The Paul McCartney Project

Baby's In Black

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Beatles For Sale (Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1964
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Baby’s in Black” is a song by the Beatles, co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The song appears on the United Kingdom album Beatles for Sale and in North America on Beatles ’65.

Composition

Baby in Black” performs at a 6/8 time signature with a moderate tempo that makes it sound like 3/4 (waltz-time). AMG described the song as “a love lament for a grieving girl that was perhaps more morose than any previous Beatles’ song.” Musicologist Alan W. Pollack notes that the song is relatively complex in format, with a refrain, bridge, and a guitar solo. He describes the song as having “mishmash” of stylistic elements—among them, “bluesy” chords and country music-inspired vocals.

Recording

Baby’s in Black” was recorded by the Beatles on 11 August 1964, and was the first song recorded for Beatles for Sale. Lennon and McCartney sang their vocal parts simultaneously through the same microphone. This was done at their own insistence in order to achieve a closer feel to the performance. McCartney was subsequently contacted by their music publisher in 1964 inquiring as to which melody line was the main tune (i.e. Paul’s higher or John’s lower melody). McCartney later said that he told the publisher they were both the main melody.

Live performances

They performed “Baby’s in Black” live during their appearances from late 1964 until their last tour in 1966. McCartney said they introduced the song by saying, “‘And now for something different.’ … We used to put that in there, and think, ‘Well, they won’t know quite what to make of this, but it’s cool.’” In 1996, a live version of “Baby’s in Black” was released as a B-side to “Real Love“, the second single from their Anthology project.

Paul McCartney, Anthology:

Baby’s In Black we did because we like waltz time – we used to do If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody, a cool 3/4 blues thing. And other bands would notice that and say, ‘Shit man, you’re doing something in 3/4.’ So we’d got known for that. And I think also John and I wanted to do something bluesy, a bit darker, more grown-up, rather than just straight pop. It was more ‘baby’s in black’ as in mourning. Our favourite colour was black, as well

Paul McCartney, in Many Years From Now, by Barry Miles:

It was very much co-written and we both sang it. Sometimes the harmony that I was writing in sympathy to John’s melody would take over and become a stronger melody. Suddenly a piebald rabbit came out of the hat! When people wrote out the music score they would ask, ‘Which one is the melody?’ because it was so co-written that you could actually take either. We rather liked this one. It was not so much a work job, there was a bit more cred about this one. It’s got a good middle.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 26 Oct 1964.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 1240 For Sale 1964.
    US: Capitol T 2228 Beatles ’65 1964.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46438 2 For Sale 1987.
  • [b] stereo 4 Nov 1964.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 3062 For Sale 1964.
    US: Capitol ST 2228 Beatles ’65 1964.

Last updated on March 9, 2016

Lyrics

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby's in black and I'm feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?

She thinks of him
And so she dresses in black
And though he'll never come back
She's dressed in black

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby's in black and I'm feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?

I think of her
But she only thinks of him
And though it's only a whim
She thinks of him

Oh how long will it take
Till she sees the mistake she has made?
Dear, what can I do?
Baby's in black and I'm feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?

Oh how long it will take
Till she sees the mistake she has made?
Dear, what can I do?
Baby's in black and I'm feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?

She thinks of him
And so she dresses in black
And though he'll never come back
She's dressed in black

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby's in black and I'm feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?

Officially appears on


Beatles For Sale (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:02 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 11, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Beatles '65 (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:02 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 11, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Beatles '65 (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:02 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 11, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 04, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Beatles For Sale (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:02 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 11, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 04, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Beatles for Sale (No. 2)

EP • Released in 1965

2:10 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 11, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Real Love

EP • Released in 1996

3:05 • LiveL1

George Martin:
Final mix producer
Geoff Emerick:
Remix engineer
Voyle Gilmore:
Producer

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Aug 30, 1965


Live At The Hollywood Bowl

Official album • Released in 2016

2:44 • LiveL1.2016 • 2016 remix

Giles Martin:
Producer
Voyle Gilmore:
Producer
Sam Okell:
Mixing engineer
Alex Wharton:
Mastering
Matt Mysko:
Assistant mixing engineer
James Clark:
Audio restoration

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Aug 30, 1965

Bootlegs


Beatles For Sale - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

0:15 • Alternate take • Take 7 partial Mono

Session Recording:
Possibly Aug 11th 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Aunties Fantasy

Unofficial album • Released in 2013

3:00 • Studio version


Live Anthology VI (1964-65)

Unofficial live • Released in 2014

2:38 • Live • Wembley 11Apr65


Live Anthology VII (1965)

Unofficial live • Released in 2014

2:48 • Live • Paris afternoon 20Jun65


Live Anthology VII (1965)

Unofficial live • Released in 2014

2:52 • Live • Paris evening 20Jun65


Live performances

“Baby's In Black” has been played in 119 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Baby's In Black” has been played








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