I Feel Fine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"I Feel Fine"
Beatles I Feel Fine.jpg
Single by the Beatles
B-side"She's a Woman"
Released23 November 1964 (1964-11-23)
Recorded18 October 1964
StudioEMI, London[1]
Genre
Length2:25
Label
Songwriter(s)Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s)George Martin
The Beatles US singles chronology
"Matchbox"
(1964)
"I Feel Fine"
(1964)
"Eight Days a Week"
(1965)
The Beatles UK singles chronology
"A Hard Day's Night"
(1964)
"I Feel Fine"
(1964)
"Ticket to Ride"
(1965)
Music video
"I Feel Fine" on YouTube

"I Feel Fine" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles that was released in November 1964 as the A-side of their eighth single. It was written by John Lennon[4] and credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership. The recording includes one of the earliest uses of guitar feedback in popular music.

The single topped charts in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. In the UK, it was the fifth highest selling single of the 1960s.[5]

Origin[edit]

Lennon wrote the song's guitar riff while the Beatles were in the studio recording "Eight Days a Week" in October 1964, and kept playing it between takes.[6] He later recalled: "I told them I'd write a song specially for the riff. So they said, 'Yes. You go away and do that', knowing that we'd almost finished the album Beatles for Sale. 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."[7]

Both Lennon and George Harrison said that the riff was influenced by a riff in "Watch Your Step", a 1961 song written and performed by Bobby Parker[7] and covered by the Beatles in concerts during 1961 and 1962.[8] Paul McCartney said the drums on "I Feel Fine" were inspired by Ray Charles's 1959 single "What'd I Say".[4]

At the time of the song's recording, the Beatles, having mastered the studio basics, had begun to explore new sources of inspiration in noises previously eliminated as mistakes (such as electronic goofs, twisted tapes, and talkback). "I Feel Fine" marks one of the earliest examples of the use of feedback as a recording effect in popular music. Artists such as the Kinks and the Who had already used feedback live, but Lennon remained proud of the fact that the Beatles were perhaps the first group to deliberately put it on vinyl.

Structure[edit]

"I Feel Fine" is written in 4
4
time
with drummer Ringo Starr's R&B-influenced beat (based on the "Latin" drumming in Ray Charles's hit "What'd I Say") featured through most of the song except for the bridge, which has a more conventional backbeat. After a brief note of heavy feedback (see below), the intro begins with a distinctive arpeggiated riff which starts in D major before quickly progressing to C major and then G major, at which point the vocals begin in G. The melody, unusually, uses a major third and a minor seventh, and has been classified as Mixolydian mode. Just before the coda, Lennon's intro riff (or ostinato) is repeated with a bright sound by George Harrison on electric guitar (a Gretsch Tennessean).[9] The song ends with a fadeout of the G major portion of the opening riff repeated several times.

Audio feedback[edit]

"I Feel Fine" starts with a single, percussive feedback note produced by McCartney plucking the A string on his bass, and Lennon's guitar, which was leaning against McCartney's bass amp, picking up feedback. This was the first use of feedback on a rock record. According to McCartney, "John had a semi-acoustic Gibson guitar. It had a pickup on it so it could be amplified ... 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 … 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."[4] Although it sounded very much like an electric guitar, Lennon actually played the riff on an acoustic-electric guitar (a Gibson model J-160E),[9] employing the guitar's onboard pickup.

Later, Lennon was very proud of this sonic experimentation. In one of his last interviews, he said: "I defy anybody to find a record – unless it's some old blues record in 1922 – that uses feedback that way."[10]

Release and commercial performance[edit]

Backed by "She's a Woman", "I Feel Fine" was issued as a single A-side on 23 November 1964 in the United States, with the UK release following on 27 November.[6] Public demand for the single was unprecedented, according to author Nicholas Schaffner, particularly in the US, where the market had been saturated with Beatles releases over the first seven months of 1964, "making the ensuing gap seem like forever". He recalled that fans remained "glued" to their transistor radios over the ten days between the single's unveiling on radio and its retail release, and that this established a fan ritual for all the band's subsequent records.[11]

"I Feel Fine" reached the top of the UK charts on 12 December, displacing the Rolling Stones' "Little Red Rooster", and remained there for five weeks. In Canada, the song also reached number one.[12]

