When was it recorded? Jul. 1, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Aug. 23, 1963 as the B-side to the “She Loves You” single
Who wrote it? Lennon/McCartney
Have I heard this song before? Yes
What my research dug up:
(Shoutout to the best friend mentioned in my About story since today is her birthday! Thanks for being your incredible self and for getting me into the Beatles all those years ago.)
Quoth Wikipedia, “Beatles writer Bill Harry credits Lennon as the main composer [of ‘I’ll Get You’], although McCartney claims it was a 50/50 collaboration.” Based on what I dug up, I’m more inclined to believe Paul.
As Wikipedia also noted, “McCartney recalls using Lennon’s Menlove Avenue home as the writing base for the song; this was rare as Lennon’s Aunt Mimi, whom he still lived with at the time, was disapproving of the Beatles.” Lyrically, Paul said John drew inspiration from Lewis Carroll, citing the opening line as one example. As for his inspirations, Paul cited American folk singer Joan Baez’s 1960 cover of “All My Trials.”
“It’s got an interesting chord in it: ‘It’s not easy to pre-tend…’ That was nicked from a song called ‘All My Trials’ which is on an album I had by Joan Baez: ‘There’s only one thing that money can’t buy.’ It’s like D, which goes to an A minor, which is unusual, you’d normally go from a D to an A major. It’s a change that had always fascinated me, so I put it in.” — Paul McCartney (Many Years From Now, Barry Miles)
The chord structure varies throughout; the specific part Paul mentioned occurs at 2:30.
According to Alan Pollack, “This is an extremely straightforward if not plain-and-simple song in terms of almost any compositional metric by which you’d want to measure it. And still, it is full of trademark details which indelibly mark it as an early Beatles song.” Oh yeah! (Oh yeah.)
The Beatles recorded the song under the working title “Get You In the End” on Jul. 1, 1963 after taping “She Loves You.” According to Wikipedia, “Standard procedure at Abbey Road Studios at the time was to erase the original two-track session tape for singles once they had been “mixed down” to the (usually monaural) master tape used to press records.” As a result, the master tapes of “I’ll Get You” & “She Loves You” (along with “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You”) no longer exist. Alas.
“I’ll Get You” appeared as the B-side to both “She Loves You” (Aug. 28, 1963) and “Sie Liebt Dich” (the German version of “She Loves You,” May 21, 1964). In America it appeared Apr. 10, 1964 on “The Beatles’ Second Album.”
A live version of “I’ll Get You” recorded Oct. 13, 1963 at the London Palladium appears on “Anthology 1.”
The Beatles also recorded “I’ll Get You” twice for BBC radio. A different live version recorded Oct. 5, 1963 for “Saturday Club” appears on “On Air – Live at the BBC Vol. 2.”
This song is… okay. That might be putting it nicely. I’d like to quote Pollack again – “I don’t know if I can use the following term without sounding more harsh [sic] than intended, but I’ll dare say that ‘I’ll Get You’ was a bit of a ‘pot boiler.’ …both the music and recording of ‘I’ll Get You’ have definite earmarks of a rush job which they must have assumed nobody would ever notice.” It just kind of… is there. Inoffensive, but it exists, and that’s the most there is to it.