Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Released: August 5, 1966
Appears on: Revolver
Lead vocal: Paul
Despite being one of the quieter tracks on Revolver, "For No One" is one of the most unique sounding. It's a three-man job: Ringo on drums and tambourine, Paul on bass, piano and clavichord and Alan Civil on French Horn. As mentioned in the "Love You To" entry, Civil and Anhil Bagwat are the first outside musicians credited on a Beatles record. The French Horn, combined with the clavichord, make the song sound classical, which is obviously Paul's point. It adds an amount of affluent air to the song, almost as if the song itself is saying that it is better than the ones it is surrounded by...and the truth is that it practically is.
"For No One" is devastating - the singer is talking to a boy who is breaking up with his girl. The boy is so in love with this girl that you don't believe her when she says her love is dead, you think she need you. The bridge is most hurtful: And in her eyes, you see nothing/No sign of love behind the tears, cried for no one. A love that should have lasted years. Paul is like a great film director, here, knowing exactly where to touch your emotions so you can feel for this boy. "For No One" is very hard to criticize because it's perfect and another reason why Revolver is my favorite album.
"For No One" has surprisingly made a few appearances outside of Revolver. For some reason, Capitol thought it was a love song, so they included it on Love Songs. Personally, I wouldn't call it a love song. Only one side of the relationship is in love - the other is on her way out. There is no real love in this situation, only sadness. It is a ballad, though, so its inclusion on The Beatles' Ballads is not without merit.