I Want You (She's So Heavy)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
Song by the Beatles from the album Abbey Road
Released26 September 1969
Recorded22 February–11 August 1969,
EMI and Trident studios, London
GenreHard rock, blues rock, progressive rock[1][2]
Length7:47
LabelApple Records
WriterLennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
Abbey Road track listing
Music sample
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
 
Jump to: navigation, search
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
Song by the Beatles from the album Abbey Road
Released26 September 1969
Recorded22 February–11 August 1969,
EMI and Trident studios, London
GenreHard rock, blues rock, progressive rock[1][2]
Length7:47
LabelApple Records
WriterLennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
Abbey Road track listing
Music sample
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.

"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is a song by the Beatles, from their album Abbey Road. It was written by John Lennon, but credited to Lennon–McCartney.

This song is an unusual Beatles composition for a variety of reasons, namely its length (nearly eight minutes), few lyrics (basically the title is the lyric, aside from two more phrases; only 14 different words are sung), a three-minute descent through repeated guitar chords (a similar arpeggiated figure appears in another Lennon contribution to the album, "Because"), and abrupt ending. It is one of the last songs that the Beatles mixed as a group, on 20 August 1969.[3] Josh Hart and Damien Fanelli, writing for Guitar World, placed the song 34th in their list of the 50 Heaviest Songs Before Black Sabbath, and said the song may "have inadvertently started doom metal".[4]

Composition[edit]

The song opens up with a sinister riff in Dminor in 12/8 which cadences on an A augmented chord, which leads into a more bluesy section in A minor in 4/4 time, with Lennon singing "I want you – I want you so bad". These two sections alternate and seem to be almost competing with each other but inevitably returning to the home key. The coda consists of a three-minute repetition of the ominous riff in the tonic minor, growing louder and more intense with each time, until the abrupt ending.

Recording[edit]

Lennon wrote the song about his love for Yoko Ono.[5] The song was rehearsed several times during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions; the basic track and Lennon's guide vocal (which is used in the master) were recorded at Trident Studios on 22 February 1969, shortly after filming for the film ended. Lennon played the lead guitar, as George Harrison stated:

It's very heavy. John plays lead guitar and sings the same as he plays. It's really basically a bit like a blues. The riff that he sings and plays is really a very basic blues-type thing. But again, it's very original sort of John-type song.[6]

Lennon and Harrison overdubbed multi-tracked heavy guitars on 18 April 1969. Billy Preston's keyboards and Ringo Starr's congas were added on 20 April 1969. "I Want You" received the "She's So Heavy" vocals on 11 August, and thus the title became "I Want You (She's So Heavy)".[7] "'She's So Heavy' was about Yoko," Lennon told Rolling Stone. "When you're drowning, you don't say, 'I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me.' You just scream."[5]

Three takes from 22 February were edited into a master (second generation), which was overdubbed, mixed down on 18 April (third generation), and overdubbed on 18 April, 20 April, 11 August and finally, 20 August. Different overdubs were made to the second generation tape on 8 August. The mix is the third generation for 4:37 and then the second generation tape, which has white noise produced by the Moog synthesizer played by Lennon and additional drums added on 8 August. The final overdub session for "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", which included the final mixing and editing, was the last time all four Beatles worked in the studio together.[8][9]

The final master lasted 8:04, but Lennon decided on a surprise ending. During the final edit with the guitars, drums and white noise climaxing endlessly, he told recording engineer Geoff Emerick to "cut it right there" at the 7:44 mark, bringing the song (and Side 1 of the Abbey Road album) to an abrupt end. On Love, the three-minute stretch of repeated guitar chords that ends the song intercuts with elements of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" and "Helter Skelter", while retaining the abrupt cut to silence at the end.[10][11]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[12]

Covers[edit]

Numerous bands and solo artists have covered "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" in the studio and live, in particular the following:

PerformerAlbumYearComment
Alvin LeeNineteen Ninety Four1994Accompanied by George Harrison on slide guitar
BeatallicaSgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band2007Merged with Metallica's "The Call of Ktulu" to create "Ktulu (He's So Heavy)"
Bee Gees1978Performance for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie, with Peter Frampton, Frankie Howerd, Dianne Steiberg and Stargard
BlackmailScience Fiction1999Usage of part of the lyrics ("I want you so bad") and part of the tune for the song "3.000.000 Years From Here"[original research?]
Booker T. and the MGsMcLemore Avenue1969Album cover also mimicks the Abbey Road album cover
CoronerMental Vortex1991
Earth to AndySimple Machine1998As hidden track at the end of the album that features a "talking guitar" effect
Eddie HazelGame, Dames and Guitar Thangs1977Eddie Hazel's solo debut album
Eric Gales BandPicture of a Thousand Faces1993
The Flaming Lips-201115-minute performance of the song at NYE Freakout in Oklahoma City, in honour of the special guest performance by The Plastic Ono Band
George BensonThe Other Side of Abbey Road1970
George LynchFurious George2004Cover album
Groove Collective-1996Single, which charted in the US
HalestormReAniMate: The CoVeRs eP2011
Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs and T.V. Carpio-2007Performance by cast members for Julie Taymor's film Across the Universe'
John LegendLive in Philadelphia2008
The Last Shadow Puppets-2008Performance during the BBC Electric Proms[13]
MinistryCover Up2008track only on Japanese issue of the album
Noir DésirDies Irae1994Live album; the title means Days of Wrath (lat.)
Robyn HitchcockCD: Various Artists – Abbey Road Now!2009Album of covers of songs from Abbey Road
Sarah VaughanSongs of the Beatles1981Omits any "She's So Heavy" vocals
Soda Stereo-1990–91Covered song in several live performances during that time
SouliveRubber Soulive2010Beatles cover album
Steel Train19692004Cover album
Thrice-2010Released as download track for their label Vagrant Records[14]
TransatlanticAll of the above2000Live album, cover appears as last segment of the closing medley
Type O NegativeWorld Coming Down1999As part of a medley with "Day Tripper" and "If I Needed Someone"
Phillips, Grier & FlinnerLooking Back2002Instrumental version, with David Grier on acoustic guitar, Todd Phillips (musician) on acoustic bass, and Matt Flinner on mandolin

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Professor Allan F Moore. Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Recorded Popular Song. "that borderline between nascent progressive rock and heavy metal." 
  2. ^ Tom Moon. 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. "the most convincing exploration of blues and progressive rock the Beatles ever attempted, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"" 
  3. ^ The Beatles. J Lennon, P McCartney, G Harrison… – John Lennon – books.google.com
  4. ^ http://www.guitarworld.com/50-heaviest-songs-black-sabbath-40-31?page=0,6
  5. ^ a b c "59 – 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' -". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "George Harrison interview with Ritchie Yorke, September, 1969". Ottawa Beatles Site. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  7. ^ Voice Leading and Harmony as Expressive Devices in the Early Music of the Beatles:'She Loves You'W Everett – College Music Symposium, 1992 – JSTOR
  8. ^ http://www.beatlesbible.com/1969/08/20/mixing-editing-i-want-you-shes-so-heavy/
  9. ^ http://mentalfloss.com/article/27783/final-days-beatles
  10. ^ Willman, Chris (26 December 2006). "peace". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Beatles: LOVE". Yahoo!. 20 November 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  12. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 342.
  13. ^ "Last Shadow Puppets cover The Beatles in Liverpool". NME. 25 October 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Competition to win Thrice songs for download". Vagrant Records. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]