I Me Mine

Let It Be album artworkWritten by: Harrison
Recorded: 3 January; 1, 2 April 1970
Producers: George Martin, Phil Spector
Engineers: Phil McDonald, Peter Bown

Released: 8 May 1970 (UK), 18 May 1970 (US)

George Harrison: vocals, harmony vocals, acoustic guitars, lead guitars
Paul McCartney: harmony vocals, bass, Hammond organ, electric piano
Ringo Starr: drums
Uncredited: 18 violins, four violas, four cellos, three trumpets, three trombones, harp

Available on:
Let It Be
Anthology 3
Let It Be… Naked

The last song to be recorded by The Beatles, I Me Mine was written by George Harrison about revelations regarding the ego discovered through LSD use.

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Having LSD was like someone catapulting me out into space. The LSD experience was the biggest experience that I’d had up until that time…

Suddenly I looked around and everything I could see was relative to my ego, like ‘that’s my piece of paper’ and ‘that’s my flannel’ or ‘give it to me’ or ‘I am’. It drove me crackers, I hated everything about my ego, it was a flash of everything false and impermanent, which I disliked. But later, I learned from it, to realise that there is somebody else in here apart from old blabbermouth. Who am ‘I’ became the order of the day. Anyway, that’s what came out of it, I Me Mine. The truth within us has to be realised. When you realise that, everything else that you see and do and touch and smell isn’t real, then you may know what reality is, and can answer the question ‘Who am I?’

George Harrison
I Me Mine (book), 1980

It seems fitting that a song about egocentricity was the final recording by the group, who by 1970 had all but disintegrated into acrimony and lethargy, with the various members wanting quite different things from life.

The Let It Be film, shot in January 1969 at Twickenham Film Studios, contains a version of I Me Mine, captured the day after it was written.

I Me Mine, it’s called. I don’t care if you don’t want it… It’s a heavy waltz.

In the film, Harrison first plays the song to Starr, followed by a version performed by Harrison, McCartney and Starr, during which John Lennon dances with Yoko Ono.

Although I Me Mine was considered by The Beatles to be little more than a filler track for the album, Harrison evidently retained a liking for it. His autobiography, published in 1980, was named after the song, and he stood by its philosophical sentiments.

I Me Mine is the ego problem. There are two ‘I’s: the little ‘i’ when people say ‘I am this’; and the big ‘I’ – ie duality and ego. There is nothing that isn’t part of the complete whole. When the little ‘i’ merges into the big ‘I’ then you are really smiling!
George Harrison
Anthology

In the studio

Prompted by the inclusion of the song in the Let It Be film, The Beatles decided to record I Me Mine for the soundtrack album. On 3 January 1970 Lennon was holidaying in Denmark, and had essentially left the group anyway, so just Harrison, McCartney and Starr attended the session.

The group recorded 16 takes of the song, most lasting not longer than 1’30″. Harrison played acoustic guitar and sang a guide vocal, with McCartney on bass and Starr on drums.

Between takes six and seven the group began an instrumental jam, and prior to take 12 they performed a version of the Buddy Holly song Peggy Sue Got Married.

Anthology 3 contains a statement delivered by Harrison, in the style of a press statement, prior to take 15. Making a reference to Lennon’s absence, he said:

You all will have read that Dave Dee is no longer with us. But Mickey and Tich and I would just like to carry on the good work that’s always gone down in [studio] number two.

The remark was included on Anthology 3, along with take 16, although without the orchestration later added by Phil Spector. A different mix, also minus the strings and brass but containing edits made by Spector which almost doubled the song’s length, was included on Let It Be… Naked in 2003.

Take 16 was the best attempt of the day, and onto this the group overdubbed electric piano, electric guitar, lead and backing vocals, a Hammond organ and another acoustic guitar.

Phil Spector began work on Let It Be on 23 March 1970. On this day he extended the song from 1’34″ to 2’25″. He did this by repeating the line “All through the day I me mine” from the first verse, and following it with a further repeat of the chorus and final verse.

With the addition of an orchestra, the repetition was barely noticeable. This was recorded on 1 April, and was arranged by Richard Hewson.

Ringo Starr played drums, with 27 string and six brass musicians providing the wall of sound which took Harrison’s song from a simple blues waltz into something altogether more elaborate.

