That was Paul and me trying to write a song and it didn’t work out.
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
The song was composed at John Lennon’s aunt Mimi’s house on Menlove Avenue, Liverpool. Lennon and McCartney rarely wrote at the house because of Mimi’s disapproval of their music.
She was a good and very strong-willed woman; she definitely knew her own mind> What’s odd about that is that Mimi didn’t care so much for our music and would just as soon not have had us around, because she thought we were encouraging John to devote more time to his guitar instead of his studies. Mimi always said, ‘The guitar’s all right for a hobby, John, but you’ll never make a living at it!’
The word and idea of ‘imagine’ is something John would repurpose in his own song ‘Imagine’. It’s also a bit like the opening of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, with its exhortation to ‘Picture yourself…’ So it’s a filmic thing, as well as a literary thing. When I say ‘literary’, I think of the imagined world of Lewis Carroll that John and I both loved so much. Carroll was a big influence on both of us; that can really be seen in John’s books In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works.
The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present
As with ‘She Loves You’, ‘I’ll Get You’ was full of ‘yeah’s; The Beatles’ use of the word in the songs earned them the nickname The Yeah-Yeahs throughout Europe.
‘I’ll Get You’ became one of Paul McCartney’s favourite Beatles tracks. It was frequently played live by the group too – a version from the London Palladium, recorded on 13 October 1963, appears on Anthology 1.
It’s got an interesting chord in it: ‘It’s not easy to pre-tend…’ That was nicked from a song called ‘All My Trials’ which is on an album I had by Joan Baez: ‘There’s only one thing that money can’t buy.’ It’s like D, which goes to an A minor, which is unusual, you’d normally go from a D to an A major. It’s a change that had always fascinated me, so I put it in. I liked that slightly faggy way we sang. ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah,’ which was very distinctive, very Beatley.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
In the studio
Details no longer exist of the number of takes required to complete the song, as EMI’s documentation was somewhat haphazard at the time. However, the stumbling over the vocals in the middle eight – Lennon sings “I’m gonna make you mine”, instead of the correct “gonna change your mind” – suggest that the group dashed it off quickly.
After taping the rhythm track John Lennon overdubbed his harmonica part, and the rest of The Beatles contributed handclaps.