Paul McCartney Said 1 Beatles Song Broke Stereotypes About John Lennon as a Songwriter

Paul McCartney said fans often think the songs John Lennon wrote for The Beatles were “abrasive.” Despite this, he said one of The Beatles’ songs showed off John’s tender side. John said the song in question was the predecessor of “In My Life.”

The Beatles' John Lennon and Paul McCartney sitting
The Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney | Fox Photos/Getty Images

Paul McCartney raised the harmony on 1 of the Beatles songs he co-wrote with John Lennon

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul discussed John as a songwriter. “People forget that John wrote some pretty nice ballads,” he opined. “People tend to think of him as an acerbic wit and aggressive and abrasive, but he did have a very warm side to him really which he didn’t like to show too much in case he got rejected.”

Paul said he co-wrote one of The Beatles’ early ballads with John. “We wrote ‘If I Fell’ together but with the emphasis on John because he sang it,” Paul recalled. “It was a nice harmony number, very much a ballad.”

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John Lennon said The Beatles’ ‘If I Fell’ and ‘In My Life’ were ‘semiautobiographical’ songs

According to the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John discussed “If I Fell” in 1980. “That’s my first attempt at a ballad proper,” he opined. “That was the precursor to ‘In My Life.'”

The “Imagine” singer explained why he thought “If I Fell” was similar to “In My Life.” “It has the same chord sequences as ‘In My Life’: D and B minor and E minor, those kind of things,” he said. “And it’s semiautobiographical, but not consciously. It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads, silly love songs, way back when.” John may have referenced Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Silly Love Songs.”

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How ‘If I Fell’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

The Beatles released “If I Fell” as the B-side to “And I Love Her.” “If I Fell” became a minor hit in the United States. It peaked at No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for nine weeks. It appeared on the soundtrack of A Hard Day’s Night. For 14 weeks, the soundtrack topped the Billboard 200. It remained on the Billboard 200 for 56 weeks in total.

“If I Fell” never became a single in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song never charted there. Meanwhile, A Hard Day’s Night became a massive hit in the U.K. It was No. 1 for 21 of its 39 weeks on the chart.

Subsequently, Maroon 5 and Wallows covered “If I Fell.” Evan Rachel Wood sang it in the Fab Four movie musical Across the Universe. “If I Fell” wasn’t one of The Beatles’ biggest hits but Paul felt it showcased John’s range as a songwriter.

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