I'll Be Back (song)
|"I'll Be Back"|
|Song by the Beatles from the album A Hard Day's Night|
|Released||10 July 1964|
|Recorded||1 June 1964,
EMI Studios, London
|A Hard Day's Night track listing|
"I'll Be Back" is primarily a John Lennon composition credited to Lennon–McCartney, and recorded by the Beatles for the soundtrack LP to their film A Hard Day's Night but not used in the film. This song was not released in North America until Beatles '65 some five months later.
According to musicologist Ian MacDonald Lennon created the song based on the chords of Del Shannon's "Runaway" 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".
With its poignant lyric and subdued acoustic-guitar riff, "I'll Be Back" possesses a typically minor-key melancholic air and is unusually structured (at least, for a pop song) in that it alternates between major and minor keys, is cast in mirrored-rondo form (a-b-a-c-a-b-a) as opposed to the more usual pop-song form of a-b-a-b-a (or even just a-b-a), and lacks a chorus. The fade-out ending also arrives unexpectedly, being a half stanza premature. As much as any other Beatles song, "I'll Be Back" confronts us with the raw creativity of Lennon and McCartney (in this case, chiefly Lennon), disciplined and tempered by the classical training of the Fifth Beatle, their producer, George Martin.
George Martin preferred to open and close Beatles albums using the strongest 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". 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". 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".
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 a guitar overdub.
The Anthology 1 CD includes take two of "I'll Be Back", performed in 6/8 time. 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 4/4 time used in the final take.
- John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass
- George Harrison – harmony vocal, classical acoustic guitar, acoustic guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums
MacDonald was unsure if Harrison sang a harmony vocal part.
- Cliff Richard included his cover of the song on his 1967 album Don't Stop Me Now !
- Reggae band The Paragons released a version titled "I Want to Go Back" on their 1967 album On the Beach.
- Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass included it on the album The Brass Are Comin' (1969).
- "I'll Be Back" was one of the eight Beatles songs covered by Stars on 45 on their medley "Stars on 45", which went to No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in June 1981.
- UB40 released a reggae version on their 2008 album TwentyFourSeven.
- Elliott Smith recorded a version of the song during sessions for From a Basement on the Hill.
- Shawn Colvin recorded the song for Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection in 2004.
- Johnny Rivers covered it for his 2004 album Reinvention Highway.
- MonaLisa Twins covered it for YouTube and was uploaded in March of 2015.
- Harry 2000, pp. 542–543.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 119.
- Martin, p. 149.
- Mojo 2002, p. 113.
- The Beatles Bible 2008.
- "New Music: Elliott Smith – ‘I’ll Be Back’ (Beatles Cover)". Rawkblog. 14 February 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Revised and Updated. London: Virgin Publishing. ISBN 0-7535-0481-2.
- "I'll Be Back". The Beatles Bible. 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
- "...exactly.". CD Baby. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Martin, George. Summer of Love.
- MoJo Special Limited Edition: 1000 days of Beatlemania. EMAP Metro Limited. 2002.