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Jan 05

THE BEATLES – “I Feel Fine”

Popular10 comments • 2,425 views

#183, 12th December 1964

The sliver of feedback that opens “I Feel Fine” has become one of pop’s great use-other-facts-please. It’s historically interesting, it’s a strong gimmick, but it has very little to do with the rest of the record, which is the Beatles having good clean fun with Rickenbackers. The section where riff and solo interplay is easily the liveliest of the whole song, but the overall emphasis on guitar gives a sense of the band moving with their times. That said this is the third Beatles song in a row about buying things – tracing a cynical arc from the pious separation of romance and commerce to diamond rings as a proof of affection. There’s a hint in that of a tune in need of changing.

(Flash Fact: this song’s worth as a singalong was proved by me at Glastonbury last year, much to the horror of anyone present.)

6

Comments

  1. 1
    Lena on 5 Jan 2007 #

    I like the b side, “She’s A Woman” a lot more – which is not about buying things but the opposite. It’s also the closest to reggae they got for some time.

  2. 2
    The Intl on 18 Sep 2008 #

    Stateside, this single was released with a good amount of reverb. I rather prefer these tunes that way, they just sound massive. Especially both intros.

  3. 3
    wichita lineman on 18 Mar 2009 #

    And me and my mum were on the front page of the local rag! Thank gawd I wasn’t christened Noel.

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 20 Sep 2010 #

    TOTPWatch: The Beatles performed I Feel Fine (and She’s A Woman) on the Top Of The Pops of 3 December 1964. Also in the studio that week were; Freddie & The Dreamers, PJ Proby, The Searchers and Val Doonican. Pete Murray was the host. No copy survives.

  5. 5
    lonepilgrim on 1 Mar 2011 #

    this also hit number one in the US, as noted here:

    http://nohardchords.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/125-the-beatles-i-feel-fine/

    I’ve always liked this for it’s feeling of running on the spot – like a precursor of the motorik beat of Neu!

  6. 6
    Lena on 21 Jul 2011 #

    And at two…a 60s anthem about losing yourself: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.com/2011/07/lend-your-voice-petula-clark-downtown.html Thanks for reading as always!

  7. 7
    wichita lineman on 21 Jul 2011 #

    The Beatles must have REALLY loved Bobby Parker’s Watch Your Step – the main riff is not only the hook for for I Feel Fine, but at 0.33 you can hear the 1965 Xmas no.1 too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvtabNAb_wE

    I like the subtle suggestion in the lyric that Lennon is a fool, being strung along and he knows it:
    “She’s happy as can be, y’know, she says so….”.

    And more tellingly:

    “I’m so glad that she’s my little girl
    She’s so glad she’s telling all the world
    ….that her baby buys her things”

    Gold digger!

  8. 8
    vinylscot on 21 Jul 2011 #

    The Beatles would (possibly) also have noted Adam Faith’s 1961 cover of the Bobby Parker track – it’s the first track on his “Adam Faith” LP of that year. It’s slighly more “anglicised”. I’ve had the Adam Faith LP for almost 40 years now and I still notice the similarity/influence every time I hear it.

  9. 9
    hectorthebat on 2 Apr 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Dave Marsh (USA) – The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (1989) 975
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 100 Greatest Beatles Songs (2010) 42
    Stephen Spignesi and Michael Lewis (USA) – The 100 Best Beatles Songs (2004) 19
    Mojo (UK) – The 101 Greatest Tracks by The Beatles (2006) 45
    Toby Creswell (Australia) – 1001 Songs (2005)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  10. 10
    lonepilgrim on 20 Mar 2015 #

    lyrically this is Lennon falling back on rock ‘n’ roll cliches as he tended to do (cf ‘Run for your Life’) although I enjoy the way the words tumble along to match the bubbling rhythm of the song. It’s more interesting sonically with the feedback at the start setting the tone for the subtly processed sounds of the guitars throughout

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