Anna (Go to Him)

Written by Arthur Alexander

Album This song officially appears on the Please Please Me (Mono) LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1963

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions



Other songs from Arthur Alexander interpreted by The Beatles



Soldier of Love

Officially appears on Live At The BBC

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Anna (Go to Him)”, or simply “Anna”, is a song written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander. His version was released as a single by Dot Records on September 17, 1962. A cover version was performed by the Beatles and included on their 1963 debut album Please Please Me. […] 

Background

According to Richie Unterberger, music critic for AllMusic:

“Anna” was one of the great early soul ballads, even if its loping groove was closer to a mid-tempo song than a slow ballad. Like several of Alexander’s songs, it would come to be more famous in its cover version than through its original release. And it was actually a small hit when it first came out in 1962, getting to #68 in the pop charts and #10 in the R&B listings.

Critic Dave Marsh rates Alexander’s “Anna (Go to Him)” as one of the top 1001 singles of all time. He praises the “gently swinging rhythm,” the tough, syncopated drumming, and Alexander’s vocal, particularly at the beginning of the refrain, suggesting that John Lennon may have learned to sing ballads like “In My Life” by listening to Alexander’s performance.

Despite the title, throughout the song the lyric is “go with him” rather than “go to him”. The song plays a prominent role in the Married…with Children episode “Oldies But Young ‘Uns”. In the episode, the song becomes an earworm for Al, who desperately wants to know the title.

The Beatles’ version

A personal favorite of John Lennon, it became part of the Beatles’ early repertoire and was consequently recorded by them for their 1963 debut album, Please Please Me.

In the U.S., Vee Jay Records released it on Introducing… The Beatles (January 10, 1964) and Capitol Records re-released it on The Early Beatles (March 22, 1965). Vee Jay also released “Anna (Go to Him)” on the EP Souvenir of Their Visit: The Beatles in the US.

The band recorded the song on February 11, 1963, in three takes; Take 3 was the master. It was remixed on February 25. George Harrison played the distinctive phrase on guitar; Floyd Cramer played it on piano for the original.

They recorded “Anna (Go to Him)” on June 17, 1963, for the BBC radio show Pop Go the Beatles. The show was broadcast on June 25. They recorded it once again on August 1, 1963, for the show broadcast on August 27.

Unterberger praised the Beatles’ version in his review:

Ringo Starr faithfully [replicates] the unusual drum rhythm and hi-hat crunches. Lennon’s vocal, however, added a tortured pain not present in Alexander’s model, particularly when he wailed in his upper register at the conclusion of the bridges. The Beatles’ backup harmony vocals, in addition, were superb, and more effective [than on Alexander’s version].

Music critic Ian MacDonald had a different view of Lennon’s vocal delivery, saying it sounded like “a passionate youth grappling with a man’s song”. As noted in many references including Mark Lewisohn’s The Beatles Recording Sessions, Lennon had a bad cold on the day of recording which had an adverse effect on his voice. […]

Paul McCartney talking about the song “Anna” with Ronnie Wood:

Ronnie Wood: I didn’t mention it to you but there was a song from 1963, from your Please Please Me album, Anna, which was written by Arthur Alexander. Do you mind if I played that one?

Paul McCartney: I love it, man. There’s not many people know that. If ever I meet a girl called Anna, I say we did a song about you. nobody ever knows the Beatles sung a song called Anna. So all the Annas out there now know, thanks to the show

Ronnie Wood: I still have that Beatles radio show, remember, when you were just going nuts on the air, on a Friday night…

Paul McCartney: Pop Go The Beatles

Ronnie Wood: Oh that was so hilarious, I used to run home from college to listen for that.

Paul McCartney: It was great to do those things you know because you never had been exposed to anything like that, you know. You go into a studio, there is the beep, there’s all that institution thing but then you’d get to play all the little
favorite ones…

Ronnie Wood: And you got to destroy their rules a bit, like you could hear voices in the background “come here, do that, let’s play this…”

Paul McCartney: And there’s always an announcer “Well, George, what do you think of…”

Ronnie Wood: So Arthur Alexander he used to be a co-writer with Sam Cooke as well and I’ll tell you more about that after we’ve played Anna…

Paul McCartney, in the Ronnie Wood Show, 2013

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] mono 25 Feb 1963.
UK: Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing 1963.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987.

[b] stereo 25 Feb 1963.
UK: Parlophone PCS 3042 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJSR 1062 Introducing 1963.

[b1] stereo remixed from [b] 1965, by Capitol.
US: Capitol ST 2309 The Early 1965.

[b2] mono made from [b] 1965, by Capitol.
US: Capitol T 2309 The Early 1965.

Last updated on May 21, 2021

Lyrics

Anna, you come and ask me girl
To set you free, girl
You say he loves you more than me
So I will set you free
Go with him (Anna)
Go with him (Anna)

Anna, girl, before go now
I want you to know, now
That I still love you so
But if he loves you more
Go with him

All of my life
I've been searching for a girl
To love me like I love you, oh now
But every girl I ever had breaks my heart
And leaves me sad
What am I, what am I supposed to do?
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Anna, just one more thing girl
You give back your ring to me
And I will set you free
Go with him

All of my life
I've been searching for a girl
To love me like I love you
But let me tell you now
But every girl I ever had breaks my heart
And leaves me sad
What am I, what am I supposed to do?
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Anna, just one more thing girl
You give back your ring to me
And I will set you free
Go with him (Anna)
Go with him (Anna)
You can go with him, girl (Anna)
Go with him

Officially appears on


Please Please Me (Mono)

LP • Released in 1963

2:55 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


The Beatles (No. 1)

EP • Released in 1963

2:54 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Please Please Me (Stereo)

LP • Released in 1963

2:55 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


The Early Beatles (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:58 • Studio versionB2 • Mono • Mono made from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


The Early Beatles (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:58 • Studio versionB1 • Stereo • Stereo remixed from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


The Early Beatles (2006 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2006

2:58 • Studio versionB1.2006 • Stereo • 2006 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer
Ted Jensen :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


The Early Beatles (2006 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2006

2:58 • Studio versionB2.2006 • Mono • 2006 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer
Ted Jensen :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Please Please Me (Mono - 2009 remaster)

CD • Released in 2009

2:55 • Studio versionA2009 • Mono • 2009 mono remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer
Paul Hicks :
Remastering
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Please Please Me (Stereo - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

2:55 • Studio versionB2009 • Stereo • 2009 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer
A.B. Lincoln :
Second engineer
Paul Hicks :
Remastering
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Bootleg Recordings 1963

Official album • Released in 2013

3:03 • LiveL1

Concert From "Pop Go The Beatles" in London, United Kingdom on Jun 25, 1963


Bootlegs


The Beatles At The Beeb - Volume 3

Unofficial live • Released in 2003

3:52 • LiveL1

Concert From "Pop Go The Beatles" in London, United Kingdom on Jun 25, 1963


The Beatles At The Beeb - Volume 6

Unofficial live • Released in 2003

3:23 • LiveL2

Concert From "Pop Go The Beatles" in Manchester, United Kingdom on Aug 27, 1963


The BBC Archives Volume 3

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

3:00 • Live

Concert From "Pop Go The Beatles" in London, United Kingdom on Jun 25, 1963


The BBC Archives Volume 6

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

2:51 • Live

Concert From "Pop Go The Beatles" in Manchester, United Kingdom on Aug 27, 1963

Live performances

“Anna (Go to Him)” has been played in 3 concerts.

Latest concerts where Anna (Go to Him) has been played


Pop Go The Beatles

Aug 27, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions


Pop Go The Beatles

Jun 25, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions


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