The Beatles Song Paul McCartney Was Too Angry to Play on

While The Beatles were together and releasing albums, there were occasions when band members wouldn’t play on a certain track. One famous example came on Paul McCartney’s masterpiece “Yesterday.” For that song, the arrangement didn’t need any other Beatles.

In later years, you would usually find band members missing on tracks due to some issue or other. On “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” Paul played drums because Ringo had walked out on the group during the White Album sessions.

The following year, while recording of Abbey Road, John Lennon didn’t participate on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” because he hated Paul’s song. (John had also declined to play on George Harrison’s “I Me Mine.”)

But there was one common denominator on every example: Paul was fully invested in the recordings. Looking back, Paul remembered skipping a session only once. It happened late in the recording of Revolver.

Paul dropped out of the ‘She Said She Said’ sessions after an argument.

Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Paul McCartney attend the premiere of ‘Yellow Submarine.’ | Cummings Archives/Redferns

While “She Said She Said” closes out the first side of Revolver, it was the last song the band recorded for the album. After believing they’d finished the record in June 1966, The Beatles learned they were one track short and would have to rush another before sending it to the presses.

Fortunately, John had a song he’d started following an acid trip in California. But he still needed to finish it and get the band on the same page in the studio. Somewhere along the way, the stress got to the group in what became a long day at work.

Paul remembered having it out with John and the others before leaving during rehearsals. “I think we’d had a barney or something and I said, ‘Oh, f–k you!'” he told Barry Miles in Many Years From Now. With the clock ticking, the remaining Beatles didn’t have much of a choice.

Instead of waiting for Paul to return, they decided to plow ahead. That meant George grabbing a bass and playing what would normally be Paul’s part — a reversal of Paul taking the guitar solo on “Taxman.”

John and the others finished the track in a single day.

Paul McCartney poses holding a cigarette during a 1966 interview. | Fiona Adams/Redferns

Even on a classic album like Revolver, “She Said She Said” remains a standout track. After John led the band through more than 20 rehearsals, they recorded a satisfactory take with George on bass, John on guitar, and Ringo on drums.

With that out of the way, John laid down his lead vocals and backing vocals with George; then George added his sterling lead guitar part. By the day’s end, they had a finished a memorable Beatles song with no trace of Paul McCartney.

Geoff Emerick, the chief engineer on Revolver, remembered John as the driving force that day. “John had always been the basher in the group,” he wrote in Here, There and Everywhere. “His attitude was ‘Let’s just get it done.'”

While recording Paul’s tracks could involve three days or more in the studio, John got “She Said She Said” fully recorded and mixed in nine hours by Emerick’s count.

Also see: Why Paul McCartney Played the ‘Taxman’ Guitar Solo Instead of George Harrison