The composition is by McCartney and it was the last song to be recorded on the very productive day of July 30th, 1963. Overdubs allowed Paul to double-track most of his vocal and harmonize with himself on the final verse (in live performances, George would sing the melody line in the final verse, freeing Paul to sing the high harmony). He plays a walking bass line while John delivers a fast, relentless rhythm guitar part and George adds a country-flavored guitar solo which had been worked out in advance.
The lyrics are a variation on the tried-and-true rock and roll theme of a musician staying faithful to his love while on the road - ironic, of course, given the stories of the Beatles' exploits on tour, though these were hushed up at the time. This was the first of many songs that Paul wrote inspired by his relationship with actress Jane Asher.
The boys first performed the song in the UK on the TV show Thank Your Lucky Stars almost a month before the album With the Beatles was released. It soon became a staple of their act for the next year. Of course, the most famous performance was as the opening number of their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964. Although the group had been featured on US television programs on tape a few times leading up to this live show, this was surely the first time that the greatest number of Americans saw and heard the band play, and it is still considered to be one of the most historic moments in television history. This performance is presented on Anthology 1, including the end of Sullivan's introduction which is immediately drowned out by the screaming audience.
Another performance is available on Live at the BBC, recorded shortly after the boys returned from America and broadcast on a special Easter edition of their own program From Us to You. There is no studio audience, thus this version is somewhat lacking in excitement, yet this performance and the Ed Sullivan version are remarkably consistent when compared with the original recording.
The exception is from the August 23rd, 1964 concert on Live at the Hollywood Bowl which is played at a breakneck pace. This fine package, maligned and neglected for many years, is now available in a remastered edition and is receiving rave reviews.