It’s All Too Much - The Beatles
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"It’s All Too Much" - The Beatles (1967)
A free-form, structure-less song, “It’s All Too Much” has George Harrison and John Lennon both playing lead and rhythm guitar with George also on the Hammond organ. The song also featured Dave Mason playing the trumpet (who performed on "Penny Lane") and clattering percussions. McCartney’s provides excellent high-end backing vocals.
“It’s All Too Much” was one of the very few Beatle tracks to make extensive use of feedback.
Musicologist Walter Everett says that in the opening of the song Lennon takes feedback to a new level in 1967 when he ferociously applies the whammy bar in a nod to Hendrix. Beatle fans hadn’t heard this sound since the 1964 single “I Feel Fine.”
Adds music critic Stuart Henderson:
“The song is a noisy, slippery pastiche of sound and texture. It’s a harsh trip, but it contains multitudes. The repetition becomes infectious, the sitar doesn’t seem out of place, and the guitar lines are cutting and bright.”
Beatle scholar Alan Pollack commented that George’s combination in this song of an harmonic drone with a modal-like tune, pop-rock back-beat, and extended improvisatory intro and outro yields an Indian/Western fusion that is at least serendipitous if not ingenious.
“The overall feeling of a come-as-you-are jam session is amplified by the extent to which the verse and refrain sections are hard to tell apart judging from the music along.”
He avers that it is yet another example of in a Beatle song- gesture can triumph over the specific gravity of content by virtue of sheer length and repetition.
“I have no doubt of George’s mystical sincerity, but I cannot escape the feeling in this song that he is self-effacingly winking at us with the desideratum: ‘Show me that I’m everywhere and get me home in time for tea.’”
The track’s deeper meaning is that there is so much love in the world- more than any one person can handle.
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