When was it recorded? Sept. 11-12 and Oct. 3, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Nov. 22, 1963 on “With the Beatles”
Who wrote it? Lennon/McCartney
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
“‘Little Child was another effort of Paul and I to write a song for somebody. It was probably Ringo.” — John Lennon (David Sheff, All We Are Saying)
Though it was intended for Ringo, John and Paul wound up sharing the lead vocals on “Little Child” while Ringo contributed “I Wanna Be Your Man” (covered on Day 110) to the album.
“‘Little Child’ was a work job. Certain songs were inspirational and you just followed that. Certain other songs were, ‘Right, come on, two hours, song for Ringo for the album’.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)
Paul cited British actor and musician Elton Hayes’ 1952 song “Whistle My Love” as inspiration for the song, particularly the melody behind the “Little Child” lyrics “I’m so sad and lonely.” Here’s Hayes performing the song in Disney’s “The Story of Robin Hood.”
The Beatles recorded “Little Child” in three sessions. They did two takes on Sept. 11, 1963 followed by 16 more takes and overdubs the next day. The band returned to the track in October, recording three more takes. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “Despite spending a considerable amount of time on the song by 1963 standards, the performance sounds spontaneous and, at times, fairly slapdash.”
Not a huge similarity between Song A and Song B there, but eh.
Quoth reviewer Richie Unterberger, “‘Little Child’ was one of the final times the group’s exuberantly lightweight singalong side reared its head. It might have been one of the less sophisticated and impressive tracks on the record, but it was still pretty good, and despite its innocuous lyrics, it rocked pretty hard.” It’s not my new favorite song by any means, but the track is pretty quality, plus I always appreciate when the harmonica turns up.