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Paul McCartney and John Lennon hold their guitars while on the set of The Ed Sullivan Show at the CBS television studios in Manhattan, where the Fab Four are performing their nationwide television debut.

John Lennon Said He Could Have Done ‘Oh! Darling’ ‘Better’ Than Paul McCartney

“Oh! Darling” was released in 1969 on Abbey Road, the last album The Beatles recorded. Written and sung by Paul McCartney, the song was a nod to a more ‘50s sound, despite all the experimental, futuristic work the band had produced in recent years. It’s one of McCartney’s best-performed songs. But John felt he could have done it better.

Paul McCartney first shared ‘Oh! Darling’ with The Beatles during the ‘Get Back’ sessions
McCartney actually first presented “Oh! Darling” during what eventually came to be known as the “Get Back” sessions. McCartney shared the rock-n-roll ballad he’d written, and it was well-received. “The chord structure is very nice,” said George Harrison of the song. “It’s typical of a 1955-type song.”

The band worked on the song throughout Jan. 1969, but eventually they had to put a pin in it due to Ringo Starr’s filming obligations.

When The Beatles were back in the studio between Feb. and Aug., they recorded tracks to be featured on Abbey Road. In April, the band got back to work on “Oh! Darling.”

Paul McCartney’s vocal work on ‘Oh! Darling’
McCartney put a specific emphasis on the vocal delivery of “Oh! Darling.” Everything had to be just so.

“I mainly remember wanting to get the vocal right, wanting to get it good, and I ended up trying each morning as I came into the recording session,” he said, as reported in the biography Many Years From Now. “I tried it with a hand mic, and I tried it with a standing mic, I tried it every which way, and finally got the vocal I was reasonably happy with. It’s a bit of a belter… It was unusual for me; I would normally try all the goes at a vocal in one day.”

An engineer on the song, Alan Parsons, had this to say about McCartney’s recording:
“Paul came in several days running to do the lead vocal on ‘Oh! Darling,’” he said, as reported in The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. “He’d come in, sing it and say, ‘No, that’s not it, I’ll try it again tomorrow.’ He only tried it once per day, I suppose he wanted to capture a certain rawness which could only be done once before the voice changed. I remember him saying, ‘Five years ago I could have done this in a flash,’ referring, I suppose, to the days of ‘Long Tall Sally’ and ‘Kansas City.’”

John Lennon’s thoughts on ‘Oh! Darling,

After 26 takes, McCartney finally got the result he was after. The band continued working on overdubs through Aug., including backing vocals from Lennon and Harrison.

While Lennon agreed with Harrison that “Oh! Darling” is a “very nice” song, he made a jab at McCartney’s performance in a quote recorded in All We Are Saying by David Sheff.

“‘Oh! Darling’ was a great one of Paul’s that he didn’t sing too well. I always thought that I could’ve done it better – it was more my style than his. He wrote it, so what the hell, he’s going to sing it. If he’d had any sense, he should have let me sing it,” he said, laughing.

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