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"Across the Universe" is a song by the English group The Beatles. It was written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon/McCartney. The song first appeared on the various artists charity compilation album No One's Gonna Change Our World in December 1969, and later, in different form, on Let It Be, the group's final album.
 

One night in 1967, the phrase "words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup" came to Lennon after hearing his then-wife Cynthia, according to Lennon, "going on and on about something." Later, after "she'd gone to sleep—and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream," Lennon went downstairs and turned it into a song. He began to write the rest of the lyrics and when he was done, he went to bed and forgot about them.

 

“ I was lying next to my first wife in bed and I was thinking. It started off as a negative song and she must have been going on and on about something. She'd gone to sleep and I kept hearing, 'Words are flowing out like endless streams...' I was a bit irritated and I went downstairs and it turned into a sort of cosmic song rather than, 'Why are you always mouthing off at me?'...

The words are purely inspirational and were given to me - except for maybe one or two where I had to resolve a line or something like that. I don't own it; it came through like that.

John Lennon - Anthology[1]

The flavour of the song was heavily influenced by Lennon's and the Beatles' interest in Transcendental Meditation in late 1967 – early 1968, when the song was composed. Based on this he added the mantra "Jai guru deva om" (Sanskrit: जय गुरुदेव ) to the piece, which became the link to the chorus. The Sanskrit phrase is a sentence fragment whose words could have many meanings. Literally it approximates as "glory to the shining remover of darkness,"[2] and can be paraphrased as "Victory to God divine", "Hail to the divine guru", or the phrase commonly invoked by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in referring to his spiritual teacher "All Glory to Guru Dev." [3]

The song's lyrical structure is straightforward: three repetitions of a unit consisting of a verse, the line "Jai guru deva om" and the line "Nothing's gonna change my world" repeated four times. The lyrics are highly image-based, with abstract concepts reified with phrases like thoughts "meandering", words "slithering", and undying love "shining". The title phrase "across the universe" appears at intervals to finish lines, although it never cadences, always appearing as a rising figure, melodically unresolved.[citation needed]

In his 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon referred to the song as perhaps the best, most poetic lyric he ever wrote: "It's one of the best lyrics I've written. In fact, it could be the best. 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."
 

The Beatles took the song up again during the Get Back/Let It Be rehearsal sessions of January 1969; footage of Lennon playing the song appeared in the Let It Be movie. Bootleg recordings from the sessions include numerous full group performances of the song, usually with Lennon/McCartney harmonies on the chorus. To ensure the album tied in with the film it was decided the song must be included on what by January 1970 had become the Let It Be album. Also, Lennon's contributions to the sessions were sparse, and this unreleased piece was seen as a way to fill the gap.[citation needed]

Although the song was extensively rehearsed on the Twickenham Studios soundstage the only recordings were mono transcriptions for use in the film soundtrack. No multitrack recordings were made after the group's move to Apple Studios. Thus in early January 1970 Glyn Johns remixed the February 1968 recording. The new mix eliminated the Lizzie Bravo and Gayleen Pease vocals as well as the sound effects on the World Wildlife Fund version. As neither of the Glyn Johns Get Back albums were officially released, the version most people are familiar with came from Phil Spector, who in late March and early April 1970 remixed the February 1968 recording yet again and added orchestral and choral overdubs. Spector also slowed the track to 3:47, close to its original speed.

Lennon remained bitter about the recording of the song for the rest of his life. In 1980 he accused Paul McCartney of "subconscious sabotage" of "Across the Universe", blaming Paul for "this atmosphere of looseness and casualness and experimentation." He said of the song that "The guitars are out of tune and I'm singing out of tune 'cause I'm psychologically destroyed and nobody's supporting me or helping me with it and the song was never done properly.[5]

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Music, Songs, 1970s, Album Tracks, Psych Folk

Details

Label:  Apple Records
Release Date:  May 8, 1970
Song Writer:  John Lennon, Paul Mccartney
ArtistThe Beatles
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