For No One (1:57)

Cover of Revolver

From Revolver and 20 other releases

“For No One” is a song written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney) that originally appeared on The Beatles’ seventh album, Revolver. A ballad about the end of a relationship, it was one of McCartney’s most mature and poignant works to date. Musically the track is particularly distinguished by its French horn solo.

John Lennon said of the song, “One of my favourites of his - a nice piece of work.”
McCartney recalls writing “For No One” in the bathroom of a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. He said, “I suspect it was about another argument.” The song’s working title was “Why Did It Die”.

The song was recorded on May 9, 16 and 19, 1966. McCartney sang, played clavichord (rented from George Martin’s AIR company), piano, and bass, while Ringo Starr played drums and tambourine. Lennon and George Harrison did not contribute to the recording.

The French-horn solo was by Alan Civil, a British horn player. Prior to the session, Civil thought he was playing for a classical album, mistaking the words “For No One” on a lead sheet as “For No. One”, an abbreviation for “Symphony Number One”. During the session, McCartney pushed Civil to play a note that was beyond the usual range of the instrument (pitched on an F horn, it is a Super-D sharp, that is, an octave above the standard ‘high D#’). The result was the “performance of his life,” high praise for someone who was known as the best French horn player in London at the time.

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