For No One
|"For No One"|
|Song by the Beatles from the album Revolver|
|Released||5 August 1966|
|Recorded||9, 16 and 19 May 1966
|Revolver track listing|
"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.
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 – vocal, bass guitar, piano, clavichord
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
- Alan Civil – French horn
- Cilla Black released a recording in 1966.
- Chet Atkins on his 1967 album It's a Guitar World.
- Floyd Cramer released a recording of it in 1967.
- Liza Minnelli recorded a version for her 1967 album Liza Minnelli.
- Blackwater Park recorded a version for their 1971 album Dirt Box.
- Maceo Parker sings the song on his 1975 album Funky music machine.
- Emmylou Harris included the song on her third album Pieces of the Sky in 1975. She also performed the song at Paul McCartney's award ceremony for the Gershwin Prize in concert at the White House for Paul and the first family.
- Caetano Veloso recorded "For No One" in 1975 for his Long Play Qualquer Coisa [Anything].
- Paul McCartney released a different version on the soundtrack for his 1984 movie Give My Regards to Broad Street.
- Maureen McGovern released this and "Things We Said Today" in 1992 as a 2-song medley on her album Baby I'm Yours.
- Arjen Anthony Lucassen released a version of "For No One" in his 1996 album Strange Hobby (released anonymously).
- Rickie Lee Jones released a version of "For No One" on her 2000 album It's Like This.
- Anne Sofie von Otter and Elvis Costello in 2001, For the Stars.
- Meret Becker included this song on her 2001 album Fragiles.
- Peter Mulvey covered this on his 2002 album Ten Thousand Mornings.
- Gregorian covered this on their 2003 album Masters of Chant Chapter IV.
- Pat DiNizio on his 2006 album This is Pat DiNizio.
- Rick Springfield on his 2006 album The Day After Yesterday.
- Parody band Beatallica recorded a mashup of "For No One" and Metallica's "The Four Horsemen" entitled "For Horsemen", on their 2007 album Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band.
- Diana Krall on her 2009 album Quiet Nights.
- The Submarines for The Voice Project.
- The Farewell Drifters on their 2010 album Yellow Tag Mondays.
- The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
- Dowlding, William J (1989). Beatlesongs. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-68229-6.
- Emerick, Geoff; Massey, Howard (2006). Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 1-59240-179-1.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.