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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Any Time At All

Working out an arrangement as Dick James and George Martin look on
The first few days of June 1964 saw the band quickly recording several numbers to finish off the EP Long Tall Sally and the non-soundtrack side of the album A Hard Day's Night.  Four titles were started and completed on June 1st.  On the afternoon of the 2nd, the band began to work on this Lennon composition but, as with Paul's And I Love Her back in February, it was lacking a bridge.  After seven takes, they decided to set the song aside and dashed off McCartney's Things We Said Today, then broke for dinner.

Returning for an evening session, they recorded Lennon's When I Get Home before resuming their efforts on Any Time At All.  In this instance, it was Paul who worked out a series of piano chords to serve as a middle eight.  In the master version, take eleven, this section features Paul on piano and George on guitar playing this chord progression with little embellishment.  It is generally assumed that some new lyrics were to be written and overdubbed onto this sequence but, as it happened, Ringo took ill the next day and all work on the album was deemed to be complete.

This song of devotion showcases John shouting out the title in the refrains but adopting a soothing voice for the verses, a model he would revisit in 1969 for Don't Let Me Down.  His lead vocal is double-tracked for effect here as he overlaps the first and second half of the verses by skipping a different word or two in each line to keep the lyrics moving forward.  The only other voice heard is Paul's echoing the title in the refrains.

Some sources claim that Lennon actually had written a third and a fourth verse that were considered unnecessary and not recorded, even quoting some of the supposed lyrics.  Given the need for a bridge and the relatively few mentions of this, I wonder how reliable those sources are.

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