The Paul McCartney Project

For No One

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Revolver (UK Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1966
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

For No One” is a song written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney) that originally appeared on the Beatles’ seventh album, Revolver. A baroque pop song about the end of a relationship, it was one of McCartney’s most mature and poignant works upon its release. Mostly performed by the composer, the track is distinguished by its French horn solo, performed by Alan Civil and used as an obbligato in the final verse.

John Lennon said of the song, “One of my favourites of his—a nice piece of work.

Writing and recording

McCartney recalls writing “For No One” in the bathroom of a ski resort in the Swiss Alps while on holiday with his then girlfriend Jane Asher. He said, “I suspect it was about another argument.” The lyrics end enigmatically with “…a love that should have lasted years…” The song’s working title was “Why Did It Die?” It is built upon a descending scale progression with a refrain that modulates to the supertonic minor.

The song was recorded on 9, 16 and 19 May 1966. McCartney sang and played clavichord (rented from George Martin’s AIR company), piano and bass guitar, while Ringo Starr played drums and tambourine. John Lennon and George Harrison did not contribute to the recording.

The French horn solo was by Alan Civil, a British horn player described by recording engineer Geoff Emerick as the “best horn player in London“. During the session, McCartney pushed Civil to play a note that was beyond the usual range of the instrument. According to Emerick, the result was the “performance of his life.” Civil said that the song was “recorded in rather bad musical style, in that it was ‘in the cracks’, neither B-flat nor B-major. This posed a certain difficulty in tuning my instrument.” […]

Paul McCartney, in Anthology:

I was in Switzerland on my first skiing holiday. I’d done a bit of skiing in Help! and quite liked it, so I went back and ended up in a little bathroom in a Swiss chalet writing For No One. I remember the descending bassline trick that it’s based on, and I remember the character in the song – the girl putting on her make-up.
Occasionally we’d have an idea for some new kind of instrumentation, particularly for solos… On For No One I was interested in the French horn, because it was an instrument I’d always loved from when I was a kid. It’s a beautiful sound, so I went to George Martin and said, ‘How can we go about this?’ And he said, ‘Well, let me get the very finest.’

[…] We came to the session and Alan [Civil] looked up from his bit of paper: ‘Eh, George? I think there’s a mistake here – you’ve got a high F written down. Then George and I said, ‘Yeah,’ and smiled back at him, and he knew what we were up to and played it. These great players will do it. Even though it’s officially off the end of their instrument, they can do it, and they’re quite into it occasionally. It’s a nice little solo.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 21 Jun 1966.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 7009 Revolver 1966.
    US: Capitol T 2576 Revolver 1966.
  • [b] stereo 21 Jun 1966.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 7009 Revolver 1966.
    US: Capitol ST 2576 Revolver 1966.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46441 2 Revolver 1987.

The vocal comes across louder in mono [a].

Paul McCartney recorded a different version for the soundtrack of his 1984 movie Give My Regards To Broad Street.

Last updated on March 28, 2016

Lyrics

You day breaks, your mind aches
You find that all her words
Of kindness linger on
When she no longer needs you

She wakes up, she makes up
She takes her time and doesn't
Feel she has to hurry
She no longer needs you

And in her eyes, you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

You want her, you need her
And yet you don't believe her
When she says her love is dead
You think she needs you

And in her eyes, you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

You stay home, she goes out
She says that long ago she knew someone
But now he's gone
She doesn't need him

Your day breaks, your mind aches
There will be times when all the things
She said will fill your head
You won't forget her

And in her eyes, you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

Officially appears on


Revolver (UK Mono)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:00 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Clavichord, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas, Tambourine
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Alan Civil:
Horn

Session Recording:
May 09, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
May 16, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
May 19, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 21, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Revolver (US Mono)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:02 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Clavichord, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas, Tambourine
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Alan Civil:
Horn

Session Recording:
May 09, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
May 16, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
May 19, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 21, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Revolver (US Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:02 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Clavichord, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas, Tambourine
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Alan Civil:
Horn

Session Recording:
May 09, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
May 16, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
May 19, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 21, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Revolver (UK Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:00 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Clavichord, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas, Tambourine
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Alan Civil:
Horn

Session Recording:
May 09, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
May 16, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
May 19, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 21, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Give My Regards To Broad Street

Official album • Released in 1984

2:13 • Studio version

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer (?)
Jon Jacobs:
Assistant engineer (?)
Stuart Breed:
Assistant engineer (?)
John Kelly:
Engineer (?)
Gabrielli String Quartet:
Strings
Jeff Bryant:
French horn

Give My Regards To Broad Street (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

2:13 • Studio version

Bootlegs


Now Hear This

Unofficial album

2:07 • Studio version





Live In Iowa 2005

Unofficial live

2:16 • Live

Concert From the concert in Des Moines, USA on Oct 27, 2005


Live performances

“For No One” has been played in 43 concerts.

Latest concerts where “For No One” has been played


Los Angeles • Staples Center

Nov 30, 2005 • Part of The US Tour


Los Angeles • Staples Center

Nov 29, 2005 • Part of The US Tour




Phoenix • Glendale Arena

Nov 23, 2005 • Part of The US Tour



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