‘When I Get Home’ was written by John Lennon, and taped by The Beatles during the final recording session for the A Hard Day’s Night album.

The impatience of the lyrics (“I’ve got no time for trivialities”) may have had something to do with The Beatles’ hectic schedule of the time, or Lennon’s frustration at having spent three months recording the group’s third album.

Come on, let me through
I’ve got so many things I’ve got to do
I’ve got no business being here with you
This way
‘When I Get Home’

The music, too, had the same sense of urgency, notably in the push for the chorus as Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison harmonised “Whoa-ah, whoa-I…”

The song was influenced by Motown and US soul and R&B.

That’s me again, another Wilson Pickett, Motown sound, a four-in-the-bar cowbell song.
John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

In the studio

The Beatles recorded ‘When I Get Home’ on 2 June 1964. Earlier that day they had recorded Paul McCartney’s ‘Things We Said Today’, and began work on another John Lennon song, ‘Any Time At All’.

The session for ‘When I Get Home’ took place from 7-10pm at Abbey Road’s Studio Two. It was recorded in 11 takes; after completing the song the group finished ‘Any Time At All’, after which the A Hard Day’s Night LP was complete.

Making his debut as a tape operator on the session was Ken Scott, then a 17-year-old at the start of his career in the music industry.

At that time four-track tape machines were so large that there was no room for them in the control room. They were sited along the corridor and the only contact you had with the session was via a talkback system. On this particular evening The Beatles were playing back their latest recordings to a few friends who had come in. George Martin was giving me directions over the talkback and at one point I heard him say “home”. So I put the tapes away, switched off the power, put my coat on and left the room. As I was walking along the corridor I saw George standing in the doorway. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘is the tape lined up yet?’ ‘I’m sorry?’ ‘Is the tape of ‘When I Get Home’ ready yet?’ ‘Aah, hang on George, I’ll just check and see.’ I ran up that corridor, flicked all the switches and put the tape back on as fast as lightning, acting nonchalantly as if nothing was wrong!

‘When I Get Home’ was mixed for mono on 4 June 1964, although it was never used. New mono and stereo mixes were made on 22 June.

The song was first released in the UK on A Hard Day’s Night on 10 July 1964. It was also included on the Extracts From The Album A Hard Day’s Night EP, which was issued by Parlophone on 6 November.

In the US, ‘When I Get Home’ was included on the Capitol album Something New, which was first released on 20 July 1964.

Previous song: ‘Things We Said Today’
Next song: ‘You Can’t Do That’
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