Inspired, perhaps, by seeing Procol Harum, The Beatles went into the studio today to work on a new song George had written, initially titled “Too Much.” After the mellow “Within You Without You” and the depressive “Only a Northern Song,” George decided to really go for it with this one — it’s big song, loud and long and dense with layers of noise, though it chugs along at a deliberate rhythm that sometimes sounds like an early kind of Krautrock.

“It’s All Too Much” (as it would eventually be called) has a wall-of-sound quality that anticipates George’s later work with Phil Spector, whose production skills might have been of some use here — the song seems to be constantly striving for some higher sonic plane that it can’t quite reach. It may have been a victim of “Just a George Song” syndrome — i.e. not recorded with the care and attention that would have been lavished on a Lennon/McCartney composition. The studio A-team of George Martin and Geoff Emerick was not involved in today’s session, which took place not at Abbey Road but at De Lane Lea Studios.

But still, I love this song for what it is — a refreshing blast of noise that can clear the cobwebs right out of your mind, with uplifting lyrics and a positive vibe. It was written “from a childlike perspective,” George said.

I just wanted to write a rock ‘n’ roll song about the whole psychedelic thing of the time. Because you’d trip out, you see, on all this stuff, and then whoops! you’d just be back having your evening cup of tea!

Unfortunately, “It’s All Too Much” would not see the light of day until 1969, and by then its wide-eyed innocence was out of step with the times. It would have made much more sense in the summer of 67. In some parallel universes The Beatles chose “Too Much” instead of “All You Need Is Love” for their upcoming satellite broadcast — I’m not saying those are better universes, just different ones.

In our own world, “It’s All Too Much” remains a somewhat lesser-known Beatles song with a surprisingly wide cultural reach (do an image search for “all the world is birthday cake” and you’ll see what I mean). It has been covered by everyone from Journey and the Church to the Flaming Lips and the Grateful Dead, and it also inspired whatever this is: