By Margarita Snegireva. U.S. NASA will send the Beatles song “Across the Universe” across the universe.
At precisely 7 p.m., E.S.T. the song will be beamed by the agency’s Deep Space Network of antennas at the North Star, Polaris, which is 431 light years away. The transmission is to mark the 40th anniversary of the recording of the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of both NASA and its first satellite, Explorer I, and the 45th anniversary of the Deep Space Network, which carries out communications between NASA and its far-flung fleet of spacecraft. In a message to the space agency, Paul McCartney, one of the two remaining Beatles, said, “Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul.”
"Across the Universe" is a song by The Beatles that first appeared on a charity release in December 1969, and later, in modified form, on their final album, Let It Be. The song features John Lennon singing lead, who was also the primary composer (though, as with all Beatles songs written by either composer, the song is credited to Lennon/McCartney).
One night in 1967, the phrase "words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup" came to Lennon after hearing his then-wife Cynthia, according to Lennon, "going on and on about something". Later, after "she'd gone to sleep-- and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream", Lennon "went downstairs and it turned into sort of a cosmic song". He began to write the rest of the lyrics and when he was done, he went to bed and forgot about them.
In the morning, Lennon found the paper on which he had written the lyrics and brought them down to his piano, where he began to play chords, and find pitches to match the words. The flavor of the song was heavily influenced by Lennon's and The Beatles' short-lived interest in Transcendental Meditation in late 1967–early 1968, when the song was composed. Based on this he added the mantra "Jai guru deva om" to the piece, which became the link to the chorus. The Sanskrit phrase is a sentence fragments whose words translate to "salutations to the guru", and the mystic syllable om.
The structure of the lyrics is straightforward: three repetitions of a unit consisting of a verse, the line "Jai guru deva om", and the line "Nothing's gonna change my world" repeated four times. The lyrics are highly image-based, with abstract concepts reified with phrases like thoughts "meandering", words "slithering", and undying love "shining". The title phrase "across the universe" appears at intervals to finish lines, although interestingly it never cadences, always appearing as a rising figure, melodically unresolved.
In his 1970 interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Lennon referred to the song as perhaps the best, most poetic lyric he ever wrote.