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“Not a Second Time”

Listen to “Not a Second Time”

JOHN 1980: “That’s me trying to do something. I don’t remember.” (laughs)

PAUL 1984: “Influenced by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.”

About “Not a Second Time”

“Not a Second Time” is a song by John Lennon (credited to McCartney/Lennon) performed by The Beatles on their album With the Beatles. Lennon said he was “trying to write a Smokey Robinson or something at the time.”

This was the song that inspired the famous musical analysis from The Times, citing the “Aeolian cadences” of Lennon’s vocals as the song draws to a close, and comparing it to Mahler’s “Song Of The Earth”. Lennon, years later, remarked: “To this day, I have no idea what [Aeolian cadences] are. They sound like exotic birds.”
The song was recorded on 21 August 1963 at Abbey Road Studios.

Meaning of “Not a Second Time”

The Beatles’ song “Not a Second Time” conveys a theme of emotional resilience and the determination to move on from a past relationship. The lyrics suggest that the narrator has experienced heartbreak before and is now resolute in not letting it happen again. There’s a sense of emotional maturity and a refusal to be vulnerable to the same pain once more.

The theme captures a sense of personal growth and the ability to learn from past experiences. It reflects the idea that even in the face of heartbreak, one can find the strength to protect themselves and move forward.

“Not a Second Time” celebrates emotional strength and the capacity to protect one’s heart after facing heartbreak. It’s a theme that resonates with anyone who has experienced the pain of lost love and emerged stronger because of it.


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

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