The Paul McCartney Project

It Won't Be Long

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the With the Beatles (Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1963
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

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

Composition

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’ song writing 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 major seventh chord (“She Loves You” ends on a major sixth). There is an unusual middle eight—for what is, essentially, a rock and roll song—that uses chromatically descending chords.

John Lennon, in his last interview, told Playboy magazine that the song was the beginning of a wider audience for Beatles’ music than the youthful throngs that had fervently followed them from their Liverpool clubbing days. “It was only after a critic for the [London] Times said we put ‘Aeolian cadences’ in ‘It Won’t Be Long’ that the middle classes started listening to us. . . . To this day, I have no idea what ‘Aeolian cadences’ are. They sound like exotic birds.” Actually the critic, William Mann, said this about the song “Not a Second Time.” Bob Dylan had much the same thing in mind when he wrote that Beatles chords were “outrageous, just outrageous.”

Recording and release

The Beatles recorded this song on 30 July 1963 in two sessions. The first session was in the morning, where they recorded 10 takes. The second session was in the afternoon, where they recorded seven takes, misnumbered as takes 17–23. The final product was a combination of takes 17 and 21, put together on 21 August.

The original release in the UK was on With the Beatles, 20 November 1963. In the US, “It Won’t Be Long” first appeared on Meet the Beatles!, released 20 January 1964.

The song was never performed live or at any of the group’s BBC sessions, although they did lip-synch to the track on an edition of Ready Steady Go! in March 1964.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 21 Aug 1963. edited.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 1206 With the Beatles 1963.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46436 2 With the Beatles 1987.
  • [b] stereo 29 Oct 1963. edited.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 3045 With the Beatles 1963.
  • [b1] stereo remixed from [b] 1963, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol ST 2047 Meet the Beatles 1964.
  • [b2] mono made from [b] 1963, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol T 2047 Meet the Beatles 1964.

The edit seems to be the last line; the word “belong” sounds shorter in [a] as if it is done differently. On the other hand, a bootleg called “Garage Tapes” has an unidentified take where about only about the first half the song seems to match the finished version.

Last updated on February 7, 2016

Lyrics

It won't be long yeh, yeh, yeh
It won't be long yeh, yeh, yeh
It won't be long yeh, till I belong to you

Every night when everybody has fun
Here am I sitting all on my own

It won't be long yeh, yeh, yeh
It won't be long yeh, yeh, yeh
It won't be long yeh, till I belong to you

Since you left me, I'm so alone
Now you're coming, you're coming on home
I'll be good like I know I should
You're coming home, you're coming home

Every night the tears come down from my eyes
Every day I've done nothing but cry

It won't be long yeh, yeh, yeh
It won't be long yeh, yeh, yeh
It won't be long yeh, till I belong to you

Since you left me, I'm so alone
Now you're coming, you're coming on home
I'll be good like I know I should
You're coming home, you're coming home

So every day we'll be happy I know
Now I know that you won't leave me no more

It won't be long yeh, yeh, yeh
It won't be long yeh, yeh
It won't be long yeh, till I belong to you, woo

Officially appears on


With the Beatles (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1963

2:13 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Second engineer
Norman Smith:
Engineer
Richard Langham:
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Jul 30, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Aug 21, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


With the Beatles (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1963

2:13 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Second engineer
Norman Smith:
Engineer
Richard Langham:
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Jul 30, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 29, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Meet the Beatles! (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:14 • Studio versionB2 • Mono made from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Second engineer
Norman Smith:
Engineer
Richard Langham:
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Jul 30, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 29, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Meet the Beatles! (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:14 • Studio versionB1 • Stereo remixed from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Second engineer
Norman Smith:
Engineer
Richard Langham:
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Jul 30, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 29, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Complete Acetate Collection 1961-1970

Unofficial album

2:16 • Studio version


With The Beatles - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

2:19 • Outtake • Mono • Take 7 - monitor mix - Mono - Source: The Alf Bicknell Tapes (Remasters Workshop)

Session Recording:
Jul 30, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


With The Beatles - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

2:03 • Outtake • Mono • Take 10? monitor mix - Mono - Source: The Alf Bicknell Tapes (Remasters Workshop)

Session Recording:
Jul 30, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


With The Beatles - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

2:12 • Outtake • Stereo • TV mix for TV Series 'Anthology' in 2003

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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