Tag: Lennon–McCartney

Feelings across the universe

If you can’t feel it, you can’t write it!

This saying was offered in a creative writing class that Jean and I attended when we were living in Payson, Arizona.  It came to me spontaneously as I started today’s post.  Because feeling what is going on around us is the only way to write it, to share it, to bring it to the attention of all.

These are tough times for so many that love the world around us and having the odd weep is a perfectly rational, and healthy, thing to happen.

So as you listen to the following just feel it. And if a tear comes to your eye … embrace it.

Hopefully, you listened to the full seven minutes before reading on!  Because to end the post at this point would be to leave out some great connections.

The first being that the inspiration for today’s post came from Peter Sinclair’s blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week, to which I subscribe.  The post was called Music Break: Across the Universe:

Put this on in the background and let it creep up on you.

Elizabeth Shepherd performs Live-to-Air with Michael Occipinti’s Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon
Toronto, June 1, 2012 CBC Radio

UPDATE: by popular demand, the original below.

Secondly, a quick dip into WikiPedia reveals that the song was recorded by the Beatles in February 1968 at the famous Abbey Road studios and released on the 12th December, 1969. It was written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney.

abbey road studios
Abbey Road Studios, 3 Abbey Road, St. John’s Wood, London

Thirdly, that Wikipedia reference includes the background to the composition of the song, some of which I will share here:

One night in 1967, the phrase “words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup” came to Lennon after hearing his ex-wife Cynthia, according to Lennon, “going on and on about something.” Later, after “she’d gone to sleep—and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream,” Lennon went downstairs and turned it into a song. He began to write the rest of the lyrics and when he was done, he went to bed and forgot about them.

I was lying next to my first wife in bed, you know, and I was irritated, and I was thinking. She must have been going on and on about something and she’d gone to sleep and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into a sort of cosmic song rather than an irritated song, rather than a “Why are you always mouthing off at me?”[1]… [The words] were purely inspirational and were given to me as boom!. I don’t own it you know; it came through like that.[2]

The flavour of the song was heavily influenced by Lennon’s and the Beatles’ interest in Transcendental Meditation in late 1967 – early 1968, when the song was composed. Based on this he added the mantra “Jai guru deva om” (Sanskrit: जय गुरुदेव ) to the piece, which became the link to the chorus. The Sanskrit phrase is a sentence fragment whose words could have many meanings. Literally it approximates as “glory to the shining remover of darkness,”[3] and can be paraphrased as “Victory to God divine”, “Hail to the divine guru”, or the phrase commonly invoked by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in referring to his spiritual teacher “All Glory to Guru Dev.”[4]

Finally the lyrics.

“Across The Universe”

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind
Possessing and caressing me
Jai Guru Deva OM

Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe
Jai Guru Deva OM

Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of live are ringing through my open ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on, across the universe
Jai Guru Deva OM

Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva [fade out]

Footnote

The title of the song was given a new dimension when NASA beamed the song into space.

“On 4 February 2008, at 00:00 UTC, NASA transmitted the Interstellar Message “Across the Universe” in the direction of the star Polaris, 431 light years from Earth. The transmission was made using a 70m antenna in the Deep Space Network’s Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex, located outside of Madrid, Spain. It was done with an “X band” transmitter, radiating into the antenna at 18 kW. This was done to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the song’s recording, the 45th anniversary of the Deep Space Network (DSN), and the 50th anniversary of NASA. The idea was hatched by Beatles historian Martin Lewis, who encouraged all Beatles fans to play the track as it was beamed to the distant star. The event marked the first time a song had ever been intentionally transmitted into deep space, and was approved by McCartney, Yoko Ono, and Apple Corps.”

Thus those feelings so beautifully expressed in the song will be echoing around the universe for time immemorial. Now that is a legacy!