- Paul McCartney – vocal, bass guitar, handclaps, vocal percussion
- John Lennon – piano, backing vocal, handclaps, vocal percussion
- George Harrison – acoustic guitar, backing vocal, handclaps, vocal percussion
- Ringo Starr – drums, bongos, other percussion, handclaps, vocal percussion
Paul McCartney wrote Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, a song released by The Beatles on the double album called The Beatles (and known as The White Album). Eight years later, after the group had disbanded, it came out as a single with Julia on the other side. Paul got the phrase and the first line ("Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bro") from his friend and Nigerian conga musician, Jimmy Anonmuogharan Scott Emuakpor (known simply as Jimmy Scott). ("Bro" is pronounced like the first syllable of "brother" is pronounced, to rhyme with "da.") Scott later sued McCartney for the use of the phrase, but dropped the case in a settlement. The song was supposed to have a ska rhythm and feel. Caribbean rhythms had become popular in the US and UK at that time.
John Lennon was unswerving in his dislike of the song, citing it as an example of Paul's "granny" style, which he considered "fruity." The band had trouble with the recording of the song, taking many, many takes over several days. Lennon walked out on the third or fourth day and got stoned. Then he returned to pound out the song's opening chords louder and faster than they had been done before, and that approach was then used in the final version. The seeming endless number of takes and remakes over several days in July of 1968 contributed to the problems the group was facing in just being civil one with the other. The most complete version of McCartney's second remake attempt (on July 8) is on Anthology 3. The sessions went from July 3 to July 11, 1968. After all that, the Beatles turned to other material, but they were so antagonistic that veteran audio engineer Geoff Emerick walked out and quit the day after Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da was completed.
The BBC made an online poll of the worst songs ever, and Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da "won" (siding with Lennon). Notwithstanding, Richie Unterberger of Allmusic (siding with McCartney) said the song was a favorite track on The White Album and very popular with the fans. The song was not performed live by a Beatle until McCartney did so in 2009. The Scottish group Marmalade covered the song by Christmas of 1968 and it was a number one hit for them.