The Beatles

I Feel Fine

Song Review by

"I Feel Fine" was a typically first-class 1964 Beatles single, topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It was distinguished from its predecessors by a more complex guitar sound, particularly in its introduction, a sustained plucked electric note that after a few seconds swelled in volume and buzzed like an electric razor. This was the very first use of feedback on a rock record. It's been claimed that others (such as the Who, the Yardbirds, and Creation guitarist Eddie Phillips) had developed guitar feedback, or something approximating it, live before the Beatles did "I Feel Fine." It seems inarguable, however, that the Beatles were the first to use it on disc; probably no other group had the clout to get away with that experiment in late 1964. Anyway, the brief feedback was but a preamble to a bubbly Beatles song paced by a brilliantly active and difficult George Harrison guitar riff, inspired perhaps by a similar line in obscure soul singer Bobby Parker's 1961 single "Watch Your Step." Ringo Starr deserves commendation himself for the series of four urgent drum beats that kicks off both the first verse (after Harrison has gone through the principal riff) and the return to the verse after the instrumental break. The singing, as usual, was John and Paul's show primarily, with particularly sumptuous harmonies counterpointing John's lead in the bridge. Rather than coming to a cold stop after the last chorus, an unaccompanied electric guitar continues to noodle as Lennon wordlessly scats, while the Beatles faintly bark (like dogs, yes) in the background -- another imaginative ending from a group that used them often. Lennon, the more prominent songwriter than McCartney on "I Feel Fine," has rightly been noted as having the more doubtful and pessimistic view of the pair in his lyrics, even in the early days. There's no trace of doubt or pessimism, however, in "I Feel Fine," which certainly is one of his most positive and optimistic musical statements.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Meet the Beatles! 1964 Capitol 0:00
Beatles '65 1964 Capitol 2:22
The Beatles' Million Sellers [EP] 1965 Parlophone
No Image 1966 Parlophone 2:21
No Image 196? EMI Music Distribution
1962-1966 1973 Capitol / Parlophone 2:20
No Image 1982 Odeon 2:20
Past Masters, Vol. 1 1988 Capitol 2:19
Past Masters 1988 Apple Records / Capitol 2:19
Documents, Vol. 2 1989 Oh Boy 5:50
Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 4 1989 The Swingin' Pig
Compact Disc EP Collection 1992 Apple Records
No Image 1993 Big Music 2:51
CD Singles Collection 1993 Capitol 2:24
No Image 1994 Big Music 2:25
The Ultimate Box Set 1995 Capitol 2:19
Anthology 2 1996 Capitol / EMI Records / Apple 2:15
EP Boxset 1999 Parlophone 2:22
1 2000
Capitol 2:18
The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 2004 Capitol / EMI Records 2:23
The Beatles: Stereo Box Set 2009 Capitol 2:19
The Beatles USB 2009 Capitol / EMI 2:19
1962-1970 2010 EMI / Parlophone 2:20
The U.S. Albums 2014 Capitol / Universal 2:22
Love Me Do [Stargrove] 2015 Stargrove 2:25
No Image