Anna (Go to Him)

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"Anna (Go to Him)"
Single by Arthur Alexander
Released17 September 1962
GenreSoul
Length2:48
LabelDot Records
Writer(s)Arthur Alexander
 
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"Anna (Go to Him)"
Single by Arthur Alexander
Released17 September 1962
GenreSoul
Length2:48
LabelDot Records
Writer(s)Arthur Alexander

"Anna (Go to Him)", or simply "Anna", is a song written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander. His version was released as a single by Dot Records on September 17, 1962. A cover version was performed by The Beatles and included on their 1963 debut album Please Please Me.

Background[edit]

According to Richie Unterberger, music critic for Allmusic:

'Anna' was one of the great early soul ballads, even if its loping groove was closer to a mid-tempo song than a slow ballad. Like several of Alexander's songs, it would come to be more famous in its cover version than through its original release. And it was actually a small hit when it first came out in 1962, getting to #68 in the pop charts and #10 in the R&B listings.[1][2]

Despite the title, throughout the song the lyric is "go with him" rather than "go to him".

Cultural references[edit]

In the Married... with Children episode "Oldies But Young 'Uns" (Season 5, Episode 17; airdate March 17, 1991), Al Bundy becomes obsessed with finding out the name of this song which has become his earworm (originally he can only tell people the nondescript misheard lyric "hmm hmm him").

The Beatles' version[edit]

"Anna (Go to Him)"
Song by the Beatles from the album Please Please Me
Released22 March 1963
Recorded11 February 1963
GenreRhythm and blues
Length2:54
LabelParlophone
WriterArthur Alexander
ProducerGeorge Martin
Please Please Me track listing

A personal favorite of John Lennon,[3] it became part of the Beatles' early repertoire and was consequently recorded by them for their 1963 debut album, Please Please Me.[4] In the U.S., Vee Jay Records released it on Introducing... The Beatles (January 10, 1964) and Capitol Records re-released it on The Early Beatles (March 22, 1965).[5] Vee Jay also released "Anna (Go to Him)" on the EP Souvenir of Their Visit: The Beatles in the US[6]

The band recorded the song on February 11, 1963 in three takes; the master take was number 3. It was remixed on February 25.[7] George Harrison played the distinctive phrase on guitar; Floyd Cramer played it on piano for the original.[8]

Unterberger praised the Beatles' version in his review, saying:

Ringo Starr faithfully [replicates] the unusual drum rhythm and hi-hat crunches. Lennon's vocal, however, added a tortured pain not present in Alexander's model, particularly when he wailed in his upper register at the conclusion of the bridges. The Beatles' backup harmony vocals, in addition, were superb, and more effective [than on Alexander's version].[1]

Music critic Ian MacDonald had a different view of Lennon's vocal, saying it sounded like "a passionate youth grappling with a man's song".[8] Lennon sang "All of my life I've been searching for a girl, to love me like I love her..." slowly and added new emotions to a song.[9]

They recorded "Anna (Go to Him)" on June 17, 1963 for the BBC radio show Pop Go the Beatles. The show was broadcast on June 25. They recorded it once again on August 1, 1963 for the show broadcast on August 25.[10]

As noted in many references including Mark Lewisohn's The Beatles Recording Sessions, Lennon had a bad cold which accounts for his very rough, almost strange tone he demonstrates on all his vocals during the historic session of eleven songs recorded in ten hours, including the last song, "Twist and Shout".

Personnel[edit]

Engineered by Norman Smith

Personnel for studio album version per MacDonald[8][9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Review of "Anna (Go to Him)"". Allmusic. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Arthur Alexander Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  3. ^ Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Revised and Updated. London: Virgin Publishing. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-7535-0481-2. 
  4. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 200. ISBN 0-517-57066-1. 
  5. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. p. 201. 
  6. ^ Cross, Craig (2005). The Beatles: Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc. p. 544. ISBN 0-595-34663-4. 
  7. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. pp. 24, 26. 
  8. ^ a b c MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised Edition ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). pp. 72–73. ISBN 1-84413-828-3. 
  9. ^ a b Anna (Go to Him) | The Beatles Bible
  10. ^ Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Revised and Updated. pp. 877–878.