Lennon plays a Hohner Pianetelectric piano throughout the song accompanied by McCartney's ascending and descending bass lines. The song's verse has a call and response structure, McCartney's lead vocal alternating with Lennon and George Harrison's harmony, singing the chorus "Aaah, the night before . . .", the whole being alternated with a second melody. McCartney plays a guitar solo on the third verse that is recapitulated in part as the coda of the song. However, Lennon said in a 1965 interview that it was Harrison and McCartney playing the guitar solo together, albeit in different octaves.
The song is performed on Salisbury Plain in the second Beatles film, Help! and, just as it finishes, a bomb explodes. In the movie, the Beatles perform the song in the shadow of Stonehenge. Harrison mimes the terse, stabbing guitar solo — even though both he and McCartney played it on the record, according to Lennon.