“I’ll Get You” is a song by the Beatles, written by Lennon–McCartney, and released by the Beatles as the B-side of their 1963 single “She Loves You”. The song was initially titled “Get You in the End”.
Typical of the Beatles’ vocal style of that period, John Lennon and Paul McCartney sing in unison for the majority of the track, allowing the few occasions when they do harmonise to stand out. But unlike most Beatles songs of the time there is no lead guitar break; the lead guitar is virtually reduced to a second rhythm guitar. The most prominent instruments in the track are McCartney’s “plumply rounded bass” and Lennon’s harmonica, which was overdubbed in a rush as session time ran out.
Beatles writer Bill Harry credits Lennon as the main composer, although McCartney claims it was a 50 / 50 collaboration. McCartney recalls using Lennon’s Menlove Avenue home as the writing base for the song; this was rare as Lennon’s Aunt Mimi, whom he still lived with at the time, was disapproving of the Beatles.
The song’s opening line “Imagine I’m in love with you” was innovative, drawing the listener immediately into the story. McCartney would cite this as an early example of Lewis Carroll’s influence on Lennon’s lyrics — a ploy explored again in later compositions such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Strawberry Fields Forever” and Lennon’s solo “Imagine”. Reiterating its A-side’s catchphrase (“Yeah”), and assuming the heavy scouse accents conspicuous in their early records, Lennon and McCartney “drawl their way through a mock-naïve love lyric”. McCartney later singled out the chord change underneath “It’s not like me to pretend” (moving from a D major to A minor), crediting the Joan Baez rendition of the folk song “All My Trials” as inspiration. “I [also] liked that slightly faggy way we sang: ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah’, which was very distinctive, very Beatley.” Looking back in 1967, Lennon said: “Ever heard anyone from Liverpool singing ‘yes’? It’s yeah!”.
The song was a B-side on two separate occasions. It was initially released as the B-side of “She Loves You” (on 28 August 1963 in the United Kingdom and 16 September in the United States) and was also later released in the US only on 21 May 1964 as the B-side of “Sie Liebt Dich”, a German language recording of the previous A-side. Both were released on the Swan Records label in the United States — the only Beatles releases on that label (the British release was on Parlophone).
The song was also released in the US on 10 April 1964 on the Capitol Records album The Beatles’ Second Album. It was not released on album in the UK until the Rarities release as part of the set The Beatles Collection. A live version of the song, recorded at the London Palladium on 13 October 1963, is included on Anthology 1. A version was also recorded at the BBC Paris studios in London on 16 July 1963 for airing on programme nine of the “Pop Go The Beatles” radio series, and has currently not been made officially available. Another BBC performance, recorded on 7 September 1963, was officially issued in 2013 on On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2.
The song is available on compact disc in the first volume of the two-disc Past Masters compilation.
No original master tapes of “I’ll Get You” are known to exist. Standard procedure at Abbey Road Studios at the time was to erase the original two-track session tape for singles once they had been “mixed down” to the (usually monaural) master tape used to press records. This was the fate of two Beatles singles (four songs): “Love Me Do”, “P.S. I Love You”, “She Loves You”, and “I’ll Get You”. The master take is unknown.
In the bridge of the song, after the line, “Well, there’s gonna be a time . . .,” Paul McCartney sings, “. . . when I’m gonna change your mind.” At the same time, John Lennon sings, “. . . when I’m gonna make you mine,” resulting in a blend of the two lines. According to the sheet music the correct version is the former.
The song was covered by The Smithereens on their album B-Sides The Beatles, as well as by The Inmates on their album Meet The Beatles – Live In Paris.
Andy Fairweather Low and The Low Riders include a downbeat, country style version in their live set list.
John Lennon – Lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica
Paul McCartney – lead vocals, bass
George Harrison – harmony vocal, electric guitar
Ringo Starr – drums