Song facts: What Goes On

On October 4th 1965, The Beatles were under time constraints to finish Rubber Soul. On this day they recorded What Goes On, a song John Lennon wrote back in The Quarrymen days, which remained unused until now. The Beatles had actually planned on recording it as a follow up to Please Please Me, but they hadn't enough studio time back in 1963.

"That was an early Lennon written before The Beatles when we were The Quarrymen, or something like that. And resurrected with a middle eight thrown in, probably with Paul's help, to give Ringo a song and also to use the bits, because I never like to waste anything." - John Lennon
"I used to wish that I could write songs like the others - and I've tried, but I just can't. I can get the words all right, but whenever I think of a tune and sing it to the others they always say, 'Yeah, it sounds like such-a-thing,' and when they point it out I see what they mean. But I did get a part credit as a composer on one - it was called What Goes On." - Ringo Starr

The version released on Rubber Soul was recorded in just one take and featured Ringo Starr on lead vocal. At this session The Beatles also recorded an instrumental track titled 12-Bar Original. This track didn't appear on Rubber Soul and remained unreleased until The Beatles' Anthology 2 album in 1996. 12-Bar Original is credited to all four Beatles.

Personnel - What Goes On

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

Personnel - 12-Bar Original

  • George Harrison – lead guitar
  • John Lennon – lead guitar
  • Paul McCartney – bass
  • Ringo Starr – drums
  • George Martin – harmonium
Rubber Soul album cover and John Lennon, 1965. 

Rubber Soul album cover and John Lennon, 1965.