Toward the end of The Beatles‘ career, the group no longer worked as a collective unit, with Paul McCartney and John Lennon seemingly operating on separate pages. Their albums had stopped being a process between all four members, and as a result, one of Ringo Starr’s favourite tracks by the band only featured him and McCartney.
According to McCartney, Ringo was the only member asked to participate in the formation of ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ from The White Album, purely down to logistical reasons. He didn’t intend to cause any pain to his bandmates for excluding them from the recording process, but despite that, Lennon still reacted angrily after not being consulted on the track.
During an interview in 1980 with Playboy’s David Sheff, Lennon explained how he liked the song and admitted it “hurt him”. He said: “That’s Paul. He even recorded it by himself in another room. That’s how it was getting in those days. We came in and he’d made the whole record. Him drumming. Him playing the piano. Him singing. But he couldn’t – he couldn’t – maybe he couldn’t make the break from The Beatles”.
Lennon added: “I don’t know what it was, you know. I enjoyed the track. Still, I can’t speak for George, but I was always hurt when Paul would knock something off without involving us. But that’s just the way it was then.”
Years later, McCartney reacted to the comments and claimed Lennon’s previous remarks had created a vicious myth that he was the “bastard”. Defending himself, the former Beatle said: “It wasn’t a deliberate thing. John and George were tied up finishing something, and me and Ringo were free, just hanging around, so I said to Ringo, ‘Let’s go and do this’.”
He also suggested Lennon was guilty of the same, adding: “Anyway, he did the same with ‘Revolution 9’. He went off and made that without me. No one ever says that. John is the nice guy, and I’m the bastard. It gets repeated all the time.”
Despite the disagreements that ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ caused between band members, Ringo adores the material on a musical level. Additionally, the drummer claimed Lennon was left out of the recording process because he was occupied elsewhere and implied they didn’t set out to hurt their bandmate.
During a conversation with Dave Stewart from Eurythmics in 2008, Starr was probed about his favourite songs by The Beatles. After giving his standard answer of ‘Rain’, the drummer unexpectedly listed the track from The White Album.
He revealed: “Being on so many that is always a difficult question,” he said. “I mean there’s several reasons for liking each one, really. I’ve always said ‘Rain’ because then it just got out of the way. It is one of my favourites, and the drumming is one of my favourites. What I did on that record I always felt different to what I have played before. But you know, I love ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?’ That was just Paul and I on the original track. We were waiting for John to do something. We just went next door and did it.”
Listen to ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ below.