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Not A Second Time

The history of this classic Beatles song


The original UK sheet music for

The original UK sheet music for "Not A Second Time"

source: rarebeatles.com

Not A Second Time

Written by: John Lennon (100%)
(credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: September 11, 1963 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: September 30 and October 29, 1963
Length: 2:01
Takes: 9
Musicians: John Lennon: lead vocal, rhythm guitar (1952 Gibson J-160E)
Paul McCartney: lead vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
Ringo Starr: drums (1963 Black Oyster Pearl Ludwig kit)
George Martin: piano (1905 Steinway Vertegrand "Mrs. Mills")
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)
  • Another attempt at writing a Smokey Robinson and the Miracles homage by John, this deceptively simple midtempo ballad enjoys a better reputation than many of the "lost" originals on With The Beatles -- perhaps because of a famous essay by music critic William Mann, published in London's The Times newspaper on December 23, 1963: "...harmonic interest is typical of their quicker songs, too, and one gets the impression that they think simultaneously of harmony and melody, so firmly are the major tonic sevenths and ninths built into their tunes, and the flat submediant key switches, so natural is the Aeolian cadence at the end of 'Not a second time' (the chord progression which ends Mahler's Song of the Earth)..."
  • This song was recorded at the third session for With The Beatles, after "All I've Got To Do" and before "Don't Bother Me."
  • This is the first officially recorded Beatles song where a member of the group sits out entirely (in this case, George, who neither plays nor sings on the track).
  • The Beatles, who were self-taught, did not read music, and knew little music theory, were never quite sure what to make of Mann's famous essay. In his last interview, Lennon joked that he thought "Aeolian Cadences" were exotic birds.
Covered by: Robert Palmer, Rosanne Cash, R. Stevie Moore, The Pretenders, The Smithereens
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