"If I Fell" is a song by The Beatles which first appeared on the 1964 UK album A Hard Day's Night and the US compilation album Something New. It was written primarily by John Lennon, with help from Paul McCartney.
The song is notable for its unusual structure, which includes an unrepeated introductory section (introduced as an afterthought as of take 11) followed by sequential verse sections, each having a slightly expanded form, but with no obvious chorus or bridge section. The song also features a two-part harmony, sung by Lennon and McCartney together into a single microphone at their suggestion, and intricate chord changes. The key changes from D flat major to D major between the introduction (a series of descending barre chords) and the main song, which uses mainly open chords, including an unusual D ninth.
Recording and performance
Lennon played acoustic guitar and sang, McCartney played bass and sang, George Harrison plucked out single notes on electric guitar, and Ringo Starr played drums.
There is an alternate take of the song in which McCartney's voice strains and cracks at the end of a line, which first appeared on the Love Songs compilation double-LP, by an archivist's error when returning to the master tapes in Capitol's vault. Since then, this version has appeared in many places and is often heard on oldies stations in some markets. This version is the stereo version now found in The Capitol Albums box set. In the mono version, Paul's voice strains, but does not crack.
The stereo mix of the song (found on the Hard Day's Night LP and Something New) features a double-tracked opening by John. This was also Kurt Cobain's favourite Beatles song, and was played by Nirvana whenever there were technical problems at their concerts.
"If I Fell" was a part of The Beatles repertoire during The Beatles' US and Canadian tour in 1964. The group typically performed the song faster than the studio version, and Lennon and McCartney often sang it with barely suppressed laughter. On more than one occasion it was introduced as "If I Fell Over."
* UK: In the UK it was released on 4 December 1964 as A-side (b/w "Tell Me Why") on Parlophone DP 562
* USA: It was also the B-side of the US single "And I Love Her" (Capitol 5235)
* Norway: The song was released as a single in Norway, where it hit number one.
Maroon 5 performed an acoustic version of the song on their 1.22.03.Acoustic album. Evan Rachel Wood sang the song in the Across the Universe film. Sammy Kershaw performed a cover on the Come Together Tribute CD. Dominican band Caña Brava performed a merengue version on their 1994 album The Best of the Best. Jason Castro performed an acoustic version of the song on Season 7 of American Idol. The Rutles' song "With A Girl Like You" is based on this song. Reba McEntire has also performed a version of the song.