Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Feel Fine

UNITED KINGDOM: Released as a single November 27, 1964. It entered the chart at No. 1 and stayed there for six weeks, selling a million copies by December 11 and making it one of the fastest-selling singles ever in the United Kingdom. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

UNITED STATES: Released as a single November 23, 1964. It entered the Top 40 December 5 at No. 22. By December 26 it was No. 1 where it stayed for three weeks. It was in the Top 40 for eleven weeks. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and Billboard

LENNON: "With 'I Feel Fine', we were ready to get to No. 5 at first go, and I suppose if we'd have done that, we'd have been written off. Nobody would have remembered that The Beatles had had six No. 1's on the trot before 'I Feel Fine' . . . Coming in at No. 1 was great, because, well, we weren't sure we'd do it." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.7) and McCartney (.3)
LENNON: "I wrote this at a recording session. It was tied together around the guitar riff that opens it." Beatles in Their Own Words

LENNON: "I actually wrote it around that riff that is going on in the background. I tried to get that effect in practically every song on our new album, but the others wouldn't have it. I told them I'd write a song especially for the riff, so they said, 'Yes, go away and do that,' knowing that we'd almost finished the album. Anyway, going into the studio one morning, I said to Ringo, 'I've written this song, but it's lousy.' But we tried it, complete with riff, and it sounded like an A-side, so we decided to release it just like that." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "The song itself was more John's than mine. We sat down and co-wrote it with John's original idea. John sang it, I'm on harmonies and the drumming is basically what we used to think of as 'What'd I Say' drumming. There was a style of drumming on 'What'd I Say' which is a sort of Latin R & B that Ray Charles' drummer Milt Turner played on the original record and we used to love it. One of the big clinching factors about Ringo as the drummer in the band was that he could really play that so well." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

October 18, 1964, at Abbey Road

LENNON: "This was the first time feedback was used on a record. It's right at the beginning." Hit Parader (April 1972)

McCARTNEY: "Don't be put off from the opening noise. It was a laugh. John was playing his Jumbo guitar and we did the final run through before recording, and when the red light came on for the actual session, he played it, unintentionally. The result was a sound of feedback and, after a bit of thought, we decided to leave it in. It's the biggest gimmick thing we've ever used!" The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

LENNON: "The first bit you hear on 'I Feel Fine' is feedback. It was all a mistake. I was standing between Paul's amplifier and mine, and that was the result. But when we heard it, we liked it, so we left it in. Sounds a bit like an electric razor, doesn't it?" The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

HARRISON: "John had an acoustic Gibson, well, an acoustic electric, 'cos it was amplified at the time, and he was standing in front of Paul's bass amplifier, and Paul just played the note A, which automatically set off the feedback on John's guitar. It was, sort of, magic at the time, that it happened, so we just kept it in because it sounded nice." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "John had a semi-acoustic Gibson guitar. It had a pick-up on it so it could be amplified. John and George both had them; we used to call them Everly Brothers because they were very similar to the ones the Everly Brothers had used and we liked the Everlys a lot. It was mainly an acoustic guitar. They only used a tiny bit of electric, just for colour. If you turned it up too much you don't get any string noise, so the engineers and George Martin used to strike a balance between the colour of the electric thing and the natural acoustic. It's a coloured acoustic.
"We were just about to walk away to listen to a take when John leaned his guitar against the amp. I can still see him doing it. He really should have turned the electric off. It was only on a tiny bit, and John just leaned it against the amp when it went, 'Nnnnnnwahhhhh!' And we went, 'What's that? Voodoo!' 'No, it's feedback.' 'Wow, it's a great sound!' George Martin was there so we said, 'Can we have that on the record?' 'Well, I suppose we could, we could edit it on the front.' It was a found object, an accident caused by leaning the guitar against the amp." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: ". . . the record with the first feedback anywhere. I defy anyone to find a record - unless it's some old blues record in 1922 - which uses feedback that way. I mean, everybody played with feedback on stage, and the Jimi Hendrix stuff was going on long before. In fact, the punk stuff now is only what people were doing in the clubs. So, I claim it for The Beatles. Before Hendrix, The Who, before anybody. The first feedback on any record." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

McCARTNEY: bass, backing vocal
LENNON: rhythm guitar, lead guitar, lead vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar, backing vocal
STARR: drums

This song was part of the Beatles' repertoire for concerts from 1964 to 1966. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

LENNON: "The selling part of the song, commercially, is the phrase 'I Feel Fine' and the guitar run that follows it. George and I play the same bit on guitar together on the record. I suppose it has a bit of a Country & Western feel about it, but then, so have a lot of our songs. The middle-eight is the most tuneful part to me, because it's a typical Beatles bit." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

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