Baby's In Black

Album: Beatles For Sale (1964)


  • This is about a man who is pursuing a woman, but the woman doesn't return the interest because she is still in mourning for her previous lover, and hence she always dresses in black. The depressing subject matter is hidden by the upbeat music. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Andy - Arlington, VA
  • There is speculation that the song was written about mourning the loss of Stuart Sutcliffe after he died of a sudden brain hemorrhage. The song was a 50/50 effort by both Lennon and McCartney, but started by Lennon as a response to his own mourning process (which he never really got over). The "baby in black" would be photographer Astrid Kircherr, who dated Sutcliffe before he died.
  • This song uses a 6/8 time signature, similar to a waltz.
  • This is one of several Beatles songs with a dual melody line - "If I Fell" is another. McCartney and Lennon sang into the same microphone, making it hard to distinguish which is the main melody line. Sheet music of the song usually displays both. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 3
  • This was the first 50/50 Lennon/McCartney song written since "I Want To Hold Your Hand" a year earlier. They wrote it together sitting practically nose to nose at John's Kenwood Estate.

Comments: 17

  • Steve from Princeton, NjJohn told Playboy that the four of them, along with their Producer, George Martin, put a lot of time and effort into deciding not only which songs to put on each album, but also what order to put them in. So they absolutely HATED what record labels literally all over the world did to all of their albums before Sergeant Pepper: they would take songs out, put songs in, change album titles. As a result, whenever they performed Live anywhere outside of England, they never knew what album any song of theirs was on. One of the guiltiest labels was Capitol Records right here in what Archie Bunker called the U. S. of A., as George Martin reinforced in 1977 when he put out an album called Live At The Hollywood Bowl, on which John can be heard several times introducing a song by saying, "It's on one of our albums over here," because that was all they knew. That's why, when Capitol Records asked George Martin for his, if you'll pardon the Beatles pun, Help in reproducing their material for CD's, he wouldn't do it, not until Capitol Records agreed to make the CD's the same as their albums way back when on Parlophone Records in England. Despite all this, on at least one occasion John ALMOST got it right: Of the fourteen songs on England's, and therefore CD, Beatles For Sale, eight of them, including, you guessed it, this one, got on an American LP called Beatles '65. The other six from Beatles For Sale were put on a U. S. LP coincidentally called Beatles VI (both of those Capitol Records albums have eleven songs). During probably their best known concert, Shea Stadium in 1965, John guessed that "Baby's In Black" was on Beatles VI; no, it's on Beatles '65 (which somehow seems more intimate than Beatles VI, but that's another story). If John ever found out about that, he probably felt like that immortal Cartoon Moose---that's right, Bullwinkle---pulling Rocky out of the hat: "Well, I'm gettin' close!" So, if you'll pardon the Lennon pun, Imagine my surprise when, several years after I thought of that, I was reading a 1998 Biography of Paul called Many Years From Now, in which---referring to this VERY SAME song!---Paul said that he and John, "pulled a rabbit out of a hat"! How's THAT for Instant Karma?!
  • Rick Margin from Brick,njAccording to "All The Songs", Paul admitted that they loved the 1961 waltzy "If You Got To Make A Fool Of Somebody" which they included in their early sets. This is a probable influence. As for the Stuart Sutcliffe rumor, none of the Beatles ever confirmed it.
  • Steve from Princeton, NjBecause of what was done to Beatles albums by record labels literally all over the world, putting songs in, taking songs out, changing the names of albums, they never knew what album any song of theirs was on other than on Parlophone Records in London. As a result, whenever they toured anywhere outside of England, they often introduced songs by saying something like, "It's on one of our albums over here." One time John ALMOST got it right: During their possibly most well-known concert, Shea Stadium in 1965, he introduced "Baby's in Black" as being on "Beatles Six." But instead of being one of the six "Beatles for Sale" songs to be put on "Beatles VI," it was actually one of the eight "Beatles for Sale" songs put on "Beatles '65." If John ever found out about that, he probably felt like Bullwinkle pulling Rocky out of the hat: "Well, I'm gettin' close." Which makes it rather funny that Paul claimed that he and John "pulled a rabbit out a hat" with this song!
  • George from Belleville, NjA unique pop rock song with the style of a waltz.The hooks and melodies are great.Another classic that the Beatles used in concert.
  • Julia from Richland, WaP.S. I forgot about You Can't Do That. sorry, fellow beatlemaniacs!!
  • Julia from Richland, WaHave you ever noticed that a lot of Beatles songs have playful melodies with kind of morbid lyrics??? EXAMPLES: Run For Your Life, Baby's In Black, & I'll Cry Instead.... Oh, and It's Only Love does also...
  • Heather from Wi, WiNot A Emo Song!
    Way Before we heard of Emo, It's a darker song for the Beatles for sure. This song shows how deep their ability was growing as artists. A song a fan of the stones could like.
  • Evan from Chickenland, KyAstrid Kirchherr, she wore black constantly.
  • Faith from Fortuna, CaI hate that people call this an "emo" song. John wasn't trying to emply he was depressed; he was just trying to express himself through music and he was trying to make another story in his song.
    Many people thought John was suffering from depression because this was on the same album as 'I'm A Loser'but he wasn't it was just coincidence.
  • Jeff from Austin, TxFirst EMO song ever!! haha!! never thought of that, but pretty funny. This song is fantastic. Lennon said he wanted to write a more 'serious' song, and Paul gladly assisted. Their harmony on this one is unreal...a very close second to 'If I Fell'.
  • John from Manila, OtherShea Stadium 1965: They did a very impressive rendition of this song..
  • Meznu from Ft. Lauderdale, FlA friend of mine had an interesting interpretation of this song. He said that it was about a guy who loved a woman who became a nun. She's in black...though "He'll" never come makes quite a bit of sense, really.
  • Markus from Leipzig, GermanyThe song is not about Stuart Sutcliffe himself, but about Sutcliffe's fiancée in Hamburg, Astrid Kirchherr. She was the one who invented the trademark Beatles hairstyle, and one or more members of the band were allegedly infatuated with her. The song is one of my favorite Beatles tracks and also a favorite of the band themselves who kept it in their live setlist many years - usually they discarded older songs from the setlist.
  • Steven from West Carrollton, OhWHOA!!!! STUART SUTCLIFFE DIED???!!!???!!!
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnMaybe she was just a big Johnny Cash fan.
  • Matt from Los Angeles, CaProbably, but back then it was still considered music.
  • Aaron from Chicago, IlThis has to be the first Emo song ever!
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