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For You Blue

The history of this classic Beatles song


The original US 45 sleeve for

The original US 45 sleeve for "For You Blue"

source: glyphmedia.com

For You Blue

Working title: George's Blues (Because You're Sweet And Lovely)
Written by: George Harrison (100%)
Recorded: January 25, 1969 (Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London, England); January 8, 1970 (Studio 1, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: January 8, February 28, March 25 and 30, 1970
Length: 3:40
Takes: 18
Musicians: John Lennon: lead guitar (Hofner 5140 Hawaiian Standard)
Paul McCartney: bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1), piano (Bluthner Flugel Grand)
George Harrison: lead vocal, rhythm guitar (1968 Gibson J-200)
Ringo Starr: drums (1968 Ludwig Hollywood Maple)
First released: May 11, 1970 (US: Apple 2832), b-side to "Let It Be"
Available on: (CDs in bold)
  • Let It Be, (US: Apple AR 34001, UK: Apple PX1, Apple PCS 7096, Parlophone CDP 7 46447 2)
Highest chart position: US: 1 (two weeks beginning June 13, 1970)
  • Another rescued track from the "Get Back" sessions (eventually released as Let It Be), this is a standard 12-bar blues written by George about his wife, Pattie Boyd, who inspired George's "It's All Too Much" and, eventually, Eric Clapton's "Layla" (Clapton carried on a affair with Pattie and eventually wooed her away from his best friend, George). Composed sometime in late 1968, it was envisioned by Harrison as a "happy-go-lucky" blues -- a juxtaposition not usually associated with the genre.
  • "For You Blue," still called "George's Blues," was rehearsed fifteen times during the "Get Back" sessions: January 7, 9, 25, and 29, 1969. The take from the 25th was eventually judged best, and made it onto the Let It Be album. When called on to salvage the project, producer Phil Spector's only additions were a new lead vocal by George (recorded January 4 and 8, 1970) and a snippet of dialogue from the film itself: John's ad-lib "headline" "Queen says no to pot-smoking FBI members" (recorded during rehearsals on January 8, 1969).
  • John plays slide guitar on this, using a shotgun shell for the effect. This is similar to the slide played by bluesman Elmore James, leading George to remark, during the solo: "Go, Johnny, Go!" and "Elmore James ain't got nothin' on this, baby!" Because of this connection, it is sometimes assumed that this song was modeled after James' own "Madison Blues" (1960), but there is little similarity, apart from the songs' home key.
  • The version of "For You Blue" on Anthology 3 and the Let It Be... Naked CD are different takes from earlier in the same session (1/25/69). The latter is the same take seen in the LIB film.
  • Although both sides were listed as hitting Number One in Billboard, in keeping with the magazine's recent policy of listing both sides of a single that received airplay, "For You Blue" was not, as is often thought, considered a "double-a" side with "The Long And Winding Road," as evidenced by its lack of inclusion on Beatles 1.
Covered by: Laibach
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