“I’ve Got a Feeling” is a result of combining two half-finished songs; McCartney’s “I’ve Got a Feeling,” and Lennon’s “Everybody Had a Hard Year.” The latter is a demo from the White Album sessions. The two sections show a contrast in Lennon and McCartney’s lives. McCartney’s section is an optimistic love song, written about his future wife Linda Eastman. On the other hand, Lennon’s section is a reflection of his recent divorce with Cynthia Powell, Yoko Ono’s miscarriage, and his arrest for drug possession.
I'm Happy Just to Dance With You by The Beatles
The Beatles - I’m Happy Just To Dance With You
“We Wrote “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” for George in the film. It was a bit of a formula song. We knew that in E if you went to an A flat minor, you could always make a song with those chords; that change pretty much always excited you. This is one of these. Certainly “Do You Want To Know A Secret” was. This one anyway was a straight co-written song for George. We wouldn’t have actually wanted to sing it because it was a bit… The ones that pandered to the fans in truth were our least favourite songs but they were good. They were good for the time. The nice thing about it was to actually pull a song off on a slim little premise like that. A simple little idea. It was songwriting practice.” - Paul McCartney
Released in 1965 as part of The Beatles’ sixth album, Rubber Soul, ”The Word” marked a transition in the Beatles’ songwriting—from pop friendly songs like “She Loves You” to more psychedelic-friendly songs like “All You Need is Love.” It is also the first song that had the Beatles sing about love as a universal concept rather than a simple theme for their songs.
“It sort of dawned on me that love was the answer, when I was younger, on the Rubber Soul album. My first expression of it was a song called The Word. The word is ‘love’, in the good and the bad books that I have read, whatever, wherever, the word is ‘love’. It seems like the underlying theme to the universe.” - John Lennon
“Baby It’s You” was a part of the Beatles’ live set from 1961 - 1963. In the Beatles’ version, they used The Shirelles’ vocal arrangement, with John Lennon singing lead vocals.The Beatles recorded this song in February 11, 1963, during when the bulk of Please Please Me was recorded.
Recently, Graham Coxon, Blur’s guitarist, did a cover of the song in Abbey Road Studios exactly fifty years after the Beatles recorded their cover.
She Said She Said, the final song recorded for Revolver, was inspired by a conversation between John Lennon and Peter Fonda.
“It’s an interesting track. The guitars are great on it. That was written after an acid trip in LA during a break in The Beatles’ tour where we were having fun with The Byrds and lots of girls. Some from Playboy, I believe. Peter Fonda came in when we were on acid and he kept coming up to me and sitting next to me and whispering, ‘I know what it’s like to be dead.’ He was describing an acid trip he’d been on. We didn’twantto hear about that! We were on an acid trip and the sun was shining and the girls were dancing and the whole thing was beautiful and Sixties, and this guy - who I really didn’t know; he hadn’t made Easy Rider or anything - kept coming over, wearing shades, saying, ‘I know what it’s like to be dead,’ and we kept leaving him because he was so boring! And I used it for the song, but I changed it to ‘she’ instead of ‘he’. It was scary. You know, a guy… when you’re flying high and [whispers] ‘I know what it’s like to be dead, man.’ I remembered the incident. Don’t tell me about it! I don’t want to know what it’s like to be dead!” - John Lennon
Written by John Lennon, the song was considered to be included on the White Album, but it remained unreleased until 1996. The Beatles recorded a demo of this song at George Harrison’s Esher house before the start of the White Album recording sessions. The Esher demo featured Lennon switching the words “cooking” and “groovy” in the second verse, and placing the chorus at the beginning of the song.
During the White Album recording sessions in 1968, the song was recorded by Lennon and Harrison only. The song was mixed with “Glass Onion,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” and “I Will,” but due to time constraints, the song was dropped from the album.
It is believed that Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett was the inspiration for this song.
“Dig A Pony” was John Lennon’s only new contribution for the Let It Be album during the recording sessions, but it was the first song to be recorded during the recording sessions in 1969 at Apple Studios. However, the version that’s included on Let It Be was from the Beatles’ rooftop concert. A recording of the song was later released on Anthology 3.
The original title for the song was “All I Want Is You” because the song was mainly inspired by Yoko Ono, but it was later changed to “Dig A Pony.”
“I was just having fun with words. It was literally a nonsense song. You just take words and you stick them together, and you see if they have any meaning. Some of them do and some of them don’t.” - John Lennon
The follow-up to the band’s debut single, “Please Please Me” was written by John Lennon at his Aunt Mimi’s house in Menlove Avenue.
“Please Please Me is my song completely. It was my attempt at writing a Roy Orbison song, would you believe it? I wrote it in the bedroom in my house at Menlove Avenue, which was my auntie’s place… I remember the day and the pink coverlet on the bed and I heard Roy Orbison doing Only The Lonely or something. That’s where that came from. And also I was always intrigued by the words of ‘Please, lend me your little ears to my pleas’ - a Bing Crosby song. I was always intrigued by the double use of the word ‘please’. So it was a combination of Bing Crosby and Roy Orbison.” - John Lennon
After the recording session for this song, George Martin congratulated the Beatles on making “their first number one,” and sixweeks after the single’s release, “Please Please Me” reached number one.
