Beatles – Getting Better

One thing that strikes me about this song is the constant guitar. The song was on perhaps the most famous rock album…or album ever released. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on May 26, 1967. No singles were pull off of this album when it was released.

Paul McCartney: “It’s an optimistic song,” “I often try and get on to optimistic subjects in an effort to cheer myself up and also, realizing 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 bastards generally. So there are references to them.”

John Lennon had a bad acid trip during the recording. While doing the overdubs, John began to get very sick. He said, “I suddenly got so scared on the mike. I thought I felt ill and I thought I was going to crack. I said I must get some air.” George Martin took him up on the roof of the studios for air and John started walking towards the edge. Martin panicked, thinking that John would fall or leap off and that would be it. On the roof, when John saw Martin looking at him “funny,” he realized he was on acid. John decided he couldn’t do anymore that night, so he sat in the booth and watched the others record. Paul eventually took him home and stayed to keep him company, and he decided to drop some acid with John. It was Paul’s first LSD experience.

John Lennon: “I thought I was taking some uppers and I was not in the state of handling it. I took it and I suddenly got so scared on the mike. I said, ‘What is it? I feel ill.’ I thought I felt ill and I thought I was going cracked. I said I must go and get some air. They all took me upstairs on the roof, and George Martin was looking at me funny, and then it dawned on me that I must have taken some acid. I said, ‘Well, I can’t go on. You’ll have to do it and I’ll just stay and watch.’ I got very nervous just watching them all, and I kept saying, ‘Is this all right?’ They had all been very kind and they said, ‘Yes, it’s all right.’ I said, ‘Are you sure it’s all right?’ They carried on making the record.”

A special thanks to Roger of Musical Musings of a Mangled Mind for suggesting the last three selections!

 

 

 

From Songfacts

The idea of “Getting Better” came to Paul McCartney while he was walking his dog, Martha. The sun started to rise on the walk and he thought “it’s getting better.” It also reminded him of something that Jimmy Nichol used to say quite often during the short period when he was The Beatles drummer. This song was a true collaborative effort for Lennon and McCartney, with Lennon adding that legendary part about being bad to his woman. He later admitted to being a “hitter” when it came to women. He said “I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself, and I hit.”

George Harrison played the tamboura, a large Indian string instrument. It is the droning noise about 2/3rds of the way through.

The string sound at the end was Beatles producer George Martin hitting the strings inside a piano.

Lennon contributed the pessimistic viewpoint, coming up with the line, “It can’t get no worse.” McCartney usually wrote much happier lyrics than Lennon.
Lennon revisited this song when he used the lyrics, “Every day, in every way, it’s getting better and better” for his 1980 track “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).” This time, instead of taking the cynical side, he was affirming that life does just get keep getting better and better. 

This was used in commercials for Phillips television sets in 1999. The living Beatles resent the use of their songs in advertisements, but cannot prevent it because they do not own the publishing rights; Michael Jackson does.

The Beatles had stopped touring by the time this was released. The first time McCartney played it live was on his 2002 “Back In The US” tour. That tour was made into a CD and a 2-hour concert film that aired on ABC and was released on DVD.

This was used in the 2003 movie The Cat in the Hat starring Mike Myers. 

Getting Better

It’s getting better all the time
I used to get mad at my school
The teacher’s that taught me weren’t cool
You’re holding me down
Filling me up with your rules

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better
A little better all the time
I have to admit it’s getting 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
I’m doing the best that I can
I’ve got to admit it’s getting better

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept 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

I admit it’s getting better
A little better all the time
Yes I admit it’s getting better
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine…

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Beatles – Getting Better”

  1. One of my favorites from this album – despite the disturbing lyrics of the last verse. I’m more of a Revolver kind of guy and always thought Sgt. Peppers was a bit overrated. However, this is one of the better songs on it. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If the Beatles would have included Penny Lane and Strawberry fields…that was the original intent…it would have elevated this album….Revolver is my favorite also.

      Like

  2. CAn’t go wrong with that chorus, especially in these times. Lyrics are a bit diquieting I guess, but a great song. I still pick Sgt Pepper as my favorite album of theirs – #2 would be a tough call, Revolver certainly in the running, so too Rubber soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do like Rubber Soul and Revolver….This one is not their best but….I would say most famous of probably any album.
      Revolver is like the edgier sequel to Rubber Soul

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    1. LOL…. I got it when I was 10 in 77. It’s not their best…imo… but it might be the most well-known album in the world…just a guess. I do like it though….A Day In The Life is outstanding.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are open minded. Our band played with a lot of local metal bands…they would not listen to anything but metal…I had a lot of discussions with dudes in spandex lol.
        I did meet some that were cool…but if it wasn’t hard they would not listen.
        I’m a big love of power pop…The Who and bands like that but I do like some harder stuff also.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I would have LOVED to see the walls melt etc. Not now of course but I wish I would have done it once. I’ve seen people on it….played with people on it… A LOT of laughing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the brightness of the sound and the words match the mood. I could see John and George doing acid but not Paul and doubtful on Ringo. Why mess with the control deck of the enterprise for fun?

    Liked by 1 person

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