What You're Doing
- Paul McCartney – bass, double-tracked lead vocal
- John Lennon – acoustic guitar, harmony vocal
- George Harrison – 12-string lead guitar, harmony vocal
- Ringo Starr – drums
- George Martin – piano
Like many of the Beatles' songs in late 1964, this Paul McCartney creation is thought to be more thoughtful and autobiographical than the earlier "work songs." It deals with the difficulties of maintaining a relationship with a girl (Jane) in the midst of the pressures of "Beatlemania." Though a relatively simple song, the Beatles needed several takes of it in recording. Paul and John worked out significant changes in the harmonies right in the studio, and Paul kept insisting on re-takes due to minor imperfections. The lead guitar "chimes" with distortion (an innovation that would later be heard in the Byrds song, Mr. Tambourine Man) was a bold, new influence in the folk-rock genre. George Martin played piano in an overdub in a way that created tension with the lead guitar line. Paul's creativity with chord changes and intricate rhymes also shows up for the first time in What You're Doing. These traits would become more noticeable in his "middle period" songs.
First in September of 1964, and then later, on October 26, 1964, in 19 takes.