I’ll Get You

Past Masters album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 1 July 1963
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 23 August 1963 (UK), 16 September 1963 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass, handclaps
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar, handclaps
Ringo Starr: drums, handclaps

Available on:
Past Masters
Anthology 1
On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2

Written by Lennon and McCartney as the intended follow-up to From Me To You, I'll Get You was eventually released as the b-side to the irresistible She Loves You.

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That was Paul and me trying to write a song and it didn't work out.
John Lennon
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.

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.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

In the studio

The Beatles recorded I'll Get You on 1 July 1963, after they'd finished taping She Loves You. It originally had the working title Get You In The End.

Details no longer exist of the number of takes required to complete the song, as Abbey Road'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.

18 responses on “I’ll Get You

  1. Deadman

    According to Geoff Emerick, I’ll Get You “took quite a bit of time to record, and the session ran a little overtime.”
    Here, There and Everywhere (2007), p. 68

  2. Gene Magrisso

    I love this beautiful song–especially the harmony when they sing, “I’ve imagined I’m in love with you…” It sounds so innocent and makes one nostalgic for what seemed a much more innocent era.

  3. wayne

    “I liked that slightly faggy way we sang. ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah,’ which was very distinctive, very Beatley”

    Paul McCartney
    Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
    And – to reiterate – very “faggy”. What was that all about anyway, Sir Paul? Maybe it was the Beatles’ way of acknowledging or thanking their erstwhile (gay) manager Brian Epstein. Or maybe the song was inspired by Epstein’s trip to Spain with Lennon earlier that year (1963). Cavern Club emcee Bob Wooler soon learned that this was not a suject one brought up in public…unless one had a hankering to have the crap pummeled out of them by John Lennon himself. Touchy subject, eh Paul? So why did you have to go and “touch” it?. LOL

  4. ForeverOK

    I’ve just ‘rediscovered’ this excellent song; it should’ve been an A side. ‘Imagine I’m in love with you’ a great line and then ‘I’ve imagined …’ a beautiful melodic line, a classic. I suppose it’s so simple that John cuffed it off at the time. But I hope he changed his mind! Maybe subconsciously he did, with ‘Imagine’. I was playing this on the piano just a minute ago, and made a mistake ‘I’ll get you in the end’ which is supposed to be Bm. But I did a B, and it sounds nice. I’m going to sing this to a beautiful girl who said she loves me, after I’ve practiced a bit.

  5. ForeverOK

    Just recently occurred to me, but ‘Imagine’ has some lyrics in common with ‘I’ll Get You’ and it’s fun to sing some of the lyrics from IGY to the melody of Imagine. Example, ‘Imagine I’m in love with you …. it’s easy ’cause I know …’ (and of course Imagine has ‘it’s easy if you try’)….. The second verse IGY also works with Imagine melody.

  6. Johan cavalli

    I think that the rising melody in the begining is like the middle part in Lennon´s Yes it Is. Even the two repeating notes in the beginning here are typical Lennon´s ? When McCartney discuss this song he only praises the chord behind “…to pre t e n d…”. That could have been his main contribution. If he hade done more in melody, he would have said it. After “…to pretend…” it followes “…but I get you in the end…” with the melody exact from From Me To You!
    Ian MacDonald sais in his Revolution In The Head, that “…by its melodic directness…” the song was “written fifty-fifty by McCartney, who probably started it”. That is interesting. if it is not clear who composed what, you use T h e M c C a r t n e y p r e s u m t i o n, ore I n d u b i o M c C a r t n e y (because he did Yesterday)

  7. Billy Blackstone

    I just sang it for my physics of music class to illustrate how the Beatles would throw in just a little chord twist here and there, even very early: the minor 7th on ‘pretend’.. the major 9th fillip after imagine I’m…. and the very powerful surprising E7 at the end of the middle eight (same melody over three increasing powerful chords there). It is indeed one of the greatest Beatle songs, and perhaps their single most “Beatley” one. And I love singing it to myself too!

  8. Some guy

    That was Paul and me trying to write a song and it didn’t work

    Most of us mere mortals would be thrilled to have created something as beautiful as this song!

    Man, John was a brutal critic of his own work, wasn’t he?

  9. Graham Paterson

    First heard this song when I got a reissued copy of”She Loves You” single. Instantly loved it. I can see why this became a favorite of Paul McCartney’s. As some one else said on this site I love the nostalgic feel to this song. A nostalgic side is evident in many Beatles songs and not just McCartney’s, John Lennon’s too. “She Loves You” obviously was the right choice as A side. But I have no doubt this would have been a big hit in it’s own right at another time.It is just so catchy.

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