"Come Together" is a song by The Beatles written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon/McCartney. The song is the lead-off track on The Beatles' September 1969 album Abbey Road. One month later it also appeared as one of the sides of the group's twenty-first single (it was a double A-side, the other side being George Harrison's "Something") in the United Kingdom, their twenty-sixth in the United States. The song reached the top of the charts in the U.S., while becoming a Top 10 hit in the UK.
The song's history began with Lennon writing a song for Timothy Leary
's failed governor
campaign in California against Ronald Reagan
, one which promptly ended when Leary was sent to prison for possession of marijuana
"Come Together" was the subject of a lawsuit brought against Lennon by Chuck Berry
's music publisher, Morris Levy
, because one line in "Come Together" closely resembles a line of Berry's You Can't Catch Me
: (i.e., The Beatles
' "Here come ol' flattop, he come groovin' up slowly" vs. Berry
's "Here come up flattop, he was groovin' up with me"). After settling out of court, Lennon promised to record other songs owned by Levy, all of which were released on Lennon's 1975 album Rock 'n' Roll
Lennon played rhythm guitar
in addition to singing the vocal. Each exclamation of 'shoot' one hears during the opening bass line is actually 'shoot me', although 'shoot' is immediately followed by a reverb trail which drowns out the word 'me'. Also, at approximately 2:32 in the song, Lennon can be heard shouting something indiscernible, though it is very faint. (Possibly "look out!")
It was produced by George Martin and recorded at the end of July 1969 at Abbey Road Studios.Paul McCartney backing vocals, bass guitar, electric piano. George Harrison lead guitar. Ringo Starr drums. The Beatles all shared a part in this song.
The famous Beatles "walrus" from "I Am the Walrus" and "Glass Onion" returns, in the line "He got walrus gumboot".
Release and acclaim
"Come Together" was released as a double A-side with "Something
" and as the opening track of Abbey Road
For a time, the song was banned by the BBC, as they believed the song's reference to "shoot[ing] Coca-Cola" could be construed as a cocaine reference.
Rolling Stone ranked "Come Together" at #202 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
On the compilation album Love, "Come Together" is the 19th track. Sections of "Dear Prudence" and "Cry Baby Cry" fade in at the end of the track.
- John Lennon: lead vocal; rhythm guitar; hand-claps and tambourine.
- Paul McCartney: bass; background vocals; Rhodes Mark I electric piano.
- George Harrison: lead guitar.
- Ringo Starr: drums and maracas.
- Credits per Ian MacDonald , corrected and updated by Geoff Emerick
American hard rock band Aerosmith performed one of the first and most successful cover versions of "Come Together". It was recorded in 1978 and appeared in the movie and on the soundtrack to the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which the band also appeared in. The single was an immediate success, reaching #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, following on the heels of a string of Top 40 hits for the band in the mid-1970s. However it would be the last Top 40 hit for the band for nearly a decade.
A rare live demo of the song was also released months later on Aerosmith's live album Live! Bootleg. The song was also featured on Aerosmith's Greatest Hits, the band's single-disc compilation released in 1980. The song has also surfaced on a number of Aerosmith compilations and live albums since then, as well as on the soundtrack for the film Armageddon.
The Aerosmith version is still frequently heard on mainstream and album rock radio stations. Aerosmith still occasionally performs "Come Together" in concert.
Since 2006, New Zealand telecommunications company Telecom used a cover of this song for its "Come Together" campaign.
Other notable covers
The song has since become one of the most covered
songs of all time:
- Mystic Siva,an American psychedelic rock band covered the song on their album "Under The Influence" (1969-70)
- Labyrinth covered the song on their album "6 Days to Nowhere" released 2007
- Tina Turner covered the song for the 1976 ephemeral musical documentary All This and World War II. Prior to that,her cover was featured on her and then husband's Ike's album of the same name. This version peaked at #57 on the U.S. Hot 100 and #21 on the R&B charts in 1970.
- Do As Infinity performed a live cover of a metal version of the song in Japan during a Beatles celebration event.
- Michael Jackson, who owns the rights to the song, also covered "Come Together" for the concert film Michael Jackson: Moonwalker. A different recording (essentially the same version in a different key) appears on Jackson's studio album, HIStory.
