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notes on ...

Notes on "Got To Get You Into My Life"


Notes on ... Series #102 (GTGYIML)
  by Alan W. Pollack
      Key: G Major
    Meter: 4/4
     Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Refrain |
                 | Verse | Refrain | Refrain | Outro (fade-out)
        CD: "Revolver", Track 13 (Parlophone CDP7 46441-2)
  Recorded: 7th May 1966, Abbey Road 3;
            8th, 11th April, 18th May, 17th June 1966, Abbey Road 2
UK-release: 5th August 1966 (LP "Revolver")
US-release: 8th August 1966 (LP "Revolver")

General Points of Interest


Style and Form

  Next note We have another wonderful example here of Macca reaching hard for Something, if not really, New, then something newly synthesized out of everything he knew, could remember, and somehow find a way to fit into the mix. Go ahead — make fun of him (and me too, while you're at it! :-)), but I challenge you to stylistically pigeon-hole this one: is it big-band "pop", neolyte blues, modal contemporary rock, or what-not?
  Next note Formalistically the song is unusual for the manner in which the vamping and potentially self-perpetuating coda develops as an outgrowth of an extra, extended repeat of the refrain just before the ending.
  Next note The arrangement conjures up visions of a big and brassy stage band, but true to the form of the rest of "Revolver", the recording also connotes a touch of surreality in the way that the "silver saxophones" and "washed out horns" are recorded close up to the point of scornful distortion. (Apologies to Zimmy, but my borrowing of imagery here is partly intended to get you thinking about unlikely resonances between our song here and one "Blonde-on-Blonde" number which bears the distinction of sharing the same title with one of the tracks on "Abbey Road"! Think about it ...)

Melody and Harmony

  Next note The tune of the verse is spikey with lots of wide jumps over a wide range. The tune of the bridge is very bluesy, and though the vocal line is fragmentary, it elides seamlessly with the instrumental rejoinder that follows it; when you hum the song to yourself, you wind up running it all together — the fancy technical term for this effect is a "hocket".
  Next note The harmony is equally changeable: static in the first half of the verse with jazzy superimpositions over a I-chord pedal; over a walking chromatic bassline in the second half of the verse; and in the bridge, there's finally sufficient time for the plain old I -» IV -» V.


  Next note On very close listening (especially, if you check out the individual stereo channels), the finished recording seems surprisingly "dirty", with stray studio talk buried below the music near the beginning, and bleed-ins or some other kinds of ghostly remnants of earlier tracks not quite entirely mixed out of the official version. This is a reminder, on the one hand, of the rather primitive pre-digital techniques and equipment they had to deal with in the mid-sixties, but I'll also stand by my earlier comment that this crufty audio quality is part of an intentional aesthetic here.
  Next note For all the heavy layering of overdubs and limiting, there's still always room for the ubiquitous double tracked lead vocal, and a tambourine, of course! There's also that passion-drenched lead guitar part which is nicely saved as a surprise for so late in the song that you don't really expect it.
  Next note The rhythmic pulse is fast, fast, fast; a regular Beethoven scherzo, if you will :-) The underlying 4/4 beat, itself, is quite more rapid than a standard quarter-note-equals-120 march beat. But it is the steady, relentless triplets that fill out those beats, as well as the frequency of syncopation that give the music its real thrust. Not only do we find a continuation here of the anticipate-the-downbeat tactic used by George in the previous track, but at the end of the final phrase of each verse, we also have a melodic flip which does hit the downbeat, but whose ultimate point of arrival places the accent on the second beat of the measure.

Section-by-Section Walkthrough



  Next note The four-bar intro is completely instrumental, vamping on the I chord, and including the "7-9-11-13" embellishment which characterizes the verse section (see below).
  Next note This brief introductory section sets both the overall tone of the proceedings to come as well as the relatively static harmonic style.


