Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: The Beatles, “I Me Mine”

Jim’s prompt for today is “I/Me/Them/Us/You/We.” I saw “I/Me” and immediately thought “Mine,” and I had today’s song.

“I Me Mine” was written by George Harrison and was included on the Let It Be album. Interestingly, it wasn’t recorded during the Let It Be or Abbey Road sessions. When the band found they wanted to include it in the Let It Be movie, they recorded it on January 3, 1970, in what became the last Beatles recording session. AZLyrics includes this little factoid:

This song was meant to be used in a scene of the never-released film “Get Back” where John Lennon and his future wife Yoko Ono would waltz to it while Harrison, McCartney and Starr would play.

Wikipedia tells us

Harrison wrote “I Me Mine” during the second week of the Beatles’ filmed rehearsals at Twickenham Film Studios in January 1969, and drew inspiration from the divisive atmosphere in the band. For Harrison, the power struggle between John Lennon and Paul McCartney contrasted sharply with the atmosphere he had recently enjoyed when making music with Bob Dylan and the Band in upstate New York. Author Jonathan Gould describes the song “as a commentary on the selfishness” of Lennon and McCartney, and considers it poignant that the composition was only properly recorded because it had provided accompaniment to Lennon and his partner, Yoko Ono, dancing. Musicologist Walter Everett says that, after Harrison had written “Not Guilty” in 1968 as a “defense against the tyranny of his songwriting comrades”, “I Me Mine” was his “mocking complaint about their stifling egos”. Gould writes that Harrison was particularly upset at Twickenham “that his fellow Beatles could complain about the amount of time they had to spend learning the arrangement for ‘I Me Mine’ and then turn around and submit to a laborious rehearsal of a song like ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ which struck George as a paragon of pop inanity.” Gould contends further that, if “friends like Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton heard something worthwhile in material like [Harrison’s] ‘All Things Must Pass'” then only “sheer egotism could account for the air of complete indifference with which Lennon and McCartney first greeted” both that tune and “I Me Mine”.

The title of George’s 1980 autobiography is I, Me, Mine, a fitting name.

This particular recording comes from the 2003 release Let It Be… Naked, which essentially undoes all the over-production added by Phil Spector.

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

All through the day, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
All through the night, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Now they’re frightened of leaving it
Everyone’s weaving it
Coming on strong all the time
All through the day I me mine

I-I-me-me-mine, I-I-me-me-mine
I-I-me-me-mine, I-I-me-me-mine

All I can hear, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Even those tears, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
No-one’s frightened of playing it
Everyone’s saying it
Flowing more freely than wine
All through the day I me mine

I-I-me-me mine, I-I-me-me mine
I-I-me-me mine, I-I-me-me mine

All I can hear, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
Even those tears, I me mine
I me mine, I me mine
No-one’s frightened of playing it
Everyone’s saying it
Flowing more freely than wine
All through your life I me mine

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for February 9, 2020.

32 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: The Beatles, “I Me Mine”

  1. Lennon turned down Isn’t a Pity earlier for the Beatles… I’m not defending John or Paul…I’m not sure how or in what form George presented them to them. He has admitted he wasn’t great at presenting his new songs…but with that said. They should have treated him better.
    We will find out more about the Let It Be sessions when the Peter Jackson movie comes out. From what I’ve read it wasn’t as much fighting as people have said…Jackson had 55 hours of film to go through.

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    1. Just from what I know about personalities (my wife was a psych major), John and Paul were extroverts and had choleric tendencies, where George (and Ringo) was an introvert with phlegmatic tendencies. George was a peacemaker: if he presented something and John or Paul said no, he would say “all right then” and keep his mouth shut and play his guitar. I remember seeing a clip from a session where George was saying to Paul “just tell me what you want, and I’ll play it,” in a way that indicated Paul was displeased with what George was playing. (Just my opinion: Paul deemed himself a better guitarist than either John or George and a better drummer than Ringo.) I always heard that the only way George could get “Taxman” on “Revolver” was to let Paul play lead guitar. (George did get three songs on “Revolver,” surprisingly…)

      I’ll keep my eyes open for that movie when it comes out. Should prove interesting…

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      1. John would come to George’s defense but then do the very same to him.
        Also in England…age difference was a big big thing. George was the youngest and Paul always looked at him as a young brother…and he is not that much older at all.
        The rot started bad when Epstein died…that was the beginning of the end.

        I think the movie is coming out in Fall.

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  2. Thanks for the information, John. I’ve long felt that George was underutilized. His songs with the The Traveling Wilburys are an example of people who parked their egos at the door and just recorded some good music.

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    1. John and Paul treated George like a stupid kid brother sometimes. I think he finally just decided to be the guitar player and keep the rest of his talents to himself, knowing they’d come in handy when the band broke up. Look at the two projects he did after The Beatles: “All Things Must Pass” and the concert for Bangladesh. I think a lot of people were amazed at the maturity in his work, because he limited what he did with the Fab Four and let John and Paul share the spotlight, knowing that his turn would come.

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  3. I loved reading that backstory which really shows what Harrison, a gifted songwriter himself, had to deal with those 2 who felt they were the only 2 who were great, I never heard of this song but I like it. Today is Oscar day and I have been watching the shorts on YouTube.

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    1. George’s embrace of Hinduism probably had a lot to do with how he was able to cope. He just did his own thing and let it happen, knowing that when the time was right he’d find his place in the sun.

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    1. George had plenty to say about “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” too. That was another Paul thing. George had written “All Things Must Pass” and “What Is Life” and got turned down flat…

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    1. I didn’t understand until I started reading stories about The Beatles and all the infighting that went on between John and Paul. A lot of that came to a head when Yoko arrived on the scene, but even before that, there was some tension. Which was a good thing, to a point, but I get the sense that after a while it got in the way.

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