No Reply (song)

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This article is about the song. For the album by Daylight Dies, see No Reply (album).
"No Reply"
The German single release of the song, backed with "Eight Days a Week"
Single by the Beatles
from the album Beatles for Sale
Released 4 December 1964
Recorded 30 September 1964
EMI Studios
Genre Folk rock[1]
Length 2:15
Label Parlophone, Capitol
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin

"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.[2] 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 an unidentified drummer recorded with the group on the demo.[3]



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".[4]

In his last major interview, Lennon said that lyrically, the song was inspired by "Silhouettes", a 1957 song first recorded and released by doo-wop group the Rays.[5]

In his book, Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald remarks that the middle sixteen ("If I were you, I'd realize 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") is among the most exciting thirty seconds in their output.[6]


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.[7]

Rhythm for the verses is 'bossa nova'. The bridge reverts to standard rock rhythm.


Personnel per Ian MacDonald[8]


"No Reply" was one of the eight Beatles songs covered by Stars on 45 on their medley "Stars on 45", which went to #1 in the USA in June 1981.

Parody band Beatallica recorded a mashup of "No Reply" and Metallica's "No Remorse" entitled "No Remorseful Reply", on their 2001 EP A Garage Dayz Nite.


  1. ^ Riley Haas (13 September 2013). The Beatles Are the Greatest Rock Band of All Time and I Can Prove It. Riley Haas. pp. 98–. ISBN 978-0-9921513-0-0. 
  2. ^ Dowlding 1989, p. 82.
  3. ^ Anthology 1 liner notes
  4. ^ Rowley 2002, p. 66.
  5. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 174.
  6. ^ "The Beatles - No Reply | Video". Nme.Com. 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2011-08-21. 
  7. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 49.
  8. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 131.


  • 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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