Beatles – I Feel Fine

One of the great guitar riffs in rock…very melodic and sounds great on a guitar.

John Lennon said he borrowed from the song “Watch Your Step” by the American blues musician Bobby Parker. I Feel Fine was released in late 1964. It was the A side of the single with She’s A Woman on the B side.

The first note of this song marked the first time feedback was used on a major release. It was created when John Lennon leaned his electric guitar against an amplifier and Paul McCartney played a note on his bass, creating a strangely appealing feedback loop.

The band thought it sounded great, but in this pre-Hendrix era, feedback was considered a technical malfunction and not an artistic enhancement.Producer George Martin was always open to new ideas and agreed to insert it at the beginning of the song. Paul would say that he let them experiment.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, UK, and New Zealand in 1965.

From Songfacts

An early Beatles track, “I Feel Fine” lyrically is a simple love song about a guy who is crazy about his girl. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s effective:

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

The refrain is typical of Lennon’s songwriting, with the three long notes: “I’m so glad.” The sudden explosive refrain in harmonies is similar to Giovanni Gabrieli’s grand concerto “In ecclesiis,” an early baroque-music-piece. 

There is a very faint sound at the end of the song that was rumored to be barking dogs. It’s actually just McCartney goofing around.

The Beatles included this in their setlist when they toured the US in August 1965. Prior to their famous Shea Stadium appearance on August 15, they taped a performance of this song and five others for an Ed Sullivan Show episode that aired September 12.

The group made two music videos for this song as part of a one-day shoot where they banged out takes for four others as well. These were not high-concept films: just the band having some fun while lip-synching the tracks. The first “I Feel Fine” video got pretty goofy, with Ringo riding a stationary bike. For the second, the band simply sits down and eats lunch. This later version wasn’t released until 2015 when it was included on the 1+ collection.

The Ventures incorporated the riff into their surf rock instrumental version of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” on their 1965 Christmas album.

In America, this knocked “Come See About Me” by The Supremes from the top spot. “I Feel Fine” stayed for three weeks, at which point “Come See About Me” returned to bump it off.

I Feel Fine

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, mmm

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

48 thoughts on “Beatles – I Feel Fine”

    1. On the Island picks…it was hard for me not to pick Meet The Beatles…the melodies were there…the presentation was different though. I’m in an early Beatles kick right now.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. still like their stuff that would follow better, but this is a fine one. Was this the song that the label initially didn’t want to release because they thought the feedback was an error in the pressing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that Revolution was sent back because people thought it was a mixing error…I don’t think so on this one…but I could be wrong. Capitalizing on mistakes were a trademark…for them… to notice…hey that sounds good.

      Like

    1. I’m in an early Beatles kick right now. One of my favorite Beatle albums is the American “Meet The Beatles.” The melodies were there…just the presentation changed later…and yea the melodies and lyrics grew a little more complex.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In Europe this album was called “With The Beatles”. That was a time when bands, even the Beatles, had to do cover versions, and there’s a few on this one, but they are really good. Stand out tracks for me are “Don’t Bother Me”, a really haunting slow song, with real feel, and “Money”, which just rocks along.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad you said “Don’t Bother Me”…I’ve always liked that song. That was the first Beatles album I was exposed to…”It Won’t Be Long” was my first favorite Beatle song.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cool stuff. In recordings of the 70s I would sometimes hear background noise, especially when I wear headphones. I know there’s a Zepplin song where I hear someone laughing, presumably from the mixing room. Makes me chuckle every time. If I remember the song, I’ll tell you about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You can find a lot of tunes by The Beatles as good as this one, but you won’t find one better. All Beatles All the Time! Yeah Yeah Yeah! You won’t believe this, Max, but I had a dream last night that a baby was born, and the doctor was holding it up and it looked like a regular baby but I knew it was…. George Harrison. No lie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But of course!!!! You got that time machine after all! I know what you have been up to.

      Don’t be surprised if I double-dip in the album draft with a certain Liverpool band on at least one pick.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Max, it’s another truly remarkable thing – when I saw the headline of your post, the first thought that came to mind was literally what you wrote in your first sentence: “One of the great guitar riffs in rock” – I’m not kidding!

    Another Beatles guitar riff I also really dig is the one on “Day Tripper.” That one I can play okay on a good day. “I Feel Fine”, on the other hand,” I find challenging to play clean. So I literally don’t feel fine! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great minds think alike Christian! lol.

      Oh I Feel Fine is not an easy riff to play. I’ve tried it in a d7 formation and an F formation. Not easy at all. I’ve never mastered it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had the single of this. I wonder if I still have it or if it was one that got lost. I can’t imagine I’d have willingly parted with it. Have always loved it. Can’t get used to hearing it in stereo though!! (I feel the same about all the albums I’d had in mono, originally).

    I hadn’t known about the Bobby Parker song, it does sound very like it apart from a few notes here and there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it does sound like it…I do like that Lennon came out and said it.

      I hope you can find it…you should hear the American version of these songs…they added stereo and reverb for some odd reason. Capitol did.

      Liked by 1 person

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