“Got To Get You Into My Life” is, besides having served as catnip for parodyists that latched onto it when Paul split from Heather (“Got To Get You Out Of My Life” or “Got To Get Rid Of My Wife” being two prime examples – “What do I owe, what should I pay. . .”) is one of the great ones. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney have separately agreed on this in separate interviews, and as we all know, they rarely agreed on anything at all, towards the end.
The song itself is deceptive on more levels than you would dare think.
First, “Got To Get You Into My Life” – a song among the most “white” sounding of the very “white” sounding 1966 McCartney pop tunes — was in fact Paul’s most direct attempt to go straight Motown. That’s right, Motown. The Motown song that GTGYIML came from is traceable: On the 1965 Beatles Christmas record, released just a few months before the Beatles recorded GTGYIML, John starts drunkenly singing a snippet of the Four Tops’ 1965 hit “It’s The Same Old Song” before George Harrison (of all people) hastily cuts him off for fear of copyright infringement!
But the Beatles – and Paul particularly – were not done playing with the Four Tops classic. Go listen to it and GTGYIML and you will be gobstruck by the undeniable identical rhythmic DNA that defines both tunes. It is like the bizarre one-white one-black twins you sometimes hear about being born in places that very few of us visit. No less an authority than John Lennon himself confirmed this genetic sharing between the two, when he muttered in a 1968 interview, after being asked about GTGYIML, “we were doing our Tamla Motown bit. . . ”
It gets even better. That’s only the start.
The year after John made this admission, the Four Tops closed the karmic wheel, releasing their version of GTGYIML on their 1969 Motown Album “Soul Spin.” And of course, less than a decade after that, we all got turned onto Earth Wind and Fire’s killing version of GTGYIML.
Cool, huh? Tricky, Paul. Ebony and Ivory, indeed.
Musically, the song is deceptive on another level – it sounds instantly familiar, but it is in fact one of a kind. Is there another Beatles song that sounds like it? Sure, we’ve heard the patented close-miked horns elsewhere ( “Good Morning Good Morning,” recorded a year later) and of course you can’t throw a stone through the McCartney canon without finding similar octave-jumping melody lines ( “Good Day Sunshine” also on Revolver) and even the idea of having met someone that you need to get to know, soon and better, is familiar Paul songwriting ground ( “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” recorded almost a year to the day before GTGYIML). But well, this one is different. It really is a unique one-of-a-kind song, like hearing an example of a well known genre that exists, but only in some other pop universe. That lead guitar break is, well, instantly accessible but never replicated in any pop song again, anywhere.
If the song’s musical deceptiveness isn’t enough (and it is), lyrically, it is even more deceptive.
That sneaky good boy Paul McCartney, caught up in the mid-1960’s bandwagon along with everyone else, was actually taking his turn at writing an unrecognizable drug song. It wasn’t the acid-drenched “A Day In The Life” or heroin-jerky “Cold Turkey” or even the good natured smorgasbord of Ringo’s “No No Song,” but GTGYIML is, a song about one of Paul’s reported great loves besides Linda — ganja. Paul later admitted that the song wasn’t about a girl at all – it was not “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” but “I’ve Just Lit A Blunt.” Paul himself said it in an interview that came out in 1990 (when he was already close to being a grandfather, if he wasn’t already): “‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ was one I wrote when I had been first introduced to pot. . . . So [it’s] really a song about that, it’s not to a person. It’s about pot – although everyone missed it at the time”.
Well of course they did, Paul. But now we know – the song is about pot, sung by a giggly, newly munched-out, 24 year old. Who was listening to a lot of Motown.
The song is also a sleeper. Did you remember that it was a Beatles single in 1976, ten years after it was recorded, backed with “Helter Skelter” (what???) to promote the Beatles Rock and Roll Album? And of course, it charted. In fact, it was the last Beatles single until 1995’s “Free As A Bird” – if that was a Beatles single at all.
