My Top 10 Favorite Songs From John Lennon (Part 3)
Hi there everyone! It’s time to reveal my number 8 choice on the countdown!And boy is it a doozy, teehee!
Number 8: Come Together
One of the coolest things about listening to The Beatles is hearing the evolution of their music. Comparing their album, Abbey Road, to their first album, Please Please Me, is like comparing apple and oranges. I personally prefer the earlier work, if only because I love the joy and happiness seen in the four dudes during that time. A lot of that joy was gone by the end, so it kind of taints my enjoyment of their later albums. But there’s no question that those albums had some huge hits. And “Come Together” is by far one of the best songs in Abbey Road, one of their best singles, and one of John’s greatest achievements.
The origins of “Come Together” is one of the most interesting origins of a song I have ever heard. Psychologist and pro-drugs activist ,Timothy Leary, wanted John to write a protest, rally song. He had met him and Yoko during the bed-in for peace, and he was hoping to have a song that could be used to take a stand against Ronald Reagan as governor of California. John decided to help Leary in his campaign and named the song “Come Together, join the party”, after Leary’s campaign slogan. But then Leary was imprisoned for cannabis possession, and the campaign abruptly ended. Despite the setback, this actually gave John a chance to improve on the song. He mentions in interviews that he couldn’t write a good protest song for Leary, no matter how hard he tried. The end result was the farthest thing imaginable to a protest song, and a wonderful example of John’s clever use of imagery and intriguing lyrics.
For years I wondered over the meaning of “Come Together” but never did the answer of it came to me. I basically came to the conclusion that it was written while the dudes were all high…which probably isn’t too far from the truth considering John’s crazy use of LSD at the time (smh). But unlike “I Am The Walrus”, which completely has no meeting and is meant to be a puzzle piece with no picture, “Come Together” does have a bit more substance to its lyrics. First off there’s that infamous opening line:
Now this could be interpreted in two ways. Either John wants to shoot himself with a gun…or he wants you to “shoot him up” with drugs… I think it’s safe to say it’s the later ( John didn’t seem to be suicidal at this particular moment of his life, although it did seem more apparent towards the end of his life). His drug usage was insane by this point and it would definitely show up in his lyrics. But what about the rest of the song? Well, it’s been theorized by some that each verse is supposed to be about one of the Beatles.
The first two verses are hard to distinguish which Beatle is being alluded to. Some say the first verse is about George, since he had long hair by that point and the lyrics do say “he got hair down to his knee”. Yet some think it’s about Ringo because of the joker line, and it was often said that Ringo was the joker of the group (although they were all funny, so I don’t know why Ringo was the one singled out for that). I personally go with George being verse one and Ringo being verse two. The third verse is highly suggested to be John, as it mentions the infamous walrus, alluding to “I Am The Walrus”. And it also briefly mentions Yoko in the line “he got Ono sideboard”. And verse four is Paul, mainly for the line “got to be good looking ‘cause he so hard to see”. And as we all know, Paul was the pretty one (*sigh*).
Now one of the controversies behind “Come Together” is about how it supposedly plagiarizes Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me”. Berry’s publisher had sued John, but they managed to settle the issue out of court. Both songs include the line “here come old flat-top” and if you were to slowed down “You Can’t Catch Me”, there is a resemblance to “Come Together”. But honestly, both songs are very different in style and in lyrics. And to say that John would steal something of Berry is a bit too much, since he admired the man tremendously. Gain inspiration from him of course, but not steal.
But when you get passed the odd origins of the song, and the crazy ideas behind the lyrics, at the end of the day….“Come Together” is just a terrifically catchy tune! When asked about the song, John said it was a funky and bluesy song. He even likes his vocal on it, which is funny to hear, since John never really liked his voice. But he’s absolutely a hundred percent correct about the song! It’s a funky and bluesy tune that makes you tap your foot and jam to the beat of it. There really isn’t another song in The Beatles repertoire that resembles “Come Together”. It pretty much stands as a unique piece of it’s own, and that alone makes it very special. And it definitely has inspired many other rock bands over the years. The fact that the song is still popular to this day says a lot about it’s relevance in today’s music. It’s literally a timeless song, and it will probably continue to resonate for many more years.
I was inspired to create this by colinsvoice’s audio clip that showcased some of Colin’s different accents. After obtaining her permission to use her idea, I’ve compiled even more clips from varied sources into this mega-sampler.
Colin Morgan - Audio Commentary, Merlin, 5x02
John Leary - Catherine Tate Show Christmas Special
Ariel - The Tempest, Shakespeare’s Globe
Nothing to Confess - The Arches (RSAMD)
Merlin - Merlin, Episode 3x12
Colin Morgan - Titanic Centennial Commemoration Special
Gary - Step in Time, 24 Hour Musicals, Old Vic Theatre
Sean MacDiarmada - The Rising Movie
The Dolma - Merlin, Episode 5x09
Roger - Cry Babies, Audio Program BBC 4
Cathal O'Regan - (singing) Parked
Colin Morgan - American Accent (Interview)
Calum MacLeod - Island
Victor Richardson - Testament of Youth
Colin Morgan - speaking French, Merlin Video Diaries, Series 1
Jimmy Minor - Quirke, Elegy for April, (Episode 3)
Jethro Cane - Doctor Who, Midnight, Episode 4x10
Chris P - The Studio (RSAMD)
Skinny Luke - Mojo, Harold Pinter Theatre
Prince Hal - Audition Video, Henry IV
Merlin - Dragonlord voice, Merlin, Episode 2x13
Carlos - Our Private Life, Royal Court Theatre
DS Tom Anderson - The Fall, BBC 2, Episode 2x06
Newton Pulsifer - Good Omens, Audio Program, BBC 4
Cathal O'Regan - Parked
Colin Morgan - Commentary, Addicts Symphony, Channel 4
Merlin - Dragoon the Great, Merlin, Episode 3x09
Ariel - (singing) The Tempest, Shakespeare’s Globe
Colin Morgan - Audiobook Excerpt, Falling Out Of Heaven by John Lynch
Gary - Step in Time, 24 Hour Musicals, Old Vic Theatre