The Paul McCartney Project

If I Needed Someone

Written by George Harrison

Album This song officially appears on the Rubber Soul (UK Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1965
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

If I Needed Someone” is a song written by George Harrison. Versions by the Beatles and by the Hollies appeared simultaneously, both being released in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1965. The Hollies version appeared on a single. Most of the Hollies’ previous singles had been big top ten hits. When their version of “If I Needed Someone” only reached the lower half of the top 20 in the UK, they were quite critical and said they had made a mistake recording it. The Beatles’ recording of the song first appeared in the UK on the 1965 album Rubber Soul and was later included in the 1966 North American release, Yesterday and Today.

Composition

The song was heavily influenced by the music of the Byrds, and like most of the songs on Rubber Soul, utilizes a folk rock structure. In a 2004 radio interview with the BBC in London, Roger McGuinn confirmed that Harrison had sent a tape recording of the song to him in Los Angeles before it was released on record. Harrison did this to show McGuinn that the guitar riff he had used in “If I Needed Someone” was based on McGuinn’s own riff in “The Bells of Rhymney“, with the drumming from “She Don’t Care About Time“.” “George was very open about it,” said McGuinn, who was then going by his given name, Jim. “He sent [the record] to us in advance and said, ‘This is for Jim’ — because of that lick.

If I Needed Someone” was the only Harrison composition played during any of the Beatles’ tours; otherwise Harrison sang only covers onstage. Hence, it is the first and only song written by Harrison performed by him in concert until the group disbanded in 1970. “If I Needed Someone” is one of only two tracks from Rubber Soul that the Beatles performed live (the other was “Nowhere Man“). It was included on the Beatles final UK tour in December 1965, the 1966 NME Poll-Winners All-Star Concert, and on the 1966 Summer World Tour, including the Beatles’ very last concert, in Candlestick Park on 29 August 1966. The 1982 documentary The Compleat Beatles used a clip from the Beatles’ haggard performance of the song on stage in Tokyo as an illustration of band’s growing weariness with touring.

The song is a playable track on The Beatles: Rock Band; despite the venue for the aforementioned Japanese shows appearing in the game, the song is on the level modelled after the group’s legendary Shea Stadium performance, which took place before it had been recorded.

Musical structure

The song as recorded by the Beatles is in the key of A mixolydian, switching to B minor (the ii chord when the tonic is A) during the breaks. The verse beginning “If I needed someone to love” ends (on “I’d be thinking of“) with a B melody note complementing a ♭VII triad over a I root (G/A) ‘slash’ polychord (like that used at the opening of A Hard Day’s Night (song)). The song’s lyrical theme of “right person at the wrong time” is cleverly mirrored in the music by features such as the entire melody being phrased on the off beat and by McCartney’s ‘drastically arpeggiated’ bass line. Harrison gets to the Bm via an Em on “Had you come” this representing a V minor in the tonic of A and a IV minor in the new Bm key. Harrison’s switch to the V minor (Em) here is not as could be expected a “precursor to a key centre on IV but an inspired alternative that demonstrates his innate vision of the structure of any key.” The verses are heavily harmonised: Harrison sings the first two lines of the first verse by himself — double-tracked, as was customary on Beatles recordings of the period — after which John Lennon and Paul McCartney join in, singing above him throughout on each subsequent verse. Harrison sings the bridge solo, once again double-tracked. In the chorus ‘ahhs” Paul sings a third above and John a tenth below Harrison’s lead vocal.

Recording

The sessions for the Beatles version of “If I Needed Someone” were produced by George Martin, and engineered by Norman Smith. The second engineer was Ken Scott.

The rhythm track for the song was recorded in Abbey Road Studio Two, in a single take on Saturday 16 October 1965, squeezed in just before midnight in a session that had primarily been spent recording their next single, Day Tripper. McCartney’s bass part was played on a 1964 left-handed Rickenbacker 4001S bass. Harrison’s distinctive chiming guitar riff was played on his 1965 Rickenbacker 360-12, with a capo fixed at the seventh fret.

Returning to the studio on the afternoon of Monday 18 October 1965, the Beatles overdubbed Harrison’s lead vocal and Lennon and McCartney’s backing vocals. Starr added a tambourine.

A mono mix of the song was made on Monday 25 October, and a stereo mix on Tuesday, 26 October — the day the Beatles collected their MBEs from Buckingham Palace. Both these mixes can be found in The Beatles In Mono box set.

George Martin created another stereo mix in 1987 for the release of Rubber Soul on CD. This mix can be found on The Beatles Stereo Box Set. […]

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 25 Oct 1965.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 1267 Rubber Soul 1965.
    US: Capitol T 2553 Yesterday & Today 1966.
  • [b] stereo 26 Oct 1965.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 3075 Rubber Soul 1965.
    US: Capitol ST 2553 Yesterday & Today 1966.
  • [c] stereo 1987.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46440 2 Rubber Soul 1987.

Last updated on March 25, 2016

Lyrics

If I needed someone to love
You're the one that I'd be thinking of
If I needed someone

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I'd be with you my friend
If I needed someone

Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I'm too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah, ah, ah

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I'd be with you my friend
If I needed someone

Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I'm too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah

Officially appears on


Rubber Soul (UK Mono)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:20 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Harmony vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
12-string electric guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 25, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Rubber Soul (UK Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:20 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Harmony vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
12-string electric guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Yesterday and Today (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:23 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Harmony vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
12-string electric guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 25, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Yesterday and Today (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:23 • Studio versionB

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Harmony vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
12-string electric guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Rubber Soul - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2012

1:23 • Alternate take • (RM from Take 1) Rough Mix (mono)


Rubber Soul - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2012

2:28 • Alternate take • (Rockband Mix) (stereo)


Rubber Soul - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2012

0:37 • Alternate take • (RS from Take 1 - Partial) LITMW Mix (stereo)


Live Anthology X (1966)

Unofficial live • Released in 2014

2:39 • Live • Essen


Live Anthology X (1966)

Unofficial live • Released in 2014

3:02 • Live • Tokyo 1966 1


Live performances

“If I Needed Someone” has been played in 51 concerts.

Latest concerts where “If I Needed Someone” has been played








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