The Beatles song Paul McCartney wrote that really “hurt” John Lennon
By 1968 many would argue that the writing was on the wall for The Beatles. The Fab Four were still creating incredible records on the face of it but behind the facade, the tension between all four members of the group was growing unbearable. It would see the band often splitting into factions during recording and one such split really “hurt” John Lennon.
In fact, it was a particular song that had upset Lennon during the recording of their stunning record known as The White Album. But rather than being offended by the lyrical structure of the song, it was that the way that Paul McCartney recorded it that truly upset John.
Oddly enough, it’s also a song that Lennon loved, once calling it “one of his best”. The song in question, ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’, would still be regarded as one of McCartney’s better compositions within the band and the short but sweet ditty added a welcomed fragrance to the spiralling LP.
The song was inspired by Macca’s meeting with a pair of monkeys while the band stayed in Rishikesh in India, studying under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the songwriter shared: “A male [monkey] just hopped on the back of this female and gave her one, as they say in the vernacular. Within two or three seconds he hopped off again and looked around as if to say ‘It wasn’t me!’ and she looked around as if there’d been some mild disturbance… And I thought… that’s how simple the act of procreation is… We have horrendous problems with it, and yet animals don’t.”
Despite having some base construction, the song became a beloved part of the record and was another gem in Macca’s crown jewels, especially considering even John Lennon liked it. The singer, speaking with David Sheff in 1980 said: “That’s Paul. He even recorded it by himself in another room. That’s how it was getting in those days.”
It was a situation that was worsening the band’s connections with one another. Lennon continues with Sheff: “We came in, and he’d made the whole record. Him drumming, him playing the piano, him singing. But he couldn’t… maybe he couldn’t make the break from the Beatles. I don’t know what it was, you know. I enjoyed the track.”
Lennon revealed that, despite his tough exterior, Paul working on his own had upset him: “Still I can’t speak for George, but I was always hurt when Paul would knock something off without involving us. But that’s just the way it was then.”
A year later and McCartney was defending his right to record the track on his own, claiming it was an intentional slight: “There’s only one incident I can think of, which John has publically mentioned. It was when I went off with Ringo and did ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road.’ It wasn’t a deliberate thing, John and George were tied up finishing something, and me and Ringo were free, just hanging around, so I said to Ringo, ‘Let’s go and do this.'”
So rare was Lennon’s complimenting of Macca’s track that he also remembers John enjoying the song: “I did hear John sometime later singing it. He liked the song, and I suppose he wanted to do it with me. It was a very John sort of song anyway. That’s why he liked it, I suppose. It was very John, the idea of it, not me. I wrote it as a ricochet off John.”
Listen to The Beatles song that “hurt” John Lennon, ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ from the band’s White Album.