The story of this song begins in Hrishikesh, India, where The Beatles were on a retreat learning Transcendental Meditation from their guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Also on the retreat was Mike Love of The Beach Boys
, who told us: "Paul (McCartney) came down to the breakfast table one morning saying, 'Hey, Mike, listen to this.' And he starts strumming and singing, 'Back in the U.S.S.R.,' the verses. And I said, 'Well, Paul, what you ought to do is talk about the girls around Russia, Ukraine girls and then Georgia on my mind, and that kind of thing.' Which he did.
So I think it was the fact I was there, which caused Paul to think in terms of Beach Boys, and then my suggestion for what to do on the bridge, he took that suggestion and crafted, like only Sir Paul can, a really great song."
McCartney was impressed with the idea and used some Beach Boys' elements in this song: Instead of "California Girls" it was "Moscow Girls." Plus, the definitive Beach Boy "Oooeeeeoooo" in the background harmonies.
The title was inspired by Chuck Berry's "Back In The U.S.A.
" The Beach Boys had been influenced by that song and also "Sweet Little Sixteen
" to come up with "California Girls
" and "Surfin' U.S.A.