“It Won’t Be Long” is a Fab Four song on the 1963 album, “With The Beatles”. In fact, it is the first track on the album.
Release Date: 22nd November, 1963 (UK), 20th January, 1964 (US)
Recorded: 30th July, 1963
Track Duration: 2:13
Record Label: Parlophone
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
It Won’t Be Long
Although credited to Lennon-McCartney, which was the norm, it was primarily a John Lennon composition. But Paul McCartney had a hand in the song by assisting with the lyrics.
The Fab Four’s first album, “Please Please Me“, was a massive success, of course. Their new album, “With The Beatles”, needed to be good in order for the band to progress. What better way than to have “It Won’t Be Long” as the leading song on the disc.
The song itself features the familiar “yeah-yeahs” chant as we experienced on “She Loves You“. However, they use it in a “call-and-response” style in this song. In other words, lead vocalist, John Lennon calls “yeah” then the harmonious Paul McCartney and George Harrison respond with “yeah”.
They never sang “It Won’t Be Long” at any of their gigs or even for BBC Radio shows. However, they did lip-synch to it on the ITV show, “Ready Steady Go!” in March, 1964.
Clever Beatles Lyrics?
John Lennon wanted “It Won’t Be Long” to be the next Beatles’ single but it wasn’t to be:
“It Won’t Be Long is mine. It was my attempt at writing another single, [but] it never quite made it. That was the one where the guy in the London Times wrote about the “Aeolian cadences of the chords” – which started the whole intellectual bit about The Beatles.”
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
It appears that John Lennon got slightly confused over a newspaper article in The Times. Their music critic, William Mann, spoke about Aeolian cadences in the song “Not A Second Time” and not “It Won’t Be Long”. Be that as it may, Lennon really thought the article was referring to this song:
“The Beatles were more intellectual, so they appealed on that level, too. But the basic appeal of the Beatles was not their intelligence. It was their music. It was only after some guy in the London Times said there were aeolian cadences in It Won’t Be Long that the middle classes started listening to it – because somebody put a tag on it.”
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
Paul McCartney’s Word Play
Being a songwriter is not easy but the songwriting partnership of Lennon-McCartney sure knew how to play with words:
“I was doing literature at school, so I was interested in plays on words and onomatopoeia. John didn’t do literature but he was quite well read, so he was interested in that kind of thing. Like the double meaning of ‘please’ in a line like ‘Please, lend a little ear to my pleas’ that we used in Please Please Me.
We’d spot the double meaning. I think everyone did, by the way, it was not just the genius of us! In ‘It won’t be long till I belong to you’ it was that same trip. We both liked to try and get a bit of double meaning in, so that was the high spot of writing that particular song. John mainly sang it so I expect that it was his original idea but we both sat down and wrote it together.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
The Beatles began recording “It Won’t Be Long” on the 30th July, 1963, in Studio Two of the EMI Studios, London, during the 10.00am-1.30pm session. They recorded 10 takes in that session but took a further 7 takes in the 5.00pm-11.00pm sessions. Then they recorded some edit pieces – takes 18 to 23. Mixing was a combination of takes 17 plus take 21, but this didn’t happen until the 21st August in the Control Room.