The Meaning Behind “Another Day” by Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s Snarky Reaction to It

When The Beatles broke up, radio listeners had to adjust to hearing the ex-Fab Four members on their own. In the case of Paul McCartney, “Another Day,” Macca’s first post-Beatles single, was the first thing they heard. McCartney rose to the occasion, hitting the Top 5 in both the U.S. and the UK with his first shot.

Videos by American Songwriter

What was “Another Day” about? Why was it such an important song in McCartney’s legacy? And what was John Lennon’s infamously snarky reaction? Let’s get all the answers about this enduring part of Paul McCartney’s incredible catalog.

Hitting a Single

While promoting his 1970 debut solo album McCartney, Paul McCartney made the momentous announcement that The Beatles were no more. (That had actually been the case for a while, but Macca was the first to announce it.) Why then would it be such a big deal when “Another Day” arrived in February 1971, some 10 months after McCartney?

Well, you need to remember this was a day and age when the singles charts were still a major measure of success, fairly or not. The other ex-Beatles were all releasing their own songs to radio, creating competition to see who could deliver the goods without their buddies around to help. As a result, “Another Day” received a lot of scrutiny.

Some of the most intense scrutiny came from McCartney’s old songwriting partner, John Lennon. Lennon included the song “How Do You Sleep?”—a nasty attack on Paul—on his 1971 album Imagine. In it, he sings, And since you’re gone, you’re just another day, insinuating that McCartney was routine now that he was outside the Beatles cocoon.

“Day” Dreaming

McCartney recorded “Another Day” as part of his sessions for his 1971 album Ram, which was credited to him and his wife Linda. He chose it to be a standalone single instead of including it on the album. That was a common practice The Beatles often used during their career, and it worked for McCartney here, as it helped to build anticipation for the new album.

In “Another Day,” McCartney takes the role of an omniscient narrator who checks in on the life of a harried single woman as she goes about her life. In his book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, he explained that some people might consider his approach to songs like this a bit untoward:

“Think ‘Eleanor Rigby’ meets Hitchcock’s Rear Window. For, much as I hate to admit it, there is indeed a voyeuristic aspect to this song. Like many writers, I really am a bit of a voyeur; if there’s a lit window and there’s someone in it, I will watch them. Hands up, guilty. It’s a very, very natural thing.”

The interplay between McCartney and David Spinozza on acoustic and electric guitar lends “Another Day” the slightest hint of a Latin lilt. It’s also one of the first instances of Linda McCartney’s signature backing vocals, something that would become a major part of her husband’s sound for years to come.

What is the Meaning of “Another Day”?

McCartney does a lot of subtly clever things on “Another Day” that you can easily miss if you get carried away by the catchiness of it all. For example, note how he mostly sticks to the mundane details of this woman’s life in the verses. But when the middle eight comes around and the melody travels across a wider range, that’s when her emotions start to come to the fore.

It’s also where the narrator tries to help her out by urging a gentleman caller to show her some sympathy: Ah, stay, don’t stand her up. But even when this wish is granted, it still ends in heartbreak for her: And he comes, and he stays, but he leaves the next day / So sad / Sometimes she feels so sad.

Note also how the song ends by repeating the first verse, suggesting this girl is living in an endless cycle of drudgery and loneliness. “Another Day” proved that Paul McCartney was not just another artist, as he delivered a single every bit as engaging and thoughtful as those he managed with his old band.

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Madonna Lashes Out at Production Staff for Not Turning off Air Conditioning: “Gonna Have to Dock Your Pay”

Madonna Lashes Out at Production Staff for Not Turning off Air Conditioning: “Gonna Have to Dock Your Pay”