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"It's All Too Much"

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"It's All Too Much" carries the all the heady vintage of the previous summer's harvest, when it was recorded in a longer form straight on the back of the Pepper sessions. It didn't make the Mystery Tour as intended, so George stowed a shortened measure away on the Sub (though it's still the biggest piece of cargo on board).

George Harrison, Pattie and Derek Taylor near Haight-Ashbury, mid-1967

George, Pattie and Derek Taylor finding out that it really was all too much in San Francisco's Summer of Love — and not in a good way.
It probably got booted off the bus because it just would have been too much for the British Boxing Day public. In the perfect-excuse-to-be-psychedlic context of the Yellow Submarine animation, however, it really did get done justice — albeit in a hybrid edit; with 'the reigning god of Pepperland addressed as Love' duly restored and

shining all around you.

You can tell George was still into his acid when he tripped this one off, can't you — and it must've bin a particularly fine batch! Not the Grateful Dead nor Hurdy-Gurdy Hillage nor the whole House of Love managed to squeeze an extra drop into or out of it. By the time the song did get released, however, he'd already stopped taking the stuff, realizing it'd taken him as far as it was going to in his search for the big answers.

Not that he ever abandoned the quest. It's interesting to compare lines from this song with "The Inner Light" — written later, but issued before.

The more I learn, the less I know...

The farther one travels, the less one knows...


He was also still very much enamoured of Pattie, it seems. Quite aside from all the great cosmic revelations, I can't see it having been anyone else's eyes of blue he was gazing into at that time, anyway — although later in the song he did seem to have a premonition of their "Sorrow" to come.

If just the panned feedback opening don't get your neckhairs bristling, baby you're a dead man, too. Then in swells the organ, breaking into the riff — too much, man! Next, as they say in the film:

Paul: Ringo's far out there.

George: He always was!

Tomorrow Never Rains.

After that, as everything kicks in, it's impossible to separate the individual elements of the experience, just as it it is on a real lysergic voyage (i.e. nothing is real). The more you go inside, the more there is to hear...

Paul's hypno-bass drone holds it all as much together as it needed to be, allowing George to share lead guitar duties with John, as only the two of 'em could: whichever direction they happened to be playing in at the time. David Mason, late of "Penny Lane", was responsible for the trumpet — with three friends to help make it 'Voluntary'. There's also a clarinet in there somewhere, apparently, amidst the layers of claps and additional percussion.

Extraordinary vocal from Mr H, too, capturing all the swirling emotions of the trip: within and without and all around the ever-evolving backing, from the sublime to the mundane:

Show me that I'm ev'rywhere,
And get me home for tea...


Having been taken — and maken — ev'rywhere, it all swirls up to the glorious muchtoomuchtoomuch closing mantra and into the long, slow fadeout (gloriously longer and slower on the original mix). The other George certainly gave De Lane Lea Studios' shiny new eight-track machine a thorough test-run for its money in mixing together all the rich ingredients of the "birthday cake":

Take a piece,
But not too much!

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