The Beatles - John Lennon, Paul McCartney - London, 1965
(Credit: Bent Rej)

Listen to The Beatles’ remarkable harmony on the isolated vocal version of ‘If I Fell’

Here at Far Out we have been swimming around the archives trying to find uncovered versions of much-loved tracks for your self-isolation entertainment. Turning our attention to The Beatles, we have stumbled upon a stunning isolated vocals version of their classic number ‘If I Fell’ and the harmonious vocal delivery of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in a glorious isolated vocal.

The track, which originally featured on 1964s Hard Day’s Night, marked a poignant moment in the Fab Four’s glittering career as McCartney would later discuss with Playboy Magazine in a 1968 interview: “That’s my first attempt at a ballad proper… It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads way back when.”

‘If I Fell’ would also act as a B-side on the ‘And I Love Her’ single, which reached number 12 in the Billboard chart and, somewhat surprisingly, it would go on the be a chart-topping single in Norway on its own right.

Like a lot of The Beatles’ material, McCartney wrote the track alongside Lennon who also spoke on the record about it being his first attempt at creating a ballad—a factor which many people believe was written around the faltering relationship with his first wife. “That’s my first attempt to write a ballad proper,” Lennon told David Sheff. “That was the precursor to ‘In My Life’. It has the same chord sequence as In My Life: D and B minor and E minor, those kinds of things. And it’s semi-autobiographical, but not consciously. It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads, silly love songs, way back when.”

In the 1997 Barry Miles biography of McCartney titled Many Years From Now, the former Beatles man looked back at the process of making the track with eternal fondness: “People tend to forget that John wrote some pretty nice ballads. People tend to think of him as an acerbic wit and aggressive and abrasive, but he did have a very warm side to him really which he didn’t like to show too much in case he got rejected. We wrote ‘If I Fell’ together but with the emphasis on John because he sang it. It was a nice harmony number, very much a ballad.”

The recording for which the isolated vocal version derives from is from the session that took on Thursday, February 27, 1964, with it being their fifteenth take on the song that makes the record. Perhaps the most intriguing fact about the recording is that Lennon and McCartney shared a mic as they tried to emulate the Everly Brothers’ close harmonies—and they absolutely pull it off, which you can hear in even more detail on the isolated version.

The pair’s voices compliment each other so perfectly and the method they used to record the track gives it that subtle intimacy which makes their vocal delivery incredible distinct. Stream the version, below.

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