- Published on 1964
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 11 on “1962 ‐ 1966 (Red Album)“
- Track 14 on “Past Masters Volume 1“
JOHN 1964: “George and I play the same bit on the guitar together– that’s the bit that’ll set your feet a-tapping, as the reviews say. The middle-eight is the most tuneful part, to me, because it’s a typical Beatles bit.”
JOHN 1972: “This was the first time feedback was used on a record. It’s right at the beginning.”
JOHN 1974: “I wrote this at a recording session. It was tied together around the guitar riff that opens it.”
JOHN 1980: “That’s me completely. Including the guitar lick with the first feedback anywhere. 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.”
PAUL circa-1994: “John had a semi-acoustic Gibson guitar. It had a pick-up 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… and 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. 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.”
About “I Feel Fine”
The Beatles released “I Feel Fine” as their eighth single in November 1964 backed by “She’s A Woman”. The song was written by John Lennon and credited to the Lennon-McCartney partnership. One of the earliest uses of guitar feedback in popular music can be found on this recording.
The song was not originally part of any studio album but was later included in the Beatles’ 1962-1966 compilation album (also known as the “Red Album“). “I Feel Fine” falls into the rock and roll genre, with elements of pop and it’d notable for its feedback-driven guitar riff, which was one of the earliest examples of intentionally recorded feedback in popular music. This was achieved when John Lennon’s guitar was placed close to the amplifier, creating a deliberate feedback sound that opens the song.
Among the countries that charted the single were the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. The song was the fifth-best-selling single of the 1960s in the UK
During the recording of “Eight Days a Week” in October 1964, Lennon wrote the guitar riff and kept playing it between takes. George Harrison and Lennon both said that the riff was influenced by a riff in Bobby Parker’s 1961 song “Watch Your Step”, which the Beatles covered in 1962 and 1963. “I Feel Fine”‘s drums were inspired by Ray Charles’ 1959 single “What’d I Say?”, according to McCartney.
Having mastered the studio basics, the Beatles began looking for inspiration in noises previously dismissed as mistakes (such as twisted tapes, electronic goofs, and talkback). In popular music, “I Feel Fine” represents one of the earliest instances of feedback being used as a recording effect. The Kinks and the Who had already used feedback live, but Lennon remained proud of the fact that the Beatles were perhaps the first to put it on vinyl.
“I Feel Fine” remains one of the well-loved and iconic songs in The Beatles’ extensive catalog and is often featured on various compilation albums and retrospectives of the band’s work. It’s a testament to The Beatles’ innovative approach to music production and their ability to continually push the boundaries of popular music. Its catchy melody and distinctive guitar riff have contributed to its enduring popularity.
Meaning of “I Feel Fine”
“I Feel Fine” by The Beatles is a love song that conveys a sense of joy, contentment, and happiness. The lyrics express the narrator’s positive emotions and the wonderful feeling they have because of their romantic relationship:
“Baby’s good to me, you know she’s happy as can be / You know she said so“
“She’s in love with me and I feel fine“.
These lines suggest a harmonious and fulfilling romantic relationship. The narrator is confident in the love and happiness they share with their partner.
The upbeat and cheerful tone of the music complements the positive message of the lyrics. The use of intentional guitar feedback at the beginning of the song also adds an energetic and distinctive element.
“I Feel Fine” is a celebration of the positive emotions that come with being in love and feeling content in a relationship.
- John Lennon – double tracked lead vocal, lead/rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass guitar
- George Harrison – harmony vocal, lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums