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It Won't Be Long

The history of this classic Beatles song


The original UK sheet music for

The original UK sheet music for "It Won't Be Long"

source: rarebeatles.com

It Won't Be Long

Written by: John Lennon (100%) (credited to Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: July 30, 1963 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: August 21, 1963; October 10, 1963
Length: 2:08
Takes: 17
Musicians: John Lennon: lead vocal (double-tracked), rhythm guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325)
Paul McCartney: backing vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
George Harrison: backing vocal, lead guitar (1962 Gretsch 6122 "Country Gentleman")
Ringo Starr: drums (1963 Black Oyster Pearl Ludwig kit)
Released on: (CDs in bold)
  • With The Beatles, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1206; PCS 3045, Parlophone CDP 7 46436 2, US: Capitol CLJ 46436)
  • Meet The Beatles, (US: Capitol (S)T 2047, Capitol CDP 7243 8 66875 2 4)
  • A deceptively simple (and unfairly overlooked) little number, John's "It Won't Be Long" features several Beatles stylistic quirks of their early period, including a guitar line (George's) that answers the singer in the verses, an unusual, slightly disorientating bridge, a titular pun ("it won't be long 'til I belong to you") and a surprise ending (slowing down suddenly to end on a major seventh chord, as the slightly earlier "She Loves You" landed on a major sixth).
  • This was recorded at the second session for With The Beatles, just after the group's cover of "Please Mr. Postman" and just before their take on "Money (That's What I Want)".
  • "It Won't Be Long" was written by John as an attempt at the band's next big single, but dropped after the group reached yet another creative breakthrough with "I Want To Hold Your Hand."
  • This appears to be the first Beatles track on which John Lennon's lead vocal is double-tracked, although use of their standard ADT (Automatic Double Tracking) method would come later.
  • The group repeats the word "yeah" fifty-six times, a far as can be determined a record in a pop song.
  • The vocal track at the very end of the last chorus has several differences from the original mono version, where it appears there were a few vocal glitches that had to be cleaned up.
  • Neil Young's first public performance, at the cafeteria in his Winnipeg, Canada high school, consisted of the Beatles' version of "Money" and this song.
Covered by: Franz Ferdinand, Eddie Hardin, Jack Nietzsche, Quick, Redd Kross, Shout, The Smithereens, Richard Thompson
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