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If I Fell

by

The Beatles



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

John Lennon wrote this song, which may have been influenced by the ambivalence he felt during his first marriage. Lennon called this song "my first attempt at a ballad... it's semi autobiographical, but not consciously."
Lennon and McCartney sang together into the same microphone when recording this song. John sang the lead on the intro, then Paul sang in a higher lead while John sang harmony. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
The structure of the song is rather intriguing. It opens with an intro that contains no musical elements found in the rest of the song, and the body of this song has no real verse/chorus structure, just 2 verses that each turn halfway through on an unexpected chord.
The song is very expressive, with large intervals between the notes in a quasi-modal way. Typical of Lennon are the emphasis on three recurrent long notes ("...give my heart..."). It has similarities with John Dunstable's motet "Quam pulchra es" from the fifteenth century. The introduction is also unusual, with four modulations - even tighter than most music from late romantic music. (thanks to Johan Cavalli, who is a music historian in Stockholm)
At the end of the second time that they sing, "Would be sad if our new love was in vain," McCartney's voice cracks on "vain," but on newer releases of the song this mistake is covered over. (thanks, Adrian - Wilmington, DE)
There were a few demos of this song recorded in January 1964 before The Beatles came to America. The proper recording came on Thursday, February 27, 1964. The take you hear on the album is Take 15. (thanks, Ben - Cheverly, MD)
The Beatles performed this in the movie A Hard Day's Night. It was used in a scene where they perform to a group of school kids in a theater. The kids were all borrowed from nearby schools, and had no idea they would see The Beatles. On of the kids was 13-year-old Phil Collins, who didn't make the final cut, but was given outtakes with him in it years later when he contributed commentary for the DVD release of the movie.
This was used as the B-side of "And I Love Her."
During their 1964 tour, Lennon had some fun with McCartney, adding the word "over" when Paul introduced the song. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
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Comments (52):

If I Fell was the song that made me want to sing. And it taught me about harmonizing. It's an underrated gem, for reason mentioned above.

