I Feel Fine

Album: Past Masters, Vol. 1 (1964)
Charted: 1 1
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  • The first note of this song marked the first time feedback was used on a major release. It was created when John Lennon leaned his electric guitar against an amplifier and Paul McCartney played a note on his bass, creating a strangely appealing feedback loop. The band thought it sounded great, but in this pre-Hendrix era, feedback was considered a technical malfunction and not an artistic enhancement. Fortunately, their producer George Martin was always open to new ideas and agreed to insert it at the beginning of the song. "He'd let us experiment like nutty professors," McCartney said of Martin.
  • An early Beatles track, "I Feel Fine" lyrically is a simple love song about a guy who is crazy about his girl. It's not Shakespeare, but it's effective:

    She's so glad, she's telling all the world
    That her baby buys her things, you know
    He buys her diamond rings, you know
  • John Lennon wrote the majority of this song, which borrows from the "Watch Your Step" by the American blues musician Bobby Parker.

    In 2008, Parker told the Forgotten Hits newsletter: "I've been in litigation for close to 55 years about some of this material that was stolen from me. They had 'Watch Your Step' on John Lennon's Jukebox and then that went out all over the country on PBS Television and people heard about it. John Lennon said how he had 'borrowed' that guitar part for HIS record, and pretty soon everybody knew about 'Watch Your Step.' I go over to England now and that's all they wanna hear, they don't even care about the new stuff I'm doin'. I'm out there playin' with Buddy Guy and Robert Gray, and they just wanna hear 'Watch Your Step' from John Lennon's Jukebox!"
  • The refrain is typical of Lennon's songwriting, with the three long notes: "I'm so glad." The sudden explosive refrain in harmonies is similar to Giovanni Gabrieli's grand concerto "In ecclesiis," an early baroque-music-piece. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Johan Cavalli, a music historian in Stockholm
  • There is a very faint sound at the end of the song that was rumored to be barking dogs. It's actually just McCartney goofing around.
  • The Beatles included this in their setlist when the toured the US in August 1965. Prior to their famous Shea Stadium appearance on August 15, they taped a performance of this song and five others for an Ed Sullivan Show episode that aired September 12.
  • The group made two music videos for this song as part of a one-day shoot where they banged out takes for four others as well. These were not high-concept films: just the band having some fun while lip-synching the tracks. The first "I Feel Fine" video got pretty goofy, with Ringo riding a stationary bike. For the second, the band simply sits down and eats lunch. This later version wasn't released until 2015 when it was included on the 1+ collection.
  • The Ventures incorporated the riff into their surf rock instrumental version of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" on their 1965 Christmas album.
  • In America, this knocked "Come See About Me" by The Supremes from the top spot. "I Feel Fine" stayed for three weeks, at which point "Come See About Me" returned to bump it off.
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Comments: 63

