No Reply

“No Reply” is a famous song from the Fab Four on their album, “Beatles For Sale”, of course. The Beatles recorded the song shortly after they came back from their first tour of the United States.

In Detail

Albums

Release Date: 4th December, 1964 (UK), 15 December, 1964 (US)
Recorded: 30th September, 1964
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Folk rock
Track Duration: 2:15
Record Label: Parlophone
Songwriters: Lennon-McCartney
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Performers

John Lennon: double-tracked lead vocal, acoustic guitar, handclaps
Paul McCartney: harmony vocal, bass guitar, handclaps
George Harrison: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, handclaps
Ringo Starr: drums, handclaps
George Martin: piano

Track Sources

Beatles For Sale
Anthology 1

No Reply

No Reply is a Beatles' song from the album Beatles For Sale

Beatles For Sale Album (1964)

No Reply is a Beatles' song - the demo is on The Anthology 1 album

Anthology 1 Album (1995)

Written mainly by John Lennon but credited to Lennon-McCartney, they gave the song Tommy Quickly whose manager was the one and only Brian Epstein. However, Quickly declined the offer of recording the song so The Beatles reclaimed it for themselves. Lennon was on holiday in Tahiti with George Harrison in May, 1964, when he had the idea for the song. However, Paul McCartney helped him finish it off when they came back to the UK.

The inspiration behind “No Reply” was the 1957 song by The Rays, “Silhouettes”. Lennon’s song involves a young man who is trying to contact his apparently unfaithful girlfriend at home, although he knows she is home, she will not reply.

“That’s my song. Dick James, the publisher, said, ‘That’s the first complete song you’ve written where it resolves itself’. You know, with a complete story. It was my version of Silhouettes: I had that image of walking down the street and seeing her silhouetted in the window and not answering the phone, although I never called a girl on the phone in my life. Because phones weren’t part of the English child’s life.”

John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

“We wrote No Reply together but from a strong original idea of his. I think he pretty much had that one, but as usual, if he didn’t have the third verse and the middle eight, then he’d play it to me pretty much formed, then we would shove a bit in the middle or I’d throw in an idea.”

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Paul McCartney had to sing the higher harmony part due to a deterioration in Lennon’s voice at the time.

Recording Studio

The Beatles recorded a demo of “No Reply” on the 3rd of June, 1964, then presented it to Tommy Quickly. But, as we know, Quickly didn’t want to record the song. This demo tape became lost and largely forgotten about. However, in 1994, they rediscovered the tape and this demo became a song on the 1995 album, “Anthology 1”.

The demo version sees the band sing “I saw you walk in your face” then one of the band laughs. They done this a few times so it’s well worth listening if just for the humour. Just to point out that Ringo Starr doesn’t appear on the demo because he was ill with tonsillitis. The drummer remains a mystery due to the lack of documentation once the tape “disappeared”.

The Fab Four eventually got around to recording the song again on the 30th September, 1964. They recorded takes 2-8 with the last being suitable for the the rhythm track and tweaking.

Take 2 also appears on the “Anthology 1” album. Just like the demo version, we get to hear the band have a little fun. In fact they also change the words on this track too with “You walked hand in hand with another plank in my place” then the band laugh again.

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About Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Editor on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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