What'd I Say

Written by Ray CharlesUnreleased song

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions

Other Ray Charles songs

Hit The Road Jack

Unreleased song

I Got a Woman

Officially appears on Live At The BBC

Hallelujah, I Love Her So

Officially appears on Anthology 1

Related interviews

McCartney talks guitar!

July 1990 • From Guitar Player

You Gave Me The Answer (2019)

2019 • From paulmccartney.com

Interview for SmartLess podcast

Nov 23, 2020 • From SmartLess

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.

Song facts

Paul McCartney remembering when Ringo Starr joined the Beatles, and his ability to play the drums on “What’d I Say“:

I probably bore him by telling him the moment when the three of us realised he was The Guy. In my recollection, it’s at the Cavern and there’s me, John and George — which, right there, is pretty cool — standing at the front doing our thing, facing out on the mics. And then behind us, there’s this new guy depping, who we knew we liked — we’d seen him in another band. But now he was playing with us. And it just felt so different. It felt so amazing, and it just locked in with what we were all about. And I have this very vivid recollection of kind of looking at John and him looking at me and looking at George and him looking at me, and the three of us are going, ‘What the fuck, this is fucking amazing!”‘

As McCartney describes this, he wipes his eye. “And as you can see, it gets emotional. There was a moment. And I know there was a song a lot of bands used to do, a Ray Charles song, ‘What’d I Say’, and we used to do it but none of the drummers could get it. It’s quite a hard drum part — on the ride cymbal you’ve got to go” — McCartney sings out the cymbal part — “and at the same time you’ve got to go” — McCartney sings the other overlapping rhythm “you’ve got to put that together. And there’s a bass drum involved. So you’ve got to have a knack of putting those rhythms together. And here it was, right behind us.” McCartney whispers their breathless response. “Oh, yes!’ And it was a very special moment“.

Paul McCartney, from the Flaming Pie Archive Collection, 2020

Last updated on August 10, 2020


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 7th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

1:22 • Rehearsal • Medley with "Carry That Weight","Shout"

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Vocal
George Harrison :

Session Recording:
Jan 07, 1969
Studio :
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK

A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 7th, 1969 - 3 & 4

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

0:24 • Rehearsal • Jan.07 - D4-24 - What'd I Say 7.112

Session Recording:
Jan 07, 1969
Studio :
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK

Give Us That Knowing Wink - Official Rarities - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2016

4:55 • Studio version • [live 3-15-99]

Live performances

“What'd I Say” has been played in 3 concerts and 1 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where What'd I Say has been played

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Mar 15, 1999 • USA • New York • Waldorf Astoria

The Roxy

Nov 24, 1987 • United Kingdom • Newcastle • Tyne Tees Newcastle Studios • TV show

12th Buddy Holly Week

Sep 09, 1987 • Part of Buddy Holly Week


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