GTGYIML began its existence on April 7, 1996 when work on the recording of the tune began (it was also Ravi Shankar’s 46th birthday, if anyone was watching). Ironically, given what the song is really about, it’s a striking coincidence that work on the song began exactly 33 years to the day that beer was re-legalized in the United States, after the fall of Prohibition. There were many folks, of course, that were as thrilled to get beer back into their life in 1933 as Paul was thrilled to, er, well, you know, in 1966.
What can we do, what can we say . . . when we’re with this one, we want to stay there. . . In the end, this song is anything but the same old song. Like many of the Beatles’ finest work, it may be unrecognizable at first in its origin or meaning, but it is instantly recognizable in the end as pure and timeless pop genius.
Our version features the funkiest ukulele part ever recorded. Ira Siegel scratches and chops his way through the song.
Tabitha Fair’s super-funktastic rendition of “Got To Get You Into My Life” features the funkiest ukulele part ever recorded. Ira Siegel scratches and chops his way through three and a half minutes of funk frenzy. Tabitha summons the ghosts of a thousand old soul greats. Try and keep still if you can.
Should you be in New York City and want to take a tour of the Southern States check out where Tabitha Fair is playing. She will hold your hand and guide you from from gin joint to church. One moment you will be in Memphis, the next Nashville.
You may never want to go home again.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Tabitha Anoatubby Fair
Tabitha Fair is the product of a family with a rich musical heritage."Chickasaw"native american by descent, she was raised in Oklahoma, the daughter of a preacher and songstress preachers wife. Tabitha grew up singing in her father’s church and was heavily influenced by her Gospel roots.
By the age of 15, she made her own Gospel album, touring it around the country while taping her own TV show in Tulsa, Ok, soon after, her ambitions took her to Nashville, TN, where she quickly became one of Nashville’s top vocalists, touring and/or recording with the likes of Amy Grant, Wynonna Judd, Faith Hill, Lee Ann Womack, and Trisha Yearwood to name a few. She continued to explore her Gospel roots as both a writer and performer, co-founding Avalon, the highest-selling Contemporary Christian group of all time, and working with many legendary Christian artists, Cece Winans, Third Day, Clay Cross, Twyla Paris, and Mark Shultz, among others.
In 1998, Tabitha received the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s prestigious Abe Ohlman Award, which recognizes writers of great promise. Tabitha has written and recorded with Carol King, co-writing a song that was featured in the movie "Sum of All Fears" featuring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman. Smitten by New York, she moved north to put more focus on her solo career.
She has been featured in concert duets with such musical greats as Sting (The Rainforest Benefit-Carnegie Hall), Travis Tritt, Michael McDonald, and with the legendary Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), with whom she toured the world. Tabitha performed at President Clinton’s and President Obama’s inauguration in Washington DC, performing with artists such as Mary J. Blige, Beyonce and James Taylor among others. She has also been a featured, lead or backyground artist on many award winning record albums, including Victor Wooten’s "Ying and Yang", the movie "Nine", Amy Grant, Celine Dion, Vanessa Williams, Travis Tritt and and lately withHoe trohan and Andy Hurley’s new solo project from Fall Out Boy. Tabitha also recently performed with Jennifer Hudson and Shakira for the televised Hope For Haiti Now Benefit Concert, and also recently performed at The 2010 Rainforest Benefit, Carnegie Hall, with Sting, Elton John, Lady GaGa and Debra Harry.
Tabitha’s other live credits as of late consist of singing background vocal’s with M.I.A, OK GO, The Roots for artists John Legend, Josh Stone and Sting. Tabitha has been singing on many different festivals and private shows and has been a regular on "The Fallon Show" singing backgrounds with "The Roots"
She is now focusing on finishing her own solo project that she is working on with Grammy nominated songwriter Phil Galdston. Tabitha is looking forward to the next chapter in her career as a solo artist.
released August 14, 2012
Ukulele version #096 recorded October 1, 2010
Tabitha Fair – Vocals
Ira Siegel – The Funkiest Ukulele ever recorded
David Barratt – Backing track
Written by Paul McCartney
Credited to Lennon McCartney
Produced and mixed by David Barratt at The Abattoir Of Good Taste, Brooklyn