The Beatles 40 best songs: at 33 “We Can Work It out”

we can work it out 45

 “In We Can Work It Out, Paul did the first half, I did the middle eight. But you’ve got Paul writing, ‘We can work it out, we can work it out’ – real optimistic, y’know, and me impatient: ‘Life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.'”
– John Lennon (All We Are Saying by David Sheff)

“I had the idea, the title, had a couple of verses and the basic idea for it, then I took it to John to finish it off and we wrote the middle together. Which is nice: ‘Life is very short. There’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.’ Then it was George Harrison’s idea to put the middle into waltz time, like a German waltz. That came on the session, it was one of the cases of the arrangement being done on the session.”
– Paul McCartney (Many Years From Now by Barry Miles)

We Can Work It Out” is  written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. It was released as a “double A-sided” single with “Day Tripper“, the first time both sides of a single were so designated in an initial release. Both songs were recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions.

The song is an example of Lennon–McCartney collaboration at a depth that happened only rarely after they wrote the hit singles of 1963. This song, “A Day in the Life”, “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” and “I’ve Got a Feeling”, are among the notable exceptions

Single by The Beatles
A-side “Day Tripper”
Released 3 December 1965
Format 7″
Recorded 20 & 29 October 1965, EMI Studios, London
Genre Folk rock[1]
Length 2:15
Label Parlophone (UK), Capitol (US)
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin

The Beatles – We Can Work It Out:

Paul McCartney: vocals (double tracked) and bass
John Lennon: acoustic guitar, harmonium and vocals
George Harrison: tambourine
Ringo Starr: drums

The Beatles made 10 black-and-white promo films for TV broadcasters on 23 November 1965, as they were often unable to make personal appearances by that time. Three of the films were mimed performances of “We Can Work It Out“, in all of which Lennon was seated at a harmonium. The most frequently-broadcast of the three versions was a straightforward performance piece with the group wearing black suits.:

Produced with restraint despite the twelve hours spent on it. WE CAN WORK IT OUT was an understandable favourite of its authors, who met more closely in a single song only in their masterpiece A DAY IN THE LIFE. It was an inevitable No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming The Beatles’ fastest-selling single since CAN’T BUY ME LOVE, …. Lennon must have sensed that his era of dominance over the band’s output,…. was over. From now on, his partner would be in the ascendant not only as a songwriter, but also as instrumentalist, arranger, producer, and de facto musical director of The Beatles.
~Ian MacDonald (Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties)

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-Hallgeir & Egil