The Story Of The First Ballad Of John Lennon

via John Lennon/YouTube

The Beatles revolutionized the concept of a rock band, presenting a democratic approach where every member contributed their unique talents. However, the heart of their success lay in the songwriting genius of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. While Lennon was known for his poignant lyrics and McCartney for his melodic prowess, both musicians were capable of showcasing their sensitive sides. One such instance was Lennon’s composition, “If I Fell,” which marked a significant milestone as his first predominantly written ballad. Delving into his apprehensions about love, Lennon’s introspective approach and vulnerability set the stage for his future works.

Within the Beatles’ dynamic, John Lennon emerged as a prominent figure renowned for his emotionally charged lyrics. From the desperate plea in “Help!” to the provocative questions raised in “Revolution,” Lennon’s contributions showcased his depth and introspection. In contrast, Paul McCartney was celebrated for his mastery of melody and his ability to craft beautiful ballads. However, Lennon demonstrated his own capacity for sensitivity when he chose to explore it.

The Unveiling of “If I Fell”

While Lennon and McCartney had previously collaborated on love songs, “If I Fell” represented Lennon’s first foray into penning a ballad predominantly by himself. The song revealed a more cautious and vulnerable side of Lennon’s personality, reflecting his fear of getting hurt in new relationships after past experiences. The harmonious interplay between Lennon and McCartney throughout the track drew inspiration from the Everly Brothers’ harmonies, a fond childhood influence for both musicians.

Unveiling Lennon’s Paranoia and Wickedness

As the song progresses, Lennon’s lyrical narrative reveals his past heartbreak and hints at potentially impure motives for entering a new relationship. Tensions with his former flame surface, and Lennon expresses a desire for his newfound love interest to evoke feelings of loss in his former lover. Lennon’s thoughts on the song can be understood through his own words:

“It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads, silly love songs, way back when” (Rolling Stone).

Lennon’s Artistic Growth

Reflecting on the song later in life, Lennon acknowledged its sentimental nature, considering it simplistic in comparison to his later compositions. However, “If I Fell” served as a catalyst for Lennon’s exploration of moody love songs, ultimately becoming his preferred style of writing following his separation from his first wife, Cynthia, and his relationship with Yoko Ono. This ballad became a testing ground for expressing his innermost feelings and laid the foundation for future introspective masterpieces like “In My Life” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

McCartney’s Observations

Despite Lennon’s attempts to distance himself from sentimentality, McCartney recognized the warm and tender side of his songwriting partner. McCartney affirmed:

“People tend to think of him as an acerbic wit, but he did have a very warm side to him, which he didn’t like to show too much in case he got rejected.”

While Lennon continued to guide the Beatles’ artistic direction during this period, the influence of McCartney’s melodic genius and sensitivity began to shape Lennon’s artistic growth.