Day 117: “If You’ve Got Trouble”

When was it recorded?  Feb. 18, 1965

When was it first released, and on which album?  Mar. 18, 1996 on “Anthology 2”

Who wrote it?  Lennon/McCartney (or one of them at any rate)

Have I heard this song before?  No

What my research dug up:

Though attributed to Lennon-McCartney, according to Wikipedia, the exact authorship of this song is “unclear.” I’ve taken that to mean neither Paul or John wanted to take credit for writing this song, so I’m blaming it on both of them equally.

“If You’ve Got Trouble” was intended as Ringo’s one vocal piece on the album “Help!” and in the film “Help!” The Beatles recorded this number, then scrapped it and used “Act Naturally” (which I talked about all the way back on Day 3) on the album but not the movie.

Quoth The Beatles Bible, “The songs given to Ringo to sing were never among Lennon and McCartney’s finest: ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ and ‘What Goes On’ were little more than album fillers, and often Starr was left to sing cover versions.” “If You’ve Got Trouble” unfortunately follows this pattern. Richie Unterberger wrote in his review of the song, “What’s oddest about ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ …are the lyrics. They might not totally abandon the romantic scenarios the Beatles would concentrate on exclusively prior to late 1965, but they are goofier and more sardonic than anything else John Lennon and Paul McCartney had come up with before that year. The thrust? If you’ve got problems, you should get a load of mine! It almost sounded like a satire of clichéd whiny pop lyrics. Maybe it was felt that Starr’s sad-sack image suited that kind of tune.” Alan Pollack also noted, “The arrangement feels anemic by Beatles standards in both vocal and instrumental departments. Perhaps they abandoned it before it was quite finished.”

“We’ve just come across that, and it’s the most weird song. I’ve no recollection of ever recording it. It’s got stupid words and is the naffest [sic] song. No wonder it didn’t make it onto anything.” — George Harrison (Anthology)

Quoth Unterberger, “The tune’s not as melodious as most the Beatles wrote, but its ringing, circular guitar riffs are very much in keeping with the group’s 1965 arrangements, actually sounding more like their Rubber Soul era than their Help! one. The occasional background vocals — so sparse that one wonders if they weren’t completed, since the track didn’t make it into serious consideration for release — are also very much vintage 1965 Beatles.”

The Beatles recorded “If You’ve Got Trouble” on Feb. 18, 1965. The backing track was completed in one take, which Ringo subsequently overdubbed with double-tracked vocals. A mono version of the song was mixed two days later, but it has yet to see the light of day.

I’m not sure what it says about my taste in music, but I really like this song. Are the lyrics insipid? Yes, a bit. The tune itself, though, is quite danceable and decently arranged. I was definitely tapping my foot along on repeated listens.




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