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  • Monkeys inspired Paul McCartney to write one of the songs from The Beatles’ The White Album.
  • Paul said watching monkeys reminded him of something about human nature.
  • The White Album became an international hit.
The Beatles' Paul McCartney and John Lennon near cars
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and John Lennon | Cummings Archives / Contributor

Paul McCartney wrote several songs from The BeatlesThe White Album when the Fab Four went to India. For example, he drew inspiration from a pair of monkeys to write a classic track. Paul said watching the monkeys highlighted something about human nature.

Paul McCartney was meditating when he saw the inspiration behind a song from The Beatles’ ‘The White Album’

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul said “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” originated during The Beatles’ stay in India. “The idea behind ‘Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?’ came from something I’d seen in Rishikesh,” he recalled.

“I was up on the flat roof meditating, and I’d seen a troupe of monkeys walking along in the jungle, and a male just hopped on to the back of this female and gave her one, as they say in the vernacular,” Paul added.

Paul McCartney said The Beatles’ ‘Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?’ was inspired by part of human nature

Paul noted the expression of the female primate. “Within two or three second she hopped off again, and looked around as if to say, ‘It wasn’t me,’ and she looked around as if there had been some mild disturbance but thought, ‘Huh, I must have imagined it,’ and she wandered off,” Paul added.

Paul compared animals to humans. “I thought, ‘Bloody hell, that puts it all into a cocked hat, that’s how simple the act of procreation is, this bloody monkey just hopping on and hopping of,'” he remembered. “There is an urge, they do it, and it’s done with. And it’s that simple. We have horrendous problems with it, and yet animals don’t.”


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How ‘Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?’ and ‘The White Album’ performed on the charts in the United States

“Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” was not single, thus it did not hit the Billboard Hot 100. The White Album became far more popular. It topped the Billboard 200 for nine weeks, remaining on the chart for 215 weeks in total.

The Official Charts Company says “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” did not chart in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, The White Album was No. 1 in the U.K. for eight weeks. The album stayed on the chart for 37 weeks altogether.

“Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” wasn’t a hit — but it proved the Fab Four could take inspiration from unexpected places.