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A Guru Told John Lennon 1 Beatles Song Sounded Too Negative

John Lennon revealed one of The Beatles‘ songs was inspired by an issue he had with his first wife, Cynthia Lennon. Paul McCartney said the song had a “change-the-world theme.” In addition, Paul said a guru failed to convince John to change a lyric from the song.

John Lennon said 1 of The Beatles’ songs was ‘cosmic’ when it could’ve been ‘irritated’

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono includes an interview from 1980. In it, John said an conflict with his wife, Cynthia, inspired “Across the Universe.”

“She must have been going on and on about something and she’d gone to sleep and I’d kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream,” he said. “I went downstairs and it turned into sort of a cosmic song rather than an irritated song; rather than a ‘Why are you always mouthing off at me?’ or whatever, right?”

Paul McCartney compared the lyrics of the song to The Beatles’ ‘Revolution’

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul compared the lyrics of “Revolution” and “Across the Universe.” “I think he wanted to say you can count me in for a revolution, but if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao ‘you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow,’” he said. “By saying that I think he meant we all want to change the world Maharishi-style, because ‘Across the Universe’ also had the change-the-world theme.” For context, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a guru who was once The Beatles’ spiritual teacher.

The guru didn’t approve of a line from “Across the Universe.” “I remember John talking to Maharishi about it and Maharishi wanted more optimism, ‘Meditation will change your world,’ he didn’t want ‘nothing’s going to change your world,’ that sounded too negative,” he said. “But we refused to do that because it sounded better the other way.”

How ‘Across the Universe’ performed on the pop charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Across the Universe” was never a single so it did not hit the Billboard Hot 100. The tune appeared on the album Let It Be, which topped the Billboard 200 for four weeks. It spent a total of 79 weeks on the chart.

According to The Official Charts Company, “Across the Universe” never charted in the United Kingdom either. It wasn’t a single there. Meanwhile, Let It Be was No. 1 in the U.K. for three weeks, staying on the chart for 53 weeks in total. The title of “Across the Universe” would later be used as the name of a Fab Four jukebox musical.

“Across the Universe” is a classic song even if the Maharishi didn’t approve of it.

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