The opening song of Let It Be’s second half, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ was made up of two half-finished songs joined together.
Paul McCartney wrote the section that gave the song its title; John Lennon’s contribution was originally called ‘Everybody Had A Hard Year’, and had previously been demoed during the White Album sessions.
As such, it was the pair’s first full and equal collaboration since 1967’s ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’. Lennon and McCartney worked on the song together at the latter’s house in Cavendish Avenue, London.
This song is a shotgun wedding between my own ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and a piece John had written, called ‘Everyone Had A Bad [sic] Year’. One of the most exciting things about writing with John was that he would very often come in from another angle. If I were saying, ‘It’s getting better all the time,’ John might easily say, ‘It can’t get no worse,’ which immediately opens the song right up.
It had been a rough year or two for John. The breakup of his marriage. His estrangement from Julian. A problem with heroin. And there was the generally poor state of affairs in the band by this time. That’s encapsulated in the combination of the phrases ‘Everybody pulled their socks up’ and ‘Everybody put their foot down’. Those lines refer in some way to the state of the nation, or the state of The Beatles.
The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present
Lennon, conversely, had recently divorced his first wife Cynthia and was estranged from their son Julian. Additionally, he was addicted to heroin, his then-girlfriend Yoko Ono had recently suffered a miscarriage, the pair had been arrested for cannabis possession, and his enthusiasm for being a Beatle was at an all-time low.
In the studio
The Beatles first recorded ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ on 22 January 1969, their first session after filming Let It Be at Twickenham Film Studios. More takes were recorded over the next two days. One version, from 23 January, was included on Anthology 3. Another, from the 24th, was included on the unreleased Get Back LP.
The Beatles continued work on the song on 27 and 28 January, but it wasn’t until the Apple rooftop performance that they recorded the final version. They taped two versions of ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, the first of which appeared on the Let It Be album and in the film.
The 2003 album Let It Be… Naked included a composite edit of the two rooftop performances, prepared especially for the release.