“Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” is a Beatles’ song on their 1968, “White Album”. However, their take 4 is also on the “”Anthology 3″” album. Obviously, this track has not much lyrical content. However, what we get is Paul McCartney’s rip-roaring vocals and what a vocal demonstration that is!
Recorded: 9th and 10th October, 1968
Genre: Blues, rock
Track Duration: 1:42
Record Label: Apple Records
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Townsend
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
“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. Within two or three seconds he 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. And 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 off.
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. So that was basically it. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? could have applied to either fucking or shitting, to put it roughly. Why don’t we do either of them in the road? Well, the answer is we’re civilised and we don’t. But the song was just to pose that question. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? was a primitive statement to do with sex or to do with freedom really. I like it, it’d just so outrageous that I like it.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
White Album, Dark Days
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr recorded this track without the other Beatles. Indeed, this was an impromptu moment and John Lennon wasn’t happy about the situation. But, this was the “White Album” era and that was when The Beatles were showing signs of a break up. Besides, John Lennon and George Harrison were preoccupied doing other songs for the album.
Here’s part of an interview with Playboy Magazine in 1980:
Playboy: “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?”
Lennon: “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 [sic], him playing the piano, him singing. But he couldn’t – he couldn’t – maybe he couldn’t make the break from the Beatles. 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.”
Playboy: “You never just knocked off a track by yourself?”
Lennon: “That was mine!”
That was a rather hypocritical response, but these were slightly conflicting times.
In an unrelated interview, Yoko Ono once said, “McCartney had hurt Lennon more than anyone else!”
Paul McCartney’s Defence
This wasn’t the only track where The Beatles worked independently from each other, of course. Indeed, “Wild Honey Pie” is another example during this period. Of course, there’s the John Lennon song “Julia” too!
“Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” seems to be the song where deep resentment lies. Speaking about the recording of the track, Paul McCartney says:
“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’.”
“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.”
The Beatles: The Illustrated And Updated Edition, Hunter Davies
Paul McCartney began recording the song on the 9th of October, 1968, in Studio One at EMI Studios, London. There were five takes that that day but none were like the heavy bluesy rock song that we know. In short, Paul was alternating the verses between gentle and strident vocal styles and take four is on the “Anthology 3” album.
On October the 10th, both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr finished off the song. Ringo Starr added the drums and handclaps, of course. Paul McCartney added more vocals together with lead and bass guitar.
Finally, American blues singer, Lowell Fulson recorded a similar version in 1969. However, he changed the lines to “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? No One Will Be Watching Us, Why Don’t We Do It In The Car?” There were a few other differences but he still gave credit to Lennon-McCartney.