PTxS
- Tex, Tucson, AZ
This lovely ballad provides an excellent example of one of the main reasons the Beatles sound continues to be so universally endearing: Chord Change. It happens right at the moment of the word "just."
- Steve, Princeton, NJ
Lennon's If I Fell was a number one hit in Norway, the same with Lennon's I Should Have Known Better.
Lennon's This Boy was a number one hit in Canada.
Lennon's Do You Want to Know a Secret was number one in US.
Lennon's Nowhere Man was number one in Australia and Canada 1966.
These are the songs are never mentioned, when the Beatles number one hits are listid. George Martin and McCartney never do PR for them.
- Johan, Stockholm, Sweden
I love this song more than air! I adore the beatles! They're the best band...Ever. I love that my other favorite band did this too, maroon 5!
- Megan, Stevenson, AL
Seacopac, they're saying "That you would love me more than her", meaning that the bloke who's singing it was hurt by a bird in the past and he wants his new bird to love him and not leave him like the old one did. That's why Julie Taymore used it in Across the Universe, because it works in a woman's mouth aswell like a double meaning that the guy (Jude in Across the Universe) has been with other girls and she doesn't want to be hurt like the other girl was. You know it's a bit of a sad song when you think about it, the singer's been hurt and is very causious of love now because of it and wondering if the love is right, thank you Mr. Lennon and Mr. McCartney for a sad song that seems happy just like I Want to Hold Your Hand.
- Breanna, Henderson, NV
I heard somewhere that John once said "it was a love song, but not for Cynthia."
- Julia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This song is a lesson to be learned. Be careful with your boyfriend.
- Jessica, Chisago, MN
A song of extraordinary beauty. There are no songs like this ... it has a magic all it's own ... a rare flower from the beautiful garden of John Lennon's heart.
- John, Sydney, Australia
The D9 chord use is unique in that John and Paul are also emphasizing the D9 chord in their vocal harmonies: John sings a C and Paul sings an E -- which is a very different effect than just a plain D dominant 7th ... it becomes a bonafide D9 because not only is George playing a D9 (while John is most likely playing the only D7 in C position between the 3rd and 5th frets), but the vocals are screaming D9 themselves...)
so Carlos from Milpitas is right, and sorry David from New City you just fell over. ;] ~ (get it ... If I Fell... over...) heh heh heh -- hey who threw that bulldog at my kite!?
- Jack, Ames, IA
yeah, i think he tried to sit down on the amp :P it's actually pretty funny to hear paul crack. i mean, when does that ever happen? (rhetorical.) i like the first time you hear it in AHDN, because he's singing to ringo ^_^
- K, nowhere, ON
im watching the video clip...did george just knock over an amp? HA!
- chloe, St. Louis, MO
such a beautiful song...makes me feel very calm and mellow. i love this site because of all the crazy fun facts it has on the pages- i laughed so hard at the one about john announcing it as "if i fell over." its so corny and....john-ish.
- chloe, St. Louis, MO
I'm listening to this song right now as I write this. Beautiful absolutley beautiful. It gets better with time. The Beatles are phenomenal.
- John, Cranston, RI
Definitely one of the very best of the Beatles. Brilliant harmony and haunting melody. The best of times for them...and me!
Kathy - Frenso, CA
- Kathy, Fresno, CA
Seacopac from Dallas. They're not saying "love me more than YOU love her". They are saying "love me more than her". In other words he is saying to the girl. I must be sure from the very start that you will love me more than she loves me.
- John, Cranston, RI
Can anyone please explain why they say, "I must be sure that you will love me more than you love her"? It's really bothering me. I've got to know what their talking about.
- Seacopac, Dallas, TX
I love If I Fell alot because it's one of the good songs that The Beatles wrote. It's a very good song to harmonize on, and my dad is very good with music, so we sang it together when he played his guitar!
- Alyson, Beaver Dam, WI
i like this song, its funny when John starts singing to Ringo about his drums in the movie Hard Day's Night!
- Kayla, Nashville, TN
This song is one of my personal favorites. Unbelievable harmony by Lennon, very tricky to sing.
- Tony, Red Deer, AB
Unbelievable song!! One of the most underrated Beatles gems!!
- Jeff, Austin, TX
One of the things I love about the Beatles is that these boys sure could harmonize.
- John, Cranston, RI
Hard to believe this song charted so low. It STILL gets played alot on oldies channels. I guess chart positions didn't even matter as far as Beatles music was concerned because it was so great. One of my favorites. I love the harmonies on this one.
- Ron, Auburndale, FL
The first time I played this song for my wife, she laughed because she thought they meant "I must be sure that you will love me more than you love her" so she thought the Beatle singer was trying to snag a girl away from another girl.
- Forrest, Rochester, MN
This is a good song. I like relating songs to my life and hearing this I think about how scared I was to fall in love with the boyfriend I am with now. In my mind I would tell myself that I would "love to love him". It's wonderful. There will never be another like The Beatles. No matter how hard anyone ever tries.
- Jasmine, Ponca City, OK
I saw the country singer, Reba MacIntyre, sing it a while back on a Beatles tribute programme on British tv. What can you say? another gem from The Beatles' repertoire. It's all about trust, opening up, learning to love, the dangerous stuff, the perilous waters of romance. What a performance!
- kenny, clydebank, Scotland
I love this song. http://youtube.com/watch?v=YQsvDpC55o8
U can watch it at that link.
- Krissy, Boston, MA
My 9 year old son loves this song so I finally learned it on guitar including the unusual intro chord progression. Amazing tune - Lennon's so called first 'attempt' at a ballad. Not bad for a beginner I'd say.
- Doug, Vernon, Canada
maroon 5 covered this song and it's really nice version. i don't know if it's on an album but it was done live somewhere. look for it on limewire. :]
- sarah, Pittsburgh, PA
This is one of the Beatle Songs that shows how great of a team John and Paul were.There Vocals
in this song are just Super...
Rich,Wall,N.J.
- Rich, Spring Lake Hgts, NJ
The first time I heard this song--after opening the "Hard Day's Night" album in 1964, I almost had to sit down--it was so beautiful. I am heavily involved in music, and after all these years, "If I Fell" is still my very favorite song of all time. Yes, the D9 chord helps, but the melody, incredible harmonies, haunting lyrics and guitar work make this one of John's very best songs.
- John, Gainesville, FL
This is one of their best early works. It tears your heart with its honest and pleading lyrics. "...That you, won't hurt my pride like her, Cos I couldn't stand the pain, and I, would be sad if our new love, was in vain..." Truly, beautiful.
- Paul Isn't Dead, Irvine, CA
I agree with all of the comments here. This song is pure brilliance. Following John's voice from the low harmony, then quickly going to the higher melody, then back to the low harmony...that's tricky! Plus: isn't this song changing keys all over the place? I'm not musically edumacated enough to know for sure. I think it's key changes that make singing John's (probably Paul's, too) parts so tricky.

