Getting Better

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono) LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1967

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Dec 21, 2020 • From Apple Music 1


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Dec 20, 2020 • From CBS


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Paul and Lily Cole Discuss 'Hope For The Future'

Nov 19, 2014 • From paulmccartney.com


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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Getting Better” is a song written mainly by Paul McCartney, with lyrical contributions from John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney). It was recorded by the Beatles for the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Composition

The song, musically reminiscent of the hit single “Penny Lane,” moves forward by way of regular chords, produced by Lennon’s guitar, McCartney’s electric piano, and George Martin, who struck the strings of a pianet with a mallet. These heavily accented and repetitive lines cause the song to sound as if it is based on a drone. Lead guitarist George Harrison adds an Indian tambura part to the final verse, which further accentuates this impact.

McCartney’s bassline, in counterpoint to this droning, was described by music critic Ian MacDonald as “dreamy” and “well thought out as a part of the production by McCartney“. It was recorded after the main track was completed like many of the basslines on Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band were done. Starting out in the verse with a pedal on the root note (G) that leaps two octaves, McCartney moves to a marching quarter-note (walking) bass line for the first (and only the first) chorus. In stark contrast, all subsequent choruses are played using a fluid, swing feel, full of anticipated notes that propel the song forward despite the quarter-note droning of the guitar and keyboard.

The song’s title and music suggest optimism, but some of the song’s lyrics have a more negative tone. In this sense, it reflects the contrasting personas of the two songwriters. In response to McCartney’s line, “It’s getting better all the time“, Lennon replies, “Can’t get no worse!“. Referring to the lyric “I used to be cruel to my woman/I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved/Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene/And I’m doing the best that I can“, Lennon admitted that he had done things in relationships in the past that he was not proud of.

In a 1980 interview in Playboy with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Lennon, when asked about the song, commiserated that the song’s lyrics came personally from his own experience abusing women in relationships in the past. He states: “It is a diary form of writing. All that “I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved” was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically — any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace. Everything’s the opposite. But I sincerely believe in love and peace. I am a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.

According to the author Hunter Davies and music critic Ian MacDonald, the initial idea for the song’s title came from a phrase often spoken by Jimmie Nicol, the group’s stand-in drummer for the Australian leg of a 1964 tour.  […]

Live performances

Paul McCartney performed the song live for the first time by any Beatle on his 2002 Driving World Tour. He later reprised the song on his 2003 Back in the World Tour. […]

Paul McCartney in "Many Years From Now", by Barry Miles:

Getting Better I wrote on my magic Binder, Edwards and Vaughan piano in my music room. It had a lovely tone, that piano, you’d just open the lid and there was such a magic tone, almost out of tune, and of course the way it was painted added to the fun of it all.

It’s an optimistic song. I often try and get on to optimistic subjects in an effort to cheer myself up and also, realising that other people are going to hear this, to cheer them up too. And this was one of those. The ‘angry young man’ and all that was John and I filling in the verses about schoolteachers. We shared a lot of feelings against teachers who had punished you too much or who hadn’t understood you or who had just been bastard generally. […]

I was just sitting there doing ‘Getting better all the time’ and John just said in his laconic way, ‘It couldn’t get no worse,’ and I thought, Oh, brilliant! This is exactly why I love writing with John… It was one of the ways we’d write. I’d have the song quite mapped out and he’d come in with a counter-melody, so it was a simple ordinary song.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] mono 23 Mar 1967.
UK: Parlophone PMC 7026 Sgt Pepper 1967.
US: Capitol MAS 2653 Sgt Pepper 1967.

[b] stereo 17 Apr 1967.
UK: Parlophone PCS 7026 Sgt Pepper 1967.
US: Capitol SMAS 2653 Sgt Pepper 1967.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46442 2 Sgt Pepper 1987.

