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"We Can Work It Out"

Categories: Beatles songs

The world's first 'Double-A', twinned with "Day Tripper", "We Can Work It Out" was released in December, 1965.

Much has been made of the 'stylistically contrasting Lennon and McCartney sections', often rather superficially — Macca the optimist, Winston the cynic...

Try to see it my way,

there are some pretty acidic perceptions in Paul's part too, my friend:

You can get it wrong and still you think that it's alright,

for a start.

And John's no time for fussing and fighting could equally well be taken as a pioneering 'all you need is imagine': though that "LIFE" still cuts like a knife. Oh how short it would prove to be...

I have always thought

that it's just the way their writing relationship was going at the time: collaborating with complementary ideas, rather than head-to-head co-composing like they'd done in the old school notebook, or huddled together at the back of the tour buses. As time has told, it worked out fine in this case, anyway; as did their vocal crossover.

The collaboration and crossover in its studio construction was meticulous — an unprecedented 11 hours were spent on the track. Early takes are widely bootlegged; shame none showed up on Anthology 2. It was unthinkable for a simple 45 in those days, but Messrs Martin, Emerick et al were going to have to start getting used to it. Coming as it did between the Rubber Soul and Revolver LPs (and included on Capitol's "Yesterday"... And Today), The Beatles — always technically curious — were now clicking into full experimental mode. Lennon's overdubbed washes and waves on the pedal harmonium are a notable example here.

It was actually George Harrison who decided that John's acoustic guitar needed no back-up from him, and duly picked up the tambourine — sounding like he had a reet good time of it, t'boot! He also suggested the tempo-shift to accompany the keychange between the sections. Ringo's contributions underpin and heighten the whole thing by equally inimitable measures, with Paul showing yet another quantum leap as a bassplayer.

Having fluffed the words with his 'Unplugged' band in the nineties, Macca did it once again, solo acoustic, on his Back In The World tour. One I hadn't expected him to play in Barcelona, anyway! It's also one of my very favourite 'dance mixes': proof absolute that great songs never die.

Life's too short.
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