- Published on 1968
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 16 on “The Beatles – White Album“
PAUL 1968: “We’re not just completely rock & roll. We’re not just completely one kind of group. ‘Cuz like, when we played in Hamburg, we didn’t just do rock all evening ‘cuz we had to have these sort of fat old businessmen coming in and saying… (jokingly) or THIN old businessmen, as well, were coming in and saying ‘Play a mambo. Can you do a rhumba?’ And we couldn’t just keep saying no, you know, so we had to get into mambos and rhumbas a bit. So this kind of thing is like a pretty sort of smootchy ballad– ‘I Will.’ I don’t know if it’s getting off the subject, but that’s why there’s great variety in this LP– ‘cuz in everything we do, you know, we just haven’t got one bag, you know. And ‘cuz on one hand you’ll get something like ‘I Will’ and then you’ll get ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road,’ you know. Just completely different things– completely different feelings… But it’s me singing both of them. It’s the same fella. Uhh, and I’ve wrote both of them, you know. So you can’t explain it. I don’t know why I do ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ shouting it like that… and then do this sort of smootchy laughing American ‘Girl From Ipenema.’”
PAUL circa-1994: “I was doing a song, ‘I Will,’ that I had as a melody for quite a long time but I didn’t have lyrics to it. I remember sitting around (in India) with Donovan, and maybe a couple of other people. We were just sitting around one evening after our day of meditation and I played him this one and he liked it, and we were trying to write some words. We kicked around a few lyrics, something about the moon, but they weren’t very satisfactory and I thought the melody was better than the words… it’s still one of my favorite melodies that I’ve written. You just occasionally get lucky with a melody and it becomes rather complete and I think this is one of them– quite a complete tune.”
About “I Will”
“I Will” is featured on their 1968 double album famously known as White Album. Penned by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney), the track showcases McCartney’s mastery on lead vocals, guitar, and “vocal bass.”
“I Will” emerged during the Beatles’ creative sojourn in Rishikesh, India, along with their collaborators. While the music took shape smoothly, the lyrics underwent refinement in India and remained incomplete even as recording commenced back in London. McCartney reminisced about crafting a set of lyrics with a “moon” motif alongside Donovan, but ultimately found them unsatisfactory. He replaced them with “simple words, straight from the heart.”
Apple Records unveiled “The Beatles” on 22 November 1968, positioning “I Will” as the penultimate track on side two, nestled between “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” and “Julia.” McCartney, during a Radio Luxembourg interview to promote the release, underscored the album’s diverse musical styles, highlighting “I Will” as a testament to the band’s ability to cater to various genres, reflecting their pre-fame years in Hamburg.
Jonathan Gould characterizes “I Will” as a subtly impactful counterpoint to the suggestive tone of “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” Drawing parallels to McCartney’s 1966 composition “Here, There and Everywhere,” Gould observes a perceived lack of genuine emotion, attributing it to the lyrics and musical arrangement. Howard Sounes commends the variety in McCartney’s contributions to the White Album but criticizes “I Will” for its sentimentality, labeling it a cliché.
Jacob Stolworthy, marking the 50th anniversary of the album, ranks “I Will” at an impressive 12 out of 30 tracks on the White Album. He lauds it as a crystalline example of McCartney’s unparalleled ability to craft love songs effortlessly, acknowledging McCartney’s inclusion of it among his personal favorites as a choice difficult to dispute. Notably, the song graced the soundtrack of the 1994 film “Love Affair,” featuring Annette Bening and Warren Beatty.
Meaning of “I Will”
“I Will” is a love song that expresses feelings of devotion, commitment, and enduring affection. The lyrics convey a promise of unwavering love and support for the person to whom the song is addressed. The narrator reassures his loved one that he will always be there, emphasizing a sense of constancy and reliability.
The song’s lyrics convey a sentiment of timeless, enduring love, promising to stand by the person through thick and thin. It embodies a sense of trust and a willingness to weather any storm that may come their way.
Overall, “I Will” is a heartfelt expression of deep and abiding love, encapsulating the enduring nature of a romantic relationship.
- Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitars, “vocal bass”
- John Lennon – percussion, maracas
- Ringo Starr – bongos, cymbals