It’s All Too Much” was George Harrison’s full out psychedelic jam, featuring the best feedback intros of the entire Fab Four catalog (played by Lennon…who also provided the excellent feedback intro to “I Feel Fine”) and clocking in at just under 7 minutes…just behind “Hey Jude” as their longest pop tune.
LSD and psychedelia were in full swing in 1967 in the world of the Fab Four. Paul McCartney and John Lennon both chose to look back on the innocence of their childhoods through the lens of lysergic and paint sonic pictures of Technicolor landscapes (blue suburban skies and kaleidoscope eyes), but continuing on his spiritual journey George Harrison looked within. Having abandoned the guitar and immersed himself in Indian music, Harrison pulls the single chord drone of the Eastern world into the psychedelic rock world with loud guitars. George is actually playing the Hammond…John and Paul are the ones rocking out.
Lyrically, the tune shows off George’s spiritual realizations under the influence of LSD while also being a little critical that culture, much like “Day Tripper”.
“Sail me on a silver sun for I know that I’m free.
Show me that I’m everywhere and get me home for tea”
George said “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!”
The lyrics showcase both sides of the Quiet Beatle…the soul-searching mystic and the wisecracking cynic, each side balancing the other out, typified in lines like:
“It’s all too much for me to take
The love that’s shining all around here
All the world’s a birthday cake,
So take a piece but not too much”
The song, like many Fab tunes from this era, contains a snippet of another tune within it, in this case the line “with your long blond hair and your eyes of blue” from the Merseybeats’ 1966 single “Sorrow” as well as all the other trappings of Beatle psychedelic arrangements – random percussion, backwards sounds, extended outro with horn section riffing.
Though not considered a masterwork in the Beatles cannon (or even Harrison’s), the tune is a major part of the “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack, and figures prominently in the film’s climax as one of it’s most trippy visual set pieces and for a film that pretty much consists exclusively of them, that’s saying something.
Taken in the context of the movie, the song is very powerful, providing audience with a real jump out of the seats and dance moment. This essayist personally witnessed both audience and theater usher do just that at a 1999 screening.
Of course by 1968 when the movie and song were actually released, George had abandoned acid in favor of meditation and he was making his guitar gently weep once more.
While the original version of the song may have been "too much", the ukulele version is "just right".
It sounds like the version Harrison himself may have recorded had he been under the influence of meditation and not drugs. With a backing evoking the simple shimmer of Harrison acoustic work, Argentine songstress Laura Dayan helps keep the song from floating into the sky like the acid drenched original.
Like the demo for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", it’s very easy to hear the beauty of Harrison’s lyrics and melodies in the more acoustic setting of this great version of this psychedelic gem.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Laura Dayan is an Argentinian artist based in Brooklyn for the past two years.
She has performed in great venues in Argentina, Uruguay, Panama, Spain, France, New York, London, to name a few.
In 2004 Dayan won a huge competition in Buenos Aires and she and her band at the time were taken to play at The Cavern, the mythical pub in Liverpool where The Beatles started.
With the same band, Inclan Funk, she toured for more than 8 years, performing at the most exclusive places in Argentina and the countries mentioned before. They also played at important festivals like Pepsi Music Festival and the Sumar Music Festival (the biggest music festival in Argentina).
She also had the opportunity to share the stage with amazing internacional talent musicions like Jojo Mayer, Clark Gayton, Gabriel Gordon, Jonhatan Levy, the guys of "Brazilian girls" band, Avishai Cohen, Ilhan Erzahin, Oscar Giunta, etc…
In 2011 she recorded her first solo album, N.E.N.A, and it is now promoting it all around EEUU.
Laura Dayan is delighted to be part of this project and to be able to perform this beautiful song of one of her favorite bands.
Her gratitude is endless, after all "is all too much".
For more information about Laura Dayan: