"I'm Down" is a song by the Beatles written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney) and first released as the B-side to the single "Help!" in 1965. According to critic Richie Unterberger of Allmusic, "I'm Down" is "one of the most frantic rockers in the entire Beatles catalog." The song was influenced by 1950s rhythm & blues artists—Amazon.com called it an "homage to Little Richard."—and some critics see it as a rewrite of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally", but Unterberger says there are significant differences, too. Another example of this style song by McCartney is 1964's "She's a Woman", the B-side of "I Feel Fine".
During their historic performance at Shea Stadium in August 1965 (the largest audience the Beatles ever drew during their career as a live touring band), the band played a memorably frenzied version of the song, with Lennon playing a Vox Continental Organ with his elbows at times. Footage of this performance may be seen on The Beatles Anthology video.
The band would later play this song during their 12 September 1965 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, as well as their 1966 concert in Tokyo. During the Ed Sullivan performance, Lennon mimicked his actions at Shea Stadium, playing the keyboard with his elbow.
McCartney played the song to open his set at The Concert for New York City following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. The concert was held at Madison Square Garden in support of firefighters, policemen, and other public workers who suffered from the aftermath of the attacks.
Heart covered this song as a medley with "Long Tall Sally" on their 1980 album "Greatest Hits: Live". It was on their "live" side of the album.
In 1982, guitarist and songwriter Adrian Belew released his second solo record, "Twang Bar King", which began with a postmodern take on this Beatles' classic.
In the 1980s, the Beastie Boys wanted to sample portions of the song for a recording of their own but were turned down by the then and current owner of most of the Lennon/McCartney publishing rights, Michael Jackson.
The Punkles recorded a cover version of this song for their second album "Punk!".