Beck’s ‘Loser’ Sounds a Lot Like This Beatles Song
All roads lead to The Beatles. Beck’s “Loser” is one of the most beloved songs from the 1990s alternative rock scene. It has some major similarities to a track from Beatles for Sale. John Lennon explained why he wrote a song about feeling like a loser.
John Lennon wrote 1 of The Beatles’ songs because he felt like ‘God Almighty’
One of the most ignored tracks from Beatles for Sale is “I’m a Loser.” The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features an interview from 1980. In it, John was asked about “I’m a Loser.”
He said it was one of his Bob Dylan-inspired songs. John described himself and Paul McCartney as musical chameleons who could mimic other stars like Dylan, Elvis Presley, and the Everly Brothers. He wrote it because he sometimes felt like a loser and sometimes felt like “God Almighty.”
There are multiple connections between The Beatles’ ‘I’m a Loser’ and Beck’s ‘Loser’
The similarities between The Beatles’ “I’m a Loser” and Beck’s “Loser” extend beyond their “I’m a Loser” hooks. They’re both folky songs. Beck even mentions a folk singer in his signature tune.
While a song about being a loser could be a springboard for some self-depracating humor, John and Beck both seem to display genuine self-loathing on their tracks. The fact that “Loser” was a hit but “I’m a Loser” was not shows that sort of music was a lot more popular in the 1990s than it was in the 1960s. Regardless, The Beatles were ahead of the curve yet again!
Beck said compared his song to ‘a stupid picture’ getting put on ‘every billboard’
During a 2011 interview with Pitchfork, Beck described the meteoric rise of “Loser.” “It’s like if a friend took a stupid picture of you at a party on their phone, and the next thing you knew, it was on every billboard,” he recalled. The “Beercan” singer said “Loser” became too big for its own record label. “There was a team of producers who had a label they eventually called Bong Load Records, and they wanted to put 500 copies of ‘Loser’ out,” he said. “And it got to the point where there was nobody who could front the money to print [more] copies to get it out there.”
Afterward, Beck signed a major label deal. “It was a really hard decision,” he said. “I didn’t want to be on a major label. I wanted all the attention and the noise to go away because I wanted to be something a little bit more substantial.
“I thought of ‘Loser” as this fluke that I’d done messing around at a guy’s house in 1991 — I hadn’t even seen that guy in two years,” he added. “I didn’t even have a copy of the song. I just remember it being a laugh, but some people heard it and liked it.”
The message of The Beatles’ “I’m a Loser” had broad appeal — it just took the world 30 years to get there.