The Beatles: Across the Universe rehearsals (1969)

 |   |  <1 min read

The Beatles: Across the Universe rehearsals (1969)

The Beatles' Across the Universe had a slightly chequered history: the Lennon song first emerged in early '68 as a result of their time in meditation in India when Lennon felt relaxed and poetic.

The verses contain some of his most evocative imagery and the chorus of "Jai Guru Deva" added a veneer of spiritualism to it.

But despite its origins, recording it seemed to take ages, and an early edition of the song appeared on a fund-raising album for the World Wildlife Fund, which was unusual as the Beatles didn't give away their songs lightly and certainly not to charities.

The song was remixed later and appeared on the Rarities and Past Masters albums, and then of course it reappeared on the Let It Be album when they started to do it again in the studio. There's yet another version in the Anthology series.

These 11 minutes from the Let It Be sessions show how they tried different harmonies and guitar approaches, McCartney roams off into Teddy Boy (which would appear on his debut solo album), they fooled around with Universe, lost concentration . . .

At times McCartney seems more committed to it than its author. 

It's an interesting insight into a working method. Or a non-working method, if you will.

For more one-off or unusual songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

The Pretty Things: Don't Bring Me Down (1964)

The Pretty Things: Don't Bring Me Down (1964)

Most people lie about their school days: no one wants to admit they were ordinary. Better to say you hung around behind the bike shed, that teachers and kids hated you for your music, clothes or... > Read more

Brenda Lee, I'm Sorry (1960)

Brenda Lee, I'm Sorry (1960)

Little Brenda Lee -- who stood 4'9" -- was never a threat. Not to girls in her audience. "My image wasn't one of a heartbreaker," she once said. "I was the little fat girl your... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Joan As Police Woman: Real Life (Rhythmethod)

Joan As Police Woman: Real Life (Rhythmethod)

Joan Wasser has been in such exceptional bands as those behind Rufus Wainwright and Antony (she's a "Johnson" in other words), both of whom are singers noted for their nuance and sometimes outre,... > Read more

MAXIM SHOSTAKOVICH AND MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH INTERVIEWED (1988): An encounter with genius

MAXIM SHOSTAKOVICH AND MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH INTERVIEWED (1988): An encounter with genius

In the beginning it didn’t look like things would come together at all. The much anticipated press conference with conductor Maxim Shostakovich and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich was in doubt.... > Read more