The first session for the recording of the song was on June 14th, 1966. Paul chose to play rhythm guitar himself, alongside George on lead guitar and Ringo on drums. Four takes were attempted, but only the final one was complete. With producer George Martin coaching them, John, Paul and George then gathered around a microphone and sang the gorgeous block harmonies. This version was slightly faster than the finished product as we know it.
On June 16th, they began anew on the slower version, using the same instrumentation for the basic track. Paul sang a guide vocal on this day as he, George and Ringo recorded takes five through thirteen. With the final take as the best, John, Paul and George recorded a new set of block harmonies, overdubbing them a second time for a fuller effect. George also decided to double-track his lead guitar passage and Paul added his bass line. Finally, Paul sang his delicate lead vocal, which was subjected to vari-speed to make it sound a bit higher on the record. Paul chose to double-track his vocal on June 17th, featuring some very subtle variations in the third verse.
The song has long been one of Paul's personal favorites. Many fans and critics consider it to be his finest composition, and even the highly-critical John Lennon had nothing but admiration for the piece.
It was a natural for inclusion on the 1977 compilation Love Songs. And it was among the handful of Beatles songs that Paul chose to re-record for the soundtrack of his 1984 film Give My Regards to Broad Street. Though the Beatles never played it live, Paul has added it to the set list a few times over the years on various tours.
The Real Love EP from 1996, which was a tie-in to Anthology 2, presents take seven of the basic track. Since the instrumental performance is almost identical to that on the master, Paul's guide vocal stands out as the most interesting feature of this selection. To augment this spare production, the backing block harmonies are brought in for the final verse.