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The Beatles Songs: I Me Mine

The history of this classic Beatles song

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The Beatles Songs: I Me Mine

The original US sheet music for "I Me Mine"

rarebeatles.com

I Me Mine

Written by: George Harrison (100%)
Recorded: January 3 and 4, April 1, 1970 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: January 5, March 23, April 1 and 2, 1970
Length: 2:25
Takes: 18

Musicians:

Paul McCartney: harmony vocals, bass guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 4001S), organ (Hammond B-3)
George Harrison: lead vocals, lead guitar (1966 Gibson Les Paul Standard SG), rhythm guitar (1968 Gibson J-200)
Ringo Starr: drums (1968 Ludwig Hollywood Maple)
Unknown musicians: violins (18), violas (4), cellos (4), trumpets (3), trombones (3), harp

Available on: (CDs in bold)
Let It Be (UK: Apple PX1, Apple PCS 7096, US: Apple AR 34001; Parlophone CDP 7 46447 2)

History:

  • The last song to ever be recorded at a Beatles session (though without John), George's "I Me Mine" was, appropriately enough, a sad ballad about the human ego and how it controls us all. More than likely based on the teachings of the Hindu sacred text known as the Bhagavad Gita (2:71-72), which encourages followers to "renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego-cage of "I" "me" and "mine" to be united with the Lord," it was composed on January 7, 1969 and brought to the doomed "Get Back" sessions the very next day, where it was met with a less than enthusiastic response from Paul and John.
  • Although Paul attempted to help with the arrangement, adding a descending bass line used in the final version and comparing the song to a French waltz he liked named "Domino," John mocked the song openly, waltzing with Yoko while it played in the film that would later become Let It Be. (Paul was right about the musical genesis of "I Me Mine": George had seen an Austrian marching band play a similar minor-key waltz on the BBC-TV special Europa — The Titled and the Untitled and wrote the song in approximately five minutes.)
  • Rehearsals on "I Me Mine" began at Twickenham Studios on January 8, 1969. During this time, the song featured a 12-bar blues chorus, likely suggested by Paul as a way to bring the song more in line with the band-oriented retro rock feel of the project. A bridge between that chorus and the second verse was also inserted, in yet another time signature, but did not make the final version.
  • Producer Glyn Johns originally left "I Me Mine" out of the lineup for what was to be the "Get Back" album, though he did include it in a later track order of the LP. When the project was shelved, so was the song. But when EMI decided to release the film with the "I Me Mine" sequence intact and asked Phil Spector to take control of the album portion of the project, he realized a new studio version was needed for the LP.
  • The band was therefore called back in for one final Beatles session on January 3, 1970, in order to re-record the track. John, having already informed the group of his departure (and on holiday in any case), refused to come back to Abbey Road, so Paul, George, and Ringo created the track themselves, laying down a basic track with George's acoustic picking and guide vocal, as well as Paul's bass and Ringo's drums. The next day, George made two electric and more acoustic guitar overdubs, finished his vocals, and Paul added organ and backing vocals on the chorus.
  • The song as it originally was laid down lasted only 1:34; it ends just after the second verse (this version can be heard on Anthology 3). Phil Spector decided this wasn't a proper length for a song, so he essentially looped the performance, taking the chorus and second verse (0:31-1:21) and repeating it to make the song a full 2:25. To complete the effect, he added his signature horns and strings on the back half to make it sound different; then, on April 1, 1970, he called Ringo back in to add on a few drum fills. This was the last session for the album, and therefore, the end of the Beatles' studio recordings. On April 10th, McCartney publicly announced the band's breakup.

Trivia:

  • The Anthology 3 version also features a sly intro from George laid down before Take 15. In it, he references the impending breakup by pretending the Beatles are British mid-60s pop sensations Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich: "You all will have read that Dave Dee is no longer with us. But Mickey and Tich and I would just like to carry on the good work that's always gone down in (Abbey Road studio) number two."
  • The first autobiography by any Beatle was George's I Me Mine, released in late 1980 just before John's murder.

Covered by: Elliott Smith, Marc Ford, Beth Orton, Laibach

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