The Paul McCartney Project

What's That You're Doing?

Album This song officially appears on the Tug Of War Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1982
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1981 (Paul McCartney was 39 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions




Tug Of War sessions at AIR Studios, London

March 11, 1981 - March 1982



Remixing "Tug Of War" album

March 2nd to March 31st, 2015

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Song facts

What’s That You’re Doing” is a song from 1982 album “Tug Of War” co-written with Stevie Wonder. From an interview with Club Sandwich, 1982:

Andy Mackay – “What’s That You’re Doing?” is a great track. Just the riff in the title obviously like that, linked together. I wondered whether the title came from the riff, or did you have the title…

Paul – It originally just started off with Stevie Wonder jamming – Stevie is an inveterate jammer, as they say – and he was on the Yamaha CS80 synthesiser and started playing.

Andy – It sounds like, you know, the way Jimmy Hendrix used to make his guitar say, “Thank you.” If you listen you can actually hear the riff saying, “What’s that you’re doing?”

Paul – He’s an incredible controller. He started off on the riff and he built most of the song up actually just from a jam.

‘What’s That You’re Doing?’ is me and Stevie collaborating. He’s doing the sort of funky riff, and I’m putting the song together. My memory of that is, because he’d only just come up with the lyrics, and he was still writing them as we were recording, he couldn’t remember all the words easily. He had his manager. Stephanie – who I think is still his manager, I run into her when I see Stevie, so she still looks after him – help out. She had a copy of the lyrics. This was a great idea: she would be in an adjoining booth and would prompt him in his headphones. With each line, she would say it through to him, just before he sang.

Paul McCartney, in Tug Of War Archive Collection, 2015
From Instagram – Linda McCartney

Last updated on July 11, 2020

Lyrics

What's that you're doing?
Girl I like what you do to me
What's that you're doing?
‘cos it makes no kind of sense to me

You can make me feel so proud
You can make me holler ow!
Girl you make me want to dance and sing
My mind is blown and you're the blame
I say it's sunnin' when there's rain
I jump by leaps and bounds, just call my name

What's that you're saying?
Girl I like the way you talk to me.
What's that you're saying?
Even if it's wrong girl I do agree

Girl you make me feel so small
Though I might stand six feet tall
What you've got cuts me right down to size
I'll be the last, you'll be the first
I'll do my best to quench your thirst
I'm the lucky one who keeps the prize

Girl I like what you're doing
Baby do it some more
Girl I like what you're doing
Baby do it some more
Girl I like what you
Do to me, do to me
Do it some more
Do it to me, do it to me
Do it some more

What's that you're doing?
Girl I like what you do to me.
What's that you're doing?
‘cos it makes no kind of sense to me

You can fill my appetite
Without me taking up a bite
Never knew that love could fill you up
You're much too good for me to pass
I'm for the taking, you just ask
We can make it stick with love and luck

Girl I like what you're doing
Baby do it some more
Girl I like what you're doing
Baby do it some more
Girl I like what you
Do to me, do to me
Do it some more
You know I like what you're doing
Girl I like what you're doing
Baby do it some more

What's that I'm feeling?
That sensation's such a mystery
I know that it's thrilling
And I hope this feeling last eternally

Girl you make me scream and shout
Tell me what it's all about
You make me give in without a fight
I don't have no words to say
You can fill it anyway
And everything you do will turn out alright

Girl I like what you're doing
Baby do it some more
Girl I like what you're doing
Baby do it some more
She loves you yeah yeah yeah,
She loves you yeah yeah yeah yeah

Officially appears on


Tug Of War

Official album • Released in 1982

6:23 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Stevie Wonder :
Synthesizer, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Recording engineer
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Andy Mackay :
Lyricom
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Wonderlove :
Backing vocals

Session Recording:
Mar 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
March 1981
Studio :
Strawberry Studios South, Dorkins, Surrey

Session Overdubs:
August 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Oct 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK


Tug Of War (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

6:23 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Stevie Wonder :
Synthesizer, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Recording engineer
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Andy Mackay :
Lyricom
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Wonderlove :
Backing vocals

Session Recording:
Mar 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
March 1981
Studio :
Strawberry Studios South, Dorkins, Surrey

Session Overdubs:
August 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Oct 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK


Twin Freaks

Official album • Released in 2005

4:57 • Studio versionB

Paul McCartney :
Executive producer
Clive Goddard :
Mixing engineer
Freelance Hellraiser :
Producer

Session Recording:
Circa 2004
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

6:22 • Studio versionC • 2015 remix

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Remixing, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Stevie Wonder :
Synthesizer, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Recording engineer
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant recording engineer
Andy Mackay :
Lyricom
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Wonderlove :
Backing vocals
Alex Wharton :
Mastering
Steve Orchard :
Remixing

Session Recording:
Mar 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
March 1981
Studio :
Strawberry Studios South, Dorkins, Surrey

Session Overdubs:
August 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Mar 02, 2015
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Stevie Wonder :
Synthesizer, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Recording engineer
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Andy Mackay :
Lyricom
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Wonderlove :
Backing vocals

Session Recording:
Mar 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
March 1981
Studio :
Strawberry Studios South, Dorkins, Surrey

Session Overdubs:
August 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Oct 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Bootlegs


Tug Of Peace

Unofficial album

4:36 • Outtake • Rough monitor mix


Let 'Em Out Vol. 1 - Wings At The Speed Of Sound Sessions And More

Unofficial album • Released in 2010

4:38 • Alternate take • Rough take, monitor mix


Tug Of War Sessions

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

4:39 • Alternate take • Rough Take (Monitor Mix)


Tug Of War Sessions

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

0:43 • Interview • Promotional interview 1982


Tug Of War Sessions

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

2:15 • Alternate take • From Twin Freaks Production acetate 2005


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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