The phrase "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" is from the Yoruba tribe (Nigerian) and it means "life goes on", a phrase used frequently by conga player Jimmy Scott, whom Paul had met. After Paul used the phrase Scott wanted a royalty, however Paul insisted that it was a common phrase. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is cited as the first example of "white reggae." Paul wanted to use the song as a single, but when John refused the song was re-recorded by the band Marmalade and became a British hit. A deritive of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da was used in the theme song to the 1980s television show "Life Goes On".
During the recording sessions the Beatles went through numerous takes with several different sounds until John, who hated the song to begin with, just went up to the piano and banged out the opening notes, which they kept for the master.