The rare “I Feel Fine” music video
|To my delight, the animated “I Feel Fine” video includes Superman.|
Film-maker and artist Stephen Verona first met John Lennon in a London nightclub in 1966, leading to a collaboration which resulted in a ‘music video’. Verona proposed that he should produce a film for one of the Beatles’ songs and John sent him an untitled recording of ‘I Feel Fine’, which Verona initially assumed to be called ‘She Said So’, obviously not familiar with the 1964 Beatles song. Verona produced a series of more than 200 drawings and, during a visit by John to New York, the pair spent a night discussing the project and hand-colouring the drawings. It is unknown who coloured which drawing, but my guess is that Lennon colourised the image of Superman (see earlier post). A cartoon Superman also featured in the Magical Mystery Tour booklet in 1967.
The finished film was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, collecting awards at the San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago film festivals, as well as the CINE Golden Eagle.
Verona subsequently produced many music videos (see his 1967 Lovin’ Spoonful video here), was nominated for an Academy Award for ‘The Rehearsal’ (1972 Best Short Subject, Live Action Film) and went into feature-length productions, including ‘The Lords Of Flatbush’, 1974, with Sylvester Stallone in his first leading role.
It’s curious that Lennon thought I Feel Fine was best suited for Verona’s treatment, because by 1966 it was an oldie. However, “I Feel Fine” was released on an album for the first time in the UK in December 1966, when it appeared on the “Oldies But Goldies” collection, perhaps that’s what Lennon had in mind? Giving the song a more contemporary looking promotional film? It also seems that the acetate Lennon provided Verona with was a mix for the U.S. market, prepared by George Martin. It features Martin’s attempt to emulate the Capitol sound, as Dave Dexter would have remixed it.