Music History 68
“ For No One”
Featured on the second side of the “Revolver” album, the Beatles’ song “For No One” is an expressive, deeply poignant ballad written and performed by Paul McCartney that in a sense encompasses the theme of a love song gone wrong. However, there was no rush to record “For No One” nor was there considerable publicity praise for this simply crafted song. Thus, “For No One” truly fits its brooding motif about dismal one-sided lost love that signifies the clear end of a relationship. “For No One” in terms of composer/performer play is primarily atypical of the Beatles’ past songs in that the song features solely Paul McCartney’s voice and lacks thick instrumental texture in the background and a strong line of melody. With such focus on Paul’s amplified voice, he is able to speak to us subliminally by conveying his deepest internal thoughts about lingering on to such futile hope when in reality, the woman he loves no longer needs him. Consequently, the striking emotional impact this deceptively simple song provides for the listener stems from the way it defies the standards of typical Beatles’ song and instead expresses its theme of fruitless hope with elements of performer play such as a flat melody and Paul’s isolated voice internalizing his deepest, conflicted feelings of futile despair and animosity. The uncharacteristic simplicity of “For No One” originates from the song’s lack of vocal harmonization and loud, complex instrumentation. Paul sings the song by himself, rather than harmonizing with Lennon and thus, his voice is recorded abnormally loud and amplified from the beginning of the song. The instrumentation features for the first two verses an accompaniment of a chopping, solo harpsichord and restrained snare drumming. For the first bridge, light tambourine sounds are added with a reverberating bass-line that sounds octaves lower than the rest of the song along with a melodic piano...