If I Fell
"If I Fell" is a song by English rock band the Beatles which first appeared in 1964 on the album A Hard Day's Night in the United Kingdom and United States, and on the North American album Something New. Written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. "That's my first attempt at a ballad proper. ... It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads way back when", Lennon stated in his 1980 Playboy interview. Paul McCartney stated that he contributed to the song: "We wrote 'If I Fell' together."
|"If I Fell"|
US picture sleeve (reverse)
|Single by the Beatles|
|from the album A Hard Day's Night|
|A-side||"And I Love Her"|
|Released||20 July 1964 (US)|
|Recorded||27 February 1964,|
EMI Studios, London
|The Beatles singles chronology|
The song opens with an unrepeated introductory section sung by Lennon, followed by a standard "Tin Pan Alley" AABA form. Each verse preceding the B section (a.k.a. Bridge or Middle Eight) has a slightly different ending which creates a seamless transition between the two. The demo version (just John alone on acoustic guitar) from early 1964, does include the introduction, as well as an alternative ending. The remainder of the song features a two-part harmony, with Lennon singing the lower harmony while McCartney sings the higher one. It also features Lennon's intricate chord changes. The key changes from D flat minor to D major at the end of the introduction, which is played with a series of descending barre chords). The rest of the composition uses mainly open chords, including an unusual D ninth.
Recording and performance
Like much of the Beatles' early work, the song was released in two different mixes for mono and stereo. Lennon's opening vocal is single-tracked in mono but double-tracked in the stereo mix.
"If I Fell" was a part of the Beatles repertoire during their US and Canadian tour in 1964. The group typically performed the song faster than the studio version, and Lennon and McCartney often sang it with barely suppressed laughter. On more than one occasion it was introduced as "If I Fell Over".
"If I Fell" was released as the B-side of the US single "And I Love Her" on Capitol 5235. As the B-side, it reached number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached number 28 in Canada. The song was also released as a single in Norway, where it hit number one.
In the UK, it was released on 4 December 1964 as the A-side of a single (b/w "Tell Me Why") on Parlophone DP 562. The single was intended for export, but some retailers sold it in the UK anyway. It did not chart there and is generally not considered an "official" UK single.
- John Lennon – lead and backing vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, bass guitar
- George Harrison – twelve-string lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums
Personnel per Ian MacDonald
- Henry Mancini played a piano cover of the song on the 1965 television special, "The Music of Lennon & McCartney".
- Lou Christie released a cover of the song on his album Lightning Strikes.
- Chet Atkins released an instrumental cover on his 1966 album Chet Atkins Picks on the Beatles.
- Maroon 5 performed an acoustic version of the song on their 1.22.03.Acoustic album.
- Evan Rachel Wood sang the song in the Across the Universe film.
- Gerry Mulligan's album has a cover—an instrumental—on a 1965 LP If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em!.
- Reparata and the Delrons covered the song on their 1965 LP Whenever a Teenager Cries.
- Sammy Kershaw performed a cover on the album Come Together: America Salutes the Beatles, which appeared later on his album Covers the Hits.
- Rita Lee performed a version of the song as a bonus track to her Beatles cover album Aqui, Ali, em Qualquer Lugar.
- Adrian Belew performed an acoustic version on his 1993 album The Acoustic Adrian Belew.
- Peters and Lee performed a cover of this song on their album Favourites.
- Weezer performed this song in a show in 1993 before they were signed to Geffen Records.
- R&B guitarist Jonathan Butler covered the song from his 1994 album Head to Head.
- Cilla Black performed the song, accompanied by Dudley Moore on a 1966 episode of Not Only... But Also. Moore provides backing vocals, which prompts Black to burst out laughing on a few occasions. The clip was featured on a BBC archive show entitled '...Sings the Beatles", which aired on 15 January 2010.
- The Pozo-Seco Singers in 1966.
- Diane Keaton sings the song in the 1982 film, Shoot the Moon, while crying in the bathtub.
- Reba McEntire recorded this song on her European-only compilation album I'll Be, released in 2000.
- Al Di Meola covered the song on his 2013 CD All Your Life.
- Nellie McKay covered the song on her 2015 album My Weekly Reader.
- The Rutles' song "With a Girl Like You" is based on this song.
- The Smithereens released a cover on their 2008 album, B-Sides The Beatles.
- Roberta Flack covers the song as track ten on her album Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles;;.
- Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps used the song as their ballad movement in their 2018 program Beast.
- Ingham 2003, p. 32.
- Miles 1997, p. 162–163.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 112.
- Compton 2017, p. 81.
- "26 -- 'If I Fell'". Rolling Stone. 100 Greatest Beatles Songs.
- The Beatles Bible 2008.
- "'The Beatles' Billboard Hot 100". billboard.com.
- "Item: 9282 - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- VG-lista 2009.
- "If I Fell". beatlesbible.com.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 111.
- Fontenont 2008.
- "Head to Head overview". Allmusic.com.
- Sings the Beatles 2010.
- Deming, Mark. B-Sides the Beatles at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- Let It Be Roberta - Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles, 429 Records, 7 February 2012, retrieved 29 March 2018
- Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps#Show summary (1990–2018)
- Compton, Todd (2017). Who Wrote the Beatle Songs? A History of Lennon-McCartney. Pahreah Press. ISBN 978-0-9988997-0-1.
- Fontenont, Robert (2008). "If I Fell". About.com. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- 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.
- "TOPP 20 SINGLE UKE 49, 1964". VG-lista. 2009. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- "BBC Four Programmes - ...Sings The Beatles". BBC. 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- Ingham, Chris (2003). The Rough Guide to the Beatles. Rough Guides. ISBN 1-84353-140-2.
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