BecauseWritten by: John Lennon (100%)
(credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: August 1 and 4, 1969 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England); August 5 (Studio 3, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: August 12, 1969
John Lennon: lead harmony vocals, guitar (1965 Epiphone E230TD(V) Casino)
Paul McCartney: lead harmony vocals, bass guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 4001S)
George Harrison: lead harmony vocals, synthesizer (1968 Moog IIIP)
George Martin: harpsichord (Baldwin Electric Combo CW-8-S)
Available on: (CDs in bold)
- Abbey Road, (US: Apple SO 383, UK: Apple PCS 7088, Parlophone CDP 7 46446 2)
- The last song to be begun in the studio by the Beatles, though not the last to be completed, "Because" was a Lennon song which had its genesis in Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No.14, Op. 27 No. 2," commonly known as the "Moonlight Sonata." Lennon's partner, Yoko Ono, was a classically trained pianist, and one day in early 1969 she performed the song while John relaxed on a couch. Hearing something that intrigued him, he asked her to play the piece backwards, and the resultant chord changes formed the basis of "Because" (though it was not, as is often thought, a direct backwards performance). Possibly inspired by the poetic works of Ono, Lennon began composing a series of simple, direct, almost haiku-like verses about the sky, the wind, and the world, coupling them with an equally direct chorus that presaged the direct lyrical themes of his early solo career "Love is all, love is you").
- During the couple's notorious "bed-in" public honeymoon in an Amsterdam hotel room, a newly wed John could be heard transposing the arpeggios of his new creation on his longtime Gibson Jumbo acoustic, and also working out intricate vocal harmonies for it. On August 1, 1969, he brought the finished song to Abbey Road, where producer George Martin suggested a novel nine-part harmony for the band, consisting of John, Paul and George singing live, three separate times, creating three interlocking parts -- Paul taking the high harmonies, John the middle, and George the bottom.
- The basic track was laid down with Ringo providing a primitive "click track" on his hi-hat, which was erased for the final version, over which Martin performed the arpeggios on a harpsichord, John doubled them on his electric guitar, and Paul added bass. The trio of vocalists then recorded their first set of harmonies. On the 4th, they recorded the other two tracks of harmonies, and then the next day, Harrison added the crowning touch in Studio 3 -- his new Moog synthesizer, extremely rare for a rock band, on which he tinkered with an appropriate solo. (The band then finished the harmonies for "The End.") Though Lennon, as was his wont, later disparaged Msrtin's arrangement, Paul and George cited "Because" as one of their very favorite Abbey Road tracks.
- Though it was the first Beatle recording to feature a Moog, "Because" was not the first rock song to utilize it. That honor, believe it or not, goes to the Monkees' "Daily Nightly." Nonetheless, the Beatles fell in love with the instrument: the day after "Because" was recorded, Paul added it to "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." Two days later, John used the "white noise" setting to add drama to "I Want You (She's So Heavy)." Finally, on the 19th, George used it to add a little extra color to "Here Comes the Sun."
- The band Queen would base their distinctive vocal harmonies off of Martin's idea, singing parts in live three-part harmony and then overdubbing them with more of the same.
- Alice Cooper performed a bizarre version of "Because" for the ill-fated 1978 musical film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, produced again by Martin. His first attempt at a vocal was fairly normal, but then Martin urged him to sing it again, not as John Lennon would, but as John would think Alice would. He got the desired performance.
Covered by: Alice Cooper/Bee Gees, Devo, Elliot Smith, George Clinton, Gerry Rafferty, Stanley Jordan, Vanessa-Mae, Negativland, New Christy Minstrels, Lynsey De Paul, Percy Faith, The King's Singers, Pedro Aznar, Solveig Slettahjel, Gary McFarland, Nyoy Volante, Mike Marshall, The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, Shampoo in Naples, The Nylons