Any Time At All

A Hard Day's Night album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 2 June 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 10 July 1964 (UK), 20 July 1964 (US)

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

Available on:
A Hard Day's Night

The first song on side two of A Hard Day's Night, Any Time At All was written by John Lennon and recorded during the final session for the album.

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An effort at writing It Won't Be Long - same ilk: C to A minor, C to A minor - with me shouting.
John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Although the song was first released in the UK on A Hard Day's Night, in the US it appeared on the Something New LP. Both albums were released in July 1964.

On 8 April 1988 John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for Any Time At All were sold for £6,000 at an auction held at Sotheby's in London.

In the studio

Any Time At All was in an unfinished state when John Lennon brought it to the studio on the afternoon of 2 June 1964. The Beatles initially recorded seven takes of the rhythm track, plus vocals by Lennon.

The group moved on to record Things We Said Today and When I Get Home before returning to Any Time At All from 7-10pm.

That evening they recorded four further takes. Onto the last of these, take 11, they overdubbed piano, guitar and vocals. It was first mixed for mono on 4 June, but this was discarded and new mono and stereo mixes were made on 22 June.

Any Time At All's last-minute composition meant that The Beatles never got around to writing lyrics for the middle eight. McCartney suggested a set of piano chords, to which they intended to add lyrics but failed to write any. The deadline for the album's final mixes meant it went on release in its unintended state.

27 responses on “Any Time At All

    1. Andrew

      I’ve definitely heard that Paul wrote the piano part a few times before, and he had already written several songs on piano by that point, so it’s quite probable it was Paul, especially since it was an overdub

  1. Astrubi

    Every time they shout “any time at all” three times, I clearly recognize Lennon’s voice in the first one, but McCartney’s in the second one, maybe because it was too high for Lennon.

      1. ForgetScowl

        From the first time I heard it on the radio I remember thinking… I know John but that’s Paul’s voice. I remember thinking…Maybe that was out of John’s range. That was way back in the days of Beatlemania and we were all sorting through the great music they gave us.

    1. beiweizz

      I also agree with this. Additionally I have a question on “if you’re feeling” part. This part is for George? Not like George, but nor Paul. SO, George?

  2. carlos gutman

    Is that a real piano ? I´ve read somewhere that particullary on this song, Slow down, A hard day´s night and Things we said today George Martin played a Hammond organ with a piano sound arrangement.

      1. Sergioq

        I know the part you mean. End of the bridge, around 1:37 it becomes more prominent. I assume that one of the pedals allows the piano strings to go on vibrating on its own? To me it sounds more like very low notes on the piano with that pedal.

  3. metzgermeister77

    A personal favorite of mine, although objectively it’s probably one of the weaker tracks on AHDN. I’m always a sucker for the call-and-response stuff, though (see my otherwise negative comment on Hold Me Tight for evidence of that), and the sentiment is a really sweet one that blends well with the aural aesthetics of the album.

  4. Aaron Krerowicz

    I’m trying to figure out what Lennon meant when he said “Any Time At All” and “It Won’t Be Long” are in the “same ilk: C to A minor”, because while the former does use six C chords (twice per verse over three verses), neither uses an A minor. Anybody out there have any ideas what Lennon meant???

      1. Lex Lewis

        John may have written both songs in C, later changing the keys to E and D for It won’t be long and Anytime at all respectively. This was possibly to suit his vocal range. and/or to sound more vibrant.

  5. Lennon fan

    Yeah, the descending bass line IS rather clever (McCartney, or George Martin—?) and so are the chords in that part of the song (“the verse”) especially the fresh-sounding change from Bm to Gm (underneath “I really sympathize”) which sounds very Beatle-esque.

    The chorus does have have little bit of the tonic-to-relative-minor chord change which John mentioned, though it is actually D to Bm and not C to Am… it might have suited John’s vocal range better in C actually, because I agree that it is Paul having to come in to sing the second “Anytime at All” line which goes up to a high A… funny because I think John probably could nail that high A when he was in good voice.

    I saw one video of a live concert where for some reason the Beatles opened their set with “Twist and Shout” which basically blew out John’s voice to the point where he could barely sing the rest of the set. I suspect that something like that could have easily happened to his voice just prior to the time of recording this song.

    God knows how they managed a punishing schedule of performing, writing and recorded that probably most mere mortals could not have done…

      1. ForgetScowl

        Agreed & that’s a well known fact. The immense pressures of suddenly being at the top of the world are unbeknownst to the 99.9% of us but these 4 guys were destined & prepared for the greatness they bestowed. Overall, they turned out to be respectful English gentlemen and I’m proud of them just for that to be their legacy. They never let me down.

  6. Rand Kelly

    Actually,it starts with the Bm and then goes to the D. The “Cello” is just a Piano’s bass note playing D,C#,B,Bb over a Gm chord. The piano interlude that Paul wrote has piano and George’s Rickenbacker 360-12 string guitar on the climbing chords. And yes,Paul is singing the second Any Time At All.

  7. Rand Kelly

    D bass over a D chord. C# bass over an F#m, B bass over a Bm and a Bb bass over a Gm. The interlude chords are: Em F#m G,Em F#m G….G….A….G….A…..G,F# E D F#….

  8. eric Harris

    That cello sound is really the highly compressed lower bass strings of the piano. They had those wonderful tube compressors that could increase the comp ratio and stabilize the levels and give you a long sustain.

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