One Song/Three Versions – For No One

Just want to acknowledge the passing of Mr. Antoine “Fats” Domino the other day. A great pioneer of early rock and roll. If you’ve never listened to it, check out some of his (and others’) classic numbers on my Indispensable 150 Spotify list.

“For No One” is a song from the Beatles’ seminal 1966 album, Revolver. Just listening to it you know it’s pretty much primarily a McCartney song. But what I like about it is that it shows a depth of songwriting talent and maturity that is a long way from holding someone’s hand. It was a favorite of Lennon’s.

One of its unusual aspects is the use of a French horn by a guy named Alan Civil who was, per George Martin, the best in the business. Martin and McCartney pushed him to play a note way at the top of his range.

Here’s the Beatles original. (Spotify only).

Spotify link

Emmylou Harris is a great singer but since I’m not much of a country fan I haven’t spent a lot of time listening to her. Occasionally I do hear something by her and really enjoy her voice. She brings out the pathos in this song, methinks:

Here she plays for our last cool president:

Spotify link

Okay, enough with the melancholy, right? Anybody who has suffered through this blog for more than five minutes knows I like the three versions stuff because I dig radical reinvention.

Ever heard of the band Blackwater Park? They were a German prog-rock band of the early ’70’s who put out exactly one album called Dirt Box. One of the cuts on the album is, believe it or not, a cover of “For No One.” Here’s their version. The guitar tone on this reminds me of Zappa. (How does this album wind up on Spotify when, say, a Procol Harum album doesn’t?)

Spotify link

Side note: There is a Swedish progressive death metal band called Opeth. They apparently named one of their albums Blackwater Park as a tribute to this more-influential-than-we-thought band. And that Opeth album was co-produced by uber-producer Steven Wilson whose theme song should be “I Get Around.” Got all that? There’ll be a test later.

Your day breaks your mind aches
You find that all her words of kindness linger on
When she no longer needs you
She wakes up she makes up
She takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry
She no longer needs you

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

You want her you need her
And yet you don’t believe her when she says her love is dead
You think she needs you 

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

You stay home she goes out
She says that long ago she knew someone but now he’s gone
She doesn’t need him

Your day breaks your mind aches
There will be times when all the things she said
Will fill your head
You won’t forget her

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years
—-Lennon/McCartney

29 thoughts on “One Song/Three Versions – For No One

  1. One of my favourite Beatles tracks and some nice cover versions too.
    I had heard of Blackwater Park but only because I was eyeing up Germany for my next Out of Europe. I’m always surprised by what albums (and artists) do and do not end up on Spotify but then it’s all down to money and licensing. Beatles and Pink Floyd were long hold outs but there are still bands like Tool or that country singing berk with gazillions of sales who aren’t up for it…

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    1. The lyrics, I think, hold up without the music. As to Blackwater Park, the blogosphere is an amazing thing. No matter how obscure a band or artist, someone’s heard of them. I think that what mostly triggered the desire to do this post was hearing their version and saying, “Isn’t that For No One?” As to Spotify, yeah it’s a real rip-off for artists. My son’s band doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot off of it. But it just seems odd that Procol Harum’s catalog is up there randomly. Go figure.

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  2. I always liked Fats Domino, who was a smooth performer with a signature piano style. With him now gone, there are hardly any early rock & rollers left – I can only think of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.

    As “For No One,” I love that song – of course, as a die hard Beatles fan, I may be a bit biased here!

    I also think the covers you highlighted are pretty cool. While I’m also not so much into country, Emmylou Harris is a great artist. I saw her live earlier this year when she was touring together with John Mellencamp – pretty impressive lady! And Blackwater Park, who knew? I suppose it proves Germans rock!😀

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    1. My wife and I went to New Orleans several years after Hurricane Katrina. We saw Fats’ house on a tour. They told us that he had been stuck in the attic in waist-deep water for two days till the Coast Guard could rescue him. And he was in his 70’s at the time. Hearty stock! As to Emmylou, had she been a rocker I’d probably own something by her. I intend to add her to my “listen list” for sure. Do Germans rock? Sure. And sometimes even in English! 😀

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        1. Ah! Got it. Too subtle for me. Actually if I could I’d just buy a box set of EC and listen to all of it. I’ve known about some of these for a while but haven’t gotten around to them. I don’t know why.

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        2. By early Emmylou Harris albums, I actually meant the ones from 1975-1976 – Pieces of the Sky, Luxury Liner, and Elite Hotel. Roses in the Snow is very good too though – it’s more straight bluegrass, while the early ones are basically an effort at keeping Gram Parsons’ legacy going.

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        1. I cant doubt that’s true coming from you. Something an exec would say. Albert Lee is in the clip. He wasn’t the original guitarist. I seen him with the Everley Brothers. It was a very good band. Are you familiar with his work Doc?

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        2. Good tune. That’s some band. I’m pretty sure that’s Albert Lee on guitar. I know he was with her at some point. I saw him earlier this year at a small club. Killer player. I have more Emmylou to listen to.

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      1. In person. It was a very good show. His partner Dave Bartholomew kept things tight. He did belly buck the piano. It was a sight to behold. I seen a doc on the story you related about Fats after the hurricane. Cool guy.one of the originals.

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  3. I’m fairly familiar with Albert’s stuff but he’s done so much I can’t keep up with him. I first became aware of him when he was touring with Clapton in the ’70’s. Great live album with the two of them going at it. He’s got some pretty dedicated fans. When I saw that show, they knew every tune. A lot of pickin’ and a grinnin’.

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      1. The Beatles fuckin’ loved the Everlys. Loved ’em. Paul said that when he and John first started, they called themselves Phil and Don. I didn’t know for a long time that Albert backed the Everlys. But when I found out I wasn’t the least bit surprised. The guy’s everywhere.

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        1. Don and Phil had just got back together. It wasn’t one of those roll out the hits, nostalgic gigs. It was a great show. And Albert and the band were featured a lot. I seen them a couple years later and it was just as good. Just some of the Beatles harmonies are obvious nods to the Everly’s. You know you’re Fab 4 Doc.

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