“Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” is a song by the Beatles released on their 1968 album The Beatles, commonly referred to as The White Album. It was written and sung by Paul McCartney, but credited to Lennon–McCartney. “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” is short and simple; 1:42 of twelve-bar blues that begins with three different percussion elements (a hand banging on the back of an acoustic guitar, handclaps, and drums) and features McCartney’s increasingly raucous vocal repeating a simple lyric with only two different lines.
McCartney wrote the song after seeing two monkeys copulating in the street while on retreat in Rishikesh, India, with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He marvelled in the simplicity of this natural scenario when compared to the emotional turmoil of human relationships. He later said:
A male [monkey] just hopped on the back of this female and gave her one, as they say in the vernacular. Within two or three seconds he hopped off again and looked around as if to say “It wasn’t me!” and she looked around as if there’d been some mild disturbance … And I thought … that’s how simple the act of procreation is … We have horrendous problems with it, and yet animals don’t.
“This Boy” is a song by English rock band the Beatles, written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney). It was released in November 1963 as the B-side of the British Parlophone single “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. It also appears as the third track on side one of the 1964 U.S album Meet the Beatles!. The Beatles performed it live on 16 February 1964 for their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. “This Boy” was remastered for compact disc by George Martin and released in 1988 on the Past Masters, Volume One compilation. On 9 September 2009 it was re-released on the two CD set Past Masters, as part of the remastering of the original Beatles’ catalogue, and was included in The Beatles Stereo Box Set and in The Beatles in Mono box set.
“Thank You Girl” is a song recorded by the Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (Lennon–McCartney), and issued as the B-side of the single “From Me to You”, which was recorded on the same day (5 March 1963). While not released on an LP in the United Kingdom until Rarities in 1978, the song was the second track on The Beatles’ Second Album in the United States. As the B-side of the single “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, it hit No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1964.
“Strawberry Fields Forever” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. The song was written by John Lennon and credited to the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership. It was inspired by Lennon’s memories of playing in the garden of Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army children’s home near where he grew up in Liverpool.
The song was the first track recorded during the sessions for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), and was intended for inclusion on the album. Instead, with the group under record-company pressure to release a single, it was issued in February 1967 as a double A-side with “Penny Lane”. The combination reached number two in the United Kingdom, breaking the band’s four-year run of chart-topping singles there, while “Strawberry Fields Forever” peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in America.
Lennon considered the song his greatest accomplishment. The track incorporates reverse-recorded instrumentation and tape loops, and was created from the editing together of two separate versions of the song – each one entirely different in tempo, mood and musical key. The song was later included on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP (although not on the British double EP package of the same name).
“Strawberry Fields Forever” is one of the defining works of the psychedelic rock genre and has been covered by many artists. The Beatles made a promotional film clip for the song that is similarly recognised for its influence in the medium of music video. The Strawberry Fields memorial in New York’s Central Park is named after the song.
“Revolution 9” is a recorded composition that appeared on the Beatles’ 1968 eponymous LP release (popularly known as The White Album). The sound collage, credited to Lennon–McCartney, was created primarily by John Lennon with assistance from George Harrison and Yoko Ono. Lennon said he was trying to paint a picture of a revolution using sound. The composition was influenced by the avant-garde style of Ono as well as the musique concrète works of composers such as Edgard Varèse and Karlheinz Stockhausen (whom Paul McCartney had been listening to in 1966, inspiring his ideas for “Tomorrow Never Knows” on the Beatles’ album Revolver).
The recording began as an extended ending to the album version of “Revolution.” Lennon then combined the unused coda with numerous overdubbed vocals, speech, sound effects, and short tape loops of speech and musical performances, some of which were reversed. These were further manipulated with echo, distortion, stereo panning, and fading. At over eight minutes, it is the longest track that the Beatles officially released (see Carnival of Light).
