100 Greatest Beatles Songs

From 'Helter Skelter' to 'Sgt. Pepper's,' ranking of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison's output

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Tom Hanley/Redferns77/100

77. 'Because'

Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: August 1, 4 and 5, 1969
Released: October 1, 1969
Not released as a single

Lennon wrote the sweet, dreamy melody after hearing Yoko Ono playing Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" on the couple's piano; he asked if she could play the chords backward, and he based the song on those changes. McCartney assumed that Ono also had a hand in crafting the song's lyrics. "It's rather her kind of writing," McCartney said. "Wind, sky and earth are recurring. . . . John was heavily influenced by her at the time."

George Martin arranged a nine-part harmony for the song, but there were only five tracks on which to record the vocals. So Lennon, McCartney and Harrison sang the three-part harmony live, then overdubbed it twice. This approach took extensive rehearsal, and more than five hours of extremely focused recording, to capture correctly. But the resulting song was stunning: a gorgeous, richly layered daydream that McCartney and Harrison both said was their favorite track on Abbey Road. "They knew they were doing something special," said engineer Geoff Emerick, "and they were determined to get it right."

Appears On: Abbey Road

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