If I Fell (2:17)

Cover of Love Songs

From Love Songs and 41 other releases

If I Fell first appeared on the 1964 UK album A Hard Day’s Night and the US compilation album Something New. It was written primarily by John Lennon, with help from Paul McCartney.

The song is notable for its unusual structure, which includes an unrepeated introductory section (introduced as an afterthought as of take 11) followed by sequential verse sections, each having a slightly expanded form, but with no obvious chorus or bridge section. The song also features a two-part harmony, sung by Lennon and McCartney together into a single microphone at their suggestion, and intricate chord changes. The key changes from D flat major to D major between the introduction (a series of descending barre chords) and the main song, which uses mainly open chords, including an unusual D ninth.

Recording and performance
Lennon played acoustic guitar and sang, McCartney played bass and sang, George Harrison plucked out single notes on electric guitar, and Ringo Starr played drums.

There is an alternate take of the song in which McCartney’s voice strains and cracks at the end of a line, which first appeared on the Love Songs compilation double-LP, by an archivist’s error when returning to the master tapes in Capitol’s vault. Since then, this version has appeared in many places and is often heard on oldies stations in some markets. This version is the stereo version now found in The Capitol Albums box set. In the mono version, Paul’s voice strains, but does not crack.

The stereo mix of the song (found on the Hard Day’s Night LP and Something New) features a double-tracked opening by John. This was also Kurt Cobain’s favourite Beatles song, and was played by Nirvana whenever there were technical problems at their concerts.


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