I'm a Loser

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"I'm a Loser"
Song by the Beatles from the album Beatles for Sale
Released4 December 1964
Recorded14 August 1964,
EMI Studios, London
GenreRock,[1] folk,[2] country[3]
Length2:31
LabelEMI, Parlophone, Capitol
WriterLennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
Beatles for Sale track listing
Music sample
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"I'm a Loser"
Song by the Beatles from the album Beatles for Sale
Released4 December 1964
Recorded14 August 1964,
EMI Studios, London
GenreRock,[1] folk,[2] country[3]
Length2:31
LabelEMI, Parlophone, Capitol
WriterLennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
Beatles for Sale track listing
Music sample
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.

"I'm a Loser" is a song by the Beatles, originally released on Beatles for Sale in the United Kingdom, later released on Beatles '65 in the United States. Written by John Lennon,[4][5] (though credited to Lennon–McCartney), it was considered for release as a single until Lennon wrote "I Feel Fine".[6]

According to music critic Richie Unterberger, while the lyrics tell a story of romantic rejection, "I'm a Loser" is one of the first Beatles compositions that "goes beyond young love" including "the hypocrisy of keeping up a happy face when your world's falling down".[2]

Composition[edit]

Looking back on it I think songs like 'I'm a Loser' and 'Nowhere Man' were John's cries for help. We used to listen to quite a lot of country and western songs and they are all about sadness and 'I lost my truck' so it was quite acceptable to sing 'I'm a loser' ... It's only later you think, God! I think it was brave of John.

Paul McCartney[5]

In 1980, Lennon said the song was "me in my Dylan period" and added, "Part of me suspects I'm a loser and part of me thinks I'm God Almighty. [Laughs.]"[4] Country music and Bob Dylan were catalysts for the song. The country is in the fingerpicking, guitar twang and downhearted words; in 1964, the Beatles were listening to songs by Buck Owens and George Jones that McCartney said were "all about sadness." [3] Unterberger said the song was "notable for being perhaps the first Beatles' song to directly reflect the influence of Bob Dylan, thus nudging folk and rock a little closer together toward the folk-rock explosion of the following year."[2] Musicologist Alan Pollack said the song contained "a stronger blend of folk elements than almost anything else The Beatles had done to-date."[1]

Lennon hits a low G in the verses, a note usually reserved for baritone and/or bass singers. This was atypical of Lennon; he sang the bulk of his Beatles songs in a tenor register. "I'm a Loser" does not mark the only occasion on which Lennon sang a low G, he also did so in "Happiness Is a Warm Gun".[7]

Recording and release[edit]

The Beatles recorded this song on 14 August 1964, the same day as "Mr. Moonlight" and "Leave My Kitten Alone". It was recorded in eight takes.[8]

It was released four months after it was recorded, but beforehand, it was previewed on BBC Radio on 17 November, along with three other songs from Beatles for Sale and also the "I Feel Fine"/"She's a Woman" single.[8]

On the original pressings of Beatles for Sale, the title was misprinted as "I'm a Losser".

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[9]

Covers[edit]

Marianne Faithfull covered the song in 1965 on her eponymous album. Vince Guaraldi covered the song on Live at El Matador in 1966 with Bola Sete. This song was covered by the Lost Dogs on their 1993 album, Little Red Riding Hood. In 2004 the Punkles did a cover of this song on their third album Pistol. The bands Sum 41 and Eels have also covered it live in concert, the latter releasing it on Sixteen Tons (Ten Songs). Doug Kershaw covered the song on his 1977 album Flip, Flop, and Fly. The Buckinghams covered the song on their 1997 album Places in Five. Shaun Micallef and the cast of 'Shaun Micallef's MAD AS HELL' also covered this song for the closing credits of the show broadcast on Wednesday 27th March, 2013.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pollack 1992.
  2. ^ a b c Unterberger 2009.
  3. ^ a b "71 - 'I'm a Loser'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Sheff 2000, p. 195.
  5. ^ a b Miles 1997, p. 176.
  6. ^ Taylor 1964.
  7. ^ "The Beatles - I'm A Loser - History and Information on the Beatles' I'm A Loser". Oldies.about.com. Retrieved 2011-08-21. 
  8. ^ a b The Beatles Bible 2009.
  9. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 124.

References[edit]

External links[edit]