The Beatles song written by Paul McCartney and sung by John Lennon

In the early to mid-1960s, The Beatles were a hit-making machine. Their first albums shot them to global fame on a manic level, but when it came to their fourth, there was some debate about what would be their next hit.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney have rightfully gone down in history as one of the most prolific and powerful songwriting duos. Early tracks like ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and ‘All My Love’ proved their incredible abilities, but by 1964, they wanted more.

As the band began working on their fourth album, the pressure to deliver a hit to follow up ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ was high. The album of the same name had levelled up their fame. As it went immediately to number one in the US, the band had finally, well and truly, cracked America.

During their first full US tour in 1964, Lennon and McCartney turned their pen to what would be their next album. The process usually ran the same; one would write the bulk of the song and bring it to the other, and then, between the two of them, they would finish off the material. Typically, whoever wrote the start of the song would be the singer on that track.

But when it came to ‘Every Little Thing’, McCartney was focused on hit writing whether he sang it or not. “‘Every Little Thing’, like most of the stuff I did, was my attempt at the next single,” McCartney told Barry Miles in the biography Many Years From Now. A love song written for his then-girlfriend Jane Asher, the track is undeniably a McCartney piece with tender, sentimental lyrics.

For the purpose of hit-making, however, McCartney passed the vocals onto Lennon to try and replicate the sound and success of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. He recalls first playing it to Brian Epstein while on the road, saying, “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.”

Initially, Epstein thought the track was a hit, while McCartney doubted his judgement, adding, “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.”

With the song still in mind as being a potential next single, the band recorded the track in September 1964. Alongside pieces like ‘I’m A Loser’, ‘I’ll Follow The Sun’ and ‘Baby’s In Black’, the tracks would become Beatles For Sale, the band’s fourth album.

‘Every Little Thing’ is the most succinct and straightforward love song on the record, adding a needed dose of universal relatability to the highly introspective and biographical album. However, the track wasn’t the hit they initially thought, with McCartney admitting, “It became an album filler rather than the great almighty single. It didn’t have quite what was required.”

Instead, Beatles For Sale was led by the super-hit ‘Eight Days A Week’, which became the band’s seventh US number one to continue their winning streak in the states. While ‘Every Little Thing’ may have faded to simply an album track, the tender song still remains one of their sweetest takes on love and a feat of collaboration between Lennon and McCartney.

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