No Reply (song)
The German single release of the song, backed with "Eight Days a Week"
|Song by the Beatles from the album Beatles for Sale|
|Released||4 December 1964|
|Recorded||30 September 1964
|Beatles for Sale track listing|
"No Reply" is a song by the Beatles from the British album Beatles for Sale and the American album Beatles '65. It was written mainly by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Lennon wrote the song for Tommy Quickly to record, but Quickly never went along with it. The Beatles recorded the demo version on 3 June 1964 in the style of Tommy Quickly, while their regular drummer Ringo Starr was hospitalised and Jimmie Nicol was hired to take his place, but a different drummer that was unidentified recorded with the group on the demo.
The song is about a young man who is unable to contact his apparently unfaithful girlfriend, although he knows she is home ("They said it wasn't you, but I saw you peek through your window.")
According to Lennon in a 1972 interview, the Beatles' music publisher Dick James was quite pleased with "No Reply":
|“||I remember Dick James coming up to me after we did this one and saying, 'You're getting better now — that was a complete story.' Apparently, before that, he thought my songs wandered off.||”|
Reviewer David Rowley found its lyrics to "read like a picture story from a girl's comic", and to depict the picture "of walking down a street and seeing a girl silhouetted in a window, not answering the telephone".
In his book, Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald remarks that the middle eight ("If I were you, I'd realise that I love you more than any other guy; and I'd forgive the lies that I heard before, when you gave me no reply") was the most powerful phrase featured in any Beatles song thus far.
The song is in the key of C major. The song form is standard AABA (verse-verse-bridge-verse), without a chorus as such, but including the refrain "No Reply". The instrumentation includes acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums and piano.
Originally Lennon had intended to sing the higher harmony part, as this was the original melody. However, his voice had deteriorated due to excessive use, forcing Paul McCartney to sing the part, and relegating Lennon to the lower harmony line.
Rhythm for the verses is 'bossa nova'. The bridge reverts to standard rock rhythm.
- John Lennon – double-tracked lead vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, handclaps
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass guitar, handclaps
- George Harrison – acoustic rhythm guitar, handclaps
- Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps
- George Martin – producer, piano
- Norman Smith – engineer
- Dowlding, William J. (1989). Beatlesongs. New York: Simon & Schuster.
- 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.
- Rowley, David (2002). Beatles For Sale. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 1-84018-567-8.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. St Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
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