Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and sung by Ringo Starr, ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ was originally intended to be a part of the non-soundtrack half of the Help! album.

I recorded a song for the Help! album that was never released – ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’. George Martin found it in the vaults of EMI studios.
Ringo Starr

The songs given to Starr to sing were never among Lennon and McCartney’s finest: ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ and ‘What Goes On’ were little more than album fillers, and often Starr was left to sing cover versions.

‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ bears the unfortunate hallmarks of the two songwriters going through the motions: uninspired lyrics about diamond rings, “money and things”, references to Starr’s haplessness (his persona within the group’s early years was that of an amiable clown), and a tune which was less than inspired.

We’ve just come across that, and it’s the most weird song. I’ve no recollection of ever recording it. It’s got stupid words and is the naffest song. No wonder it didn’t make it onto anything.

In the studio

‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ was recorded in a single take on 18 February 1965, in between two other LennonMcCartney songs – ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ and ‘Tell Me What You See’.

The rhythm track was recorded first, at 6pm, with drums, bass, and George Harrison’s Gretsch electric guitar. Ringo Starr then overdubbed his first vocal track onto track three at 6.40pm.

George Martin's session notes for You've Got To Hide Your Love Away and If You've Got Trouble, 18 February 1965

Track two was an overdub of three guitars: Harrison’s Gretsch, Paul McCartney’s Epiphone Casino, and John Lennon’s Fender Stratocaster.

At 7.15pm Starr double tracked his lead vocals onto track four, Lennon and McCartney added backing vocals, and Harrison performed a solo on a Fender Stratocaster.

That the song wasn’t working as planned can be heard in Ringo’s desperate call before the guitar solo: “Ah, rock on – anybody!” ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ was eventually replaced on the Help! album by ‘Act Naturally’, recorded four months later.

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