Tuesday, October 11, 2011

(Extremely late..) Beatle Fact Friday!

I know, it's really not Friday -- though I wish it was....

Across The Universe was written one night by John Lennon after fighting with his then girlfriend, Cynthia. He's commented on the song saying that it just came over him in the middle of the night and couldn't get the tune out of his head. The words followed quickly, and so, the song was born. "Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup" is a metaphor for the way they were fighting that night. There was so much said that night, neither of them could keep up with the amount that was said.

February 1968 Alternate Take
Later released on Anthology 2 in 1996

"Jai Guru Deva Om" is a mantra Lennon used as the refrain which, in Sanskrit, means "Victory to the Guru." John had just taken his trip to India where he met with The Maharishi (who he later attempts to insult in his song Sexy Sadie -- see Diane's post). The mantra intended to sooth the mind in order to reach higher consciousness. I suppose he needed some way to come down after the right. "Om," used in any sort of meditation, was used to relate to the vibrations of the universe ---maaaaaan. far out maaaaaaaan. This was the first version of the song, recorded on February 4th of 1968. The track was simple, and included a rhythm track of acoustic guitar, percussion and the tambura. George overdubbed the beginning with his sitar and two teenage fans (thrilled) were grabbed off the street randomly to do the backup vocals.

Original 1968 recording (w/girls singing)

Wildlife version

There are a few versions of the song. The initial release was done in 1968 for the charity album "No One's Gonna Change Our World" for the World Wildlife Fund. Chirping birds and pond noises were used to reflect the wildlife theme of the album. George Martin finalized this version of the track by making it stereo and speeding up the tempo a bit. John and George hated this version.

After Abbey Road, which was supposed to be their last album, they broke up and subsequently released Let It Be. Early in January of 1970, Glyn Jones remixed the track omitting the girls vocals and the bird sound effects. This version was never made officially public because Jones's "Get Back" albums were never released. Spektor had a go at it in April of 1970, remixing the original track by slowing it down to it's original speed and adding orchestral and choral overdubs (taking out the birds and the girls). This is perhaps the most popular version of the song.

This song was also released by David Bowie on his album Young Americans where he played the guitar on the track and sang. Bowie, undoubtedly, was a huge Lennon fan.

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