The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for three weeks in late 1964 and early 1965. Cash Box magazine ranked "I Feel Fine" as the 19th biggest US hit of 1965.[13] It was the sixth single by the Beatles to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in a calendar year (1964), an all-time record. In order, these singles were "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "Can't Buy Me Love", "Love Me Do", "A Hard Day's Night" and "I Feel Fine". For songwriters Lennon and McCartney, it was the seventh number-one they wrote in the same calendar year, which was another all-time record. The song was the first of six Hot 100 number one chart-toppers in a row (not counting the EP 4 – by the Beatles) by one act, also a record at the time. The subsequent singles were "Eight Days a Week", "Ticket to Ride", "Help!", "Yesterday" and "We Can Work It Out".[14]

By 2012, "I Feel Fine" had sold 1.41 million copies in the UK.[15] As of December 2018, it was the 53rd best-selling single of all time there – one of six Beatles songs included on the top sales rankings published by the UK's Official Charts Company.[16]

Promotional film[edit]

On 23 November 1965, the Beatles filmed two promotional clips for the song for inclusion in Top of the Pops' round-up of the year's biggest hits.[17] Directed by Joe McGrath, both films feature the band interacting with items of gym equipment. In the first, Harrison sang into a punch-ball while Starr pedalled on an exercise bike. In the second film, the Beatles ate fish and chips while trying to mime to the song. Epstein was adamant that this film could not be used. From then on, the controversial "fish and chips" footage was kept in a 2" videotape box labelled "I Feel Fried". The first promotional film was included in the Beatles' 2015 video compilation 1, and both films were included in the three-disc versions of the compilation, titled 1+.[18]

Other releases[edit]

In the United States, "I Feel Fine" was released on the Capitol album Beatles '65. The stereo version of the LP presented a duophonic (mock stereo) mix featuring a layer of reverb added by executive Dave Dexter Jr.. The mono version – also released as a single on Capitol – features an exclusive mix with added reverb and a shorter fade as created by Beatles producer George Martin. Both versions were released on CD in 2004 as part of The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 box set.

In the United Kingdom, the song was released on the LP format on A Collection of Beatles Oldies. A true stereo version can be found on the Past Masters Volume 1 and 1 CDs.

There is also another stereo version (virtually identical to the standard stereo mix) wherein whispering can be heard at the beginning of the track. This "whispering version" appears on the non-US release of 1962–1966, as well as on occasional single re-releases.

An outtake in mono is included in the On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 compilation released in 2013.

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[19]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "1" Liner Notes by Mark Lewisohn
  2. ^ Frontani, Michael R. (2009). The Beatles: Image and the Media. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-60473-156-9.
  3. ^ Terence J. O'Grady (1 May 1983). The Beatles: A Musical Evolution. Twayne Publishers. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-8057-9453-3. Both "I Feel Fine" and "She's a Woman" are heavily rhythm and blues influenced pop-rock songs.
  4. ^ a b c Miles 1997, p. 172.
  5. ^ "Ken Dodd 'third best-selling artist of 1960s'". BBC News. 1 June 2010. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  6. ^ a b MacDonald 2005, pp. 133, 136.
  7. ^ a b The Beatles 2000, p. 160.
  8. ^ Shaheen J. Dibai, "Bobby Parker: The Real Fifth Beatle?", One Note Ahead, 29 March 2007 Archived 8 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2 November 2013
  9. ^ a b Babiuk 2002, p. 146–147.
  10. ^ Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. New York, New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 173. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
  11. ^ Schaffner 1978, p. 39.
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  14. ^ Wallgren 1982, pp. 38–45.
  15. ^ Sedghi, Ami (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  16. ^ Myers, Justin (14 December 2018). "The best-selling singles of all time on the Official UK Chart". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  17. ^ Winn 2008, p. 377.
  18. ^ Rowe, Matt (18 September 2015). "The Beatles 1 to Be Reissued with New Audio Remixes ... and Videos". The Morton Report. Archived from the original on 29 December 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  19. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 136.
  20. ^ "The Beatles – I Feel Fine" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  21. ^ "The Beatles – I Feel Fine" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  22. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5603." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Feel Fine". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  24. ^ "The Beatles – I Feel Fine" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ "Lever hit parades: 24-Dec-1964". Flavour of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  26. ^ "The Beatles – I Feel Fine". VG-lista.
  27. ^ "Swedish Charts 1962 – March 1966/Kvällstoppen – Listresultaten vecka för vecka > December 1964" (PDF) (in Swedish). hitsallertijden.nl. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 November 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Beatles: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  29. ^ "The Beatles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  30. ^ Hoffmann, Frank (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950-1981. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. pp. 32–34.
  31. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts" (Enter "Beatles" in the search box) (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  32. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 25, 1965". Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  33. ^ "American single certifications – The Beatles – I Feel Fine". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 14 May 2016.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]