
He come groovin’ up slowly
He got joo joo eyeballs
He one holy roller
He got hair down to his knees
Got to be a joker
He just do what he please
He wear no shoeshine
He got toe jam football
He got monkey finger
He shoot Coca-Cola
He say I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is
You got to be free
Come together, right now
He bag production
He got walrus gumboot
He got Ono sideboard
He one spinal cracker
He got feet down below his knee
Hold you in his armchair
You can feel his disease
Come together, right now
He roller coaster
He got early warning
He got muddy water
He one Mojo filter
He say one and one and one is three
Got to be good looking
‘Cause he’s so hard to see
Come together right now
Come together, yeah
Authors: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
“Come Together” lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
- Fits George Harrison’s description.
- We are talking about fingers burned by “jambs” of marijuana.
- Probably a hint at the theory of “bagism” (bagism) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
- A reference to the song “I Am the Walrus” by The Beatles.
- Yoko Ono, Lennon’s wife.
- Shortly before that, John and Yoko had a serious accident.
- Apparently, this refers to Ringo Starr and his addictions.
- An allusion to Muddy Waters, whose name literally translates as “dirty waters”.
- Consider the song Got My Mojo Workin’ by Muddy Waters.
- Many decided that it was about the three members of the group (without McCartney, who allegedly died).
- Ringo always dressed in style, and it was hard to see him on stage behind the drum kit.
This was not the usual call to become a member of a political party, but an invitation to come together to enjoy life.