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaWhat ever they used for that Fuzzy tone it made the song for me. It's one of those identifiable sounds that as soon as you hear it you know what song it is.
  • Cachiva from HoustonHave to add my two cents about the feedback. I'd read that it wasn't feedback at all, but just John hitting the plucked A string with his thumbnail. I play guitar, so I tried it, and that is the sound, exactly! Which is to say, I can duplicate that sound any time, on any guitar, without fussing with volume, distortion, fuzz or anything else! However the Beatles did it, or say they did it, well, that doesn't matter to me when I can recreate that sound, precisely, on demand!
  • Roy from Slough, United KingdomAll this talk about how the opening note was created is silly. everybody knows it was George Martin having a quick shave while waiting for the Beatles to set up their equipment.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn Australia the last week of December was very lucky for the Beatles...
    The last week of December 1963 "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was at #1...
    In 1964 it was "I Feel Fine"...
    And in 1968 "Hey Jude" was at #1...
    Then in 1969 they missed by one week; Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" was #1 during the last week of December that year ("Something" was #1 the week before)...
    The Beatles disbanded in 1970 but during the last week of December 1972 "Imagine" by John Lennon was #1...
    R.I.P. to John, George, and Elvis.
  • Tom from Freiburg, GermanyI am not sure about Lennon "borrowing" the lick from Bobby Parker. Parker's lick is a very common R&B lick out of the "What'd I Say" category that can be played on a guitar with one finger in the first position. Lennon's lick is much more intricate and uses all fingers of the left hand up in the 10th position of the fretboard, giving especially the little finger a good workout. I think there is some rhythmic similarity between the two songs.
  • Tom from Freiburg, GermanyThe Beatles' Acoustic Gibson guitars were equipped with electric pickups at the neck position (P-90 type), so they were able to produce a tone that was a cross between an acoustic and an electric guitar. So there is the woody tone for the intro riff. The Beatles often used variations of this riff for later songs like Paperback Writer, Dr Robert, If I needed Someone etc
  • Christian from Berlin, GermanyThe main guitar line was nicked from Bobby Parker's "Watch Your Step."
  • Allyson from Waverly, NySuch a cute soooong!! =D I love it and them!! <3
  • Scott from Nyc, NyI couldn't add any more praise to this truly superb Beatles Song then what has already been said and listed here, it is in my top 3 Fav Fab Songs,
    But one thing I'd like to add... regarding the "whisper intro".... I believe it sounds like Lennon stating "You Noddin' Off?" in his thick northern accent
  • Sean from Collinsville, IlI agree that the feedback was intentional, and that it was from a GUITAR and not a bass. It was most likely one of the HOLLOW BODY guitars that they were using at the time, which were ELECTRIC guitars and not ACOUSTIC. The sound was gotten by touching the headstock of the guitar to the amp cabinet... the "nyarrr" sound is from one of the Beatles hitting the runaway string with his thumbnail... hope this clears things up!
  • George from Belleville, NjThis is a classic feel good pop rock song that has all the elements of a hit song.Positive lyrics,great melody,excellent harmonies,an easy sing along style that captures the essence of a pop song.The Beatles were hit makers because they had the gift of music deep inside them.
  • Brian from Boston, MaOne other comment about the feedback in this song.This is the kind of detail that people who call themselves Beatles fans pay attention to.These are the same people who say there favorite Beatles song is Hey Jude. The same people that who couldn't tell you from what album the song Sgt peppers lonely hearts club band came. The same people that think paul was the "cute" Beatle. The same people who assume that Abbey Road was a Beatles song. The same people who say. OH Lucy in the sky with diamonds was about L.S.D. No sh*t. In other words when someone knows very little about a particular subject they tend to regurgitate the bullsh*t that they hear from some one else or from the media. It would be nice to hear something intelligent or informative about the Beatles once in while. An exampe would be what Adrian from Gettysburg PA. had said in an earlier comment that I feel fine was played on acoustic. Thanks you Adrian this was very informative I just asssumed it was electric guitar and I learned something from you comment. So enough of the bullsh*t people let's try to make some intelligent and informed comments
  • Brian from Boston, MaResponding to Adrian from gettysburg PA.thanks.I had no idea this was played on acoustic guitar. I just went to wikepedia to confirm it and it was played on acoustic.It is amazing because it sounds so much like an electric guitar. This is one of my favorite Beatles songs. After many years of assuming that this song was too difficult for my limited guitar playing skills [ I mostly just strum some basic chords nothing too technical] I recently commited myself to learning this and I must say I play pretty well. It takes some practice but I recomend those learning guitar to learn this song.It is basically just arpigiated barr chords with a couple of notes added. In other words it is not as difficult to learn as it might seem at first. I think too much is said of the feedback. Yes I like the feedback it is a nice touch but even without it I Feel Fine is a great song with a great guitar riff.
  • Daisy from Liverpool, United KingdomYes, it is John Winston Lennon who figured out how to do the feedback because it was an accident, either Sir. James Paul McCartney or George Harold Harrison said that in the Beatles anthology.
  • Kennedy from Newport, Wai love this song [=
  • Nick from Seattle, Albaniawow Ringo! stepin out of the box for this drum beat! lol its what makes the song
  • Rob from Canberra, AustraliaThe studio-recording of the song appears on "The Beatles In Italy" (an official EMI Italian-only LP from 1965) as Track 6 on Side 2. It includes an extra 1-2 seconds of low studio talk BEFORE the first note where either Paul or John can be heard saying "What's going on?"
  • Adrian from Gettysburg, PaI didn't know you could get an acoustic guitar to sound like an electric guitar until I learned that the main riff in this song was played with an acoustic.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Mowhats with paul and making barking noises? he did that at the end of 'hey bulldog' too- thats what made john start laughing like a lunatic.
  • Matt from Ny, NyThere are the barest of similarities between the guitar riffs, but John makes it his own by playing it as an arpegiated major chord. "One Way Out" by the Allman Bros. is much closer to "Watch Your Step"

    The harmonies here are amazing, they are what makes the track really stand out.
  • Modernrocker79 from Kearny, Nj First Rock song to combine controlled feedback, distortion and a recurring guitar riff as it's cental them in the same songs. Whether this is the first example of controlled feedback on a recording is debatable. Its certainly not present on Johnny Guitar Watson "Space Guitar" as some has mentioned.