  Next note The verse is a squared-off sixteen measures long, but its internal phraseology is broken down into patterns of phrases that are different in length; i.e. | A | A | B B | C |
           --------------------------- 2X ----------------------------
          |G             |-             |-             |-             |
       G:  I

 Harmony: |b             |-             |-             |-             |
Bassline: |B      B-flat |A      G#     |B      B-flat |A      G#     |
       G:  iii                   vii-/   iii                   vii-/
                              half-dim ii                   half-dim ii

 Harmony: |C             |a      D      |G             |-             |
Bassline: |C      B      |A      D      |G             |-             |
       G:  IV             ii     V       I

   [Figure 102.1]
  Next note The harmony of each of the A-B-C phrases is distinctive. The first two phrases establish the home key of G Major by a kind of pedal-point insistence. Whether you call the chords in the second half of each of those phrases a "I 7-9-11-13" or you call it "I with flat-VII and/or IV superimposed" it is still experientially the same thing.
  Next note The third phrase features a single sustained chord in the upper voices (b-minor) over a chromatically descending bassline. The last note in this bass riff (G#) turns the chord into an implicit "half diminished seventh on G#", which points strongly toward a-minor, but the resolution of this is put off until the middle of the following phrase.
  Next note The repeated chromatic descent from B is followed in the final phrase by a diatonic descent from C. The effect is akin to your trying several times to anxiously scale a difficult, slippery mountain peak to finally succeed on the third try; sing this bassline to yourself and you'll feel what I'm talking about here. This last phrase finally establishes the home key in harmonically unequivocal terms.


  Next note The refrain shifts to a modal and bluesy style with I -» IV -» V in the chord progression, B-flat/B-natural clashes between vocal part and harmonies, and F-natural/F-sharp clashes between the instrumental obbligato and the chords.
  Next note The general tendency toward syncopation in the foreground is carried through to the background in this section by the way the C chord is sustained through measures 2 and 3. This gambit forces the refrain to a slightly unusual extended length of six measures:
   |G             |C             |-             |D             |
    I              IV                            V

   |G             |-             |

   [Figure 102.2]
  Next note When the refrain comes back for the second time, it is repeated immediately one additional time. This repeat is setup by an additional two measures of vamping on the I chord; the latter, setup in turn, by the surprise appearance of the lead guitar starting in measures 5 and 6 of the refrain immediately preceding.


  Next note The doubled second refrain leads directly into the outro which, in many respects is an extended reprise of the Intro with the addition of a pseudo-improvisational vocal.
  Next note The outro goes on for over twelve measures on the I chord before the complete fade-out sets in, and is suggestive of a spontaneous, ranting jam session that goes on long past where the recording fades to silence; and perhaps it will, in a concert, go on for more than just a few minutes. In my humble opinion, the impossibly high spikes of the brass easily upstage Macca's screaming.
  Next note Here, given a tremendous demonstration of the less-is-more aesthetic in context of the two-to-three minute song medium, you can contemplate this outro as an example of where the implication is as good, if not better, than the actuality of the real thing.
  Next note Paul apparently had a sweet spot for these extended outros, even if "Hey Jude" remains the only example of it to have made the official canon. If you go for the so-called unofficial recordings, though, do take a look at the extended-jamming outtakes of "She's A Woman", and "You Never Give Me Your Money".

Some Final Thoughts

  Next note "Got To Get You Into My Life" is the uncanny antithesis of the preceding "I Want To Tell You", in spite of many musical elements in common between the two songs.
  Next note I talk a lot in this series about Paul and John seeming to not just compete, but to try and come up with their respectively personal "solution" to the same compositional challenge; the irony being that they never come off so strongly as their individualized selves as when they they engage in this directly competitive exercise.
  Next note Whether or not it was done with any pre-meditation, I consider this one a case of Paul and George having a go at it. Aside from the fast triplets and predominating syncopation, the lyrics of both their songs describe similar contexts of anxious, desirous longing for love from afar.
  Next note Granted, Paul's story here is at least one step up the romantic food chain from the one that George tells: Macca has at least made direct unrebuffed contact with the other person. But still, the parallels are striking. And yet, one song is tied in knots while the other is upbeat, determined, and jumping out of its skin.
  Alan (043095#102)
Copyright © 1995 by Alan W. Pollack. All Rights Reserved. This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.