I Feel Fine
Director – Joe McGrath. Producer – Subafilms Ltd.
Filmed – 23 November 1965.
Location – Twickenham Film Studios, Middlesex
The need for a new single – it had been three months since their previous release – had become
pressing when The Beatles recorded ‘I Feel Fine’ at Abbey Road during a very busy October day in 1964. They worked on a total of eight songs during a Sunday session that lasted from 2.30 in the afternoon to 11.30 at night; the remaining seven tracks all appeared on Beatles For Sale.
Nine days before recording ‘I Feel Fine’, The Beatles had begun a UK tour in Bradford, West Yorkshire (Motown’s Mary Wells was also on the bill). Although they had a day off on the Saturday before the marathon Sunday recording, it was business as usual on Monday when they flew
to Edinburgh to play three back-to-back shows in Scotland, starting that evening.
When the single came out five weeks later, some reviewers thought the feedback at the start of the track was a studio accident that the band and George Martin subsequently decided to include on the finished track. They were wrong. It was John’s idea for Paul to play the single note on the bass and for the amplifier to pick up feedback from his own guitar. Topping the UK charts from the middle of December, it stayed there all through the Christmas period, becoming the third Beatles’ single to reach No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic concurrently. The Capitol single hit the top of the US Hot 100 on 26 December.
By late 1965, The Beatles’ huge popularity, and not just in Britain and the US, made it difficult for them to support record releases around the world with live performances, especially in far-flung, distant locations. Recording promotional films was a good solution, both for the band and for EMI. Covering all The Beatles UK A-sides from the previous twelve months, these films could be sent to EMI affiliate labels and distributors worldwide.
The Beatles went to Studio Three, Twickenham Film Studios, in November 1965 to record promos
for five songs, including ‘I Feel Fine’. The job of director was given to Joe McGrath, a thirty-five-year-old Scot who had studied at Glasgow School of Art. At this point in his career he was mainly working in TV but two years after these promos he was one of the directors on the spoof James
Bond film, Casino Royale.