Why Paul McCartney Didn’t Want The Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ to Be a Single

TL;DR:

  • Paul McCartney reacted differently to The Beatles’ “Get Back” than other people did.
  • When others wanted it to be a single, he decided to “give up” and let them have their way.
  • “Get Back” was different from all The Beatles’ other No. 1 singles in a major way.
The Beatles in black-and-white during the "Get Back" era
The Beatles | Bettmann / Contributor

Paul McCartney said he didn’t initially want The Beatles‘ “Get Back” to become a single. Subsequently, he revealed why he changed his mind. Notably, “Get Back” became a hit twice in the United Kingdom.

Ringo Starr encouraged Paul McCartney to release a post-Beatles song as a single

During a 2002 interview with Hot Press, Paul discussed his then-recent album Driving Rain. He said Ringo Starr helped choose the song “From a Lover to a Friend” as the album’s lead single. “He was in L.A. and we’d been doing a bit of recording and me and Heather [Mills] went round to see him and Barb [Bach] for, like, dinner,” Paul recalled.

“We went out to dinner together and we ended up at their place,” Paul continued. “And, of course, I had me little cassette in me pocket. Or was it a CD? I think, actually, it was a cassette at that time. I just stuck it on and we ended up jumping around and dancing.” Paul said people at his record company liked the song as well, so it became a single.

Paul McCartney said he lost trust in his own abilities after The Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ became a single

Paul had a different reaction to “From a Lover to a Friend.” “I must say I wouldn’t have picked it,” he said. “I haven’t got a lot of faith in my own single-picking abilities ‘cos I never spotted say, ‘Get Back.’

“When that came out and everybody was going ‘Oh, ‘Get Back’, yeah, that’s great’ and I’m going ‘But it’s just a little jam isn’t it, just a little blues thing?’ and they went ‘Yeah, but it’s good.’ So I thought I should give up,” he said.

How ‘Get Back’ and the album ‘Let It Be’ performed on the pop charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Get Back” became a hit. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, staying on the chart for 12 weeks altogether. Because “Get Back” featured Billy Preston as a guest vocalist, it was The Beatles’ only No. 1 hit with a featured artist. The tune appeared on the album Let It Be, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for four weeks. It stayed on the chart for 79 weeks altogether.

According to The Official Charts Company, “Get Back” reached No. 1 for two weeks, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. A rerelease of “Get Back” peaked at No. 74 and stayed on the chart for two weeks. On the other hand, Let It Be reached No. 1 for three of its 53 weeks on the chart.

“Get Back” was a massive single even if Paul didn’t want it to be a single.