The Paul McCartney Project

Little Child

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:

Little Child” is a song by the Beatles from their album With the Beatles. It 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.

Background

McCartney describes “Little Child” as being a “work song“, or an “album filler“. He admits to taking 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 song “Act Naturally“, which the Beatles covered (with Starr singing) for the album Help!.

Recording

Recorded in three different sessions, the first was 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. They later returned to it on 3 October, where they recorded three more takes. According to 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].

Reception

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 that ““Little Child” might not be a work of genius, but it’s sheer rock’n’roll fun

Personnel

MacDonald said that the vocals were “credited to Lennon and McCartney, but more like the former double-tracked“, though McCartney can be heard at the end singing “oh yeah” on his own, so the original credit is probably correct.

Paul McCartney, about “Little Child” in Many Years From Now, Barry Miles:

[The songs to give to Ringo] had to be fairly simple. He didn’t have a large vocal range but he could handle things with good con brio and spirito if they were nice and simple. It had to be something he could get behind. If he couldn’t mentally picture it, you were in trouble. This one was co-written with John. […] I nicked a bit of melody from one of [Elton Haynes] tunes, ‘I’m so sad and lonely‘, that little bit came from a line: ‘Whistle, my love, and I will come to thee, I’ll always find you‘. It’s actually not the same tune, but in my mind it was a quote from Elton Hayes. It think it was from a Robin Hood film, it wall all ‘thee’ and ‘thou’s. Little Child was a work job. Certain songs were inspirational and you just followed that. Certain other songs were, ‘Right, come on, two hours, song for Ringo for the album‘.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 23 Oct 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 main harmonica and piano are separate overdubs, a total 3 generations. The harmonica solo, a “4th track” (generation) on the song, is edited in to hold the rest of the song to “only” 3 generations. The instrumental track is saturated, as can be heard in stereo.

Something else done Oct 3, is only in stereo [b] according to Lewisohn’s reporting, and it seems to be the additional vocals heard at the very end.

Last updated on February 14, 2016

Lyrics

Little child, little child
Little child, won't you dance with me?
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me

Little child, little child
Little child, won't you dance with me?
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me

If you want someone
To make you feel so fine
Then we'll have some fun
When you're mine, all mine
So come, come on, come on

Little child, little child
Little child, won't you dance with me?
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me

When you're by my side
You're the only one
Don't you run and hide
Just come on, come on
So come on, come on, come on

Little child, little child
Little child, won't you dance with me?
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me
Baby take a chance with me
Baby take a chance with me

Officially appears on


With the Beatles (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1963

1:46 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Harmonica, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

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

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 03, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 23, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


With the Beatles (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1963

1:46 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Harmonica, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

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

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 03, 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

1:48 • Studio versionB2 • Mono made from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Harmonica, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

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

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 03, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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


Meet the Beatles! (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

1:48 • Studio versionB1 • Stereo remixed from [B] by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Harmonica, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

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

Session Recording:
Sep 12, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 03, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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

Bootlegs


Give Us That Knowing Wink - Official Rarities - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2016

4:58 • Studio version • ren

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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