As Beatlemania swarmed the earth and four lads from Liverpool became the most famous faces on the planet, the need for John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to escape their fame and find some respite grew ever more desperate. Eventually, the group were given some time off, but, even on holiday, the band’s principal songwriters couldn’t stop the tunes from flooding in. One such song for The Beatles was, in fact, written in a Tunisian toilet.
The song comes from The Beatles album Help! and was com[posed almost solely by Paul McCartney and recorded in February of 1965. While the track won’t necessarily go down as a Fab Four classic, it’s also hard not to enjoy the tune once the needle drops. Of course, we’re talking about the toe-tapping classic ‘Another Girl’.
The Beatles had been on a truly extraordinary run of hits. The band had chartered a course to success that nobody had witnessed before, and they kept themselves always striving forward so as to ensure they would never fall behind. It means, even when they were on holiday, they were writing songs. The day before recording began for the new LP, Macca had returned from Hammamet in Tunisia.
Not an unusual thing, except that McCartney was there with the aid of the British government. McCartney and the rest of the band’s fame had grown so much that it had become a real danger to be left unattended. Equally, the British government had quickly attached itself to the band as Britons with a heavy amount of influence. As such, Macca was given the keys to the embassy owned villa on the coast.
Secluded and guarded, the villa was the perfect place for McCartney to relax and let his mind wander. “You’d be sitting there having a cup of tea when the Russian delegation would be shown through by the government,” remembered McCartney of the experience. “You didn’t have any control over that. ‘This is one of our cultural guests.’ ‘Hello, how are you?’”
As he had done in Liverpool, it was the toilet and bathroom where McCartney found his inspiration—using the room’s acoustics to help him formulate some songs. Decorated with traditional Islamic tiles, the venue was perfect for Macca’s ruminations. The song is said to have been written about McCartney and girlfriend Jane Asher’s relationship, with many suggesting the line “She’s sweeter than all the girls and I’ve met quite a few” was a hint at Paul’s promiscuity. There’s no doubt that McCartney felt passionately about the song, but that didn’t exclude the track from getting the reputation of being a “filler” song.
“It’s a bit much to call them fillers because I think they were a bit more than that,” recalled McCartney, highlighting that no Beatles song was recorded with such cynicism. “Each one of them made it past the Beatles test. We all had to like it. If anyone didn’t like one of our songs it was vetoed. It could be vetoed by one person. If Ringo said, ‘I don’t like that one,’ we wouldn’t do it, or we’d have to really persuade him.”
There aren’t many artists who could have a song as well-rounded and recorded as ‘Another Girl’ be labelled as a filler track, but that just shows how potent the rest of their canon truly was. Listen below wot ‘Another Girl’ and try to tell us it isn’t the best song composed in a Tunisian toilet that you’ve ever heard.