Song facts: It's All Too Much
It's All Too Much is a Beatles' song written by George Harrison and released on the Yellow Submarine album in 1969; it also featured in the cartoon film of the same name in 1968. The psychedelic composition is reflective of Harrison's use of LSD. The quiet Beatle first took the drug with John Lennon in 1965 and described his experience as a light bulb going off in his head. It was LSD that brought about Harrison's interest in Indian music; particularly the sitar, which he would later use on the Beatles' Rubber Soul album.
The track was actually recorded in 1967, shortly after The Beatles completed work on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It, as well as three other new Beatles' songs were originally scheduled to be released as an EP in September of 1968, but this idea was shelved.
"It's All Too Much was written in a childlike manner from realisations that appeared during and after some LSD experiences and which were later confirmed in meditation." - George Harrison
"Although it has a down side, I see my acid experience more as a blessing because it saved me many years of indifference. It was the awakening and the realisation that the important thing in life is to ask: "Who am I?", "Where am I going?" and "Where have I come from?" – George Harrison
"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. And as it was in those days, we had the horn players just play a bit of trumpet voluntarily, and so that's how that Prince of Denmark bit was played. And Paul and John just came up with and sang that lyric of your eyes of blue." - George Harrison
The Beatles began recording It's All Too Much at De Lane Lea Studios, London on May 25th 1967; taping four takes of the rhythm track with hammond organ, lead guitar, bass and drums. They revisited the studio on May 31st - on this day John Lennon and Paul McCartney added their backing vocals - and the song was finally completed on June 2nd, with the addition of brass instruments: trumpets and a bass clarinet.
"John and Paul's backing, meanwhile, started to waver a little, the chanted 'too much' eventually becoming 'tuba' and then 'Cuba'. It was that sort of a song." - Mark Lewisohn
- George Harrison – lead vocal, Hammond organ, lead guitar, backing vocal, hand claps
- John Lennon – harmony vocal, lead guitar, hand claps
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass, cowbell, hand claps
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
- David Mason and three uncredited musicians – trumpets
- Paul Harvey – bass clarinet