The Beatles

Come Together

Composed by John Lennon / Paul McCartney

Song Review by

The opening track on Abbey Road and a number one single in 1969 as part of a double-side with "Something," "Come Together" was one of the Beatles' tougher and bluesier late-'60s rockers. Introduced by an unforgettable Paul McCartney bass line, the verses are not so much mid-tempo as a funky trudge through the swamp, the murky feel drawn out by John Lennon's clipped, distant-sounding vocals. The pop appeal of the song rests mostly with the chorus, which is among the most anthemic and instantly catchy of any in late-period Beatles songs. Other than the chorus, the lyrics consist mostly of the absurdist collages of images that Lennon was fond of running together in several of the Lennon-McCartney songs of the era in which he was the primary writer, such as "I Am the Walrus" and "Happiness Is a Warm Gun." Lennon came in for his share of controversy regarding authorship of these lines from two directions. "Come together, join the party" was the slogan of LSD guru Timothy Leary's campaign for governor of California; Lennon was made aware of the slogan when Leary sang on the chorus of Lennon's 1969 "Give Peace a Chance" single. Lennon even made a brief tape of a song built around the "come together" phrase that Leary used as a campaign theme song of sorts. Leary recalled that he was slightly miffed to find that song expanded and rewritten into the song that the Beatles recorded. More troublingly, some of the lyrics were taken from Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me," eventually resulting in Lennon placating the song's publisher by recording it (and two other songs administered by the publisher) in the mid-'70s. Sometimes it has been mooted that "come together" refers to sexual climax and is one of numerous subtle sexual double entendres buried in Beatles songs, but it should be noted that Lennon himself didn't acknowledge any hidden meaning in that direction in interviews. "Come Together" also became a Top 40 hit in the late '70s in a hard rock version by Aerosmith.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Abbey Road 1969 EMI Catalogue 4:20
No Image 1969 Apple
1967-1970 1973 EMI Catalogue 4:20
No Image 1982 Odeon 4:19
No Image 1992 Toshiba EMI
CD Singles Collection 1993 EMI Music Distribution 4:17
The Ultimate Box Set 1995 Capitol
Anthology 3 1996 Apple/Capitol 3:40
1 2000
1
Universal 4:19
No Image 2002
Various Artists
The Beatles: Stereo Box Set 2009 EMI Catalogue 4:18
The Beatles USB 2009 Capitol 4:19
1962-1970 2010 EMI / Parlophone 4:19
The Singles Box Set 2011 Apple
1
1
Calderstone / Capitol / Universal
No Image
Various Artists
4:20
Rockin' the Tower!
Various Artists
Capitol
The Beatles Christmas Pack Emd Int'l
blue highlight denotes editor's pick