All I’ve Got to Do - The Beatles

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"All I’ve Got to Do" - The Beatles (1964)

Inspired by the song “You Can Depend On Me” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “All I’ve Got to Do” is noted for its moody feel, unorthodox shifts in time signature, and Ringo’s extremely catchy hi-hat accent during the lead into each verse.

Lennon commented:

"That's me trying to do Smokey Robinson again."

The very soulful song has Lennon dragging out melodic vowels perfectly while exhibiting stellar song structure. Tim Riley points out how John plays with the phraseology in this song the way he plays verbal games in others, running consonant-laden words together to answer lines with their own inverse.

Riley reveals how the beat moves from quick to medium tempo, from the sturdy promise of love to the jerky, accented angst of love itself, adding: “His brooding intensity gives him away; he doesn’t sound confident, as his lyrics would  have us believe- he sounds positively scared.”

Although mirroring the standard Beatles subject of songs- romance- the difference in this track is the use of the telephone as the speaker’s release. Gratification comes merely dialing the phone, as he sings: “When I want to kiss you/All I’ve got to do? Is call you on the phone? And you’ll come running home? Yeah, that’s all I’ve gotto do.”

Beatle scholar Wilfred Mellers opines:

"“The song is, literally, in the savages’ sense, a love spell. All I’ve gotta do is call, and she comes. The flavor of this adolescent Eden-song is interestingly similar to that of children’s dance-songs among certain African peoples, notably the Venda.”

Dennis Alstrand- author of the research study: Evolution of Rock Bass Playing; McCartney Style, wrote how the minor tension McCartney’s bass creates with his chords is of major importance to this track particularly during the verses. He is riding the drum's syncopated rhythm in a herky-jerky way that is meant for dance.

On Ringo’s drumming techniques and how it affected the track, Alstrand writes:

“As the song heads towards the choruses Ringo opening his hi hat a bit and by the  time chorus is reached ("and the same goes for me. . .") the song reaches up to  new heights. The chorus is full of life and strong with the vocals leading the way. But the rhythm section is playing in a very mature way for such young men. You would think there would be a tendency to rush the tempo a bit. It's an easy thing to do when things get exciting, but Ringo and Paul keep things steady. And then, Ringo kicks a perfectly timed hi-hat stroke (telling the other musicians where the beat is) and we're back down to a low-key verse. The second time the song heads towards the chorus, Ringo is bringing the song to a higher level so that when the chorus is reached, the musicians are already pouring it out.”

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