So here I am working my way through With The Beatles and I’m blown away all over again by the Beatles' economy when it comes to intros. Here’s a survey of what happens before the vocals come in.
2 songs have no intro whatsoever
It Won’t Be Long – (song starts with chorus vocals)
All My Loving - (song starts with verse vocals)
6 more tracks have only a single note before the vocals enter
She Loves You – ½ bar drum fill (0.5 sec)
I’ll Get You – one bass note
Please Mr Postman* – single hi-hat
All I’ve Got To Do – single free time guitar chord
Not A Second Time – single piano bass note
I Wanna Be Your Man – single guitar string bend
The rest have intros ranging between 1 and 17 seconds.
5 of these (including the 3 longest) are cover versions*.
Hold Me Tight – band intro (1 sec)
Don’t Bother Me – guitar solo (4 sec)
Little Child – harmonica solo (6 sec)
I Want To Hold Your Hand – band intro (6 sec)
Devil In Her Heart* – guitar solo (6 sec)
Till There Was You* – guitar solo (7 sec)
This Boy – band intro (9 sec)
You Really Got A Hold On Me* – band intro (14 sec)
Money (That’s What I Want)* – band Intro (15 sec)
Roll Over Beethoven* – guitar solo (17 sec)
Author Jay Frank devotes a whole chapter explaining why intros got progressively longer after the 60s (longer intros suited radio ident jingles) and peaks in the early 90s (or was it late 80s) when the rise of mp3s and the 'skip' function in streaming once again began to reward shorter intros.
You can download the chapter for free from Jay's website here