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The Beatles‘ “Eight Days a Week” was one of the Fab Four’s most successful early hits. That doesn’t change the fact that it was ruined by its title. Paul McCartney explained the interaction that inspired him and John Lennon to write a song called “Eight Days a Week.” John wasn’t satisfied with “Eight Days a Week” when it was new or years afterward.

The Beatles’ ‘Eight Days a Week’ makes a relationship sound like miserable work

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul discussed collaborating with John during The Beatles’ early years. “It was always nice to have an excuse to drive out into the country so that generally meant that I got out to John’s house,” he said. While heading to John’s house. Paul once asked a chauffeur if he was busy. “‘Busy?”‘ the chauffeur said. “‘ I’ve been working eight days a week.'”

Paul told John that “Eight Days a Week” was going to be the title of their next song. “Neither of us had heard that expression before so we had that chauffeur to credit for that,” he said. “It was like a little blessing from the gods. I didn’t have any idea for it other than the title, and we just knocked it off together, just filling in from the title. So that one came quickly.”

Of course, the title of the song gets in its way. To this day, the phrase “eight days a week” is mostly associated with working hard. It makes the love affair in the song sound like a job. The moment a relationship starts feeling like a job, a couple has some serious issues.

Why the song isn’t as good as other early hits from The Beatles

Maybe the tune’s poorly thought-out title might have worked if everything else about the song was good. However, it’s one of the Fab Four’s more low-effort bubblegum outings. It doesn’t have the energy of “She Loves You” or “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Instead, “Eight Days a Week” feels a bit sluggish. That’s a problem when the name of the song recalls someone who has been working too hard!

The tune’s most memorable feature is the hand claps that accompany the chorus. Those claps make the track feel less like a love song and more like a campfire song for little kids. That might sound like a fun prospect for some, but this is one campfire I’d like to sit out. If The Beatles had only ever released “She Loves You,” there would still be significant affection for them. If they’d only ever released “Eight Days a Week,” they’d be as beloved as other 1960s flameouts like Joe Dowell or Paul & Paula.


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What John Lennon thought of ‘Eight Days a Week’

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features an interview from 1980. In it, John was asked about “Eight Days a Week.” “‘Eight Days a Week’ was never a good song,” he said. “We struggled to record it and struggled to make it into a song. It was his [Paul’s] initial effort, but I think we both worked on it. I’m not sure. But it was lousy anyway.”

I’m inclined to agree.