The Beatles' music: quotes and info

“I Should Have Known Better”

What John Lennon said about “I Should Have Known Better”

JOHN 1980: “That’s me. Just a song– It doesn’t mean a damn thing.”

Info about “I Should Have Known Better”

The Beatles "I Should Have Known Better" single cover
The Beatles “I Should Have Known Better” single cover

“I Should Have Known Better” was composed by John Lennon (credited to Lennon/McCartney), and originally released by The Beatles on the United Kingdom-version of A Hard Day’s Night, their soundtrack for the film of the same name.

“I Should Have Known Better” is basically an early imitation of American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan. In January 1964, during a three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, the Beatles acquired his albums Bob Dylan and Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and began playing them continuously. American journalist Al Aronowitz introduced them to Dylan when the Beatles visited New York in February 1964, and Dylan subsequently became a big influence on the group, especially Lennon, who even started wearing a copycat Huckleberry Finn cap. Paul McCartney said Dylan’s songs were “great lyrically,” and Lennon credited Dylan with inspiring him to write more meaningful lyrics.

Lennon’s harmonica playing opens the track, the last occasion the Beatles were to feature the instrument on an intro (“I’m a Loser”, recorded 14 August 1964, has a harmonica solo) and thus drawing a line under a significant era of their music. The song’s middle sixteen section features George Harrison’s brand new Rickenbacker 12 string guitar.


  • John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney – bass guitar
  • George Harrison – twelve-string lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums

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