When was it recorded? Jun. 17 and Nov. 11, 1965
When was it first released, and on which album? Dec. 3, 1965 on “Rubber Soul”
Who wrote it? McCartney (with noteworthy contribution from Lennon?)
Have I heard this song before? Yes
What my research dug up:
Paul (and possibly John) wrote “Wait” while filming “Help!” in the Bahamas. The lyrics, like many Beatles songs from this era, involve the narrator worrying about his girlfriend while he’s away. Richie Unterberger wrote in his song review, “a few early Beatles songs made a whole storyline out of men coming home to their lover after a long absence, with almost irritated impatience for the reunion… perhaps ‘Wait’ reflected the Beatles’ anxiety at being separated from their wives and girlfriends for long periods during their hectic touring days.”
“Wait” definitely had to live its name. It was originally written and recorded for the “Help!” soundtrack, but got shelved. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “Why ‘Wait’ was unused for ‘Help!’ is unclear. It’s possible that it was omitted in favor of ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy,’ which had been recorded specifically for the North American market, when The Beatles decided that the ‘Help!’ album required a suitably rousing finale.”
At any rate, the Beatles recorded “Wait” in four takes on Jun. 17, 1965. “Help!” came and went, and the Beatles recorded their next album, “Rubber Soul.” Well, most of it.
According the good Wiki, “‘Rubber Soul’ fell one song short for a Christmas release.” The Fab Four remembered “Wait,” which they’d started five months earlier, and brought it back into the studio during the final “Rubber Soul” days. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “On 11 November they added more vocals, plus extra guitar (played with a volume pedal), tambourine and maracas” to make the song fit the sound the rest of the album had developed.
Quoth Alan Pollack, “While this song is far from being in the top tier of ‘Rubber Soul,’ I dare say that it’s an exaggeration to say that it sounds grossly out of place there, either.” Pollack also points out how “Wait” bridges the gap from “Help!” to “Rubber Soul,” which it does, for obvious reasons.
This is another song that isn’t very long but starts to feel long by the end. Maybe I’m just really impatient this week. Who knows? But it’s a fine song. Nothing more, nothing less.