A Little Better

‘Getting Better’ is a Beatles song from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Paul McCartney devised the title for this song while he was walking his sheepdog Martha through London’s Regent’s Park in early 1967.  Paul said that one day he was sitting with John and he told him that he had this idea for a song and it was getting better all the time and John responded, “You couldn’t get much worse.”  Paul thought that this was brilliant and he said that John’s sarcasm was a big reason why he liked writing songs together with him.  Paul was being optimistic while John was being dismal.  John had regrets about his violent past, he said this came from not being able to express himself, so he hit women and got into fights with men.  John was able to see his own flaws and change them and after he said, “I am a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence”, so after this, he led a life of peace.  In this song, John admits to beings mean, but he decided to change his scene and try to do the best that he could.

The actual phrase of getting better is credited to Jimmy Nicol who stood in for Ringo as the Beatles drummer for 10 concert dates, while Ringo was hospitalized with tonsillitis during the Australian leg of their 1964 world tour.  Whenever Jimmy was asked how he was getting on, he usually responded by saying, “It’s getting better” which stuck with Paul and he eventually used this phrase a few years later in this song.   To prepare himself for yet another marathon all-night session, Lennon reached into his trusty pillbox and he pulled out what he thought was an amphetamine.  While recording this song, Lennon complained that he did not feel well and that he could not focus.  He thought that he took an upper, but he had accidentally taken some LSD and he was terrified of the microphone.  George Martin who was naïve to the world of drugs took John up to the roof of EMI Studios to get some fresh air, it was a wonderful starry night, and John went to the edge of the roof, and looked up at the stars and said, “Aren’t they fantastic?”  To Martin they just looked like ordinary stars and he returned to Studio Two where McCartney and Harrison were waiting.  They knew why Lennon was not well, and upon hearing where Lennon was, they both rushed to the roof to retrieve him and prevent a possible accident.  George Martin played piano on this song and Harrison added an Indian tambura part to the final verse.

It’s getting better all the time

I used to get mad at my school (No, I can’t complain)
The teachers who taught me weren’t cool (No, I can’t complain)
You’re holding me down
Turning me round
Filling me up with your rules

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get no worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better
Since you’ve been mine

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word, I finally heard
I’m doing the best that I can

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get no worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better
Since you’ve been mine

Getting so much better all the time!

It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
Man, I was mean but I’m changing my scene
And I’m doing the best that I can (ooh)

I admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get no worse)
Yes, I admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better
Since you’ve been mine

Getting so much better all the time!

It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better

Getting so much better all the time!

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Nobody Does It Better Week 85.

13 thoughts on “A Little Better

  1. Great song and a great philosophy, getting a little bit better all the time. when I worked for a photo lab-camera store chain in the 90s they had a buzzword, and by now I forget what it was, but it was Japanese and they essentially translated it to “do a little bit better at everything every day” . Would be good if more people, especially those we elect to office, bought into that!

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    1. Dave, was it, “every day in every way I’m getting better and better”? My x hub worked on a psychiatric unit during his nurse’s training (he later went on to become an ER nurse) and told me that is one of the things they teach the patients.

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  2. As a young Beatlemaniac when I read that John had come up with the pessimistic line- it made so much sense. A great combination to the song one of my favorites on Sgt. Pepper.

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