I'm a loser!
I'm a l-o-o-o-ser!
An' I'm not what I appear to be!
Once again, it's the voice of John Lennon which opens the track: but if you thought he was on a downer on "No Reply"
, you ain't heard nothin' yet...
This is the song that had (and still has) everyone saying he was doing a Dylan: indeed, he admitted as much himself, "my friend" — clown mask 'n' all.My tears are falling
Like rain from the sky:
Is it for her or myself that I cry?!!
Mind you, it was neither the first nor the last time that his writing was tinged with Zimmermanism. In fact, I don't think he ever got the man completely out of his system: few people do so — myself included. Through "Hide Your Love Away"
and "Norwegian Wood"
, via "Working Class Hero" and right to the end with "Watching The Wheels", there always remained a whiff of him in John's work. And, it was by no means a one-way obsession, as I'm sure Bob himself would admit (if you caught him on a good day, at least!)
Anyway, all that's by the by: "I'm A Loser" is an absolute belter of a song, wherever it came from. Written, at least in part, on an internal flight during the second US Tour, it was considered as a potential single until "I Feel Fine"
The loosely tight country feel of the instrumentation is just right to reiterate the self-doubting lyric ("Is it for her or myself that I cry?"), the vocal harmonies are used with a highly effective sparingness, and Ringo adds some interesting accentuations. Then there's the harmonica — nothing like Bob's, of course, but every bit as emotive — with Lennon wringing out notes which should be impossible from a chromatic. A fine version was recorded for the BBC, broadcast more or less simultaneously with For Sale
Last word on the subject from his own lips: "Part of me suspects I'm a loser, and part of me thinks I'm God almighty".
Or (another quote), "Genius is pain".