Notes on "For You Blue" (FYB)

KEY	D Major


FORM	Intro -> Verse -> Verse ->
Break (Instrumental) -> Break (Instrumental) -> Verse -> Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)


Style and Form

- "For You Blue" (FYB) qualifies as possibly the most uncomplicated and straightforward song on the _Let It Be_ album. It's one of the very few original Beatles songs in which every section is a strict 12-bar blues frame. And the official version features a relatively tight performance of a snappy instrumental arrangement for just the Beatles four that resonates nicely with the unusually unmuddied romantic euphoria of the lyrics. "Ah, very good that, George."

Melody and Harmony

- The tune is heavily inflected with the blue 3rd and 7th degress, and it covers a broad range (from f natural to the 'A' a tenth above) in jumpy style. The characteristic motif of the rising leap of a sixth (on the words, "love you" in the first phrase ) is followed through by sixth-spanning triadic leaps in the remaining two phrases.

- The chords, of course, are I, IV, V, plus a cameo appearance in the intro from V-of-V.


- George is on acoustic guitar, John on slide, Paul on piano, and Ringo (what else would you expect?) on drums. The setup appears downright cozy judging from the clip of this song that appears in the film.



- The intro is 6 measures long with plus a 3-beat pickup to the first downbeat:

        |D	|G6/3	|E7	|A7	|-	|

D:	 I	 IV	 V-of-V  V

- The intro is played by George solo. The other instruments all join him for the start of the first verse.

- The progression of IV to V-to-V is a novel way of exposing what is otherwise a familiar Beatles cross relation. Hint -- L&M more often would reverse the order of the two chords; e.g. EDAW and SPLHCB.


- The body of the song consists of 6 12-bar blues frames. George opts for the particular variant of this form in which the IV chord breaks up what is usually an harmonically monotonous first phrase, and V appears in the final measure all the better to motivate the arrival of the next section:

        |D	|G	|D	|-	|

D:	 I	 IV	 I

        |G	|-	|D	|-	|
         IV		 I

        |A	|G	|D	|A	|
         V	 IV	 I	 V

- The penultimate measure of this section incorporates a classic, chromatically rising bassline line cliche of: D - F# - G - G# - A.


- The back-to-back break sections divide up roughly to feature the slide guitar and piano, in that order. The slide solo recalls the jumpiness of the tune without repeating it by rote. The piano solo starts off with chopping chords in a descending blues scale, but then degenerates into a less clearly differentiated rhythmic pattern.


- The complete ending is simply tacked on to the end of the final verse.


- Of course there is no recording from the Get Back period that wasn't tampered with at least slightly in its official release. This one has John's FBI/pot-smking introductory comment flown in from elsewhere, and a lead vocal that was overdubbed way the hell later, in January 1970!

- Nor is there any song from the period which did not go through some alteration and variation in the course of the sessions. Noteworthy among the FYB outtakes:

- A very early and rough performance of the song survives from the Twickenham sessions, with a different intro, and a condensed form of Verse -> Break -> Verse -> Break -> Verse. Following the final chord, the microphones capture John's teasingly simple question to George, "pretty short, isn't it?"

- Ouch.


Alan (

"Yes, he's filled his head with notions seemingly."          090599#176

                Copyright (c) 1999 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved
This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.
Click here to return.

Click here to return to AWP's index.