(John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
This song was initially written by Paul McCartney at his father’s house in Cheshire and is said to have references to his relationship and a possible disagreement with the actress Jane Asher. He then went to John Lennon to finish the song and the way it went according to him, when Playboy interviewed in 1980, was that Paul wrote the “real optimistic” side of the lyrics, while his were more “impatient”. Paul McCartney said “we wrote the middle together” and John Lennon said that he “did the middle eight”. George Harrison suggested a “waltz-time” section during the session.
It was recorded on 20 October 1965 during the same times as the sessions for Rubber Soul and was released as a Double A-Side with “Daytripper”. “We Can Work It Out” proved to be the most popular of the two. It reached the No. 1 position in the UK and set the record of six consistent No. 1 releases in the US. That record was later matched by the Bee Gees and broken by Whitney Houston. The three accompanying promo films had John Lennon sitting at the harmonium, which he plays on the verses of the song.
Since the year after its release it has been recorded by countless other artists that include Petula Clark, Deep Purple, Humble Pie, The Four Seasons and Chris de Burgh as a few of many and Stevie Wonder’s cover of it earned him a Grammy nomination in 1972. In 1991, Paul McCartney performed it for MTV Unplugged.
The song has been referenced in movies the include Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1.
Stars on 45 recordings
Medley: Intro “Venus” – Sugar Sugar – No Reply – I’ll Be Back – Drive My Car – Do You Want to Know a Secret – We Can Work it Out – I Should Have Known Better – Nowhere Man – You’re Going to Lose That Girl – Stars on 45 (Jeff Barry/Martin Duiser/Jaap Eggermont/Andy Kim/Robbie van Leeuwen/John Lennon/Paul McCartney)