Last updated on May 1, 2021

Lyrics

It's getting better all the time
I used to get mad at my school
(No I can't complain)
The teachers that taught me weren't cool
(No I can't complain)
You're holding me down
(Oww)
Turning me round
(Ohh)
Filling me up with your rules
(Ooo)

I've got to admit it's getting better
(Better)
A little better all the time
(It couldn't get no worse)
I have to admit it's getting better
(Better)
It's getting better since you've been mine

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word
I finally heard
You're doing the best that I can

I've got to admit it's getting better
(Better)
A little better all the time
(It couldn't get no worse)
I have to admit it's getting better
(Better)
It's getting better since you've been mine
Getting so much better all the time

It's getting better all the time
(Better, better, better)
It's getting better all the time
(Better, better, better)

I used to be cruel to my woman I beat her
And kept her apart from the things that she loved
Man, I was mean but I'm changing my scene
And I'm doing the best that I can
(Ooo)

I admit it's getting better
(Better)
A little better all the time
(It couldn't get no worse)
Yes, I admit it's getting better
(Better)
It's getting better since you've been mine
Getting so much better all the time

It's getting better all the time
(Better, better, better)
It's getting better all the time
(Better, better, better)
Getting so much better all the time

Variations


A Original mono version

A2009 2009 mono remaster

B Original stereo version

B2009 2009 stereo remaster

C 2017 mix

D Take 1 - Instrumental and speech at the end

E Take 12

L1 2002 live version from "Back In The US" / "Back In The World"

Officially appears on


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono)

LP • Released in 1967

2:48 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass guitar, Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Congas, Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Handclaps
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambura
George Martin :
Pianette, Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Malcolm Addey :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 09, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 10, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 23, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Stereo)

LP • Released in 1967

2:48 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Bass guitar, Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Congas, Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Handclaps
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambura
George Martin :
Pianette, Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Malcolm Addey :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 09, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 10, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 17, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Back In The U.S.

Official live • Released in 2002

3:10 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney :
Executive producer
Performed by :
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
David Kahne :
Producer
Michael Brauer :
Recording engineer
Ricardo Chavarria :
Assistant engineer

Concert From the concert in Denver, USA on May 07, 2002


Back In The World

Official live • Released in 2003

3:10 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney :
Executive producer
Performed by :
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
David Kahne :
Producer
Michael Brauer :
Recording engineer
Ricardo Chavarria :
Assistant engineer

Concert From the concert in Denver, USA on May 07, 2002


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

2:48 • Studio versionA2009 • Mono • 2009 mono remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass guitar, Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Congas, Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Handclaps
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambura
George Martin :
Pianette, Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Malcolm Addey :
Recording engineer
Paul Hicks :
Remastering
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Mar 09, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 10, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 23, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Stereo - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

2:48 • Studio versionB2009 • Stereo • 2009 stereo remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass guitar, Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Congas, Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Handclaps
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambura
George Martin :
Pianette, Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Malcolm Addey :
Recording engineer
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Mar 09, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 10, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 17, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono - 2014 vinyl)

LP • Released in 2014

2:48 • Studio versionA2014 • Mono • 2014 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass guitar, Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Congas, Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Handclaps
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambura
George Martin :
Pianette, Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Malcolm Addey :
Recording engineer
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Steve Berkowitz :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Mar 09, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 10, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 23, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017)

Official album • Released in 2017

2:48 • Studio versionC • Stereo • 2017 mix

Paul McCartney :
Bass guitar, Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Congas, Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Handclaps
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambura
George Martin :
Pianette, Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Giles Martin :
Producer
Malcolm Addey :
Recording engineer
Sam Okell :
Mix engineer
Miles Showell :
Mastering engineer
Sean Magee :
Mastering engineer
Matt Mysko :
Mix assistant
Greg McAllister :
Mix assistant
Matthew Cocker :
Transfer engineer
James Clark :
Audio restoration
Adam Sharp :
Mix coordination

Session Recording:
Mar 09, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 10, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Mar 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 23, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017)

Official album • Released in 2017

2:19 • Studio versionD • Take 1 - Instrumental and speech at the end

Giles Martin :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 09, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017)

Official album • Released in 2017

2:45 • Studio versionE • Take 12

Giles Martin :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 09, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Live performances

“Getting Better” has been played in 66 concerts and 2 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where Getting Better has been played







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