Atlantic City doesn’t seem like the most likely place to have inspired The Beatles. However, ideas did strike the band while in the New Jersey town, and The Beatles were able to write two new songs. However, Paul McCartney doesn’t seem to think much about these Beatles’ tracks, which he called album “filler.”
‘Every Little Thing’ was Paul McCartney’s attempt at a single for The Beatles
As Paul McCartney said in a 1964 interview with Disc (shared via Beatles Bible), Atlantic City wasn’t “particularly inspiring”, but they did have a day off from their tour. During their free time, The Beatles began writing two new songs.
The first was “Every Little Thing”, primarily written by McCartney. In Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now, the British singer-songwriter said the track was his attempt at writing a hit single. However, it didn’t turn out that way, and it ended up just being a bit of “filler” for their fourth album, 1964’s Beatles For Sale.
“‘Every Little Thing’, like most of the stuff I did, was my attempt at the next single,” McCartney explained. “I remember playing it for Brian [Epstein] backstage somewhere. He had assembled a few people. It was one of those meetings – ‘Oh, we have to do some recordings, who’s got what?’ and we played a few at Brian. We didn’t often check things with Brian, in fact I just remember it in connection with this because I thought it was very catchy. I played it amongst a few songs; it was something I thought was quite good but it became an album filler rather than the great almighty single.”
‘What You’re Doing’ is another ‘filler’ song written by The Beatles in Atlantic City
“What You’re Doing” was the second Atlantic City, and this was more of a joint effort from McCartney and John Lennon. McCartney told Miles he wasn’t sure who did what but believed the work on this track was evenly split. However, they weren’t satisfied with it, so it shared the same fate as “Every Little Thing”.
“‘What You’re Doing’ was a bit of a filler. I think it was a little more mine than John’s, but I don’t have a very clear recollection so to be on the safe side, I’d put it as 50-50. It doesn’t sound like an idea that I remember John offering, so it sounds like a way to get a song started, some of them are just that. ‘Hey, what’cha doing?’ You sometimes start a song and hope the best bit will arrive by the time you get to the chorus… but sometimes that’s all you get, and I suspect this was one of them. Maybe it’s a better recording than it is a song, some of them are. Sometimes a good recording would enhance the song.”
Did either of these songs perform well on the charts?
Both “Every Little Thing” and “What You’re Doing” weren’t released as singles, so they never charted. However, The Beatles included both songs on Beatles For Sale. Beatles For Sale is not regarded as one of their best albums, but it still reached No. 1 in the U.K., deeming it a success. It did have a few hits, including “Eight Days a Week”.