Paul McCartney Said Making The Beatles’ ‘We Can Work It Out’ Was Like Doing Improv Comedy

Paul McCartney said making songs for The Beatles and Wings was like writing comedy. He cited the use of a “wacky” instrument on The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out” as an example of this. Subsequently, Paul revealed what he thought of The Beatles’ and Wings’ willingness to experiment.

The Beatles' George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney on a couch
The Beatles’ George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney | John Downing/Getty Images

Paul McCartney revealed what it was like making The Beatles’ songs with producer George Martin

During a 2002 interview with Hot Press, Paul discussed working with The Beatles’ producer, George Martin. “Well, y’know, me and John would arrive at 10:30 in the morning,” he said. “We’d show George, Ringo and George Martin what the song was.”

Paul revealed what he thought of this situation in retrospect. “And I suddenly thought, ‘The cheek of him!,'” he said. “Y’know, you’d think George or Ringo would ring us up and say, ‘Give us a clue’, y’know, but it was like we knew each other well enough and it was just the accepted way it fell out.”

George Martin with a poster of The Beatles
George Martin | Rob Verhorst/Redferns

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Paul McCartney said George Martin tried out a ‘wacky idea’ on The Beatles’ ‘We Can Work It Out’

Paul cited “We Can Work It Out” as an example of Martin’s spontaneity. “He’d say, ‘What if I put a harmonium here?'” Paul recalled. “Now that’s a wacky idea, let’s try it.” For context, a harmonium is a type of organ.

Paul compared this style of songwriting to comedy. “So you just tried everything on the spot and, like you say, we did that again with Wings and it’s always been my favorite way of working,” he revealed. “It’s like improv, y’know, for a comedian. There’s something workshoppy about it that’s kind of exciting.”

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How ‘We Can Work It Out’ performed on the charts in the the United States and United Kingdom

“We Can Work It Out” became a huge hit for The Beatles. For three of its 12 weeks on the chart, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100. The song appeared on the compilation album 1. The compilation was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for eight weeks. It stayed on the chart for 520 weeks in total.

According to The Official Charts Company, “We Can Work It Out” was also prominent in the United Kingdom. “We Can Work It Out “was No. 1 for five of its 12 weeks on the U.K. chart. Meanwhile, 1 was No. 1 for nine of its 367 weeks on the chart.

Many artists covered “We Can Work It Out.” Stevie Wonder, Johnny Mathis, Deep Purple, and Big Time Rush each recorded it. Paul thought “We Can Work It Out” was a bit wacky and the public thought it sounded like a hit.

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