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"Baby's In Black"

Categories: Beatles songs

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Having co-written "Baby's In Black" with John, Paul observed that — as The Beatles became more established — "we became more free to get into ourselves". There's little doubt in my mind that their newly acquired smoking habits also helped to loosen things up a little... While they had always been keen to explore different musical styles, the joints must certainly have played a significant 'roll' in the creative process.

The brief, bulging bass/guitar intro gives little indication to what emerges next: a folksy-bluesy waltz. And a very dark shade of blues at that. It's possible — though unverified — that it was written for (or about) Astrid Kirchherr, a friend from Hamburg who'd been engaged to their ex-bassist Stu Sutcliffe, who died there from a brain haemorrhage in 1962.

She thinks of him,
And so she dresses in black:
And though he'll never come back,
She's dressed in black.


So precise is the harmony duet right the way through, sung into a shared mike, that Paul insisted both parts constituted the main melody; thus providing something of a headache for Northern Songs' score writers. "Oh dear, what can I do?!!"

George's guitar tangents, on the other hand, masterfully sidestep the two of 'em, stamping his own marijuana mark onto the tune over Macca's swinging bass drone. "It's only a whim..."

"A nice one", said John: neatly understating the case, as was always his wont.

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