First Hit #1: November 29, 1969
It’s been a while since a double A-side was recognized as such on the chart, and the Beatles at least have a very good reason to do one. Both songs here are great, but as history has recorded, the band didn’t like each other very much at this point, so they had incentive to do more than one song on a single to just clear out the backlog. Fine with me, though double A-sides are more work on my part the record buying public got something out of it.
In this case, the songs are very different, starting with Come Together, another track in Lennon’s long line of fun with words experiments. The description of the character in the song doesn’t make that much sense, and most of the lines are deliberately designed to say nothing at all – “Feet down below his knees,” so feet then – and that’s just a Lennon thing. It’s a fun song, and it’s an example of a wordsmith screwing around with the English language just because he finds it amusing. It has since become regarded as a classic, but if it was any other band I could see it just being a minor, but well regarded, B-side.
The other track with top billing is the George Harrison penned Something. Somewhere there was a quote by either Lennon or McCartney saying that when Harrison began writing songs, he wasn’t very good, but that was largely because he had never done it before. In this case, he learned quickly, possibly because he was hanging out with two of the greats every day, because he wrote one of the greatest love songs, and it is easily one of the best songs the band has ever recorded. It’s also a very interesting concept for a love song, describing something that’s between a couple that can’t be described but can be felt. It’s as compelling a description of love as there has ever been, and if it’s tricky to put down into song Harrison managed it expertly. Add in the instantly recognizable melody of the song, which sounds like no other band has really been able to pull off, and you’ve got an all time classic track.