I'll Be Back (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"I'll Be Back"
I'll be back sheet music.jpg
Cover of the song's sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album A Hard Day's Night
Released10 July 1964
Recorded1 June 1964
StudioEMI Studios, London
Producer(s)George Martin

"I'll Be Back" is a song written by John Lennon[2][3] (credited to Lennon–McCartney), and recorded by the English rock band the Beatles for the soundtrack album to their film A Hard Day's Night (1964) but not used in the film. This song was not released in North America until Beatles '65 five months later.


According to musicologist Ian MacDonald, Lennon created the song based on the chords of Del Shannon's "Runaway"[3] which had been a UK hit in April 1961. Author Bill Harry also wrote: "He just reworked the chords of the Shannon number and came up with a completely different song".[2]

With its poignant lyric and flamenco style acoustic guitars "I'll Be Back" possesses a tragic air and is eccentric in structure. Unusually for a pop song it oscillates between major and minor keys; appears to have two different bridges and lacks a chorus. The fade-out ending also arrives unexpectedly, being a half stanza premature.[3]

The metric structure also is unusual. The verse is in 6-measure phrases in 4
time. The first and third bridges have a four-measure phrase in 4
followed by a phrase with 2 measures of 4
and one of 2
; the second bridge has a 4-measure phrase followed by 5 measures of 4
and one of 2

Producer George Martin preferred to open and close Beatles albums using dominant material stating: "Another principle of mine when assembling an album was always to go out on a side strongly, placing the weaker material towards the end but then going out with a bang".[4] Ian MacDonald points out however: "Fading away in tonal ambiguity at the end of A Hard Day’s Night, it was a surprisingly downbeat farewell and a token of coming maturity".[3] Music journalist Robert Sandall wrote in Mojo Magazine: "'I'll Be Back' was the early Beatles at their most prophetic. This grasp of how to colour arrangements in darker or more muted tones foreshadowed an inner journey they eventually undertook in three albums' time, on Rubber Soul".[5]


The Beatles recorded "I'll Be Back" in 16 takes on 1 June 1964. The first nine were of the rhythm track, and the last seven were overdubs of the lead and harmony vocals, and an acoustic guitar overdub.[6]

The Anthology 1 CD includes take two of "I'll Be Back", performed in 6
. The recording broke down when Lennon fumbled over the words in the bridge, complaining on the take that "it's too hard to sing." The subsequent take, also included on Anthology, was performed in the 4
used in the final take.[citation needed]


Personnel per Walter Everett[7]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.mojo4music.com/19982/beatles-101-greatest-songs/
  2. ^ a b Harry 2000, pp. 542–543.
  3. ^ a b c d MacDonald 2005, p. 119.
  4. ^ Martin, p. 149.
  5. ^ Mojo 2002, p. 113.
  6. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. New York, New York: Harmony Books. p. 44. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
  7. ^ Everett, Walter (2001). The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men Through Rubber Soul. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 242. ISBN 0-19-514105-9.
  8. ^ Billboard - Google Books
  9. ^ "Cliff Richard - Don't Stop Me Now!". Discogs. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Road Song - Wes Montgomery". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – The Brass Are Comin'". Discogs. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  12. ^ "UB40 – TwentyFourSeven". Discogs. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  13. ^ "New Music: Elliott Smith – 'I'll Be Back' (Beatles Cover)". Rawkblog. 14 February 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection - Shawn Colvin". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Reinvention Highway - Johnny Rivers". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Love Sweat - Golden Earring". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  17. ^ "I'll Be Back". Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  18. ^ Grupo el Amor - Si Me Dejaras


External links[edit]