Because - The Beatles
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"Because" - The Beatles (1969)
Lennon said he wrote “Because” after he heard Yoko Ono play “Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata” on the piano- and then asked her to play the chords backwards. Yet none of the band could see the connection.
In 1980 he said he disliked the melody and arrangement and that the track “lacked his authorial imprimatur.”
Another comment he made about the song was that:
“That’s a piece of garbage I had around.”
Harrison said in 1969:
“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.”
Beatle engineer Geoff Emerick wrote how he felt in the studio watching John, Paul and George perform “Because”:
"They liked putting down their instruments and just singing together for a change. John, Paul and George sat in a semi-circle to do the harmonies. They sang flawlessly. What you have is a nine-part harmony: three Beatles voices times three. They made up their own choir."
The track represents a daring concept on a number of levels: style, form, harmony, and singing. Stylistically it defies neat pigeon-holing in terms of genre.
The choice of a harpsichord as the primary instrument established an audible link with the baroque and pre-classic eras.
The instrumental atmosphere gave the track a mysterious yet unfamiliar feel to it, however the vocals pump up the comfort level throughout it. The silent, hush quality of the vocal parts, a result of the close microphone placement technique, gives it a sense of close intimacy that serves to engage the listener into the complex and harmony of its texture.
A key part of the song is Ringo’s drumming. He plays a regular quarter-note pattern on the hi-hat cymbals which creates a steady backbeat/pulse for his band mates. The use of the Moog synthesizer is used in a restrained and very tasteful manner which serves to thicken the mood and texture of the song.
Musicologist Tim Riley remarked how by the time the three Beatles enter the verse the mood is hushed as the pristine voices solemnly intone the undercutting wordplay of the lyrics.
“As a result, lines like Love is all, love is new/Love is all, love is you don’t sound as clichéd as they should be.”
On a philosophical level, the song states that when you ask “why,” unless you include the whole reality of existence found so easily in the world around us, the only logical answer is “Because.”
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