When was it recorded? Jun. 2, 1964
When was it first released, and on which album? Jul. 10, 1964 on “A Hard Day’s Night”
Who wrote it? McCartney
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
Quoth Wikipedia, “McCartney wrote the song in May 1964 while cruising the Caribbean aboard a yacht called Happy Days with his then-girlfriend Jane Asher” (plus Ringo & Maureen).
“I remember writing ‘Things We Said Today’ in one of the cabins below deck one afternoon on my acoustic guitar. I got away from the main party but it was a bit queasy downstairs; you could smell the oil and the boat was rocking a bit and I’m not the best sailor in the world, so I wrote a little bit of it downstairs and then the rest of it on the back deck where you couldn’t smell the engine. I don’t know why the engine was on, I suppose we were moving.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)
“Things We Said Today” was one of the three songs Paul wrote for the film, “A Hard Day’s Night.” (Obviously, as Wikipedia writes, “The song was not in the film, but was included on Side 2, the ‘non-soundtrack’ side of the British ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ LP.”) A number of critics and reviewers seem fond of the song playing with conventions. While it seems “on the surface just a plain old love ballad” (Pollack, “Notes On… ‘Things We Said Today’”), the song is structured mainly in the melancholy-sounding A minor key, a rarity in the Beatles’ repertoire at the time.
“It was a slightly nostalgic thing already, a future nostalgia: we’ll remember the things we said today, sometime in the future, so the song projects itself into the future and then is nostalgic about the moment we’re living in now, which is quite a good trick. It has interesting chords.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)
The Beatles recorded “Things We Said Today” on Jun. 2, 1964 in just three takes. According to Wikipedia, “Take one was a false start, take two was the rhythm track, and take three was used for overdubs.”
According to the Beatles Bible, “John Lennon’s piano part was meant to be omitted from the final mix, but lack of separation between instruments meant that its sound leaked into other microphones during recording. As a result it can be heard on the released version.”
Quoth the Beatles Bible, “The Beatles recorded ‘Things We Said Today’ twice for BBC radio.” The first version recorded Jul. 14, 1964 for “Top Gear” (first aired Jul. 16) appeared on 1994’s “Live at the BBC.”
The second version was recorded Jul. 17 for “From Us to You” (first aired Aug. 3).
“Things We Said Today” also became part of the Beatles’ live shows. While the album version features only Paul double- or triple-tracked for the harmonies, George took the harmony parts when performing the song live. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “The group played it during their tours of the US and Canada in August and September 1964, although it disappeared shortly afterwards.”
Ah, another good one I was unfortunately unfamiliar with! I’m sad I’m near the end of their recorded catalogue, but I enjoy ‘finding’ gems like this (and re-enjoying the ones I’ve heard before… the countdown to “Yellow Submarine” hasn’t started quite yet though).