Unlike its predecessors, ‘Woman’ was not credited to Lennon-McCartney; he chose to have it published under a pseudonym – Bernard Webb, co-credited with A Smith on US editions – to see if he could get a hit single regardless of the Beatles connection. The fictitious Webb was supposedly a student living in Paris who eschewed publicity.
The ruse did not remain a secret for long. The single was released in January 1966 in the USA, and the following month in the UK. ‘Woman’ was published by Northern Songs, and the song’s style left listeners in little doubt as to its provenance.
‘Woman’ was introduced as a McCartney song when Peter And Gordon appeared on the US TV show Hullabaloo in April 1966, and McCartney discussed it in interviews and press conferences.
People come up to them [Peter And Gordon] and say, ‘Ah, we see you’re just getting in on the Lennon-McCartney bandwagon.’ That’s why they did that one with our names not on it, ‘Woman’, because everyone sort of thinks that’s the reason they get hits. It’s not true really.
Los Angeles press conference, 24 August 1966
‘Woman’ topped the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart. It peaked at 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and 28 on the UK singles chart.