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“Things We Said Today”

What the Beatles said about “Things We Said Today”

JOHN 1980: “Paul’s. Good song.”

PAUL circa-1994: “I wrote ‘Things We Said Today’ on acoustic (guitar). 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 and then is nostalgic about the moment we’re living now, which is quite a good trick.”

Info about “Things We Said Today”

“Things We Said Today” is a song written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was released in July 1964 as the B-side to the single A Hard Day’s Night and on their album of the same name, except in North America, where it appeared on the album Something New. The band recorded the song twice for BBC Radio and regularly performed an abbreviated version during their 1964 North American tour.

McCartney wrote the song while holidaying in the Virgin Islands with his girlfriend, actress Jane Asher. The lyrics address the singer’s love for a girl despite the distance between them. McCartney later described the song as exhibiting “future nostalgia”, being “nostalgic about the moment we’re living in now. The music is melodically complex, using chords more typical of classical music and jazz than pop music. Between verses, it changes between major and minor keys, while the lyrics shift between the first and third person, and between the future and present tense.

“Things We Said Today” has received a favourable response from several music critics. Some reviewers express that the song presents more closely to John Lennon’s style than McCartney’s, with others comparing its mood to Lennon’s “I’ll Be Back“. Some have interpreted the song as relating to difficulties in McCartney’s relationship with Asher, caused in part by their pursuits of different careers.

Paul McCartney wrote “Things We Said Today” in May 1964 while holidaying in the Virgin Islands. He and his girlfriend Jane Asher travelled to Saint Thomas for the month with bandmate Ringo Starr and his girlfriend Maureen Cox. Hiring a private yacht with a crew, the Happy Days, the couples spent their time fishing, swimming and listening to Calypso music. McCartney bought a cheap acoustic guitar to “keep in practice”, playing it below deck in his cabin one afternoon to distract from his seasickness.

Everett writes that the “strumming of the minor chord on acoustic guitar” and “vocal arpeggiation” are reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s 1963 song “Masters of War”, though “the lyrics are worlds apart”. He compares George Harrison’s chiming of his Gretsch Country Gent guitar on the song’s verse to the chiming he does on his Rickenbacker 12-string throughout the album.

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – double tracked vocal, bass
  • John Lennon – acoustic rhythm guitar, piano
  • George Harrison – lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine

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