Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alamy)

Music

The Beatles song Paul McCartney wrote as a cultural attaché

@TylerGolsen

The Beatles could write songs anywhere. Whether it was in the studio, at home, or waiting for one another to wake up, John Lennon and Paul McCartney had an unrelenting drive to get as many songs in their back pocket as possible. In less than a decade’s time, The Beatles wrote an astonishing 188 originals as a band.

It was as much for practicality as it was for musical recognition: The Beatles had a wild recording contract that required them to churn out albums, singles, and fan club recordings at a rate that seems ridiculous today. As their profile continued to rise around the world, Lennon and McCartney no longer wanted to rely on cover songs. That meant that any opportunity that they could find, they were workshopping song ideas.

The day before The Beatles were set to return to the studio to begin recording their fifth studio album Help!, McCartney himself returned from a vacation in Tunisia. There, he was a guest of the British government and stayed in a villa at the embassy. McCartney later explained the strangeness of being involved in foreign diplomacy.

“You’d be sitting there having a cup of tea when the Russian delegation would be shown through by the government,” McCartney recalled in Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now. “You didn’t have any control over that. ‘This is one of our cultural guests.’ ‘Hello, how are you?’”.

It was at the villa that McCartney wrote ‘Another Girl’, which saw a less-than one-week turnaround from initial composition to recording. McCartney had penned the song quickly, and ‘Another Girl’ was used as the ice-breaker for the Help! sessions thanks to its relatively simple construction. Years later, McCartney defended the track from accusations of it being among the “filler” that the band put to fill out albums.

“It’s a bit much to call them fillers because I think they were a bit more than that, and each one of them made it past the Beatles test,” McCartney explained. “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.”