Because (Lennon/McCartney)

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Because (Lennon/McCartney)

John has claimed that the chord pattern to “Because” is derived from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor. Yoko was playing the piece when John asked her to play it backward.

George Martin plays a Baldwin spinet harpsichord. George Harrison plays a Moog synthesizer. Ringo provided a guide for the vocalists on the high-hat, but it was not recorded and only appeared in the headsets. The equivalent of 9 vocalists appear, as there are 3 sets of 3-part vocals.

Quotes

“I was lying on the sofa in our house, listening to Yoko play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano. Suddenly, I said, “Can you play those chords backward?” She did, and I wrote “Because” around them. The song sounds like “Moonlight Sonata,” too. The lyrics are clear, no bullshit, no imagery, no obscure references.” – John Lennon, Playboy, 1980

“I wouldn’t mind betting Yoko was in on the writing of that; it’s rather her kind of writing: wind, sky, and earth are recurring. It’s straight out of Grapefruit [a book of instructional poems by Yoko].” – Paul McCartney, from Many Years From Now

“Between us, we also created a backing track with John playing a riff on guitar, me duplicating every note on an electronic harpsichord, and Paul playing bass. Each note between the guitar and harpsichord had to be exactly together, and as I’m not the world’s greatest player in terms of timing, I would make more mistakes than John did, so we had Ringo playing a regular beat on hi-hat to us through our headphones.” – George Martin

“If it had been, ‘You turn me on, you blow my mind’ – that would have been passe. But to say ‘because the world is round it turns me on’ and ‘because the wind is high it blows my mind’ is great. You know, it’s much better than ‘You blow my mind, baby, honey bunch.” – Paul McCartney

Recording dates

  • August 1, 1969 (rhythm track, first set of vocals)
  • August 4, 1969 (second and third sets of vocals)
  • August 5, 1969 (Moog synthesizer overdubs)
  • August 12, 1969 (mixing)

Personnel

  • John Lennon – harmony vocals (middle register), guitar
  • Paul McCartney – harmony vocals (high register), bass
  • George Harrison – harmony vocals (low register), Moog synthesiser
  • George Martin – Baldwin electric harpsichord

Release history

Notable covers

  • Elliot Smith (from the American Beauty soundtrack)