This week I’d like to take a look at one of my all-time favourite Beatles ballads: ‘If I Fell’.
Written mainly by John Lennon, with input from Paul McCartney, ‘If I Fell’ is a track from 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night album and film. It’s yet another example of how good John was at writing ballads, even though some people have always considered him to be the ‘hard-edged’ Beatle.
I think the first time I ever heard the song as a child was watching A Hard Day’s Night. I remember finding it really funny that John started serenading Ringo with the opening bars while he was setting up his drum kit, and I still enjoy that bit today. In fact, the introduction is one of the most interesting aspects of the song, because it sounds so different to the verses (there’s even a key shift between them) and is never repeated. This was one of Paul’s ideas, and was apparently influenced by the format of many 50s songs that he loved.
What makes ‘If I Fell’ so beautiful is John and Paul’s harmonies, which just blend so perfectly. John sings the lower harmony line and Paul takes the higher one. They shared a microphone during the recording, and you can just feel the closeness when you listen. That’s what I love most about the song.
The Beatles did perform this one live, and they also recorded it at the BBC. They usually played it faster than the studio version. It was released as the B-side of ‘And I Love Her’ in the US and ‘Tell Me Why’ in the UK, but was released as a single in its own right in Norway, reaching number one in the charts. There have been a lot of covers recorded over the years, which shows how popular it is. But nothing can beat the magic of the original.