Lennon not only composed, but also played the guitar solo. The recording took nine takes to complete. The song's threatening theme was re-visited in other Lennon compositions, such as "Run for Your Life" and "Jealous Guy."
Influenced by the (then) relatively unknown Wilson Pickett, the song is essentially a twelve bar in its composition, with Lennon introducing a discordant flattened 3rd (F) on the D7th chord, pointedly emphasising "...I told you before..." and then pushing the same note for the exasperated "Oh!" before resolving to the song's key of G.
With filming due to begin on A Hard Day's Night, film director Dick Lester needed The Beatles to provide him with original material ahead of production, and "You Can't Do That" was selected as one of the songs The Beatles played as part of the Scala Theatre "live performance" scene in the film, but it was dropped for the final cut. At one stage it was considered for the A-side of their next single until McCartney wrote "Can't Buy Me Love."
Recording and ReleaseEdit
"You Can't Do That" was recorded on February 25 1964, in Abbey Road Studios in London. The song was first released as the B-side of The Beatles' sixth UK single "Can't Buy Me Love." It was later featured in the A Hard Day's Night album in the UK, and The Beatles' Second Album in the US.
While in New York City for The Ed Sullivan Show, George Harrison was presented with a Rickenbacker 360 Deluxe electric 12-string guitar worth (in 1964) $900 . Only the second one produced, it was heard for the first time on "You Can't Do That" (actually used for the first time on "Can't Buy Me Love", but it was lost in the mix) and gave the song its distinctive chiming sound.
The Beatles recorded "You Can't Do That" four times for BBC radio in 1964. It also became a part of the group's live repertoire that year. It was the second song in their set after "Twist and Shout" during their Australian and North American tours.
The Beatles were filmed miming to "You Can't Do That" as part of the final concert sequence in the A Hard Day's Night film. The filming took place on March 31, 1964 at the Scala Theatre, London, but was not used. However, it was broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show on May 24. Today, it can be found on the documentary The Making of "A Hard Day's Night".
- John Lennon – rhythm and lead guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 325) lead vocals
- Paul McCartney - bass guitar (1963 Hofner 500/1), cowbell, backing vocals
- George Harrison – lead guitar (1963 Rickenbacker 360/12)backing vocals
- Ringo Starr – drums, bongos
For lyrics, please visit this page.