Have you ever heard a song and said, “this is a nice love song,” only to find out the true meaning of the song?
Yeah, I just had one of those moments.
For many years, I’d heard this one song, swore it was a Chicago song (figures, huh?), come to find out it was an Earth Wind and Fire song, which in turn was actually a cover of – prepare yourself – a Beatles song.
How the heck did it go from Chicago, to Earth Wind and Fire, to the Beatles?
Simple, really. The Beatles made it famous, Earth Wind and Fire covered it for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the movie), and Chicago sang it in the 1970s as an encore. That song, you ask, is the 1966 song “Got To Get You Into My Life.”
“Got To Get You Into My Life” was written by Paul McCartney, but credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, for The Beatles’ 1966 album Revolver. It is a homage to Motown sound, and as McCartney explained, was an “ode to pot.”
That’s right, it’s a song about drugs.
The song was released in August 1966, and issued in the United States on the 1976 compilation album of unreleased Beatles music, Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. The song, in its original release, reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and was their last top ten hit until 1995’s “Free As A Bird.”
Now, let’s move forward to 1978…
I actually saw this performed live (in 2015, not 2004) when Earth Wind and Fire sang it in concert. In 1978, the group covered the song for the soundtrack to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (one of several groups to cover Beatles music for that movie), and also released it as a single on Earth Wind and Fire Vol. 1. Their version reached #1 on the Soul Singles Chart, and #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. They still sing it in concert to this day, but despite its original intention, EWF seems to have made it into a love song of sorts.
You be the judge…
The more I’ve thought about it, this was the version I’d heard so many times over the years. Not sure why I was convinced this was a Chicago song, when it clearly was not them singing it.
At least, not this version. But a version featuring them certainly exists!
Chicago performed the song in encores during the 1970s and early 1980s, with Peter Cetera taking lead. This one is from 1982!
Three groups (two of which are among quite a few covers), three different styles, but a common bond: they’re all legendary in their own right.
Though I’m pretty sure the song’s meaning changed by the time Earth Wind and Fire made it their own.
Creative liberties aren’t always a good thing, but in this case, there are certainly exceptions.
So, six days and counting until I see Kenny Loggins in concert. That’s just a side note, he didn’t cover this song. I’m just super excited to be seeing Kenny Loggins perform live.
Thanks for listening, check the meanings of songs you like (because you never know what the song might actually mean), and have a great Music Monday. Be sure to enjoy the music!