Back in the USSR was the song that prompted Ringo's walkout. It's a pretty straightforward rocker, so it's hard to imagine exactly what Paul wanted that Ringo couldn't get. Paul wound up playing the drums on the basic track, as George played guitar and John picked up the bass part. Only five takes were required to achieve the master. The next day, August 23rd, the recording was completed with numerous overdubs including drum fills by John and George, additional bass lines by Paul and George, more guitar from Paul, piano, handclaps, backing vocals and, of course, the jet engine sound which flies in and out of the soundscape.
When John and Paul laid out the running order for the double album The Beatles in a marathon 24-hour session on October 16th and 17th, they chose this number to open side one. It immediately signals the listener that this album is a return to basic rock and roll after the group's psychedelic excursions of 1967.
Paul added the song to his live set list years ago and it has generally remained there as one of his mainstays. And Ringo finally got to play on the song in concert on July 4th, 1984 in Washington, DC with - of all people - Mike Love and the Beach Boys.
As for Paul's drumming on the original recording, most critics rate it average at best.