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“Little Child”

What the Beatles said about “Little Child”

JOHN 1972: “Both of us wrote it. This was a knock-off between Paul and me.”

JOHN 1980: “‘Little Child’ was another effort of Paul and I to write a song for somebody else. It was probably Ringo.”

PAUL circa-1994: “Certain songs were inspirational and you just followed that. ‘Little Child’ was a work job.”

Info about “Little Child”

“Little Child” was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for Ringo Starr, but Starr was instead given “I Wanna Be Your Man” as his album song

McCartney describes “Little Child” as being a “work song”, or an “album filler”. He admits to taking the melody of the line “I’m so sad and lonely” from the song “Whistle My Love” by British balladeer and actor Elton Hayes.

The phrase “sad and lonely” also appears in the Lennon-McCartney number “Bad to Me”, originally recorded by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, as well as “Act Naturally“, which the Beatles covered (with Starr singing) for the album Help!.

The song was recorded in three different sessions, with the first on 11 September 1963, where the Beatles recorded two takes. They later came back to it the next day, where they recorded 16 takes, including overdubs of piano from McCartney, and harmonica from Lennon which he plays nonstop throughout the song.

The Beatles later returned to it on 3 October, where they recorded three more takes. In the stereo mix, the harmonica pans from left to right for the solo. Then it pans back from right to left after the solo. The song’s solo follows a “twelve-bar blues format that does not appear in the rest of the song.”

Music critic Richie Unterberger of AllMusic said of the song: “It might have been one of the less sophisticated and impressive tracks on the record, but it was still pretty good”, and “‘Little Child’ might not be a work of genius, but it’s sheer rock ‘n’ roll fun”

Personnel

  • John Lennon – vocal, rhythm guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney – vocal, piano, bass
  • George Harrison – lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums, additional drums

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