Welcome to the Beatles Rarity of the Week (this week’s now available as a podcast). John Lennon got a head start on writing new material for the yet untitled first Beatles movie, in early January 1964, when he wrote and recorded the initial home demos for “If I Fell” in his London flat. Legend has it that the recordings were taped over an audio message sent to John by a fan who had seen The Beatles November 17, 1963 show in Coventry. Her message had been recorded on New Year’s Eve, 1963. “If I Fell” would go on to be one of the 7 new songs completed specifically for A Hard Day’s Night (film and album) as well as the b-side of a July 1964 single paired with “And I Love Her” as the A-side. The other new songs for the film would be written during the upcoming tour of France and America.
This historical recording is divided into five separate demo/fragments:
1) The tape starts with a take already in progress, but this is cut off for a complete attempt (0:00-0:13).
2) John plays through the complete song with the structure and lyrics nearly finalized. The melody line he sings would eventually be given to Paul McCartney, with John taking a lower harmony. Here John is obviously straining to reach the notes. Note that the ending riff would be removed from use on this song and used instead on “I Should Have Known Better” (another song for the film yet to be written) (0:14-2:40).
3) John sings the final verse an octave lower which is much more suited for his vocal range (2:41-3:08).
4) John tries singing falsetto again, but only the first verse (3:09-3:45).
5) John tries just a couple lines of the first verse, singing falsetto again and snaps off the tape (3:46-4:00).
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