The Beatles' music: quotes and info

“Baby’s in Black”

Beatles quotes about “Baby’s in Black”

JOHN 1980: “Written together in the same room.”

PAUL circa-1994: “We wanted to write something a little bit darker, bluesy… It was very much co-written and we both sang it. Sometimes the harmony that I was writing in sympathy to John’s melody would take over and become a stronger melody… When people wrote out the music score they would ask, ‘Which one is the melody?’ because it was co-written that you could actually take either. We rather liked this one.”

About “Baby’s in Black”

“Baby’s in Black” was co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It appears on the United Kingdom album Beatles for Sale and on the United States album Beatles ’65, both released in 1964. The time signature of the song is 6/8, which is typical for waltzes with a moderate tempo. An AllMusic critic described the song as “a love lament for a grieving girl that was perhaps more morose than any previous Beatles’ song.” Musicologist Alan W. Pollack notes that Baby’s in Black” is relatively complex in format, with a refrain, bridge, and a guitar solo. He describes the song as having “mishmash” of stylistic elements—among them, “bluesy” chords and country music-inspired vocals.

In August 1964, “Baby’s in Black” was recorded as the first song for Beatles for Sale. Both Lennon and McCartney sang simultaneously through the same microphone. This was done at their own insistence in order to achieve a closer feel to the performance. Their music publisher contacted McCartney in 1964 to ask which melody line was the main tune (Paul’s higher or John’s lower melody). McCartney later said that he told the publisher they were both the main melody.

“Baby’s in Black” was performed live by The Beatles on their final tour from late 1964 to 1966. McCartney said they introduced the song by saying, “‘And now for something different.’ … We used to put that in there, and think, ‘Well, they won’t know quite what to make of this, but it’s cool.’ The song was released as a B-side of “Real Love“, their second single from the Anthology series, in 1996.


John Lennon – vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney – vocal, bass guitar
George Harrison – lead guitar
Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine[

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