How one of the last songs John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote together became a dark classic

"Baby's in Black" is about sadness and mourning and perfectly captures the distance between Lennon and McCartney...

The history of the "Beatles" "Baby's in Black": idea and meaning, recording

"Baby's in Black" - cult song The Beatles, which successfully complemented the albums "Beatles for Sale" and Beatles '65 (both 1964 Year of release). The composition is unique in that it was written John Lennon and Paul McCartney: by that time their duet had broken up and each wrote the material separately. Despite the pleasant melody, the song contains sad lyrics and a mood of melancholy. "Baby's in Black" is about sadness and mourning, and perfectly captures the distance between Lennon and McCartney...

Source of inspiration

John Lennon and Paul McCartney
John Lennon and Paul McCartney

In 1964 year Lennon and McCartney began to write material separately. Almost all early tracks The Beatles were created by the author's duet, which became one of the most famous and successful in the history of music! Each composition, born in hotel rooms or on the band's tour bus, was flawless... It was obvious that these two put a lot of effort and inspiration into their new creations, which quickly gained success! However, this success led to a lot of pressure, and by the time they started working on "Beatles for Sale", Lennon and McCartney helped each other only when there was an urgent need for it. "Baby's in Black" truly unique, because it is one of the rare masterpieces of that period, written by musicians together! According to John, he and Paul wrote this song "together in the same room":

"Baby's in Black" was written by us in collaboration, and we both sang it. We really liked this composition. This song has a particularly good middle! It was not so much work as trust in each other ... "

Studio recording

The Beatles
The Beatles

"Baby's in Black" became the first song recorded for the record "Beatles for Sale". It only took one session to record. In an attempt to achieve a perfect result, it was used 14 takes! However, only five of them were completed. Lennon and McCartney sang their parts together, into the same microphone, and it created a sense of closeness on the track...

Some problems arose with the opening guitar note: when the track was completed, George Harrison recorded several fragments consisting of variations of the note. However, none of them was ever used.

true meaning

Ringo Starr and Astrid Kirchherr
Ringo Starr and Astrid Kirchherr

In fact, a very depressing theme is hidden under the cheerful music. The song is about a man who pursues a woman he likes. His lover does not reciprocate, as she is still mourning her previous lover. Because of this, she always dresses in black... When "Baby's in Black" came out, everyone was amazed at the depth of the texts! It seemed that this composition showed the audience a new, sentimental side of the group. Here's what he said Paul McCartney in one of his interviews:

“This song is about a girl in black. She dressed like this because the guy she loves has left this world. "Baby's in Black" is sung from the point of view of a man who really likes this girl, but his attempts to get closer to her lead to nothing ... "

There are suggestions that the heroine of the song was inspired by Astrid Kirchherr - a German artist and photographer, with whom The Beatles met and soon became friends during one of their trips to Hamburg. During this period, Kirchherr began a romantic relationship with Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bassist. The couple got engaged, but unfortunately, the guy died of a brain hemorrhage in April 1962 of the year.

Stuart Sutcliffe and Astrid Kirchherr
Stuart Sutcliffe and Astrid Kirchherr

Astrid mourned him for a long time, not knowing what to do now ... For Lennon and McCartney, this image became the center of a surprisingly dark song.

Live performance

The song has become an integral number in all live performances of the group! The Beatles performed it until their final concert, which took place on August 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. "Baby's in Black" also sounded from stadiums Shea and "Hollywood Bowl". The last version was included in the album "Live At The Hollywood Bowl" as a bonus track in 2016.

Cover versions

In the mid-60s, a group presented their version "Charles River Valley Boys". The cover was included in the album "Beatle Country", which featured interpretations of many other Fab Four songs. Did not pass by the gloomy lyrics and the British team "The Applejacks":

Pretty good cover Reuben Blades, whose plate "Amor Y Control" was nominated for Grammy Awards:


The optimistic rhythm of this composition resembles a ray of light that Lennon and McCartney tried to send to a dark place ...

“I think John and I wanted to do something bluesy, a little dark, grown-up, and not just pop music. By the way, our favorite color was also black!” McCartney commented.


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