The Beatles: New I've Got a Feeling Deserves a Closer Listen

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Lennon and McCartney wrote “eyeball-to-eyeball” as a young songwriting team, but had since gone on to write their own songs and rely on the other to polish the rough edges. According to the Barry Miles’ McCartney biography Many Years From Now, “John brought his section round to Cavendish Avenue and they finished the song together as an equal 50-50 collaboration,” sometime in December of 1968. “I’ve Got a Feeling” was their first equal compositional collaboration since “Baby You’re A Rich Man,” and would be their last.

Like “We Can Work it Out,” and “Getting Better,” John and Paul take opposite sides. McCartney is optimistic, positively giddy when he gets to “All these years I’ve been wandering around, wondering how come nobody told me, all that I was looking for was somebody who looked like you.” He’d met Linda Eastman, they would be married on March 12, 1969, and he had a very good feeling. 

Lennon had a hard year, and wasn’t feeling great. He’d moved into the hospital room with Yoko when she had a miscarriage. He’d been arrested for drug possession, was sniffing heroin to numb his mental pain, and had divorced his first wife, Cynthia, distancing him from his son Julian.

Paul and John assembled the other Beatles at Twickenham Studios on Jan. 2, 1969, with the full arrangement, including harmonies and vocal counterparts. They ran through it 20 times, especially rehearsing the descending guitar riff. Ringo initially switched to a swing-style rhythm during the ascending and descending triplet chords in the instrumental sections.

The band ran through it six times the following day, to tighten the performance. It was the same day Lennon introduced the song which would become “Gimme Some Truth” off his Imagine album. On Jan. 7, Paul gave Ringo a note to pound his toms in 4/4 during the descending triplets, rather than swinging the beat naturally to accommodate the triplets. This is similar to when Paul and Ringo keep a straight-four-time to Harrison and Lennon’s triplets in “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” and provides amazingly subtle tension. Further tweaking was done on the guitar parts a few days later in the studio, with Paul stressing “there shouldn’t be any recognizable jumps.”

George quit the Beatles briefly during these sessions, which will make for a dramatic highlight in Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back. The band responded with impromptu renditions of the Who’s “A Quick One, While He’s Away,” and Bobby Darin’s “Mack The Knife.” 

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