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What'd I Say

Written by Ray CharlesUnreleased song

Last updated on August 10, 2020

Related session

This song was recorded during the following studio sessions:

Other Ray Charles songs

Related interviews

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


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

Paul McCartney writing

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