Thursday, May 7, 2009

What Goes On

I'm at various work meetings and airports today, so I'm feeling a bit flustered, and not up to more sophisticated listening than "What Goes On." But it's a nice little track, sure to lift my spirits at 5:something on a rainy morning at Logan, right? Riiiight.

Although Rubber Soul is usually, justly, called out as an album that broke a ton of new ground and represented a turning point in the Beatles' career, and all that, it doesn't mean they didn't still take a few shortcuts. "What Goes On" is one of those. Not that I'm criticizing-- the Beatles were still touring far more than is probably healthy for anyone to do, and I can't blame them for digging a bit deep into their pockets when they didn't have enough new material. So this song was written by John many years earlier, possibly when the band was still called the Quarrymen, which would have made him as young as 18, possibly. In fact, they'd considered this song as a single in the early days-- it was tossed around as a "Please Please Me" followup. ("From Me to You" was probably the better choice at least from a commercial point of view, so good call there, lads.)

When they decided to resurrect "What Goes On," Paul composed some new musical material (I'm not sure where, to be honest, but I know that I've read this), and Ringo threw in a few lyrics, earning him his first composition credit. So it's a truly group effort, especially considering that it's George whose playing makes it for me. It's actually a pretty kickass guitar solo, very much in the Carl Perkins mold that George is so darned good at. But everyone's playing in a relaxed, cool, country-fried way, and the song is pleasant but slight, and a great fit for Ringo's typically adorable vocal.

Gotta wrap it up-- they're making me shut down before the plane takes off. Boooo.

"What Goes On," released in the U.K. side B track 1 of Rubber Soul, December 3, 1965; in the U.S. side B track 5 of Yesterday and Today, June 20, 1966.


  1. Have fun. If I can give you any New York advice -- restaurants, etc. -- lemme know.

  2. Hell, I'm already back. In Logan again on the way to DC. It's kind of a long and uninteresting story. Thanks, though! Rain check.