“Because” is a ballad written by John Lennon and as usual credited to Lennon/McCartney. 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. George Martin plays the electronic harpsichord at the beginning of the song, and Ringo is nowhere to be heard. That said, Ringo kept the rhythm on a hi-hat, but only in the singers headphones, it was not recorded.
It was the last song recorded for Abbey Road.
|Song by the Beatles from the album Abbey Road
|26 September 1969
|1–5 August 1969,
EMI Studios, London
|Progressive rock, art rock
The Beatles – Because:
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.”
It do contain some similarities to Beethoven, but it isn’t obvious, but it’s a good story. It actually sounds a lot like the song “Stay in bed” included in the song “Amsterdam” from John Lennon/Yoko Ono’s Wedding Album. Listen to the acoustic guitar at about 22:16, it has a very similar melody to “Because”:
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. They did 23 takes of the song. After a three-hour rehearsal of the vocals parts, they sang over 5 hours until they got a good take. The lights were dimmed to get in the right mood. Both Paul and George has later said that “Because” is on of the best songs on Abbey Road.
“John wrote this tune. The backing is a bit like Beethoven. And three-part harmony right throughout. Paul usually writes the sweeter tunes, and John writes the, sort of, more the rave-up things, or the freakier things. But John’s getting to where he doesn’t want to. He just wants to write twelve-bars. But you can’t deny it, I think this is possibly my favourite one on the album. The lyrics are so simple. The harmony was pretty difficult to sing. We had to really learn it. But I think that’s one of the tunes that will impress most people. It’s really good.”
– George Harrison
Because the world is round it turns me on
Because the world is round, ah
Because the wind is high it blows my mind
Because the wind is high, ah
Love is old, love is new
Love is all, love is you
Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry
Because the sky is blue, ah
“Because” is maybe the best example in The Beatles songbook on how incredibly good the three voices sounds together, along with “This Boy” and “Nowhere Man” in my opinion. It is a simple melody with a simple text, but it doesn’t sound clichéd at all. It all fits.
Let’s include the A Capella version (from Anthology 3) just to appreciate the wonderful harmonies one more time:
Paul McCartney bought the harpsichord used on “Because” from the record company and it was used on the song “Free as a Bird” 26 years later in 1995 (Anthology).
The Beatles 40 best songs countdown:
39. Because (written by John Lennon ~100%)
40. All You Need Is Love (written by John Lennon ~100%)
Egil & Hallgeir