The Beatles

If You've Got Trouble

Song Review by

One of the strangest early Beatles songs, "If You've Got Trouble" was recorded in February 1965 during the sessions for the group's Help! album, but remained in the can until 1996's Anthology 2. On the relatively rare occasions when critics have discussed "If You've Got Trouble" at all, they've usually been very derisive about the song. It's true that it wasn't up to the usual Beatles standard, and it's not hard to see why it was passed over for release, but really, it's not so bad. The tune's not as melodious as most the Beatles wrote, but its ringing, circular guitar riffs are very much in keeping with the group's 1965 arrangements, actually sounding more like their Rubber Soul era than their Help! one. The occasional background vocals -- so sparse that one wonders if they weren't completed, since the track didn't make it into serious consideration for release -- are also very much vintage 1965 Beatles. The lead vocal is taken by Ringo Starr, and most likely this was at first considered to be his token frontman turn for Help!, as the group tried to make sure he had one lead vocal per album (and usually succeeded). (On Help!, that song was eventually determined to be "Act Naturally," the Buck Owens cover that Ringo sang.) What's oddest about "If You've Got Trouble," however, are the lyrics. They might not totally abandon the romantic scenarios the Beatles would concentrate on exclusively prior to late 1965, but they are goofier and more sardonic than anything else John Lennon and Paul McCartney had come up with before that year. The thrust? If you've got problems, you should get a load of mine! It almost sounded like a satire of clich├ęd whiny pop lyrics. Maybe it was felt that Starr's sad-sack image suited that kind of tune. If that was so, Starr didn't seem to take them entirely seriously, shouting, "Oh rock on, anybody!" right before the instrumental break. For all its lack of seriousness, "If You Got Trouble" is hummable, likable, and performed with good-natured spirit.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 1 1988 The Swingin' Pig
Not Guilty 1989 Barclay 0:00
Sessions 1990 Capitol 2:25
Documents, Vol. 3 1991 Oh Boy 2:22
No Image 1993 Big Music 2:53
Anthology 2 1996 Capitol / EMI Records / Apple 2:48
No Image 2001 Odeon Bootleg
Anthology Highlights 2011 EMI 2:48