The Illicit Meaning Behind “Got to Get You Into My Life” by The Beatles

The Beatles‘ psychedelic era was so heavily linked to drugs, it’s hard to imagine they were ever beginners at the practice. We’re sure (and there is heavy documentation to back it up) that the foursome had long been under the influence of something prior to 1966. However, the first time the band was acquainted with marijuana is documented on tape via “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

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In his book, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (2021), Paul McCartney explains how a night in with Bob Dylan helped the band not only fall in love with the drug, it also inspired this Beatles classic.

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Behind the Meaning

On the surface, “Got to Get You Into My Life” could pass as a love song. Ooh, then I suddenly see you / Ooh, did I tell you I need you / Every single day of my life, is deeply love song coded.

While judging by the lyrics, it seems McCartney may have intended the song to come off a little ambiguous, he definitively cites his first puff of a joint as the inspiration behind this Revolver cut.

“What we had to get into our lives, it seemed, was marijuana,” McCartney wrote in his book. “Until we happened upon marijuana, we’d been drinking men. We were introduced to grass when we were in the U.S., and it blew our tiny little minds.”

According to McCartney, he and his bandmates joined Dylan in a hotel suite in New York around 1964. Ringo snuck off to another room with the singer-songwriter—who had recently released Another Side of Bob Dylan—and came back out feeling dazed.

“We thought maybe he’d gone to the toilet, but then Ringo came out of that back room, looking a bit strange,” he continued. “He said, ‘I’ve just been with Bob, and he’s got some pot. We said, ‘Okay, what’s it like.’ He said, ‘Well, the ceiling is kind of moving; it’s sort of coming down.’ That was enough.”

After that, it was off to the races for The Beatles in the marijuana department. A couple of years later, McCartney would pen his “ode to pot,” as he called it in The Lyrics. “I thought it would be a good idea [that only I would know] it was about pot,” he added of “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

“How did we get our pot?” McCartney continued. “To tell you the truth, it just showed up. There were certain people you could get it from. You just had to know who had some.”

The musicality of the song is as blithe as one might feel while on the drug. One can almost see a happy-go-lucky McCartney frolicking through life, high as a kite, while listening to this track.

Photo by Leslie Lee/Express/Getty Images

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