“Getting Better” by The Beatles
You can say that whereas Paul McCartney is the main vocalist of this tune, both he and John Lennon, the latter serving primarily as an ad-libber, have prominent voices. That is to say that the way this song is generally interpreted is that the pair serve as two different sides of the same person. As for Macca, he would represent the positive persona of this individual. But John’s character is more abrasive and pessimistic.
So basically the way that their interaction (along with George Harrison) plays out is that, if we were to look at this song as being relayed by a single individual, said person did have some issues in the past. For instance, we can conclude that, in analyzing the sentiments expressed in the first verse, that he formerly had some serious issues with authority. Moreover in the second verse, he depicts himself as someone who used to physically abuse his girlfriend.
But the purpose of the song is not for us to focus on his past regrets and wrongdoings. Rather, as the title suggests, whereas the past was marked by negativity, the present going into the future is “getting better”. Or another way of looking at it is that what this song is actually based on is the concept of self-development. Or yet another way of phrasing it is that the singer has adopted a more-positive attitude than he had in the past. And based on the chorus we can hypothesize that what caused this shift in thinking was him somehow hitting rock bottom.
So this tune is in fact a positivity song. The narrator realizes that the past, specifically in terms of his personal actions, was less than ideal. But conversely, in the here and now he feels that his life is “getting better”.
Album, Writing and Production Credits for “Getting Better”
This track is featured on what is considered to be the most-classic of all Beatles’ albums, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. And it was written by the primary writers throughout the project, John Lennon (1940-1980) and Paul McCartney. Both men are re-acknowledged in the official credits as an additional entity called Lennon-McCartney.
And “Getting Better” was produced by another artist who worked on the Sgt. Pepper project, that being George Martin (1926-2016). George also played piano, Pianet and an Indian instrument called a tambura on this particular track.
John infamously got sick during the recording of this song when he mistakenly took some LSD.
“Getting Better” can be said to be a Beatles’ classic itself, as it has been covered and used by various artists throughout the decades. However, it does not have a chart history itself. And this is because the Beatles did not conceptualize “Sgt. Pepper” as an album in which they would issue singles.
More Interesting Facts about “Getting Better”
“Getting Better” was used in a commercial by Phillips electronics in 1999. And it has been noted that the Beatles (i.e. the band’s surviving members at the time) were not fond of having their music used for marketing purposes. However, they had no control over the matter. And this is because as fellow-music icon Michael Jackson had already bought the rights to “Getting Better”, as well as 250 other Beatles’ songs, in 1985.
Another interesting fact is that this song was reportedly never played live by the Beatles until Macca himself did so in 2002. This is because shortly before the release of “Sgt. Pepper” album, the Fab Four had decided to stop touring.
This album, as well as the song itself, was released by Parlophone Records on 26 May 1967.
The origin of the title of this song has been credited to one Jimmie Nicol. This was a drummer who briefly filled in for Ringo Starr – who was in the hospital suffering from tonsillitis at the time. And Nicol’s own story as a momentary Beatle in the aftermath of such is also quite an interesting tale.
Another interesting thing associated with this song is that the second verse, which is about the singer being ‘cruel to his woman’, was indeed based on John’s real life.
John quoted this song in one of his own future tracks entitled “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” in 1980.