Written by: John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Originally recorded by: The Beatles
This song was written in May 1969. It was written when John and Yoko's friend, Timothy Leary, made a decision to run for political office, and came up with the campaign slogan of "Come Together." With this slogan in mind, he asked John to write him a song using it. Mr. Leary thought that his supporters could sing this 'jingle' on the campaign trail. John Lennon's interpretation of the slogan was to come together and join the party. Before Mr. Leary could use the song, he was arrested and went to jail. As a result, John Lennon believed he no longer had an obligation to Mr. Leary and he and The Beatles recorded it.
John Lennon was sued for stealing the guitar riff and the line "Here comes old flat-top" from Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me." The lawsuit did not come from Berry, but from Morris Levy, one of the music industry's most infamous characters. He owned the song along with thousands of other early rock songs that he basically stole from the poor, black, and unrepresented artists. Levy sued the Beatles, or more accurately, John Lennon, over the song around the time the Beatles broke up. For years, Lennon delayed the trial while he and the Beatles tried to sort out all the legal and business problems that plagued Apple Records. Finally, in an attempt to avoid the court room as much as he could (Lennon felt like he was appearing in court more often than not), he settled with Levy. In return for dropping the suit, Lennon agreed to record his Rock N Roll album, which was just a series of covers of songs Levy owned. Lennon always wanted to make a cover album and was thrilled to have the opportunity, and Levy wanted the value of his songs to increase, and when a Beatle re-records a song, that is just what happens. To make a long long long story short, Lennon recorded the album over the Lost Weekend, a year-or-two period when he was separated from Yoko Ono and lived in LA. During that time he was often drunk or high, and was rather sloppy and useless. Levy was getting frustrated with the lack of progress. Phil Spector was the producer, but in a fit of madness (which was not too unusual for Spector) he ran away and stole the recording session tapes. Levy invited Lennon to his upstate NY recording studio, and that is where he finally recorded the album.
This song was also recorded by Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Meatloaf, Soundgarden, Oasis, Guns N Roses and Marilyn Manson. The Beatles never performed this song in concert.
Rick covered this song in concert:
11/17/01 Kansas City, MO
|Footnote - the background picture was taken in Kansas City, MO on 11/17/01 by Renata Hearn. during the performance of Come Together.|