What Goes On (2:46)

Cover of Early Contemporary Album (disc 1)

From Early Contemporary Album (disc 1) and 19 other releases

“What Goes On” is a song by the Beatles, featured as the eighth track on their sixth British album Rubber Soul. The song was later released as the tenth track on the North American-only album Yesterday and Today. It is the only song by the band credited to Lennon–McCartney/Starkey.
Richie Unterberger, in Allmusic, says the song is an enjoyable, but lightweight, country & western-flavoured entry in The Beatles catalogue. Unterberger praises George Harrison’s guitar work, which “again marks him as the finest disciple of Carl Perkins,”[1] and the guitar work is indeed similar to “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby”, a Perkins cover version released on Beatles for Sale.

The original version of the song was written by John Lennon in the Quarrymen days[2] and considered as a follow-up to “Please Please Me” in early 1963,[3] The song was not used until 1965 as Ringo Starr’s vocal piece for Rubber Soul. According to Lennon, “it was resurrected with a middle eight thrown in, probably with Paul’s help” for Rubber Soul.[2] Barry Miles also claimed that McCartney and Starr combined for the middle eight.[4] There is no formal middle eight in the song, though one chorus and one verse are extended; Ian MacDonald believes those longer sections were written by McCartney.[5] Starr contributed to the lyrics, his first-ever composing credit on a Beatles song. However, when asked what his contribution was to the song, Starr jokingly stated, “About five words, and I haven’t done a thing since.

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