And if this song wasn't brilliant enough...has anyone noticed John/the Beatles got all of this packaged up in ONLY TWO MINUTES AND TWENTY-TWO SECONDS?!?!?!?!?
- Bryan, Charlotte, NC
If you are a new Beatles fan and have only a Greatest Hits package (Red and Blue CDs), buy the Hard Day's Night CD. This one song is SO good, it is worth the price of the whole CD. And don't worry, there are 8 or 9 great songs on the CD, but this song is probaby one of John Lennon's five greatest songs.
- Steve, Fenton, MO
This is one of the most Beautiful songs I've ever heard in my life. Not only does this just increase my insane love for the Beatles but it gives me hope to laugh, love and live!! It's amazing, and when I heard Paul's voice crack I thought it was unique, and I felt special that I could tell it was Paul's voice!
- Michelle, Antigonish, Canada
I woke up one morning to this song playing on my clock radio. I will never forget it as it was the most lovely way to be woken up.
PS I love George Harrison!
- Vickie, Sydney, Australia
lady madonna
- Adalia, Brisbane, Australia
People say that "If I fell" is slightly autobiographical of John and his troubles with Cynthia. Also, if that is true, then perhaps it is evident in a later song "Don't let me down" with John reflecting on Yoko at the time.
- Adalia, Brisbane, Australia
I love this song. The Beatle harmony of Paul and John singing lead together forming one voice is spectacular and the lyrics are pure poetry. Great one.
- Mike, Newark, ND
I'm pretty sure in the film they dont play this to a group of kids, but alone on the stage when they are cheering ringo up, before he "goes parading".
- Jon, Danville, CA
Toby. My mom passed away a few months ago too. She loved music, and was good with harmony as well. We used to sing Misery together, please see the comments I wrote in "Misery". Those two songs will always remind us of something special between a boy and his mother.

This is a good song for hearing that crystal clear sound of their voices. It has such an innocent sound to it.
- lee, clearwater, FL
The "cool chord" (technically) isn't a dominant seventh chord. It's actually a D9 chord (Composed of the notes D, F#, A, C and E), which is an extension of a D7 chord, and isn't very common. Sorry, that just bothered me. :D.
- Carlos, Milpitas, CA
It's a cool chord change but it's not unique. What you're describing is a dominant seventh chord and is very common.
- David, New City, NY
The first time I heard this song I was stunned. It is among the most beautiful songs ever composed, and John and Paul's harmony is simply awesome. The chord progressions are unique, especially that great chord on the word "her" before "cause I couldn't stand the pain." I love many songs--especially Lennon's, but this one is my all-time favorite.
- John, Columbus, OH
This is one of my favorite sad Beatles song because it has a slightly jazzy touch. I have an instrumental version of the song from Bite of The Apple that Beatlejazz did. Everytime when I hear an vocal version from A Hard Day's Night album or an instrumental version from Bite of the Apple album it makes me cry and fall asleep.
You can waltz to this song.
- Melissa, Fairborn, OH
Re: the harmony-it is tricky to sing the lower harmony line in the duet portion but sing the melody line in the other parts. Also, the opening 8 bars of intro set up the rest of the song perfectly.
- Charlie, Cape Girardeau, MO
(Nick: "When listening to this song try to figure out what level John is singing at,try to sing along at Johns tone,I bet ya you won't be able too...") I do this with my brother. Not outrageously hard. This is one of their best. Maroon 5 cover this when they play live. Their version is jazzier but inferior to the original.
- Nessie, Sapporo, Japan
Phil Collins' mother was either the casting director or on the casting staff for the movie. Can't remember which.
- Mike, New Point, VA
This Is Kurt Cobains Favorite Beatle Song, He Sometimes Sang This When He Felt The Concert Wasn't Going Good.
- Ryab, Lackawanna, NY
Great acoustic guitar by George!
- Alan, City, MI
My Mom and I used to sing this together....she passed away just a few months ago- She loved music (she had a lovely voice) and she loved the beatles and she really liked this song.
She could nail any/ all harmonies.
Whenever i hear this song, I automatically think of her.
- toby, pittsburgh, PA
why is there only one comment for this song? it's awesome!!
- Liliana, Huntley, IL
The harmonizing in this song is out of hand. When listening to this song try to figure out what level John is singing at,try to sing along at Johns tone,I bet ya you won't be able too...
- nick, Buffalo, NY
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