The Paul McCartney Project

I Feel Fine

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the I Feel Fine / She's A Woman 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1964
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.

Song facts

From Wikipedia:

I Feel Fine” is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and released in 1964 by the Beatles as the A-side of their eighth British single. The song is notable for being one of the first uses of guitar feedback in popular music.

Origin

Lennon wrote the guitar riff while in the studio recording “Eight Days a Week“. “I wrote ‘I Feel Fine’ around that riff going on in the background“, he 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.” Both John Lennon and George Harrison said that the riff was influenced by a riff in “Watch Your Step“, a 1961 release written and performed by Bobby Parker and covered by the Beatles in concerts during 1961 and 1962. Paul McCartney said the drums on “I Feel Fine” were inspired by Ray Charles’s “What’d I Say“.

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

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),. The song ends with a fadeout of the G major portion of the opening riff repeated several times.

Feedback

I Feel Fine” starts with a single, percussive (yet pure-sounding) feedback note produced by plucking the A string on Lennon’s guitar. This was the very first use of feedback preceding a song 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.” Although it sounded very much like an electric guitar, Lennon actually played the riff on an acoustic-electric guitar (a Gibson model J-160E), 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 is some old blues record from 1922… that uses feedback that way. So I claim it for the Beatles. Before Hendrix, before The Who, before anybody. The first feedback on record.

Music video

Two different music videos directed by Joe McGrath were filmed on 23 November 1965. Both feature various bits of gym equipment. In the first, George sang into a punch-ball while Ringo pedaled on an exercise bike. The second marked the only time a lunch break was filmed, where they all ate fish and chips, while trying to mime to the song. Brian was adamant that this video 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 music video was included in the Beatles’ 2015 video compilation 1, and both videos were included in the three-disc versions of the compilation, titled 1+.

Charts

The single reached the top of the British charts on 12 December of that year, displacing the Rolling Stones’ “Little Red Rooster“, and remained there for five weeks.

I Feel Fine” was also the first Beatles single to be released almost concurrently in the US and the UK. The song has sold 1.41 million copies in the UK.

US Charts

The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 charts for three weeks in late 1964/early 1965. The B-side was the number-four hit “She’s a Woman“.

I Feel Fine” 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 (1964), 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“.

Other releases

In the United States, the song was released on the Capitol album Beatles ’65. 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. The stereo version of the LP presented a duophonic mix featuring a layer of reverb added by executive Dave Dexter, Jr..

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 Vol 1 and Beatles 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.

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

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’s 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.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 21 Oct 1964.
    UK: Parlophone R5200 single 1965, Parlophone PMC 7016 Collection of Oldies 1966.
    CD: EMI single 1989.
  • [a1] mock stereo made from [a] 1964, by Odeon.
    Germany: Odeon SMO 83 991 (later 1C 062-04 207) Beatles Greatest 1965.
  • [b] mono 21 Oct 1964.
    US: Capitol 5327 single 1964, Capitol T 2228 Beatles ’65 1964, Apple SKBO-3403 The Beatles 1962-1966 1973.
  • [b1] mock stereo made from [b] 1964, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol ST 2228 Beatles ’65 1964.
  • [c] stereo 4 Nov 1964
    UK: Apple PCSP 717 The Beatles 1962-1966 1973.
  • [c1] stereo, trimmed.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 7016 Collection of Oldies 1966.
    US: Capitol SV-12245 20 Greatest Hits 1982.
    Australia: Parlophone PCSO 7534 Greatest Hits 2 1967.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 90043 2 Past Masters 1 1988, EMI CDP 7 97036 2 The Beatles 1962-1966 1993.

German mock stereo [a1] actually fades a little longer than [a] and is the longest fade of any mix.

US mono [b] has an enormous reverb effect that may have been done by Capitol. The mock stereo made from it [b1] really stands out as the most distorted Beatles cut Capitol ever created.

Stereo [c] starts with a second or so of whispering and tapping before the usual opening. [c1] is a “trimmed” version without the whispering; the trimming may be local to each release. The open-microphone sounds at the opening (whispers, snaredrum resonating (?)) are clearer on CD.

All versions have Paul barking like a dog at the very end of the fade, which is a bit easier to hear in stereo.

Last updated on March 12, 2016

Lyrics

Baby's good to me
You know she's happy as can be
You know she said so
I'm in love with her and I feel fine

Baby says she's mine
You know she tells me all the time
You know she said so
I'm in love with her and I feel fine

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
You know he buys her diamond rings
You know she said so
She's in love with me and I feel fine

Baby says she's mine
You know she tells me all the time
You know she said so
I'm in love with her and I feel fine

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
You know he buys her diamond rings
You know she said so
She's in love with me and I feel fine
She's in love with me and I feel fine

Officially appears on


Beatles '65 (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:20 • Studio versionB • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


Beatles '65 (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:20 • Studio versionB1 • Stereo • Mock stereo made from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


I Feel Fine / She's A Woman

7" Single • Released in 1964

2:25 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


The Beatles' Million Sellers

EP • Released in 1965

2:22 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


A Collection of Beatles Oldies (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:21 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


A Collection of Beatles Oldies (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:21 • Studio versionC1 • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 04, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Past Masters

Official album • Released in 1988

2:20 • Studio versionC1

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 04, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Live At The BBC

Official live • Released in 1994

2:13 • Radio showL1 • The complete BBC session tape of ‘I Feel Fine’ reveals that the distinctive feedback opening took quite a few attempts to get right and that riff was pretty tricky too!

Concert From "Top Gear" in London, United Kingdom on Nov 26, 1964


Anthology 2

Official album • Released in 1996

2:16 • LiveL2

Concert From "Blackpool Night Out" in Blackpool, United Kingdom on Aug 01, 1965


1

Official album • Released in 2000

2:18 • Studio version


Bootlegs


Yellow Submarine Sessions

Unofficial album

2:20 • Outtake • 45rpm Test Pressing Mono


Take It Off!

Unofficial album

3:28 • Outtake • Takes 1-2


The BBC Archives Volume 11

Unofficial album

2:20 • Radio show


The BBC Archives Volume 11

Unofficial album

2:11 • Radio show



Live performances

“I Feel Fine” has been played in 126 concerts and 1 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where “I Feel Fine” has been played








Contribute!

Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.