Sleep wound up being a major theme of John Lennon’s work while in The Beatles. Of course, there’s ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, the groggy Revolver cut that replicates a snoozy haze through backwards guitar solos and heavy reverb. There’s also ‘I’m So Tired’, which chronicles Lennon’s struggles with insomnia. Even writing sessions between Lennon and Paul McCartney usually had to be scheduled during the afternoon, as Lennon was a late riser.
On one of these days, McCartney arrived while Lennon was still in bed. Waiting for him to wake up, McCartney took a seat by Lennon’s pool and began strumming his acoustic guitar, looking for inspiration. What he stumbled upon would end up being one of The Beatles’ most gorgeous and underrated compositions.
“I sat out by the pool on one of the sun chairs with my guitar and started strumming in E,” McCartney recalled in Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now, “and soon had a few chords, and I think by the time he’d woken up, I had pretty much written the song, so we took it indoors and finished it up.”
McCartney is describing the writing process for ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’, another Revolver cut that brought in elements of folk and traditional pop. Using the framework of the title, McCartney fleshed out one of his finest love songs. Lennon proclaimed his fondness for the track during one of his final interviews with David Sheff, and McCartney even recalls Lennon giving the demo version of the song praise back in 1965.
John and I shared a room and we were taking off our heavy ski boots after a day’s filming [for Help!], ready to have a shower and get ready for the nice bit, the evening meal and the drinks,” McCartney explained. “We were playing a cassette of our new recordings and my song ‘Here, There And Everywhere’ was on. And I remember John saying, ‘You know, I probably like that better than any of my songs on the tape.’ Coming from John, that was high praise indeed.”
All it took was a slight Marianne Faithful impression to pull the song together on record, but despite its clear brilliance, the band never considered releasing the song as a single. Having only recently started to include traditional ballads on their albums, the band had similarly baulked at softer material like ‘Yesterday’ and ‘In My Life’ as singles. Still, ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’ continues to be one of McCartney’s most celebrated tracks, and it’s all thanks to John Lennon sleeping in late during a writing session.