The Paul McCartney Project

You Know What To Do

Written by George Harrison

Album This song officially appears on the Anthology 1 Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1995

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


Early George Harrison songs



I Need You

Officially appears on Help! (Mono)


You Like Me Too Much

Officially appears on Help! (Mono)

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

You Know What to Do” was one of the first songs written and recorded by George Harrison with the Beatles. It was recorded on 3 June 1964 but does not appear on any album except 1995’s Anthology 1 release (see 1995 in music).

Background

During a photographic assignment on the morning of 3 June 1964, Ringo Starr was taken ill with tonsillitis and pharyngitis, 24 hours before the Beatles were due to leave for a six-country tour. The original session booked for that day was cancelled so that a replacement drummer, Jimmie Nicol, could be brought in and rehearse with the band. After running through six songs in a one-hour rehearsal in Abbey Road Studio Two, everyone felt satisfied with Nicol’s drumming, so he left to pack his suitcase.

That evening, in a four-hour session in Abbey Road Studio Two, each of the three present Beatles recorded a demo of a newly written song. Harrison recorded “You Know What to Do“; John Lennon did “No Reply“, which eventually ended up as the opening track of their next album Beatles for Sale; and Paul McCartney did “It’s for You“, a song which was written specifically for Cilla Black to sing. The tape of the session was subsequently misfiled, but was re-discovered in 1993.

After Anthology 1 was released, Harrison was asked about the song but he said he did not even remember its existence.

Harrison’s first contribution to the Beatles’ output was “Don’t Bother Me“, recorded 11–12 September 1963. His next contribution was not until “I Need You“, recorded 15 February 1965. Asked about this gap, in The Beatles Off the Record in 1965, and referring obliquely to “You Know What to Do“, George Martin explained that Harrison “got discouraged some time ago when none of us liked something that he had written“.

Musical structure

The song is in the key of A major. After an introduction in D chord on the guitar the verse begins in A (I) on “When I see you I just don’t know what to say” ending that line with E (V). The verse also features a D (IV) chord. Pedler cites the song as an example of how “one of the The Beatles’ greatest contributions to pop songwriting was their skill in combining the familiarity of simple I-IV-V sequences with dramatically new harmonic material.” The bridge features an ‘8-7-flat7-6’ glide in consecutive semitones down the chromatic scale, a device also used in Michelle, Cry Baby Cry, Got To Get You into My Life, And Your Bird Can Sing and Mother Nature’s Son. […]

There was a song of George’s that the engineer Allan Rouse discovered. EMI didn’t know they had it. When they called in anything anyone had in Abbey Road, or EMI worldwide, with ‘Beatles’ on the box, this arrived. They thought it was lost. I do believe there will be a bunch of people interested in hearing the George Harrison song from thirty years ago that no one to this day had heard. It’s not the greatest thing that George ever wrote, but it’s an undiscovered nugget. If you find a little Egyptian pot, it doesn’t have to be the greatest Egyptian pot. The fact that it is Egyptian is enough.

Paul McCartney

Last updated on September 5, 2020

Lyrics

When I see you I just don't know what to say
I like to be with you every hour of the day
So if you want me
Just like I need you
You know what to do

I watched you walking by and you looked alone
I hope that you won't mind if I walk you back home
And if you want me
Just like I need you
You know what to do

Just call on me when you're lonely
I'll keep my love for you only
I'll call on you if I'm lonely too

Understand I'll stay with you every day
Make you love me more in every way
So if you want me
Just like I want you
You know what to do

Just call on me when you're lonely
I'll keep my love for you only
I'll call on you if I'm lonely too

Understand I'll stay with you every day
Make you love me more in every way
So if you want me
Just like I need you
You know what to do

Officially appears on


Anthology 1

Official album • Released in 1995

1:59 • DemoA

Paul McCartney :
Bass
John Lennon :
Tambourine
George Harrison :
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Jun 03, 1964
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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