The second song on The Beatles’ second album, ‘All I’ve Got To Do’ was started and completed in the same productive session that also saw the band begin recording ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ and ‘Little Child’.

Its main songwriter, John Lennon, was reportedly inspired by Smokey Robinson, and the opening chord and general lyrical theme recall The Miracles’ ‘You Can Depend On Me’.

That’s me trying to do Smokey Robinson again.
John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

In the studio

The Beatles completed ‘All I’ve Got To Do’ in a single recording session, on 11 September 1963. In Many Years From Now, his biography of Paul McCartney, Barry Miles claims that Lennon played the song to McCartney just before they began recording it.

It took the group 14 takes to get the song right, though eight of those were false starts. They also recorded an overdub, which became take 15, the version used on the LP.

Although a strong Lennon song, ‘All I’ve Got To Do’ was never played live by the group; perhaps they felt its stop-start rhythms would prove too subtle to be heard above the screams of Beatlemaniacs.

Previous song: ‘It Won’t Be Long’
Next song: ‘All My Loving’
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