|Single by The Beatles|
|Released||19 July 1965|
|Recorded||14 June 1965,
EMI Studios, London
|Genre||Rock and roll|
|The Beatles singles chronology|
The Beatles recorded the backing track in seven takes. The first of these takes can be heard on Anthology 2, with a quiet organ track and no backing vocals. At the beginning of the Anthology version, McCartney says, "Let's hope this one turns out pretty darn good" in a faux American accent. During the session, particularly between takes one and two, McCartney can be heard repeating the phrase "Plastic soul, man, plastic soul". He later revealed that the phrase, which the Beatles later adapted for the title of their album Rubber Soul, was used by black musicians to describe Mick Jagger.
The official release date for the "Help"/"I'm Down" single was 19 July 1965 on Capitol Records in the United States and 23 July on Parlophone in the United Kingdom. "I'm Down" was never released on an official Beatle studio album, and was only available in the US in mono as the B-side of the "Help!" single until the summer of 1976. That year, it appeared in stereo on Rock 'n' Roll Music, a compilation LP released in the US by Capitol featuring up tempo Beatles' tracks. The first CD release was in 1988 on the compilation Past Masters, Volume One, where it appeared in true stereo.
The song was performed at their fourth appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
During their performance at Shea Stadium in August 1965 (the largest audience the Beatles ever drew during their career as a live touring band), the band played a memorably frenzied version of the song, with John Lennon playing a Vox Continental Organ with his elbows at times. Lennon's antics caused both Lennon and George Harrison to laugh during the performance as they sing backing vocals from the same microphone. Footage of this performance may be seen on The Beatles Anthology video.
The band also played this song during their 12 September 1965 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show which was recorded 14 August 1965, the day before the Shea concert. Lennon played the keyboard with his elbow for this performance as well. However, Lennon played guitar, rather than organ, for a version recorded in Tokyo on their 1966 tour even though a Vox organ was set up on stage.
McCartney played the song to open his set at the Concert for New York City following the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001. The concert was held at Madison Square Garden in support of firefighters, policemen, and other public workers who suffered from the aftermath of the attacks. He also reintroduced "I'm Down" into his set list for his three concerts at Citi Field (which replaced Shea Stadium) in July 2009.
- Paul McCartney – vocal, bass
- John Lennon – backing vocal, rhythm guitar, Vox Continental organ
- George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, bongos
- Heart covered this song as a medley with "Long Tall Sally" on their 1980 album Greatest Hits Live. It was on the live side of the album.
- In 1982, Adrian Belew released his second solo record, Twang Bar King, which began with a version of this song.
- In 1982, Jay Ferguson recorded it for his album White Noise.
- Aerosmith recorded a cover version of this song for the band's 1987 album Permanent Vacation.
- Deacon Blue released a live cover version of this song as a B-side on their 1991 single, "Twist and Shout" (which is a different song than the Beatles' recording of the same name).
- The Kentucky Headhunters included a cover version on their 2006 album Big Boss Man.
- A live cover of this song recorded in 1976 appears on the YesYears box set by Yes.
- The Punkles recorded a punk version of this song for their second album, Punk!.
- The Beastie Boys recorded a version of this song to be featured on their debut album, Licensed to Ill, the song was deleted from the final track list at the last minute due to licensing restraints but can be found on some Beastie Boys bootlegs.
- The Reatards released a version on their cassette-only album Fuck Elvis Here's The Reatards Cassette.
- The Bawdies recorded a cover version
- Cross, Craig (2005). The Beatles: Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc. ISBN 978-0-595-34663-9.
- "I'm Down". The Beatles Bible. 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-517-57066-1.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1996). Anthology 2 (booklet). London: Apple Records. 34448.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 978-1-84413-828-9.
- "Past Masters, Vol. 1". Amazon.com. 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
- Unterberger, Richie (2007). "Review of "I'm Down"". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 March 2007.