100 Greatest Beatles Songs

From 'Helter Skelter' to 'Sgt. Pepper's,' ranking of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison's output

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'I'm Down'
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images56/100

56. 'I'm Down'

Main Writer: McCartney
Recorded: June 14, 1965
Released: July 19, 1965
Did not chart (b side)

"I'm Down" is one of the Beatles' most energetic tracks, a simple rocker that they captured in three hours the same day they recorded "I've Just Seen a Face" and began recording "Yesterday" — a session that demonstrates McCartney's extraordinary range. "I'm Down," the B side to "Help!," reflects McCartney's fondness for Little Richard-style ravers. "I used to sing his stuff," McCartney said, "but there came a point where I wanted one of my own, so I wrote 'I'm Down.'"

The song became a live favorite, serving as the concert closer throughout the group's 1965 American tour. The performance of "I'm Down" at Shea Stadium is a collage of indelible images: McCartney growing so excited that he starts to twirl; Lennon and Harrison laughing so much that they muff their background vocals; Starr bashing away — even though you can barely hear his drums amid the screams — and Lennon playing electric piano with his elbow. It's the Beatles free of Beatlemania — four guys in a band, rocking their asses off and loving it.

Appears On: Past Masters

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