7 Facts About ‘Across The Universe’ By The Beatles
The Beatles for Let it Be - The Beatles / Youtube
“Across The Universe” by The Beatles has been unveiled in two forms, first on the charity compilation album of 1969, No One’s Gonna Change Our World, and on the band’s final album, Let It Be. Here are some interesting facts that surround the inception of this song by the Beatles.
John Lennon Wrote The Song following an Argument
The song is credited to Lennon-McCartney although John Lennon primarily wrote the song following an argument with his then-wife, Cynthia. He said: I was lying next to me first wife in bed, and I was irritated. She must have been going on and on about something and she’d gone to sleep and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into sort of a cosmic song rather than an irritated song… it drove me out of bed. I didn’t want to write it, but I was slightly irritable and I went downstairs and I couldn’t get to sleep until I’d put it on paper.”
Eastern Indian Influences
As the Beatles have already been acquainted with Transcendental Meditation through the Maharishi, it comes as no surprise when they opted to reference the phrase “Jai Guru Deva Om”, which meant “I Give Thanks to Guru Dev” in Sanskrit. The “Om” at the end is meant to ring out as “ooooohm” as a way to reference the natural vibrations of the universe.
Wrestling No More
As mentioned earlier, the song first surfaced on the No One’s Gonna Stop Our World charity album by various artists in 1969 for the World Wildlife Fund. The organization was responsible for suing the World Wrestling Federation to make them drop the WWF branding.
Ever the Scuffle Tandem
It’s a known fact that Lennon and Paul McCartney almost always disagreed on the bands’s creative direction. When they decided to add falsetto harmonies to the song, Lennon was singing out of tune so McCartney went outside and grabbed two fans named Lizzie Bravo and Gaylene Pease to help with the harmonies. Lennon shared that “the original track was a real piece of s–t. I was singing out of tune, and instead of getting a decent choir, we got fans from outside. They came in and were singing all off-key. Nobody was interested in doing the tune originally.”
Wall of Sound
Phil Spector was tasked to produce Let It Be from its project tapes after the Beatles broke up. For “Across The Universe,” he removed the nature sounds and added an orchestra and choir to make a fuller arrangement.
A Personal Favorite
Lennon says it is one of his most-liked Beatles songs, noting that it has“one of the best lyrics I’ve written. In fact, it could be the best.” He continued, “It’s good poetry, or whatever you call it, without chewin’ it. See, the ones I like are the ones that stand as words, without melody. They don’t have to have any melody, like a poem, you can read them.”
From A Legend to Another
David Bowie covered the song on his iconic 1975 record, Young Americans. What’s amazing is that he got John Lennon himself to add guitar parts to his version.