  • Brad from Flint, MiAfter investigating further, I found that John got the idea for both the guitar riff and drumbeat rhythm from Bobby Parker's "Watch Your Step"
  • Brad from Flint, MiIt isn't the bass guitar at all in the intro...it's John's low A string (open) plucked in a 'muted' fashion with the head stock resting against the speaker mounting board, while turning up the volume pot. It happened while they were talking about the song in the studio and although Paul never said whose guitar it was (since George and John both had Everly Bros.-style Gibson acoustics), this song had John playing the Gibson, while George played his Gretsch 'Country Gentleman' electric for the solo in the middle. John's guitar happened to be leaning up against his amp while it was on and the low A string started vibrating and, consequently, feeding back. Always looking for new gimmicks, they all went crazy and asked George Martin, "Can we put that on the beginning?", which he replied, "Well certainly." The rest is history.
  • Max from Vancouver, Canadaon the money fyodor, this song totally fits a setting after sex

    its's just gives off a "no worries in the whole world" type of attitude and makes you think everything is right in the world; a very good song for a hot summer day as well

    one of their best singles imo, the simplicity is what makes it awesome, john lennon rocks
  • Mili from Caracas, South America"On the radio the music plays
    I'm in love with her and I feel fine"
    Says the song "In trance" of The Scorpions
  • Nunzio from Darwin, AustraliaIt was so popular in the U.K that it sold 800,000
    copies in it's first week on sale.
  • Nunzio from Darwin, AustraliaThat's Pual barking like a dog on the fade. By the way...check out the U.S mix of this - the song in one speaker is muffled, the other it's tinny but put together & the song has an echo through it...& it sounds great.Listen carefully to the intro & you can
    hear mumbling...it's chatter from the control room.
    But it's very faint, and it was John who accidently got feedback when the guitar got too close to the amp. But Paul did it on his bass for the song.
  • Lateeka from Kelowna, Canadasimply wonderful
  • AnonymousI have to correct my prior post (should be immediately below). One Way Out is generally attributed to Sonny Boy Williamson, not Willie Dixon. T - NYC area
  • Anonymous"Lennon copied the intro almost note for note from some other musicians song." Just a guess on my part but I recently figured out / started playing the riff from One Way Out made famous by the Allman Brothers. That's an old blues tune attributed to Willie Dixon and I'm guessing well-know to John; and if he didn't get the riff for I Feel Fine from that tune, I'd be surprised. Don't know if he's ever acknowledged that or not. I'll ask Sir Paul next time I see him. :)
  • John from Manila, OtherPrecursor to the intricate rock fingerwork that culminated in the '70s. Yeah, yeah, yeah?!!
  • Mark from Twin Cities Metro Area, MoThis is I think my #1 Beatles song and favorite song of all time. It's so catchy. Pure magic. The feed back. The "riff". The vocals. It's so up and positive.
    I remeber back in 1965 one of my friends older sisters saying the Beatles had a new song out and that was the name. I heard it that Day (Saturday)on American Bandstand. I was instantly hooked by the hook. When I hear it I'm instantly 10 again it's 1965 and all is good with the world. The "good old days".
  • Krissy from Boston, MaLOVE it! Great song. Nothing more to say but LOVE The Beatles!!!!!!
  • Taylor from Manchester, EnglandThe feedback is actually coming from an acoustic guitar and The Beatles told the record company the feedback was an accident so they can let it on the record.
  • John from Woburn, MaTo correct songfacts: while the first note you hear is Paul's bass(a sustained A) the actually feedback is from john's guitar.
  • Sal from Bardonia , NyA riff dominated song with feedback that goes number 1 in England and America six months before the Rolling Stones started the so called riff revolution with I Can't Get No Satisfaction. The feedback was intentional and recorded on vinyl before the Who and the Yardbirds.
    Sal, Bardonia,NY
  • Bob from Los Angeles, MsThe riff is one of the best.
  • Ian from Lethbridge, CanadaI should certainly hope not fyodor! We have enough people out there who are always saying that Beatles songs are about nothing but drugs and sex. C'mon people, they weren't so hollow that they'd write about that all the time. They knew how to actually put meaning into their songs.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoI've long thought this song captures the feeling of pure peace and harmony that immediately follows sex. Not that I would claim that's what the song is "about."
