John Lennon's long-forgotten love-ballad
The Beatles had one of John Lennon's "first-ever ballads" lost during the mid-1960s when it was put on sale by mistake.
To coincide with The Beatles' first-ever feature film in 1964, A Hard Day's Night, the band released songs from their album of the same name. Included in this album was a song written by John Lennon which he considered to be his first-ever ballad If I Fell. Unfortunately for the Fab Four, they missed out on a UK audience with the single.
If I Fell was written by Lennon in February 1964, just a few months before A Hard Day's Night was released in July 1964.Vote your favorite Beatles songs!
Speaking to journalist David Sheff in 1980, Lennon later recalled writing the song and how it inspired later songs that followed.
He said: "[If I Fell] is my first attempt to write a ballad proper.
"That was the precursor to [1965 song] In My Life. It has the same chord sequence as In My Life: D and B minor and E minor, those kinds of things."
Lennon also opened up on how If I Fell was connected to him personally.
He said: "It's semi-autobiographical, but not consciously.
"It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads, silly love songs, way back when."
Despite being a "silly" love song, Lennon's track became quite legendary for collectors of The Beatles' music over the years.
According to the Beatles Bible website, the single was briefly recorded alongside a version of the band's song Tell Me Why.
This vinyl pressing was made with the intention of exporting it to other parts of the world but was mistakenly sent back to UK retailers for sale.
Before the record was pulled from store shelves, it was sold throughout the UK, later making it one of the rarest Beatles singles ever sold in Britain.
Interesting facts about If I Fell
John Lennon wrote this song, which may have been influenced by the ambivalence he felt during his first marriage. Lennon called this song "my first attempt at a ballad... it's semi autobiographical, but not consciously."
Lennon and McCartney sang together into the same microphone when recording this song. John sang the lead on the intro, then Paul sang in a higher lead while John sang harmony
The structure of the song is rather intriguing. It opens with an intro that contains no musical elements found in the rest of the song, and the body of this song has no real verse/chorus structure, just two verses that each turn halfway through on an unexpected chord.
The song is very expressive, with large intervals between the notes in a quasi-modal way. Typical of Lennon are the emphasis on three recurrent long notes ("...give my heart..."). It has similarities with John Dunstable's motet "Quam pulchra es" from the fifteenth century. The introduction is also unusual, with four modulations - even tighter than most music from late romantic music.
At the end of the second time that they sing, "Would be sad if our new love was in vain," McCartney's voice cracks on "vain," but on newer releases of the song this mistake is covered over.
There were a few demos of this song recorded in January 1964 before The Beatles came to America. The proper recording came on Thursday, February 27, 1964. The take you hear on the album is Take 15.
The Beatles performed this in the movie A Hard Day's Night. It was used in a scene where they perform to a group of school kids in a theater. The kids were all borrowed from nearby schools, and had no idea they would see The Beatles. On of the kids was 13-year-old Phil Collins, who didn't make the final cut, but was given outtakes with him in it years later when he contributed commentary for the DVD release of the movie.
source: Express + Songfacts
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