- Axl Rose and Bruce Springsteen later played "Come Together" before John Lennon's induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
- Soundgarden covered the song on the "Hands All Over" single, giving it a very grunge sound. Their cover also appeared on their Loudest Love EP.
- Michael Ruff covered "Come Together" in a very funky way on the album Michael Ruff Band in 1992.
- Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin recorded a unique version for the Beatles tribute album In My Life in which McFerrin performs the characteristic bass and guitar intro with his voice, and Williams sings
- Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller played with Paul McCartney on a version of the song for the 1995 HELP charity record, under the name The Smokin' Mojo Filters. This version made #19 on the British chart in December.
- The Lynne Arriale Trio recorded a jazz version of the song, which was the title track of their album Come Together
- Sugababes covered the song as a B-Side for their single, "Ugly".
- There is also an instrumental version by Marcus Miller on his album Tales.
- Elton John covered the song as a tribute to Lennon during his "One Night Only: The Greatest Hits" concert.
- Victoria Beckham and Damon Dash sampled the song as an intro to one of Dash's mixtapes.
- Enrique Bunbury made a cover of the song and published it in his 1997 single "Planeta Sur".
- Craig David, performed a live version on Top of The Pops 2 in 2003.
- The Supremes (post-Diana Ross) covered the song on their 1970 album, New Ways But Love Stays.
- Chairmen of the Board covered the song and is on one of their first LPs.
- Toxic Audio covered the song on their album Captive Audience.
- Diana Ross covered the song on her 1970 album Everything Is Everything.
- The Punkles did a Punk cover version on their fourth album "For Sale".
- Tom Jones released a live version of "Come Together" on his album Reload, albeit with a new, faster arrangement.
- The Brothers Johnson released a cover of the song on their 1976 album Look Out For #1, altering the bass-line in their mid-tempo funk rendition that also includes a harmonica/guitar solo.
- Hip hop group The Roots sampled this song on their 2006 Best of The Roots mixtape produced by J. Period. The chorus of the song is repeated clips of Lennon singing "one thing I can tell you is you've got to be free," and "come together, over me."
- The band Gotthard recorded "Come Together' on their 1994 album Dial Hard.
- Marilyn Manson performed a cover of "Come Together" at the release party for Portrait of an American Family.
- The jazz-funk band Defunkt covered "Come Together" on the 1992 album Downtown Does the Beatles Live at the Knitting Factory.
- The rock band Zero Nerve Response frequently covers this song live using "Drop D" guitar/bass tuning, giving the song a unique low rumble.
- Zakk Wylde's band Pride and Glory covered this song on their album "Pride & Glory".
- The John Butler Trio also covered the song while touring, never released.
- A segment of this song was used to close several commercials for Nortel Networks. One version of the commercial featured a businessman reciting the song, omitting the lines "He one holy roller" and "He shoot Coca-Cola."
- "Come Closer Together," an unauthorized mashup of Nine Inch Nails's "Closer" with "Come Together" is widely available on YouTube and other Internet sites.
- The Plague (English punk rock band) recorded the song in the late 1970s. It remained unreleased until their compilation album "The X Tapes" was released in 2005.
- Joe Cocker covers the song on the 2007 soundtrack to the film Across the Universe.
- Barbara Feldon performed a version of the song while rolling around on a water-bed in an episode of The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine in 1971.
- Pop-Rock singer, Carly Smithson, performed "Come Together" on American Idol season 7 top 12 contestants as her selection for the first Beatles-themed week.
- Michael Hedges released his version on the 1987 album, Live on the Double Planet.
- Shalamar covered the song in a distinctly 90s R&B style on their 1990 album "Wake Up".
- Milwaukee alt-rock band The Gufs likes to play the song towards the end of live performances.
- Boris Grebenshchikov & Joanna Stingray released their version and its video in the 90s.
- Bob Weir and Ratdog has also covered the song while touring.
- Mookie Morris from Canadian Idol Season 6 performed this song on "Beatles/Judges Choice"
Night. He was eliminated the next night and after performing the song again, he smashed his favourite guitar on the stage.