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"Things We Said Today" is a song by The Beatles written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon/McCartney. It was composed for the film A Hard Day's Night and appears on the soundtrack album. It was also released as the B-side of the "A Hard Day's Night" single in the UK.

Composition

McCartney wrote the song in May 1964 while cruising the Caribbeanmarker aboard a yacht called Happy Days with his then-girlfriend Jane Asher. Music critic Ian MacDonald said, "The sombre lyric—provoked by the frustrating interruptions of a relationship between two career people—matches the lowering gloom of the music."

The song is one of three main compositions (along with "And I Love Her" and "Can't Buy Me Love") that Paul McCartney wrote for The Beatles' film. Recorded in advance of film production for lip-synching reasons, "Things We Said Today" has a reverse nostalgia premise. McCartney said, "I wrote this on acoustic. It was a slightly nostalgic thing already, a future nostalgia. We’ll remember the things we said today, sometime in the future, so the song projects itself into the future."

McCartney was particularly satisfied with his chord change, F major to B flat major—instead of the more obvious F minor—which first occurs beneath "…wishing you weren't so far away" in the song. John Lennon accentuates McCartney's strident acoustic guitar strumming by triple hitting a low A note on a piano. The tempo of the song moves from ballad to rock and back with a minor to major key change during its middle eight section.

Recording and performing

The Beatles recorded "Things We Said Today" in three takes on 2 June 1964. Take one was a false start, take two was the rhythm track, and take three was used for overdubs of the main vocal, tambourine, and piano. According to author and Beatle historian Mark Lewisohn, the piano was supposed to be omitted from the mix but is audible due to leakage onto other microphones during the recording of the overdubs, but MacDonald was skeptical about that conclusion.

The group also recorded "Things We Said Today" twice for BBC radio, on 14 and 17 July 1964. The first, a performance for the Top Gear radio show, was featured on the Live at the BBC album in 1994.

The Beatles included "Things We Said Today" as part of their live set during their 1964 tour of the United States and Canada, although it was dropped afterwards. George Harrison sang harmony vocals alongside Paul McCartney during the performances.

Personnel

Personnel per Ian MacDonald


Releases

Country Title
UK "A Hard Day's Night"
UK A Hard Day's Night
  • Label: Parlophone ,
  • Released: 10 July 1964
  • Format: LP
UK Extracts from the Album A Hard Day's Night
  • Label: Parlophone
  • Released: 6 November 1964
  • Format: EP
US Something New
  • Label: Capitolmarker ,
  • Released: 20 July 1964
  • Format: LP


Covers

  • In 1964, French singer Dick Rivers releeased a cover (as "Ces Mots Qu'On Oublie Un Jour") for his album Je ne suis plus rien sans toi.
  • In 1978, Jackie DeShannon had the only US chart single of this song. The release hit the Billboard "Easy Listening" survey.
  • In 1989/1990, Paul McCartney included the song as part of his world tour.
  • In 1997, Dwight Yoakam released the song for his covers album Under the Covers.
  • The Rutles' song "Lonely-Phobia" is a pastiche of this song.


Notes

References

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