The Original vs. The Cover – “Come Together”

For this version of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss a Beatle’s Song, “Come Together”.  I have always been nervous about talking about the Beatles because it is holy ground and plus what hasn’t already been said about them.  However, I love this song and there are some great versions out there and I thought it was about time I did something on them. So we are going to compare the two versions of “Come Together”, the Beatles and Aerosmith.  Two heavy weights in the music world.

“Come Together” came about because Timothy Leary wanted Lennon to write a campaign song for him off this phrase, but Lennon was unsuccessful and a good thing to as Leary’s campaign run for California governor came to an abrupt end when he was arrested for pot possession (hell, he would be celebrated today).  He might have been unsuccessful with the campaign song, but he did succeed with this version of the song.

An interesting story behind the song, Lennon was sued by Big Seven Music Group which was the publisher of Chuck Berry’s song “You Can’t Catch Me”.  They argued that the song was too similar to the Berry song and I am guessing the lawsuit had some merit as the band settled out of court.  Now there are no writing credits other than Lennon & McCartney on this song still today so it must have been all about the money up front.  Too bad they didn’t fight for a writing credit.

THE BEATLES

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The Beatles song was released on October 6th, 1969 (just over 50 years ago) and is off their ‘Abbey Road’ album.  The song did really well as it went to #1 in the U.S. and #4 in the U.K.  It was written by Lennon-McCartney and produced by the famed 5th Beatle George Martin.

The song starts off with Lennon singing “Shoot Me” and a hand clap sound.  There is a slowed down bass line groove that really lays the foundation for the song.  The drum beat and fills by Ringo are simple and perfect.  When you get to the chorus, George’s guitar sound comes in with a cool riff then gone and back to the “Shoot Me” and bass groove.  The solo consists of Lennon on the electric piano and then Harrison laying down a little jazzy groove on guitar.  The McCartney bass line throughout is the shining star on the song musically.

John Lennon’s vocals are aggressive and full of tough guy attitude. The delivery of each verse is deliberate and forceful.  The chorus is short and to the point and no time wasted, but that short spurt of the chorus is powerful and memorable.  I think the simplicity and pacing of it all its beauty.  A pretty hard song to beat.

AEROSMITH

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Aerosmith did a version of this song for the movie “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in 1978, but it is the version on the Greatest Hits album that was where I came across the song and the version I loved the most from them. It would hit #23 on the Billboard charts and strangely enough was the last Top 40 the band had until their return to stardom in the 80’s.

The Aerosmith version doesn’t start out with the “Shoot Me”, but more of a “Shhhhuuu”.  It was heavier on the guitar than on the bass with Joe Perry’s guitar coming in at the beginning rather than being limited like the original.  It is definitely are more rocked out version than the the slowed down jazz groove from the Beatles.  It is a much faster tempo and the song is actually about 23 seconds shorter in length.

Steven Tyler has that same aggressive delivery and he has that raspiness in his voice that is suited more for the bluesy feel the band has.  They add some backing vocals that Lennon doesn’t have.  The biggest change in the lyrics is really small.  They added a chorus after the 2nd verse where the Beatles version did 3 verses before the chorus.

The band make the song their own, but is it enough to make it better than the original? We will see in the verdict.

THE VERDICT

Now both versions are truly great and since I like both bands a lot, I can take both songs and love them for what they are.  However, there is a superior song and it is hands down The Beatles for me.  I liked their slowed down groove much better and Lennon’s lyric delivery is so much more refined.  The simplicity in the music was better with McCartney’s bass line and even Harrison’s jazz guitar sound was astounding and don’t forget Ringo’s drum fills were top notch. I think it was an all around superior performance.

I am really interested in hearing what everyone else thinks of these two songs.  Let me know which version you like the best and why.  Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song and tell me how right or wrong I am on this one.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

“Come Together”
(“Abbey Road” Version)

Here come old flat top
He come grooving up slowly
He got joo joo eyeball
He one holy roller
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what you please.

He wear no shoe shine
He got toe jam football
He got monkey finger
He shoot Coca-Cola
He say I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
Come together right now over me

He bag production
He got walrus gumboot
He got Ono sideboard
He one spinal cracker
He got feet down below his knee
Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease
Come together right now over me

Right!
Come
Come…
Come…
Come…

He roller coaster
He got early warning
He got Muddy Water
He one Mojo filter
He say. “One and one and one is three”
Got to be good looking ’cause he so hard to see
Come together right now over me

Oh!
Come together
Yeah
Come together
Yeah
Come together
Yeah
Come together
Yeah
Come together
Yeah
Come together
Yeah
Come together
Yeah
Ahh
Come together
Yeah
Come together…

Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
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20 thoughts on “The Original vs. The Cover – “Come Together”

  1. For me, it’s a toss-up! Aero’s live version of Come Together on Live Bootleg is by far better than the studio version from Aero. Aero is wasted on the live track but there’s that ‘vibe’ about it that makes it soar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will have to go back and listen to the live track. Aero was my first listen on the track as I was in to them before I was the Beatles, but man that Beatles track is something else when you sit and digest for awhile. So many great nuances to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i love both versions. i actually got into the aerosmith version first because i was into aersosmith in middle school when i was into hair bands in the early 90’s. that lead me to classic rock which lead me first to john lennon solo and then to the beatles. it was all between like 1989-1992 that i got into them all but i’m from boston and aersosmith was pretty epic here… still, the beatles version is better. it’s the beatles at their best and it’s such a great, great song. it’s one of my favorite songs by both bands, and in general though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love both versions too! For me, I loved Aerosmith in the late 70’s as I had older brothers who liked the and so I knew their version well in advance. Once I had a job and money, I started exploring the Beatles and other 70’s bands circa late 80’s. But that Beatles version is so amazing when you get in to it and listen to the finer details, it is something else.

      Liked by 1 person

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