When was it recorded? Apr. 4, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Apr. 26, 1963 as a Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas B-side
Who wrote it? McCartney
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
Wikipedia credited “I’ll Be On My Way” to John, but everything else I dug up seems to cite this as Paul’s work… namely quotes from John and Paul themselves.
“That’s Paul, through and through. Doesn’t it sound like him? Tra la la la la [laughs]. Yeah, that’s Paul on the voids of driving through the country.” — John Lennon (David Sheff, All We Are Saying)
The Beatles Bibles writes that Buddy Holly’s 1959 single “It Doesn’t Matter anymore” “clearly inspired” “I’ll Be On My Way.” I talked about Holly and his influence on the Beatles in general on Day 43: “Crying, Waiting, Hoping.”
The Beatles Bible estimates “I’ll Be On My Way” was written sometime in 1961. The Bible continues, “Although a part of the group’s early live repertoire, ‘I’ll Be On My Way’ wasn’t performed at either The Beatles’ audition at Decca or their first EMI session, suggesting it had largely fallen out of favor by 1962.”
Paul and John then gave the song to Billy J. Kramer and his band, the Dakotas. I talked about them at length on Day 51: “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” which John wrote and Kramer released as a single. (The CliffNotes version? The Dakotas were also managed by Brian Epstein, produced by George Martin, and signed to Parlaphone.) You might want to look at that number quick, because “I’ll Be on My Way” was released as the B-side to the “Do You Want to Know a Secret” A-side on Apr. 26, 1963.
The Beatles recorded “I’ll Be On My Way” just once their entire career. Performed for the BBC program “Side By Side” on Apr. 4, 1963, this version aired Jun. 24. The song appeared Nov. 30, 1994 on the “Live at the BBC” compilation as “the only previously unreleased original song” on the album (Wikipedia.).
I definitely prefer the Beatles’ version to the Dakotas’ version. It’s more plaintive, and though it hews less closely to Buddy Holly’s template, I think the lyrics are more effective by being slightly less flippant.