"Every Little Thing" is a song written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney) and performed by The Beatles on their 1964 British album Beatles for Sale. In North America, Capitol released it as the last track on Beatles VI.
McCartney wrote the song in a music room at the home of Jane Asher where he was living at the time. He had hopes it would be released as a single, but it "didn't have quite what was required", and was released on Beatles for Sale instead.
For a long time people thought "Every Little Thing" was a rare instance in which the composer was not the lead singer, but in reality, the song is sung by Lennon and McCartney together. In the verses, John's voice is the more audible of the two, with Paul's heard more clearly in the chorus.
The song's composer, though, is not in question: McCartney claimed the song as described above, and Lennon said in an interview with Playboy that McCartney wrote it.
The released version was recorded in four takes at EMI Studios on 29 September 1964, and then five more on 30 September. The Beatles were enjoying themselves on the second night; take six was aborted due to McCartney burping his vocals, and take seven was finished but ended in loud laughter. In this recording it is very likely that Paul and John sang together on the same microphone. It is one of few early Beatles tracks to feature somewhat exotic instrumentation: Ringo Starr plays the timpani on the track to add punctuating one-two flourishes to the refrains. This appeared for the first time on the ninth take, along with a guitar intro and piano piece. There is a theory that John Lennon plays lead guitar on the track owing to George Harrison arriving at the studio two hours late. In this case, John would have played the riff and solo on his Rickenbacker 12-string while George played the acoustic guitar on his Gibson J160E, but this argument has never been resolved.
Music critic Ian MacDonald praised the song's "emotional depth" and used this song and others as counter-arguments to the caricature of McCartney as an emotional lightweight. Richie Unterberger of Allmusic also praised the song and its "infectious chorus". This song was revisited briefly during the stressful rehearsals that were recorded for the Get Back/Let It Be project, with George playing the lick and Paul joining in. Oddly, it was remembered as one of their better songs at that time.
Paul McCartney – vocal, bass, piano
John Lennon – vocal, lead guitar, acoustic guitar
George Harrison – acoustic guitar, guitar
Ringo Starr – drums, timpani
George Martin – producer
Norman Smith – engineer
Jon Anderson – lead vocals
Peter Banks – guitars, vocals
Tony Kaye – organ
Bill Bruford – drums
Chris Squire – bass, vocals
In 1969, Yes covered this song on their self-titled debut album. Their cover turned the song into a grungy wall of sound with several tempo and key changes and an extended jam opening that also references the Beatles' "Day Tripper". They have played their version of the song live many times.
In 1986, Lou Ann Barton did a version on her EP Forbidden Tones.
In 2003, Peter Lipa included this song and 15 other Lennon/McCartney songs on his album Beatles in Blue(s).
In 2004, Martin Gordon released a cover on The Joy of More Hogwash.