According to Paul McCartney the title was inspired by a remark from a chauffeur who drove him to Lennon's house in Weybridge.
“I usually drove myself there, but the chauffeur drove me out that day and I said, 'How've you been?' – 'Oh working hard,' he said, 'working eight days a week.'”
—Paul McCartney, The Beatles Anthology
Curiously, McCartney has also credited the title to Ringo Starr, who was noted for his malapropisms.
“LINDA: Ringo also said, 'Eight days a week.'
PAUL: Yeah, he said it as though he were an overworked chauffeur. (in heavy accent) 'Eight days a week.' (laughter) When we heard it, we said, 'Really? Bing! Got it!'”
—Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney, 1984 Playboy Interview
"Eight Days a Week" is one of the first examples of the in-studio experimentation that the band would use extensively in the future. In two recording sessions totaling nearly seven hours on October 6 devoted exclusively to this song, Lennon and McCartney tried one technique after another before settling on the eventual arrangement. Each of the first six takes of the song featured a strikingly different approach to the beginning and ending sections of the song; the eventual chiming guitar-based introduction to the song would be recorded in a different session and edited in later. The final version of the song incorporated another Beatle first and pop music rarity: The song begins with a fade in as a counterpoint to pop songs which end in a fade out. The instrumentation includes acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, bass and overdubbed handclaps. The fade in and coda both include more guitar overdubs.
Release and Acclaim
The song, along with two others from the album ("Baby's in Black" and "No Reply") was planned as a single release. In the end, it was released as a single only in the US on 15 February 1965 becoming a number-one hit. Its B-side was "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party". The single release in the US was the result of DJs playing the song from imported copies of the Beatles for Sale album as an exclusive since it was not included on the album's US counterpart Beatles '65. Later, it made a US album appearance on Beatles VI.
Although it was a huge American hit, the group didn't think highly of the song (Lennon called it "lousy"), and never performed it live. They did, however, lip-synch to it during an April appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars.
* John Lennon – vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, handclaps
* Paul McCartney – vocal, bass, handclaps
* George Harrison – vocal, lead guitar, handclaps
* Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps
The song has been covered by:
* Alma Cogan in 1965 as a double-A sided single with "Help!"
* The Supremes in 1965
* Procol Harum in 1975 on their album Procol's Ninth
* Billy Preston in 1976 on his album Billy's Bag
* The Runaways in 1978 on their album, And Now... The Runaways
* Joan Jett in 1982
* Lorrie Morgan in 1989 on her album Leave the Light On
* The Punkles did a Punk cover of this song on their first album in 1998.
* The Libertines in 2003
* Carl Barat on a Solo Demo Tape Mexican Acoustic Sessions
* The Worthless Peons in 2004 in the Scrubs season 3 episode, "My Best Friend's Wedding"
* B.E. Taylor in 2006 on his album, Love Never Fails
* Debauchery did a death metal cover on their 2007 album Back in Blood (available as a bonus track)
* In 2008, Country singer, Kristy Lee Cook performed a bluegrass version of this song on American Idol (season 7) as her selection for the first Beatles-based week.
Album: Beatles for Sale
Released: 4 December 1964
Recorded: Abbey Road, 6 October 1964
Label: Parlophone, PMC 1240 (mono), PCS 3062 (stereo), CDP 7 46438 2
Producer: George Martin
Single by The Beatles
B-side: "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party"
Released: 15 February 1965 (US only)
Label: Capitol 5371 (US)