Beatles Week – Got To Get You Into My Life

Liam Sullivan is a Dad, archivist, choral singer, and tour guide living his best life in Boston, MA. You can read his thoughts on books, movies, music, and more at Panorama of the Mountains

“Got to Get You Into My Life” is a song by The Beatles that was a top ten hit when I was a small child. Except that The Beatles broke up more than 3 years before I was even born. How could this be? It was a mystery to me for a long time. I didn’t even know it was a song by The Beatles until I was a teenager in the 1980s. It puzzled me how I could remember “Got to Get You Into My Life” being in heavy rotation with the songs I heard played on the radio in my dad’s Chevy Nova back in the mid-70s.

I won’t keep you in suspense as long as I was. It turns out that Capitol Records, The Beatles label in the United States, released “Got to Get You Into My Life” as a single on May 31, 1976. Despite being a ten-year-old song at that point, it did well on the charts, peaking at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the week of July 24, 1976. It would be The Beatles last Top Ten hit until “Free As A Bird” in 1995.

The single was released to promote a compilation album that Capitol Records was promoting called Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. The collection of 28 rockers culled from The Beatles’ previous releases was clearly Capitol looking to make some money off of a beloved band that wasn’t making any new music. It sold well, reaching number 2 on the Billboard album charts, ironically held out of the top spot by Paul McCartney’s Wings at the Speed of Sound.

    The album cover for Rock ‘n’ Roll Music was designed to tap into the Fifties nostalgia craze of the 1970s with images of a jukebox, cars with big fins, and Marilyn Monroe. The Beatles, notably were a Sixties band, but the title track is a cover of a Chuck Berry song from the Fifties, so there’s a tenuous connection. The Fifties nostalgia probably was kicked off by the doo wop cover act Sha Na Na performing at Woodstock in 1969 (the group would get a TV show that started in 1977. I loved Bowser). The Broadway musical Grease (1972), the movie American Graffiti (1973), and the TV sitcom Happy Days (debuted in 1974), all continued this trend. Even John Lennon got into the act with his 1974 album Rock ‘N’ Roll, a collection of covers of Lennon’s favorite songs from his youth.

    But “Got to Get You Into My Life” is not a Fifties song. It’s a Sixties song that became a hit in the Seventies partly because it really sounds like the soul and funk music that was dominating the charts at the time. Does it not sound like it totally fits in with the Number One song of week of July 24, 1976, “Kiss and Say Goodbye” by The Manhattans (who despite their name were a New Jersey band who played Philadelphia soul). Even better evidence that an old Beatles’ album track somehow captured the zeitgeist of Seventies funk and soul is that the Chicago R&B band released a cover of the song in July 1978 (their version peaked at #9 on the Hot 100).

    But let’s go back to the Sixties, when the Beatles recorded the song. The lineup for The Beatles recording the song was Paul McCartney on lead vocal and bass, John Lennon on rhythm guitar, George Harrison on lead guitar, and Ringo star on drums and tambourine. Producer George Martin also added organ. But if you’re going to record an homage to Motown and Memphis soul, you’re going to need horns. So a quintet of guest artists were brought in.
    • Eddie Thornton – trumpet. The Jamaican-born Thornton, known by the nickname Tan Tan, is likely the first Black guest musician on a Beatles recording since The Beatles didn’t have many guest artists prior to recording Revolver.
    • Ian Hamer – trumpet. Hamer had a jazz artists who had a long career as a Liverpool big band leader.
    • Les Condon – trumpet. The London-born Condon was a modern jazz pioneer who played with many of the top UK and American jazz acts.
    • Alan Branscombe – tenor saxophone. Merseyside-born Branscombe was a sideman to numerous jazz band leaders over a four decade career.
    • Peter Coe – tenor saxophone. Coe was more of a pop musician and had previously played with the British R&B band Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, contributing a sax solo to their UK #1 hit “Yeh Yeh.”
    Having discussed many aspects of the song, let us finish with the lyrics. It is a love song, of course. Right? Well, according to McCartney “It’s actually an ode to pot.” Legendarily, the Beatles were introduced to marijuana by Bob Dylan when they met in 1964, and the band grew to incorporate the drug into their creative process leading to this love song to pot. Personally, I’m going to forget that I learned that because while I’ve never used marijuana, I have been in love. The lyrics of this song so perfectly capture that feeling of meeting an intoxicating person (or plant) and connecting with them so fully that you just want to spend every moment you can with them. Surely this is what Paul McCartney would feel when he met Linda Eastman in 1967. In fact, they are famous for spending “every single day” of their lives together until Linda’s death in 1998. You can read the full lyrics and decide for yourself if this is a love song, a drug song, or (most likely) both.

    Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

31 thoughts on “Beatles Week – Got To Get You Into My Life”

  1. I was in high school band. Four of my bandmates (alto sax, trumpet, trombone, drums) were part of a rock band. This was probably their best song and another example of The Beatles being able to do pretty much anything they tried. Hey, should we be a horn band? Let’s try it!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This was the second album I bought by them when I was 9 in 76. My older sister bought this single that year. Great song that leaves me puzzled…why didn’t they release it when Revolver was release? One of Paul’s best songs.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. LOL…my first album was in 1975 and it was Hey Jude Again…that greatest hits that Allen Klein put together. Great little album to start off with

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A good song for sure. Like Liam, I remember this being a radio hit in ’76 & thinking ‘didn’t they break up?’ I figured maybe they were back together. Anyway, good marketing by Capitol & it did fit in with the rest of that summer’s music.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Again my sister had the single…which is probably the only Beatle record she ever bought… the album was the second Beatles album I ever bought.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It has a joyous bounce to it; As Halfast says, whatever they put their mind to, they had the talent to smash it outta the park. (IMO the EW and F version just doesn’t take off. Catch fire. Or spark up?)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I had to look up what a Mellotron was – but I had something similar. It was a long gadget with little weights attached to a speaker. You sat it on the piano keyboard, and when a note was depressed the little weight fell and an electronic sound (on that note) sounded. It only played what I called sine waves (don’t know what they called these days). I don’t know what this machine was called but I thought it was very modern and I loved it! Looking back it sounded utter crap!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. No clue about the actual meaning behind the lyrics. I wonder if was PM and Wings that pushed this song up the charts in ‘76? Not that it isn’t a great song on it’s own. Great write up, lots of good stuff in there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liam did a great job. You know what Randy? I never thought of that…that didn’t hurt I’m sure…Capitol probably saw McCartney touring and thought…hey great timing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great stuff. Did they put out two volumes of Rock N Roll music on cassette tape back in the 80s? I swear I had two tapes that I had bought that were VOL 1 and 2. It could be something entirely different as who know where my heads at now! lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure about that…with tape…they could have very well split it up….did the cover look like this one?


      1. Graham I was wondering about that… and I found this: In October 1980, the album was divided into two single albums, and released as budget LPs in both the UK and the United States.

        I had no clue of this.


  7. Terrific pick, which once again goes to show The Beatles weren’t a one-trick pony. This is a legitimate soul tune played by four white lads from Liverpool – okay with a little help from some horn player friends!

    Perhaps the greatest validation is that none other than nine African American artists from the U.S., aka Earth, Wind & Fire, decided to cover the song and release it as a single in 1978!


  8. This oddly was never a UK single, not even in 1976 – the UK opted for Back In The USSR and I was miffed this fabulous track didn’t get it’s moment in the sun – still am! I didn’t know it until 1976 either, as it wasn’t on the Red or Blue albums which I’d played to death. It sounded fresh as a daisy in 1976…

    Liked by 1 person

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