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11 November 2014
3.13pm
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Joe
Pepperland
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Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 9, 10, 21, 23 March 1967
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Malcolm Addey, Geoff Emerick

Released: 1 June 1967 (UK), 2 June 1967 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, piano
John Lennon: backing vocals, handclaps
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar, tambura
Ringo Starr: drums, congas
George Martin: piano, pianette…

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16 December 2015
7.36am
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Shamrock Womlbs
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When he sings: “You gave me the word, I finally heard” … could that be a reference to their song “The Word ” ? (and there’s another reference in “when i’m sixty four“)

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"I Need You by George Harrison"

16 December 2015
9.53am
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meanmistermustard
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lillo78 said
When he sings: “You gave me the word, I finally heard” … could that be a reference to their song “The Word ” ? (and there’s another reference in “when i’m sixty four“)

Could be. Good catch. I’m rubbish when it comes to songs possibly referencing other songs.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)

17 December 2015
4.21am
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ewe2
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lillo78 said

When he sings: “You gave me the word, I finally heard” … could that be a reference to their song “The Word ” ? (and there’s another reference in “when i’m sixty four“)

Yeah I’ve always heard it as that. That’s why I think of it as a John rather than Paul reference. The song is full of Paul-happy John-sarcasm and that marvellous ADT bassline, quite bouncy and yet at the same time, its a simple pop idea, one motif and it’s done.

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17 December 2015
4.00pm
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KaleidoscopeMusic
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I love how brutally honest this song is and also how relate-able. It’s not the best to analyze because it’s just their pure feelings on the sides of life we don’t want to dress up in flowery musical language.

Only music can save us.

18 December 2015
3.34am
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Shamrock Womlbs
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It’s a great track. I like the rythm guitar in the background staying in the same chord while the harmony is changing, and the slightly out of tune vocal harmonies. The bass is great, and Ringo’s work is simple but quite effective. Also Paul’s voice is very well , and the outro … fantastic.

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18 December 2015
4.41am
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meanmistermustard
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I really like the use of the tambura and congas in the “I used to be bad to my woman” verse and the tiered “Better! Better! Better!” vocals. Automatically brings back the tiered vocals in ‘Twist And Shout ‘ and ‘Day Tripper ‘.

Another perfect example of how listening just to the Beatles vocals is highly worthwhile.

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18 December 2015
10.45am
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O Boogie
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There’s a video where Paul cites this song as an example of how their partnership worked. Paul is like “It’s getting better all the time”, and John in his monotone, “Well, it couldn’t get much worse”. He said that he wouldn’t have put it there because of the optimistic fellow that he was/is.

I found that video pretty interesting. If anyone hasn’t watched it, please do:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?…..8OY2MKVhpY

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18 December 2015
10.49am
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Expert Textpert
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That line from John is the best part, it always makes me laugh.

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25 March 2016
3.45am
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Ron Nasty
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I always think this is one of the more interesting Lennon/McCartney collaborations in the way it was written.

Most of their collaborations whoever had the idea would take the lead on the writing, getting help from the other, sometimes to the degree where they are true 50/50 songs. It’s very rare that there’s a song where one comes up with the idea, and the other takes the lead. That’s just what happened here though.

Paul had the chorus, based on an old Jimmy Nicol line, but nothing more.

The meat of the song, the verses, are John with Paul helping, and Paul admits that John made his chorus with the “It can’t much worse” line.

So this song can be viewed as a 60/40 split between the two, but one of the rare occurrences where the 40 belongs to the one who had the initial idea. This is a Paul song that was mainly written by John.

John often came up with lines that made McCartney songs. I always think of I Saw Her Standing There . John objects to Paul’s line, “Never been a beauty queen”, and suggests the more knowing wink of “You know what I mean”. Makes the song. Turns it on its head, and makes it into the classic it is. We’d still be cringing at the “beauty queen” line if not for John saving us from it.

Getting Better  may be unique though, in that Paul came up with the base and then let John run riot with his idea. I can’t think of another song where John wrote the majority of a Paul song, or Paul writing the majority of a John song.

It does make this a strangely unique collaboration among the many ways they wrote together though.

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25 March 2016
6.08am
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georgiewood
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8What an insightful comment.

I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did'.
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16 April 2016
7.40pm
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Ahhh Girl
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On Paul’s official website where he has the lyrics to his songs, he doesn’t include John’s lines in this song. I wonder if he left out John’s lines in other songs.

This irks me more than a wee bit. Why aren’t John’s lines there?

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16 April 2016
7.42pm
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Little Piggy Dragonguy
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I don’t think he has the backup vocal lyrics to any of the songs on his websitea-hard-days-night-paul-3

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17 April 2016
3.43pm
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Zig
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Do any of the musicians in our midst have the published music/lyrics? I would be curious to see if John’s lines appear there. Realizing they are just a handful of words, it still seems a shame to consider them backup vocals when they lend so much to the song.

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17 April 2016
4.15pm
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Ron Nasty
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Here’s the lyrics as published on the back of the Pepper sleeve:

GB.jpgImage Enlarger

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17 April 2016
4.26pm
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Zig
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Yeah, I have that as well, RN. But that is not what I was looking for. Thanks just the same.

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18 April 2016
2.54am
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Matt Busby
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meanmistermustard said
I really like the use of the tambura and congas in the “I used to be bad to my woman” verse and the tiered 

I think (and the discussion here points to John having written it) that verse is bravely autobiographical.   

@Zig , you can google the sheet music and get several versions, even pay for an “official copy”. Everything i saw indicated it was 100% John, but the information here is probably more accurate. I didn’t see the line “can’t get much worse” in the ones i looked at, or any backing vocals. I’m not sure exactly which lines you mean by “johns lines” though. here’s an example.

Half of what I say is meaningless...

I feel good in a special way, I'm in love and it's a sunny day

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18 April 2016
12.48pm
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Zig
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Thanks @Matt Busby  – that is exactly what I was looking for. Pity John’s lines* do not appear.

*No I can’t complain, can’t get no worse, etc…

@Ahhh Girl – can’t blame Paulie – looks like nobody recognizes them as official lyrics. a-hard-days-night-john-2 

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18 April 2016
1.07pm
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sigh butterfly
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The site I use for referencing Beatle lyrics includes the backup vocals and such, but often gets them wrong (at least to my ear). Here is what they published for Getting Better :

 Getting Better

It’s getting better all the time

I used to get mad at my school (No I can’t complain)
The teachers who taught me weren’t cool (No I can’t complain)
You’re holding me down (Oh), turning me round (Oh)
Filling me up with your rules (Foolish rules)

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (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 (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine
Getting so much better all the time
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept her 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 (Ooh)

I admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
Yes I admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine
Getting so much better all the time
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
Getting so much better all the time

You and I have memories
Longer than the road that stretches out ahead

18 April 2016
1.37pm
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Zig
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Thanks, SB – I see those same sites. The lyrics on them are posted by “regular folk” like you and me – meaning not the publishers of the music (Northern Songs, etc…). That is why they usually feature mistakes.

RN posted the lyrics from the back of the LP, but I’ve seen mistakes listed on those types of sources also (lyric sheets included with albums, etc…). That is why I was looking for the sheet music as that is what is published.

When I say it is a shame that John’s lines are not part of the officially published lyrics, I mean it. Not ALL backing lyrics/vocals are worthy of being included in the published music, but the ones John came up with are so integral to the song, IMHO.

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