I have mentioned that the Beatles had agreed that writing credit would be given to both McCartney and Lennon for anything, even though the songs were usually written by just one or the other. “We Can Work It Out” is one of the rare songs that both men actually worked on together. Paul wrote the music and words to the verses and to the chorus, but felt it needed something more, so he took it to John and they wrote the middle together.
“We Can Work It Out” is their fifth number one in a row. The streak was ended when the flip side of “We Can Work It Out” also hit the Top 40. “Day Tripper” did pretty well on its own but missed the top, peaking at number five.
Actually, “Day Tripper” was actually recorded first and “We Can Work It Out” was intended to be the B-side of that, but it didn’t work out that way. Of the four, John was the only one in favor of marketing “Day Tripper” as the A-side of the record. They argued about it for awhile and then, the record company made the decision and named “We Can Work It Out” as the A-side. But, to make John happy, they marketing the record as the first ever double A-sided record. So, in essence, they were saying both sides were A-sides.
Both of these songs were recorded during the same session when The Beatles recorded their Rubber Soul album, although neither song was included on the album. In fact, “We Can Work It Out” and “Day Tripper” were singles only, not included on any album at the time.
Also, this was the first time that the guys recorded promotional videos for their music. They recorded video clips for both songs, mainly so they could promote the songs on the different British television shows and not have to appear in person to do it. They were far too busy to do that. Was this the beginning of the MTV generation. I’m not sure.
Both songs entered the Billboard Hot 100 the same week, the week of December 15, 1965. “We Can Work It Out” entered higher at number 36, while “Day Tripper” came in at number 56. “We Can Work It Out” hit number one on January 8, 1966, and stayed there for two weeks. Then “The Sound of Silence” came back to number one for one week. The following week “We Can Work It Out” returned to number one for a total of three weeks at number one.