Got To Get You Into My Life - The Beatles

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"Got To Get You Into My Life" - The Beatles (1966)

“Got To Get You Into My Life” represented The Beatles trying to emulate the Motown sound. It was the first time The Beatles used brass in a song.

The brass-sax riffs that begin the piece and dominate the texture evoke the soul band sound of famous soul singers of the period such as James Brown and Wilson Pickett. It is their great homage to soul music, closer to the genre than the group had ever gone before. This is in part to the joyous horn section that celebrates mind-expansion in all its possible forms, psychological, passionate, and psychedelic.

Commenting on McCartney’s songwriting abilities, Lennon said:

“I think that was one of his best songs because the lyric are good- even though I didn’t write them. When I say that he could write lyrics if he took the effort- here’s an example.”

Studio engineer Geoff Emerick said heclose-miked the instruments and put the microphones right down into the bells instead of the standard way which would have been to place them about four feet away. He wrote that there were only five players on the session and when he sat down to mix the track, McCartney told him he wanted to make the brass sound more prominent. Emerick remembers:

“I came up with the idea of dubbing the horn track onto a fresh piece of two-track tape, then playing it back alongside the multitrack, but just slightly out of sync, which had the effect of doubling the horns.”

It is extremely difficult to stylistically pigeon-hole this song: is it big-band “pop” or contemporary rock? The passion-drenched lead guitar part is saved as a surprise for so late in the song that you don’t really expect it.

Beatle scholar Ken Womack claims the track is a spirited composition about the speaker’s desire to embrace life, as well as the irresistible charms of another human being. Of the music, Womack writes:

“George’s inventive guitar solo on his Sonic Blue Fender Strat blows the proceedings wide open, and suddenly the worlds of R&B and guitar rock are united in perfect pop-music harmony.”

Musicologist Tim Riley opines that “Got To Get You Into My Life” captured the urgency of rhythm and blues so well that it sounded like a Beatles cover of an old Beatles cover, adding:

“The absence of guitar for the first three verses reveals the Beatles as soul purists.”

One interpretation of the composition was that it was about a journey from loneliness (“I was alone”) toward a reconfigured sense of self (“another kind of mind”). The singer has an urgent desire to connect his vision with every single day of his life by communicating it to others.

To his audience. McCartney isn’t satisfied to be a solidary, misunderstood mystic. When he shouted “Got to get you into my life,” it was the musical equivalent of R.D. Laing’s belief that “we have to blast our way through the solid wall” to the other side of consciousness.

 

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