- Published on 1964
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 3 on “A Hard Day’s Night“
JOHN 1980: “That was my first attempt at a ballad proper. That was the precursor to ‘In My Life.’ It has the same chord sequences 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.”
PAUL 1984: “This was our close-harmony period. We did a few songs… ‘This Boy,’ ‘If I Fell,’ ‘Yes It Is’ …in the same vein, which were kind of like the Fourmost– an English vocal group, only not really.”
About “If I Fell”
“If I Fell” is a song which first appeared in 1964 on the album A Hard Day’s Night in the United Kingdom and United States, and on the North American album Something New. It was written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney.
The song opens with an unrepeated introductory section sung by Lennon, followed by a standard “Tin Pan Alley” AABA form. Each verse preceding the B section (a.k.a. bridge or middle eight) has a slightly different ending, which creates a seamless transition between the two. The remainder of the song uses a two-part harmony, with Lennon singing the lower notes while McCartney sings the higher ones. It features Lennon’s intricate chord changes: the key changes from E flat minor to D major at the end of the introduction, which is played with a series of descending barre chords; the rest of the composition uses mainly open chords, including an unusual D ninth dominant.
Lennon and McCartney shared a single microphone “for their Everly Brothers-like close harmonies”.
Like much of the Beatles’ early work, the song was released in two different mixes for mono and stereo. Lennon’s opening vocal is single-tracked in mono but double-tracked in the stereo mix.
“If I Fell” was a part of the Beatles repertoire during their US and Canadian tour in 1964. The group typically performed the song faster than the studio version, and Lennon and McCartney often sang it with barely suppressed laughter. On more than one occasion it was introduced as “If I Fell Over”.
“If I Fell” was released as the B-side of the US single “And I Love Her” on Capitol 5235. As the B-side, it reached number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached number 28 in Canada. The song was also released as a single in Norway, where it reached number one.
In the UK, it was released on 4 December 1964 as the A-side of a single (b/w “Tell Me Why“) on Parlophone DP 562. The single was intended for export, but some retailers sold it in the UK anyway. It did not chart there and is generally not considered an “official” UK single.
Meaning of “If I Fell”
The lyrics of “If I Fell” explore themes of vulnerability and the uncertainty that comes with falling in love. The song expresses the fear of getting hurt if the feelings are not reciprocated. The narrator acknowledges that if he were to fall in love with someone, he would be risking his heart, but he’s willing to take that chance.
The opening lines, “If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true, and help me understand?” set the tone for the song. They convey the narrator’s apprehension about falling in love and the desire for reassurance from the person they’re addressing.
Throughout the song, there’s a sense of longing and a plea for honesty and understanding in the face of such powerful emotions. The lyrics reflect the complexities and insecurities that can arise when navigating romantic relationships.
Overall, “If I Fell” is a poignant love song that captures the delicate balance between hope, fear, and the willingness to take a chance on love.
- John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – double-tracked vocal, bass
- George Harrison – twelve-string lead guitar[
- Ringo Starr – drums