“You’ll Be Mine” is a short song, composed by Lennon–McCartney in the Beatles’ early years, then known as The Quarrymen. It was a humorous parody of the Ink Spots. It consists of Paul McCartney singing in a deep baritone, offset with shrill falsetto backing vocals by John Lennon, and guitar strumming. The lead vocal sings, in rather confused lyrics, about his determination of making a woman his; while the falsettos wail the last word of each sentence. About halfway through the song, Lennon gives a mock-bass voice spoken interlude about how, when the woman brought him toast one morning, he looked into her eyes and saw a “National Health Eyeball”, then proceeded to love her like he has never done before. The song rises to a crescendo of wailing and bellowing, then fades out in laughter. To add to the confusion, the song is very difficult to understand; clicks, buzzes, fuzz, giggling, and the baritone voice obscure the lyrics.
Recorded in the McCartney family bathroom in 1960, it is the earliest song attributed to the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership to be officially released. Along with the other songs recorded on that day, it is one of the few known Beatles recordings to feature Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. Lennon’s spoken section provides insight into his love of wordplay.
“You Won’t See Me” is a song by the Beatles, from the album Rubber Soul. Though credited to Lennon–McCartney, it was written by Paul McCartney. The song is a rare instance of McCartney singing a lower harmony to John Lennon and George Harrison’s higher harmonies.
Canadian singer Anne Murray covered “You Won’t See Me” in 1974 and had a big hit, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 1 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart, and number 5 on the RPM Top Singles chart.
“You Never Give Me Your Money” is a song by the Beatles, appearing on their 1969 album Abbey Road. It was written by Paul McCartney (though credited to Lennon–McCartney) and documented the financial and personal difficulties facing the band. The track is the first track of the medley on side two of Abbey Road and was recorded in stages between May and August 1969.
The song was the first one to be recorded for the medley, which was conceived by McCartney and producer George Martin as a finale for the Beatles’ career. The backing track was recorded at Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, London, but the remainder of overdubs occurred at Abbey Road Studios. Musically, the song is made up of a suite of various segments, ranging from a piano ballad at the beginning through to guitar arpeggios at the end.
“Yellow Submarine” is a 1966 song by the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney), with lead vocals by Ringo Starr. It was included on the Revolver (1966) album and issued as a single, coupled with “Eleanor Rigby”. The single went to number one on every major British chart, remained at number one for four weeks, and charted for 13 weeks. It won an Ivor Novello Award “for the highest certified sales of any single issued in the UK in 1966”. In the US, the song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the most successful Beatles song to feature Starr as lead vocalist.
It became the title song of the animated United Artists film, also called Yellow Submarine (1968), and the soundtrack album to the film, released as part of the Beatles’ music catalogue. Although intended as a nonsense song for children, “Yellow Submarine” received various social and political interpretations at the time.
“What Goes On” is a song by the Beatles, featured as the eighth track on their sixth British album Rubber Soul. The song was later released as the B-side of the US single “Nowhere Man”, and then as the tenth track on the North America-only album Yesterday and Today. It is the only song by the band credited to Lennon–McCartney-Starkey.
The original version of the song was written by John Lennon in the Quarrymen days and considered as a follow-up to “Please Please Me” in early 1963. The song was not used until 1965 as Ringo Starr’s vocal piece for Rubber Soul. According to Lennon, “it was resurrected with a middle eight thrown in, probably with Paul’s help” for Rubber Soul. Barry Miles also claimed that McCartney and Starr combined for the middle eight. There is no formal middle eight in the song, though one chorus and one verse are extended; Ian MacDonald believes those longer sections were written by McCartney. Starr contributed to the lyrics, his first-ever composing credit on a Beatles song. However, when asked what his contribution was to the song, Starr jokingly stated, “About five words, and I haven’t done a thing since.” To his chagrin, the first pressing of the single accidentally omitted “Starkey” in the song-writing credit.
An early version was considered as a follow-up to “Please Please Me”, and the Beatles hoped to record it on 5 March 1963, but there was only time for the other songs recorded that night: “From Me to You”, “Thank You Girl”, and an early version of “One After 909”.
The Rubber Soul version was recorded in one take, with overdubs, on 4 November 1965. In the verse before the lead break after Starr sings “tell me why,” Lennon can be heard saying “We already told you why!” in reference to the Beatles’ “Tell Me Why” from the previous year. During this session the Beatles recorded a long (6:36) instrumental tune called “12-Bar Original” for lack of a better name. “12-Bar Original” was not included on Rubber Soul, and was not commercially available until 1996 when an edited version of take 2 of this song was included on the Anthology 2 album.