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“It Won’t Be Long”

What the Beatles said about “It Won’t Be Long”

JOHN 1980: “‘It Wont Be Long’ is mine. It was my attempt at writing another single. It never quite made it. That was the one where the guy in the ‘London Times’ wrote about the ‘Aeolian cadences of the chords’ which started the whole intellectual bit about the Beatles.”

PAUL circa-1994: “We’d spot the double meaning… In ‘It won’t BE LONG till I BELONG to you’ it was that same trip.”

Info about “It Won’t Be Long”

“It Won’t Be Long” was released as the opening track on the Beatles’ second UK album With the Beatles (1963), and was the first original song recorded for it. Although credited to Lennon–McCartney, it was primarily a composition by John Lennon, with Paul McCartney assisting with the lyrics and arrangement.

John Lennon claimed this song in 1971 and 1980. In about 1995 Paul McCartney described the song as dominated by John, but written in collaboration. “John mainly sang it so I expect that it was his original idea but we both sat down and wrote it together.” The chorus is a play on the words “be long” and “belong”. The song features early Beatles trademarks such as call-and-response yeah-yeahs and scaling guitar riffs.

Typical also of this phase of Beatles songwriting is the melodramatic ending (similar to “She Loves You“, which had just been recorded and was about to be released) where the music stops, allowing Lennon a brief solo vocal improvisation before the song finishes on a “barber shop” major seventh. The middle eight uses chromatically descending chords over which Lennon, McCartney and Harrison sing in counterpoint.

Personnel

  • John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, rhythm guitar
  • Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums
  • George Martin – producer
  • Norman Smith – engineer

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