For No One

Last updated on 14 September 2017

"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[1][2] 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 counterpoint in the final verse.

John Lennon said of the song, "One of my favourites of his—a nice piece of work."[3]

Writing and recording

McCartney recalls writing "For No One" in the bathroom of a ski resort in the Swiss Alps[4] while on holiday with his then girlfriend Jane Asher.[5] He said, "I suspect it was about another argument."[5] The lyrics end enigmatically with "...a love that should have lasted years..." The song's working title was "Why Did It Die?"[6] 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, tambourine and maracas.[7][8] John Lennon and George Harrison did not contribute to the recording.[9]

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".[10] 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."[10] 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."[11]

Personnel

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[13]

Cover versions

Notes

References

External links

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