How Do You Do It?
- John Lennon - vocal, rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney - vocal, bass
- George Harrison - backing vocal, lead guitar
- Ringo Starr - drums
How Do You Do It? is a curious entry in the Beatles' catalog. The song was written by Mitch Murray and ended up being a breakthrough single of another Liverpudlian group, Gerry & the Pacemakers after having been arranged by The Beatles. It hit number 1 on the UK charts in April of 1963 and stayed there for three weeks until, ironically, it was unseated by the Beatles' third single, From Me to You.
The connection to The Beatles is an interesting one. The option on the song was sold by its songwriter Mitch Murry to Parlophone who jumped at the opportunity to produce it but were unsure of what to do with it. George Martin recognized the song's potential on the pop charts and wanted it to be the first hit single for the, then, unproven Beatles who had yet to convince Martin that they were able to write a #1 hit on their own. The group wanted to do their own material, but Martin had doubts about their abilities as composers. He liked How Do You Do It? and thought it was a safe, high-probability hit.
The decision about the Beatles' first hit single was very important. How Do You Do It? was first assigned to The Beatles who dutifully worked on it while at the same time protesting it. The Beatles actually recorded the song on September 4, 1962 but felt that the song was too lightweight for the group and that it would ruin their reputation. The Beatles persuaded him to release Love Me Do instead. As Paul recounted the story:
[George Martin] knew it was a number one hit so he gave us it on a demo, a little white acetate. We took it back to Liverpool and said, 'What are we gonna do with this? This is what he wants us to do, he's our producer, we'll have to do it, we'll have to learn it.' So we did, but we didn't like it and we came back to George and said, 'Well it may be a number one but we just don't want this kind of song, we don't want to go out with that kind of reputation. It's a different thing we're going for, it's something new'. I suppose we were quite forceful really, for people in our position. And he understood. George later took our demo and played it to Gerry [and the Pacemakers] and said, 'They don't want it, it's a major hit, you do it,' and Gerry leapt at the chance. He kept it very similar in tempo to our version which was quite changed from the original demo because it was our arrangement, basically.
- Paul McCartney in The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Beatles' recording was finally made available to the public in 1995 on the Anthology 1 album.