Anna (Go To Him)

Please Please Me album artworkWritten by: Arthur Alexander
Recorded: 11 February 1963
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 22 March 1963 (UK), 10 January 1964 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, bass
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums

Available on:
Please Please Me
On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2

A cover version of Arthur Alexander's 1962 soul single, Anna (Go To Him) was recorded by The Beatles during the 11 February 1963 session that yielded the majority of songs on the Please Please Me album.

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The song had been a part of their live set since its release in 1962, and was a particular favourite of John Lennon, who sang lead.

The Beatles recorded the song in three takes, the last of which was chosen for the album. Floyd Cramer's piano lick on Alexander's original was played on guitar by George Harrison.

Lennon's passion-fuelled vocal reached a peak during the middle sixteen ("All of my life I've been searching for a girl, to love me like I love her..."); singing slightly above his normal range, it added an emotional depth to the song.

The Beatles recorded the song again on 17 June for the BBC radio show Pop Go The Beatles, broadcast on 25 June. They recorded it again on 1 August; the show was first heard on 25 August.

Lyrics

Anna, you come and ask me girl
To set you free, girl
You say he loves you more than me
So I will set you free
Go with him (Anna)
Go with him (Anna)

Anna, girl, before go now
I want you to know, now
That I still love you so
But if he loves you more
Go with him

All of my life
I've been searching for a girl
To love me like I love you, oh now
But every girl I ever had breaks my heart
And leaves me sad
What am I, what am I supposed to do?
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Anna, just one more thing girl
You give back your ring to me
And I will set you free
Go with him

All of my life
I've been searching for a girl
To love me like I love you
But let me tell you now
But every girl I ever had breaks my heart
And leaves me sad
What am I, what am I supposed to do?
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Anna, just one more thing girl
You give back your ring to me
And I will set you free
Go with him (Anna)
Go with him (Anna)
You can go with him, girl (Anna)
Go with him

10 responses on “Anna (Go To Him)

  1. M. Whitener

    This is an underrated vocal performance from John, that while it isn’t a Twist & Shout level power performance, he did do really good at raising his levels throughout the song. It’s the early building blocks of what he did later on stuff like “This Boy”.

  2. Von Bontee

    One of my absolute favourite Lennon vocals; and yes, I’ve heard Arthur Alexander’s (pretty good) original. I just love John’s hampered-by-sickness voice throughout the entire album, a uniquely (if unintentionally) raw tone that’s unique in the discography.

  3. Bill

    Actually, Vee-Jay pressed up a promo-only single of this song, which is an extremely rare record. The boys (John especially) must’ve really loved Arthur, covering at least 4 of his songs, either on-stage or in the studio. I’ve always found Arthur’s records really interesting, an R&B artist cutting records with Nashville session musicians, quite unique for the time. Anybody remember Al Bundy trying to track this song down in an episode of “Married With Children”?
    By the way, Arthur’s version of “Funny How Time Slips Away” is fantastic!

  4. aak

    Some people over at the “Chains” page think that this is the worst song on the album…I disagree completely! This is an amazing vocal by John, IMO. Very catchy and sweet.

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