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"Getting Better"

Categories: Beatles songs

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A choppy mix of high-tuned guitar, electric piano and hammered pianette strings, "Getting Better" — and more abrasive — all the time, shatters Lucy's fading retreat into the sky: back down to earth with a bump!

Despite being written in the first person, the self-portrait which Paul starts to paint is far more reminiscent of John Lennon's past than his own: "angry young man", school rebel, misogynist...

But, for reasons we'll look into,

I've got to admit, it's getting better;
A little better all the time.
(Can't get no worse).

Tambura, the Indian instrument used on The Beatles' "Getting Better"

A tambura, providing the dramatic backdrop midway through "Getting Better"
"It's getting better since you've been mine..." Shot-in-the-dark theory: if the 'you' of McCartney's "Got To Get You Into My Life" had been cannabis, could it not have been acid this time? It would kinda explain the turnabout scene-change of the lyric, and — chronologically — it's spot on with his eventual turn-on... There does seem to be another nod and a wink to John's influence, too:

You gave me the word,
I finally heard,
I'm doing the best that I can!

The word or "The Word"?

Getting "Getting Better" good enough was the result of fifteen takes, involving a total of seven engineers: a record even by Pepper standards. Though ostensibly a far more straightforward track than many of its album-mates, the layers of sound got equally meticulous attention. Check out those so-cool handclaps and George's tabla drum, for example... and — my personal favourite part — his immense tambura power chord.

Probably the biggest surprise to be included on Macca's more recent tours.

Getting so much better all the time...

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