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When I Get Home

The history of this classic Beatles song

By

When I Get Home

Written by: John Lennon (100%)
(credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: June 2, 1964 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: June 4 and 22, 1964
Length: 2:15
Takes: 11
Musicians:
John Lennon: lead vocal, rhythm guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 325)
Paul McCartney: harmony vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1), cowbell
George Harrison: harmony vocal, lead guitar (1964 Rickenbacker "Fire-glo" 360-12)
Ringo Starr: drums (Ludwig)
Available on: (CDs in bold)
  • A Hard Day's Night, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1230, PCS 3058, Parlophone CDP7 46437 2)
  • Something New, (US: Capitol (S)T 2108, Capitol CDP 7243 8 66876 2 3)
History:
  • Not one of the highly-regarded songs in the Beatles' output, "When I Get Home" was the final entry in what has become known as John's "cowbell trilogy," three songs recorded around the same time which feature cowbell prominently and share a very similar groove in general. (The other two are "You Can't Do That," which appears later on AHDN, and "I Call Your Name," recorded at the album sessions but only released on the Long Tall Sally EP three weeks before AHDN.)
  • Another in John's girl-group homages, this song differs from similar ones in that he employs a very dramatic -- some have said too dramatic -- minor-key chorus in stark contrast to the more upbeat major-key verses. Some enjoy the drama, however, and have even suggested an implied subtext of doubt or something even more ominous.
  • Of the songs that ended up on the Hard Day's Night album, this was the very last recorded, coming just after work was completed on "Things We Said Today." (Some editing on "Any Time At All" occurred later in the day.)
Trivia:
  • This song was notably covered by Billy Joel in his very early days fronting a Long Island band called the Hassles; they recorded seven songs at their first session in May of 1967, including this one, all of which went unreleased until 1992.
Covered by: The Hassles, Chris Cobb

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