We Can Work It Out (Lennon/McCartney)

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We Can Work It Out (Lennon/McCartney)

Written by Paul as a pleading song to Jane Asher, who had just moved away from London to join the theater. It was the first such instance in their relationship, and one that contributed to their eventual breakup. It was also written in part to John, who later remarked that around that point in the band’s career he considered leaving.

The original stereo mix

The original stereo mix for We Can Work It Out (as well as Day Tripper) originally appeared only on the US LP Yesterday And Today. That mix was destroyed (and has not been issued on CD or digitally), and a new mix was created for the UK compilation LP A Collection Of Beatles Oldies – that mix was later used for the 1987 standardization of the Beatles’ catalog, appearing on Past Masters.


“I took it to John to finish it off, and we wrote the middle together. Which is nice: ‘Life is very short. There’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.’ Then it was George Harrison’s idea to put the middle into waltz time, like a German waltz. That came on the session, it was one of the cases of the arrangement being done on the session.” – Paul McCartney

“In We Can Work It Out, Paul did the first half, I did the middle eight. But you’ve got Paul writing, ‘We can work it out / We can work it out’—real optimistic, y’know, and me, impatient: ‘Life is very short, and there’s no time / For fussing and fighting, my friend.'” – John Lennon, Playboy, 1980

Recording dates

  • October 20, 1965 (2 takes, basic track)
  • October 29, 1965 (overdubs)


  • Paul McCartney – lead vocal, bass guitar
  • John Lennon – harmony vocal, acoustic guitar, harmonium
  • George Harrison – tambourine
  • Ringo Starr – drums

Release history

Chart performance

  • #1, December 16, 1965 – January 19, 1966 (5 weeks), Record Retailer (UK)
  • #1, January 8, January 15, January 29, 1966 (3 weeks), Billboard (US)

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