"We Can Work It Out" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and released by The Beatles as a "double A-sided" single with "Day Tripper", the first time both sides of a single were so designated in an initial release. Both songs were recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions. The song is an example of Lennon-McCartney collaboration at a depth that happened only rarely after they wrote the hit singles of 1963. This song, and "A Day in the Life", are among the notable exceptions.
With its intimations of mortality, Lennon's contribution to the twelve-bar bridge contrasts typically with what Lennon saw as McCartney's cajoling optimism. As Lennon told Playboy in 1980, "You've got Paul writing, 'We can work it out / We can work it out'—real optimistic, y'know, and me, impatient: 'Life is very short, and there's no time / For fussing and fighting, my friend.'" Based on those comments, some critics overemphasized McCartney's optimism, neglecting the toughness in passages written by McCartney, such as "Do I have to keep on talking until I can't go on?". Lennon's middle shifts focus from McCartney's concrete reality to a philosophical perspective in B minor, illustrating this with a waltz-time section suggested by George Harrison that leads back to the verse, possibly meant to suggest tiresome struggle. Ian MacDonald said, "[Lennon's] passages are so suited to his Salvation Army harmonium that it's hard to imagine them not being composed on it. The swell-pedal crescendos he adds to the verses are, on the other hand, textural washes added in the studio, the first of their kind on a Beatles record and signposts to the enriched sound-palette of Revolver." Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher described the song as "the song that defines The Beatles".
In a discussion about what song to release as a single, Lennon argued "vociferously" for "Day Tripper", differing with the majority view that "We Can Work It Out" was a more commercial song. As a result, the single was marketed as the first "double A-side," but airplay and point-of-sale requests soon proved "We Can Work It Out" to be more popular, and it reached No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, The Beatles' fastest-selling single since "Can't Buy Me Love," their previous McCartney-led A-side in the UK.
The Beatles made 10 black-and-white promo films for television broadcasters on 23 November 1965, at Twickenham Film Studiosin London, as they were often unable to make personal appearances by that time. Three of the films were mimed performances of We Can Work It Out, in all of which John Lennon was seated at a harmonium. The most frequently-broadcast of the three versions was a straightforward performance piece with the group wearing black suits. Another had the group wearing the stage suits from their Shea Stadium performance on 15 August; the third opens with a shot of Lennon with a sunflower in front of his eye.