When was it recorded? Jul. 30, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Nov. 22, 1963 on “With the Beatles”
Who wrote it? Lennon (with noteworthy contribution from McCartney)
Have I heard this song before? Yes
What my research dug up:
Quoth Wikipedia, “‘It Won’t Be Long’ is the opening track on ‘With the Beatles,’ the Beatles’ second UK album, and was the first original song recorded for it.” Ta dah. John was the primary songwriter with Paul assisting on lyrics and the arrangement.
“I was doing literature at school, so I was interested in plays on words and onomatopoeia. John didn’t do literature but he was quite well read, so he was interested in that kind of thing. Like the double meaning of ‘please’ in a line like ‘Please, lend a little ear to my pleas’ that we used in ‘Please Please Me.’ We’d spot the double meaning. I think everyone did, by the way, it was not just the genius of us! In ‘It won’t be long till I belong to you’ it was that same trip. We both liked to try and get a bit of double meaning in, so that was the high spot of writing that particular song.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)
John said in his final Playboy interview that “It Won’t Be Long “was my attempt at writing another single. It never quite made it.” Rolling Stone speculates the tune sounded too much like previous single “She Loves You” to set it apart on the music charts.
The Beatles recorded “It Won’t Belong” in two sessions both Jul. 30, 1963. They performed 10 takes in the morning, broke for a rehearsal for “Saturday Club,” and then did seven takes in the afternoon. According to The Beatles Bible, “They then recorded five edit pieces, numbered 18-23; the final song was a combination of 17 and 21, spliced together on 21 August.”
Quoth the Beatles Bible, “‘It Won’t Be Long’ wasn’t The Beatles’ most polished studio performance; nor was it a fixture of their live set. It was, however, an attention-grabbing start to ‘With The Beatles,’ proving to listeners that ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘She Loves You’ had been no flash in the pan.”