‘Another Girl’, released on the soundtrack to The Beatles’ second film Help!, was written by Paul McCartney while on holiday in Tunisia.
The day before recording began for Help!, McCartney returned to England from Hammamet, a Tunisian resort where he was the guest of the British government. The embassy owned a secluded villa on the coast, which was discreet enough for someone as famous as a Beatle.
The villa had a bathroom decorated with Islamic tiles. McCartney composed ‘Another Girl’ there, with its acoustics perfect for songwriting.
You’d be sitting there having a cup of tea when the Russian delegation would be shown through by the government. You didn’t have any control over that. ‘This is one of our cultural guests.’ ‘Hello, how are you?’
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Although little more than a filler on the album, McCartney has rightly claimed that very few Beatles songs were so cynically recorded.
It’s a bit much to call them fillers because I think they were a bit more than that, and each one of them made it past the Beatles test. We all had to like it. If anyone didn’t like one of our songs it was vetoed. It could be vetoed by one person. If Ringo said, ‘I don’t like that one,’ we wouldn’t do it, or we’d have to really persuade him.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
In the Help! film, the group performed ‘Another Girl’ in the Bahamas, while standing on coral reef on Balmoral Island, near New Providence Island. In the sequence McCartney held a woman in a bikini like a guitar, pretending to play her.
Featuring unusually harsh, occasionally smug lyrics (“She’s sweeter than all the girls and I’ve met quite a few”), ‘Another Girl’ may have been about McCartney’s relationship with Jane Asher. As noted in Ian MacDonald’s book Revolution In The Head, throughout their relationship McCartney kept a secret flat in London which he used for encounters with other women.
In the studio
The Beatles began recording ‘Another Girl’ on 15 February 1965, the same day they also worked on ‘Ticket To Ride’ and ‘I Need You’.
They capturing the rhythm track for ‘Another Girl’ in a single take. Track one contained McCartney’s bass guitar and Ringo Starr’s drums; track two had John Lennon’s Fender electric and George Harrison’s Gibson acoustic guitar; track three contained McCartney’s lead vocals, with backing from Harrison and Lennon; and track four had more vocals from Lennon and McCartney, tom-tom from Starr, and Harrison on Gretsch electric guitar. This last overdub was a guitar flourish, recorded 10 takes for the song’s ending, to be edited onto the song at a later date.
The next day McCartney overdubbed a lead guitar part. Harrison’s ending, meanwhile, was dropped during the mixing stage.
Few folks would mistake this for one of their most cutting-edge, profound or even most musically impressive efforts, but I marvel at how these “fillers” are still SO dang catchy. What other group has throways that can immediately make you tap your feet and sing along with gusto?!
I like Pauls’s sort of unhinged lead guitar fills. Sounds like a kid who will never get another chance to play lead, so he’s making the most of it. Especially the ending.
I dunno, this songs is just a great guilty pleasure of mine.