Day 135: “It’s All Too Much”

When was it recorded?   May 25-31 and Jun. 2, 1967

When was it first released, and on which album?   Jan. 17, 1969 on “Yellow Submarine”

Who wrote it?   Harrison

Have I heard this song before?   No

What my research dug up:

George wrote “It’s All Too Much” “in a childlike manner from realizations that appeared during and after some LSD experiences and which were later confirmed in meditation” (George Harrison, I Me Mine). Like much of George’s later work the tune was influenced by Indian music and philosophy. According to reviewer Tom Maginnis, “The words reflect the idealist optimism of the soon-to-be-labeled ‘summer of love’ and the kind of chemically enhanced mind-expanding euphoria that pervaded the new ‘hippie’ youth culture.”

“I just wanted to write a rock ‘n’ roll song about the whole psychedelic thing of the time. Because you’d trip out, you see, on all this stuff, and then whoops! you’d just be back having your evening cup of tea! ‘Your long blond hair and your eyes of blue’ – that was all just this big ending we had, going out.” — George Harrison

“Your long blond hair and your eyes of blue” is actually a line from “Sorrow” by American rock band The McCoys. Recorded by them in 1965, a version by The Merseys was a major hit in the UK in Apr. 1966. (In 1973 David Bowie had a hit with it, too.)

The horn part in “It’s All Too Much” is also evocative of English composer/organist Jeremiah Clarke’s “Prince of Denmark’s March” (AKA the Trumpet Voluntary), written around 1700. Seriously.

Oh yeah, that’s a classic.

Under the working title “Too Much,” “It’s All Too Much” was originally recorded before the release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” in the spring of 1967. The Beatles rehearsed the song at De Lane Lea Studios on May 25, then recorded four takes of the rhythm track. They added more percussion and vocals May 31 and completed the song Jun. 2 by adding trumpets and bass clarinet.

Originally slated for release on “Magical Mystery Tour,” a version nearly six and a half minutes long appeared on the “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack.

Ergo, “It’s All Too Much” appears toward the end of the movie “Yellow Submarine.” Here’s (part of) that sequence.

Did you notice the part around 1:35? The part that wasn’t in the album version of the song? That’s because the full version of “It’s All Too Much” is eight minutes long. There’s an additional verse and a longer ending in the mono mix. This version has never been released officially. Unofficially, here ya go.

Wicked, isn’t it?




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