  • Jerry from Portland, OrJohn played lead on SOME of their later songs, as did Paul. But just watch George in the film "Let It Be". He does leads on at least three songs, maybe more. John based the guitar riff on another musician's, but he embellished it and made it better. The three-part harmony on the chorus is just great!
  • Jonathan from Johnstown, PaThe "barking dogs" sound was actually Paul, freaking out and making dog noises!
  • Zach from Philly, Kshey charlie when the band first started playing george was lead then all of a sudden john started doing the lead for like the rest of the beatles
  • Willy from Winchester, MaI think the "spitting" sound is actually the opening and closing of the high-hat cymbals once
  • Joe from Lynnfield, MaDoes anyone know what's the deal with the spitting sound right after the feedback happens?
  • Dan from Lee, NhLennon copied the intro almost note for note from some other musicians song.
  • Lee from Clearwater, Fli great one. one of my favorites.
  • Ryan from Brentwood, CaThis is one of the best Beatles songs ever! I love the chorus.
  • Tom from Freiburg, GermanyLennon originally played the opening riff on his Gibson Jumbo Acoustic Guitar equipped with a P-90 pickup though his Vox Amp, hence the woody tone. If you lean this guitar resting aginst a Vox AC 30 amp, you get exactly the same A-string feedback as on the record - I think this is simply what happened back then in the studio.
  • Brian from La Mesa, CaI've been reading about the Beatles using "feedback" on the first note of this song for a long time. The sound is actually a sympathetic note. I've done it many times. Tune a bass and a guitar to perfect pitch. Pluck the A string of the amplified bass and the A string of the guitar will start to vibrate enough to produce a sound. That's what you're hearing on this record: Paul's bass note followed by John or George's guitar's A string vibrating freely. Try it some time. I wouldn't call this feedback.
  • Richard from Connellsville, PaThis song was #1 in the UK for 5 weeks and #1 in the US for 3 weeks.
  • Laura from Santa Fe, NmCool song. IT has a fun to play riff witch is also a plus!
  • Charlie from Cape Girardeau, MoI didn't realize until watching the Ed Sullivan CD of this performance that it was Lennon who played the opening riff (after the feedback)and also the solo in the middle. I always assumed is was Harrison, who usually played the lead parts, which John playing rhythm.
  • Steve from New York City, NyThe first note makes the song for me.
  • Paul from Flagstaff, Azlol, billy wow, your such a dick. ok well beside that this is a very good song, easy to play on guitar its basically a g7 to d back to g7 then for chorus, g to b minor to a c to d.
  • Marcus from Merced, CaThe unique drum beat comes from the exotica (now 'world') music that was popular at the time, and which the Beatles liked.
  • Bernhard from Mannheim, GermanyHere´s how you really get that exact feedback: guitar´s lead pickup (humbucker), all controls open, amp medium volume. mute all strings by palm of right hand on top of bridge. then grab A-string with left fingers and pull them a good bit across the fingerboard. Let it snap back and immediately release muting right palm, while still muting the other strings. wait for A-string to develop vibration and start feedback by high volume. good luck. works with me everytime!
  • Marina from Seattle, WaThe barking noises at the end of the song were provided by Paul, who just made those noises because he was so excited about finishing the song.
  • Jason from Mesa, AzCharles from Charlotte, The Beatles first played I Feel Fine on th Ed Sullivan show on September 12, 1965. So that claim was very wrong. I have all The Beatles Ed Sullivan's performances on dvd and they played it for the first time on that date.
  • Don from Rapid City, SdJohn Lennon went out of his way (in the Playboy interview especially) to make sure that people knew that HE was responsible for the feedback.
  • Greg from Little River, ScCool distortion
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcAs "I Feel Fine" was not released as a single until around Christmas 1964 I find it hard to believe it was played 10 months earlier on Ed Sullivan's variety show. Can anyone support this claim?
  • Dalal from Boulder, CoNo acctually, it was john who figured out how to do the feedback, watch the anthology, and then jimi hendrix started to do it too. :)
  • Chet from Saratoga Springs, NyThe complete BBC session tape of "I Feel Fine" reveals that the distinctive feedback opening took quite a few attemps to get it right. John Lennon has once said that the feedback opening was an accident, yet in the Abbey Road Sessions by Mark Lewishohn it is shown that it took quite a few attemps to achieve the "right" sound.
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