The best-known slogan coined by Sixties counterculture celebrity Timothy Leary is the one he created to promote the use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs: “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”
In 1969, Leary came up with another slogan that was eventually made famous, though not by him.
Three years earlier, actor Ronald Reagan had been elected Governor of California.
Leary figured that if a Hollywood celebrity could run for Governor and get elected, maybe the times were right for a Hippie celebrity to take a shot at it. Besides, he loved publicity.
So, he threw his mushroom cap into the ring and announced that he planned to run against Reagan in the 1970 gubernatorial election.
Leary came up with the tongue-in-cheek campaign slogan, “Come together, join the party.”
The melody was basically like the Beatles song we know today, but the original chorus was different.
It went: “Come together, right now. / Don’t come tomorrow. / Don’t come alone.”Lennon made a demo tape of the campaign song for Leary. Leary gave copies to local underground radio stations in California and the song got some airplay.
Shortly thereafter, Leary’s campaign got derailed due to his mounting legal troubles from a past marijuana bust, forcing him to, er, drop out of the Governor’s race. (Lucky for Ronnie.)
So, Lennon took the song to his bandmates, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, when the Beatles were recording songs for the upcoming Abbey Road album.
Together, they reworked it a bit and changed the lyrics to those all Beatles fans are familiar with:
“Here come old flattop, he come groovin’ up slowly
He got ju-ju eyeballs, he one holy roller
He got hair down to his knees
Got to be a joker, he just do what he please
He wear no shoeshine, he got toe-jam football
He got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola
He say, I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
Come together, right now, over me.”
The first line of the song (Lennon’s homage to a similar line from Chuck Berry’s 1956 rock hit, “You Can’t Catch Me”) and the chorus — “Come together, right now, over me” — became famous pop culture quotations.
“Come Together” was released as a single in the US on October 6, 1970 and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart on November 29, 1969 — which is how, by a trippy route, Tim Leary’s gubernatorial campaign slogan became the subject of posts for those dates on ThisDayinQuotes.com.
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