I Should Have Known Better by The Beatles
The Beatles - I Should Have Known Better
Written in 1964, the song, according to John Lennon “doesn’t mean a damn thing.” It is one of the last Beatles’ song to feature the harmonica. It is believed that Bob Dylan’s album, The Freewhelin’, was an inspiration to Lennon’s songwriting for this particular song.
The song was featured on the Beatles’ first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night, during the train scene where the Beatles were playing cards. The train scene was filmed in a stationary van at Twickenham Film Studios in London. The motion of the train was imitated by the film crew rocking the van back and forth.
“I Feel Fine” was recorded during the Beatles for Sale sessions, but was released as the band’s eighth single.
“The guitar riff was actually influenced by a record called Watch Your Step by Bobby Parker. But all riffs in that tempo have a similar sound. John played it, and all I did was play it as well, and it became the double-tracked sound.” - George Harrison
“I wrote I Feel Fine around the riff which is going on in the background. I tried to get that effect into practically every song on the LP, but the others wouldn’t have it. I told them that I’d write a song specially for this riff. So they said, ‘Yes, you go away and do that,’ knowing that we’d almost finished the album. Anyway, going into the studio one morning, I said to Ringo, ‘I’ve written this song, but it’s lousy.’ But we tried it, complete with riff, and it sounded like an a-side, so we decided to release it just like that.” - John Lennon
Written as a love song for his second wife, Yoko Ono, “Don’t Let Me Down” was recorded during the Let It Be sessions, but was released as the b-side to “Get Back.” According to Paul McCartney, the Beatles started recording the song in the basement for Let It Be, and later performed it on their famous rooftop concert at Apple Studios.
“It was a very tense period: John was with Yoko and had escalated to heroin and all the accompanying paranoias and he was putting himself out on a limb. I think that as much as it excited and amused him, and the same time it secretly terrified him. So Don’t Let Me Down was a genuine plea… It was saying to Yoko, ‘I’m really stepping out of line on this one. I’m really letting my vulnerability be seen, so you must not let me down.’ I think it was a genuine cry for help. It was a good song.” - Paul McCartney
“And Your Bird Can Sing” was the theme song for the band’s cartoon series during the its third season. The song is believed to be about the Beatles-the Rolling Stones rivalry, and the “bird” may have been Marianne Faithfull.
“And Your Bird Can Sing was John’s song. I suspect that I helped with the verses because the songs were nearly always written without second and third verses. I seem to remember working on that middle eight with him but it’s John’s song, 80-20 to John.” - Paul McCartney
Written by John Lennon and recorded by the Beatles in 1968, it was the first Lennon composition that the band has recorded since I Am the Walrus. Although the song was released on Let It Be in 1970, the track was first released on a World Wildlife Fund album in 1969. The phrase “Jai guru deva, om” is a Sanskrit phrase which roughly means “Victory to God divine.” It is believed that it was inspired by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whom the Beatles met in 1967.
“I was lying next to my first wife in bed, you know, and I was irritated. She must have been going on and on about something and she’d gone to sleep and I’d kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into sort of a cosmic song rather than an irritated song; rather than a ‘Why are you always mouthing off at me?’ or whatever, right? […] But the words stand, luckily, by themselves. They were purely inspirational and were given to me asboom! I don’t own it, you know; it came through like that. I don’t know where it came from, what meter it’s in, and I’ve sat down and looked at it and said, ‘Can I write another one with this meter?’ It’s so interesting: ‘Words are flying out like endless rain into a paper cup, they slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe.’ Such an extraordinary meter and I can never repeat it! It’s not a matter of craftsmanship; it wrote itself. It droveme out of bed. I didn’t want to write it, I was just slightly irritable and I went downstairs and I couldn’t get to sleep until I put it on paper, and then I went to sleep. It’s like beingpossessed; like apsychicor amedium. The thinghasto go down. It won’t let you sleep, so you have to get up,makeit into something, and then you’re allowed to sleep. That’s always in the middle of the bloody night, when you’re half awake or tired and your critical facilities are switched off.” - John Lennon
Imagine was inspired by Cloud Piece, a poem that was included in Yoko Ono’s book Grapefruit. According to Lennon, the song “is anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic,” and is accepted because “it is sugar-coated.”
“It is the concept of positive prayer … If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion—not without religion but without this my-God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing—then it can be true … The World Church called me once and asked, “Can we use the lyrics to ‘Imagine’ and just change it to ‘Imagine one religion’? That showed [me] they didn’t understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea.” - John Lennon
“Those who know the song ‘Imagine’ understand that it was written with a very deep love for the human race and a concern for its future. It is about the betterment of the world for our children and ourselves. Like the song, Amnesty International gives a voice to the importance of human rights. And like the song, it has been able to effect change.” - Yoko Ono
“Imagine” remains as one of Lennon’s greatest compositions, and has been covered by over 100 artists including Elton John, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez, and Lady Gaga. Beatles producer George Martin regarded this song as his ”favorite song of all time” out of Lennon’s solo work. It is also the inspiration for Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland, which was completed in 2007.