On the original pressings of Beatles for Sale, the song was misprinted as "I'm a Loseer".
The song's refrain sings, "I'm a loser, and I've lost someone who's near to me. I'm a loser, and I'm not what I appear to be." The lyrics appear to be about a man who lost a woman; however Lennon later suggested that he constantly felt like a loser in life. Lennon would later compose self-oriented songs without using love as a metaphor.
Lennon hits a low G in the verses, a note usually reserved for bass singers. This is atypical of Lennon, considering he sang the bulk of his Beatles songs in a higher, tenor register. However, he also sang a low G in "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" and the backing vocals of "Love Me Do".
Singer Jackie DeShannon was on The Beatles' summer 1964 North American tour. She recalled that Lennon was writing this song on the plane during the tour. According to music critic Richie Unterberger, "Musically, 'I'm a Loser' is also notable for being perhaps the first Beatles song to directly reflect the influence of Bob Dylan, thus nudging folk and rock a little closer together toward the folk-rock explosion of the following year."
Recording and releaseEdit
It was released four months after it was recorded, but beforehand, it was previewed on BBC Radio on 17 August, along with three other songs from Beatles for Sale and also the "I Feel Fine"/"She's a Woman" single.
- John Lennon – rhythm guitar (1964 Gibson J-160E), harmonica, lead vocals
- Paul McCartney – bass guitar (1963 Hofner 500/1), harmony vocals
- George Harrison – lead guitar (1963 Gretsch 6119 Tennessean)
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
- Personnel per Ian MacDonald
This song was covered by the Lost Dogs on their 1993 album, Little Red Riding Hood. In 2004 The Punkles did a cover of this song on their third album Pistol. The bands Sum 41 and Eels have also covered it live in concert, the latter releasing it on Sixteen Tons (Ten Songs). Doug Kershaw covered the song on his 1977 album Flip, Flop, and Fly.
- "I'm a Loser". The Beatles Bible
. 2009. http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/im-a-loser/. Retrieved on 2009-04-14.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties
(Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-844-13828-3.
- Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Review of "I'm a Loser"". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:wvfexqqkldke. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.