Welcome to "Every Little Thing", a blog discussing all 214 songs released by the Beatles from 1962 to 1970....by Daniel Seth Levine.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

#55: No Reply

Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney
December 4, 1964
Appears on: Beatles For Sale

Lead vocal: John

"This happened once before
When I came to your door...
No reply..."

And thus begins the most powerful trilogy of songs to open an album. The needle drops on the first band and there is no introduction, nothing. Just John..."This happened once before..."
"No Reply" is not just another John song where he seeks our pity because he knows he has lost his girl. He goes even further - revealing that he has been stalking this girl and has found out that she is seeing another man. In fact, this is a complete story. The singer realizes that the relationship is over by the end of the song. The last verse is most telling to this idea. He is in so much pain that he sings "I nearly died! I nearly died/'Cause you walked hand in hand/With another man/In my place!"
The song not only reveals that the Beatles are looking far more inward than any other pop/rock group did in 1964, but also that their recording techniques had taken leaps and bounds in the just-over-a-year time period between "Love Me Do" and Beatles For Sale. John's vocal is double-tracked throughout the entire song. John and George play acoustic guitars. George Martin adds piano. Paul adds the higher harmony parts. Ringo's drumming is getting more unconventional ("No reply!" CRASH! "No reply!" BANG!).
The Beatles are getting better and "No Reply", the opening song on Beatles For Sale, is one hell of a way to show it.

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