Anna (Go to Him) – Death
Please Please Me, 1963
“Anna (Go to Him)” was written and originally recorded by southern soul singer Arthur Alexander. The Beatles were big fans, including three of his songs in their live repertoire from 1962-63. Years later, Paul said, “If the Beatles wanted a sound, it was R&B. That’s what we used to listen to and what we wanted to be like. Black, that was basically it, [like] Arthur Alexander.” The Fab Four’s versions of those other two Alexander songs – “Soldier of Love” and “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues” – can be heard on the Beatles Live at the BBC album.
The lyrics of “Anna (Go to Him)” represent the words spoken to a girlfriend after she’s expressed interest in ending the relationship. She’s met someone who loves her more and is seeking the singer’s blessing to move on. The day the Beatles recorded their debut album, Please Please Me, John Lennon had a nasty head cold. This explains why on certain tracks, such as “Anna (Go to Him)”, his voice sounds a little off. The flatness in his tone lends an air of resignation during the refrain when he tells her to “go with him.”
The tarot’s Death card makes a suitable correspondence to this breakup song. Fittingly, this card represents something significant coming to an end. A metaphorical death may be the end of a job, friendship, relationship, or some other chapter of our lives. By its nature, a death is at least somewhat frightening and painful. Perhaps due in part to that head cold, the rawness in John’s voice effectively communicates that pain during the bridge sections. We hear that he’s been dumped many times before and is struggling to come to terms with what to do now.
When we draw the Death card in a reading, we’re encouraged to acknowledge the end of a chapter of our lives. Many of us put off ending a relationship or job because letting go can be so difficult. But hanging on to something that is dead or dying prolongs the suffering for us and the other party. We remain stuck in an unhealthy, “dead” situation because we can’t face the fear of what comes next. Yet when we acknowledge that this chapter of our lives has run its course, we can accept death peacefully and the cleansing of rebirth becomes possible. The moment one cycle ends, another one can begin.
One of the keys for successfully transitioning from death to rebirth is to gain closure. Before granting Anna her wish to be set free, the singer asks for his ring back. This simple act of closure will officially end the relationship, allowing him to begin the process of moving on.
“Anna, girl, before you go now
I want you to know now
That I still love you so
But if he loves you more, go with him.”
This is song #90 of the Beatles Song Tarot Project. Click here to learn more about this magical, mystical trip through the Beatles catalogue.