Written mostly by Paul McCartney, ‘Every Little Thing’ was sung by him and John Lennon for The Beatles’ fourth album, Beatles For Sale.
McCartney initially hoped it would be the follow-up single to ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, although this wasn’t to be. In America, ‘Every Little Thing’ was released in 1965 on the Beatles VI album.
‘Every Little Thing’, like most of the stuff I did, was my attempt at the next single. I remember playing it for Brian backstage somewhere. He had assembled a few people. It was one of those meetings – ‘Oh, we have to do some recordings, who’s got what?’ and we played a few at Brian. We didn’t often check things with Brian, in fact I just remember it in connection with this because I thought it was very catchy. I played it amongst a few songs; it was something I thought was quite good but it became an album filler rather than the great almighty single. It didn’t have quite what was required.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
The song was written in August 1964 during The Beatles’ first full US tour.
John and I got this one written in Atlantic City during our last tour of the States. John does the guitar riff for this one, and George is on acoustic. Ringo bashes some timpani drums for the big noises you’ll hear.
Disc, 14 November 1964
A love song, most likely written with Jane Asher in mind, ‘Every Little Thing’ is as emotionally revealing as any of Lennon’s songs on Beatles For Sale. Although the music was less successful, the lyrics are among McCartney’s most succinct and tender on the album.
In the studio
The Beatles began recording ‘Every Little Thing’ on 29 September 1964. They taped four takes, the last of which was temporarily considered the best.
They returned to it the following day, recording a further five attempts. It was a light-hearted session, as recounted by Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn:
Take six was aborted when Paul burped a vocal instead of singing it, take seven was complete but ended in uproarious laughter. And Ringo was having fun with an instrument new to Beatles recordings – timpani. This appeared for the first time on take nine, along with the guitar intro and piano piece.
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions
A tasty and unique little song, but a careful listen to the stereo mix reveals some details missed in the Lewisohn quote above.
Firstly, John played the intro, solo, and those cool chimy notes in the chorus on his Rickenbacker 325/12. This is the only track that prominently features this unique custom guitar, and could be the only time it was used in recording. The sound is way different than George’s 360/12, and the approach to the solo sounds much more Lennon than Harrison.
Like most of the Beatles’ four track recordings of the period, the session tape would have contained the basic instrumental track on 2 tracks and the basic vocal on the third. On this song the contents of the fourth (overdub) track are mixed to the far right(in the stereo master) so it is easy to figure out what was added after the original take 9 was laid down.
One surprise in the right channel though. In the solo, there are bass guitar notes that were obviously played in the overdub–Paul plays a short run on the bass, which is answered by the 325/12, this pattern is repeated, then John plays a slightly rushed arpegio to finish the solo. This is in addition to the bass line which runs through the song, which is mixed to the near left.
So, this song is one of, if not the first songs ever to feature multi-tracked bass.
The piano part was part of the original take 9, so credit should go to George Martin for this.
Summary: take 9 originally consisted of:
John Lennon: Rhythm Guitar and Lead Vocal
Paul McCartney: Backing Vocal and Bass
George Harrison: ???????
Ringo Starr: Drums
George Martin: Piano
Recorded onto track 4 of take 9:
John Lennon: Lead Guitar
Paul McCartney: Bass
Ringo Starr: Tympani
That’s how I hear it, any one like to add or subtract to this??