The Story Behind “Eight Days a Week” by The Beatles, Which Topped the Charts 59 Years Ago

The Beatles’ classic pop hit “Eight Days a Week” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 13, 1965. The song was the Fab Four’s seventh single to top the Hot 100 in just over a year, the first being “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which peaked at No. 1 in February 1964.

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“Eight Days a Week,” which spent two weeks at the top of the Hot 100, replaced and was replaced, respectively, by a pair of classic Motown tunes— The Temptations’ “My Girl” and The Supremes’ “Stop! In the Name of Love.”

[RELATED: Behind the Meaning of “I Will” by The Beatles]

“Eight Days a Week” wasn’t issued as a single in the U.K., and made its first appearance as a track on the 1964 U.K. album Beatles for Sale. In the U.S., the song was released as a single in February 1965, and later appeared on the 1965 U.S. album Beatles VI.

The song was mainly written by Paul McCartney, with some help from John Lennon. The tune may have come together as McCartney’s attempt to write a song for The Beatles’ second movie, Help!, which originally had the working title Eight Arms to Hold You.

McCartney Told Conflicting Stories About the Song Title’s Origin

Over the years, McCartney told two different stories about what inspired the song’s title.

In a 1984 interview with Playboy, he credited Ringo Starr with coming up with the title. (Starr was known to have been the source for the quirky titles of such other Fab Four tunes as “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.”)

“[Ringo] said it as though he were an overworked chauffeur. ‘Eight days a week,’” McCartney told the magazine with a laugh. “When we heard it, we said, ‘Really? Bing! Got it!’”

In the 1995 Beatles Anthology docuseries, McCartney said he got the title from a comment made by a chauffeur who was driving him to a songwriting session at Lennon’s home.

“[T]he chauffeur drove me out that day and I said, ‘How’ve you been?’ … ‘Oh, working hard,’ he said, ‘working eight days a week,’” McCartney recalled. “I had never heard anyone use that expression, so when I arrived at John’s house I said, ‘Hey, this fella just said, “eight days a week”.’ John said, ‘Right … Ooh I need your love, babe,’ and we wrote it.”

“Eight Days a Week” Had a Unique Intro

“Eight Days a Week” is credited with being the first pop song to feature a fade-in introduction. The Beatles recorded several takes of the song with different intros, including one featuring an a cappella harmony part by Lennon and McCartney. A number of the different takes were included on the 1995 Anthology 1 compilation.

The Beatles Never Played the Song Live, but McCartney Did

The Beatles never performed “Eight Days a Week” in concert, although the band once mimed the tune during a March 1965 appearance on the U.K. TV show Thank Your Lucky Stars.

McCartney dusted the tune off and played it more than 80 times at his concerts in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Lennon Didn’t Like the Song

In one of his last interviews, with journalist David Sheff in 1980, Lennon said he disliked “Eight Days a Week.”

“‘Eight Days A Week’ was never a good song,” he said. “We struggled to record it and struggled to make it into a song. It was [McCartney’s] initial effort, but I think we both worked on it. I’m not sure. But it was lousy anyway.”

Cover Versions

Among the artists who have covered “Eight Days a Week” over the years are Mary Wells, Procol Harum, The Runaways, Lorrie Morgan, The Persuasions, and The Dandy Warhols.

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