"Beatles for Sale" is The Beatles' fourth album, released in late 1964 and produced by George Martin for Parlophone. The album marked a minor turning point in the evolution of Lennon and McCartney as lyricists, Lennon particularly now showing interest in composing songs of a more autobiographical nature. "I'm a Loser" shows Lennon for the first time seemingly coming under the influence of Bob Dylan, according to leading Beatles archivist Mark Lewisohn (see Complete Beatles Chronicle, p.168), having met him for the first time in New York while on tour on August 28, 1964 (see Paul McCartney - Many Years From Now by Barry Miles).
Beatles for Sale is considered by some to be the weakest in the group's history, because of the "war weariness" the band was suffering from the now constant slog of touring and recording. Others note that the album, with its ironic title, and downbeat lyrics and cover photo, seems intended as a direct challenge to fans who wanted the Beatles to continue writing upbeat, happy songs.
Beatles for Sale featured eight original Lennon and McCartney works. At this stage in their collaboration, Lennon's and McCartney's songwriting was highly collaborative; even when songs had a primary author the other would often contribute key parts, as with "No Reply" where McCartney provided a middle-eight for what was otherwise almost entirely a Lennon song.
In 1994, McCartney described the songwriting process he and Lennon went through:
"We would normally be rung a couple of weeks before the recording session and they'd say, 'We're recording in a month's time and you've got a week off before the recordings to write some stuff.' ...so I'd go out to John's every day for the week, and the rest of the time was just time off. We always wrote a song a day, whatever happened we always wrote a song a day.... Mostly it was me getting out of London, to John's rather nice, comfortable Weybridge house near the golf course.... So John and I would sit down, and by then it might be one or two o'clock, and by four or five o'clock we'd be done."