17 Responses to “I Me Mine”

  1. Iman

    Such a great track. Thanks for the extra info. After my listening to 40 years of rock music the Beatles still are the best.

    Reply
  2. Calico

    I love this song! It’s eerily beautiful, and the orchestration is great. It’s a shame that Phil got so much flak for his treatment of the material.

    Reply
  3. Matt

    The original recording is far superior to Spector’s smothering orchestration, in my opinion. Not much can beat a hard rocking blues number.

    Reply
  4. Carmen Lidia

    I never listened “I Me Mine” before my son (17) bought the Rockband. I am delighted that he is so mesmerized with the Beatles as I was when I was his age. I must say that this song captivated me today as much as the others during the years 1965 and on…

    Reply
  5. BeatleMark

    I agree with Calico, Spector did get a lot of crap for the hard work that he did to “Let It Be”. I like his version of this song better than the “Let It Be Naked” chop.

    Reply
  6. Joseph Brush

    IMO not only is Spector’s version of I,Me,Mine superior to the LIB Naked version, but Spector should be given some credit for expanding the length of the song itself.

    Don’t get me wrong, I prefer most of LIB Naked over Let It Be.

    Reply
  7. David

    I’d like to see a pure Let It Be, Let It Be … Naked is free of Phil Spector’s orchestra, but the songs are different takes and Dig It/Maggie Mae were removed, although it does have Don’t Let Me Down

    Reply
  8. vonbontee

    George displaying a sly bit of his famous Monty Python fandom in that excerpt from the “I Me Mine” book above. “That’s my flannel” is taken directly from the “No Time To Lose Advice Centre” skit.

    Reply
  9. Beatlesguru

    As someone who grew up with this album – along with several other Beatles classics – I have to say I’m always astounded by all the criticism Spector gets. He was asked by Lennon to do a job and he did it (and a fairly good job IMHO). This song sounds great with all the extra horns and violins thrown in. All Spector did enhance the power of the original. LIB is a great album and doesn’t deserve the reputation it has. Seriously – if U2 or Coldplay released this album it would be hailed as the greatest of all time. Give Spector a break and enjoy a timeless classic by George Harrison – probably the most fitting song that could have ever ended the Bealtes…

    Reply
  10. DB

    The up tempo middle, which makes the song musically, was suggested by Paul after John remarked that he didn’t think the song sounded “like a Beatles song”. Paul and George had their problems in the latter years of the Beatles and the early years afterwards, but Paul always gave 100% to George’s songs and, in my opinion, added depth to them with his fine bass playing, piano and harmonies. And I should add that when Paul let him, George made some fine contributions to Paul’s songs, two good examples being “And I Love Her” and “Drive My Car”, two of Paul’s best Beatles’ songs.

    Reply
    • Joseph Brush

      The last time I read Many Years From Now Paul mentioned that John worked on Drive My Car along with Paul.

      Reply
  11. GeorgeTSimpson

    I Me Mine (at least in Spector’s arrangement) heralded the All Things Must Pass lp, many songs on all things must pass sound quite similar to this. I’m a big fan of this song (and also the All Things Must Pass lp) but I think Let It Be is not the right place for it, it should habe been on All Things Must Pass

    Reply
  12. Joaquín Sandoval

    Beautiful song… and I’d like to point out Paul’s mastery in everything he does in this song: the vocals, the keyboards and (obviously) the bass guitar. The man is a true genius of music… (stating the obvious, I know, but still)

    Reply
  13. John Lennon Fan

    I thought that ‘Because’ was the last song recorded by the Beatles, in fact, as most of us already know, Let it Be was recorded before Abbey Road.

    Reply
  14. Doug Pitts

    MOST of Let It Be was recorded prior to Abbey Road, with the final version of I Me Mine being the exception. The last time all four Beatles were together in the recording studio, the work was on I Want You (She’s So Heavy). As stated above, the final session for I Me Mine only had Paul, George and Ringo. The final time they were all present together, as “the Beatles” outside of legal meetings, was for their final photo shoot, the one that yielded the photos for the Hey Jude (The Beatles Again) album (which was released between the release of Abbey Road and Let It Be and was a US-only album). A version of I Me Mine is seen in the Let It Be film, but it is not the version you hear on Let It Be the album.

    Reply

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