For You Blue - The Beatles

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"For You Blue" - The Beatles (1970)

“For You Blue” was written by George about his wife, Pattie Boyd.

It was the most uncomplicated and straightforward song on the Let It Be album. It represented perfectly the return to the laid-back groove that they set out to record this time around and which dictated the rest of the recording effort.

“For You Blue” was composed and envisioned by Harrison as a “happy-go-lucky” blues numbers- which in itself is juxtaposition not usually associated with the genre. The song, and particularly Lennon’s outstanding lap slide guitar part, proves that when they wanted to, The Beatles could play the blues as good as the best of them.

Yet they didn’t- because they had no need for the blues as much as The Stones and Clapton did. Beatle music is never- ever- “sad”- as it makes us feel so good. On The White Album they recorded “Yer Blues” but that was a mockery of blues. It’s The Beatles digesting blues- and having it come out “Beatles”- as they did with all other genres of music.

So too with a song like “For Your Blue”- which was “upbeat” but clearly isn’t blues. For The Beatles- the blues is expressed in the characters they created in their songs not in the music. The Beatles didn’t need blues because so many of their songs were sad, about failed relationships, uncomfortable situations, and even down-right misery. What would they do with the blues in terms of defining it so as to put their unique finish on it?

Yet as bluesy as “For You Blue” was- it came out very “upbeat” proving that while The Beatles could do “sad”, “uncomfortable,” and “miserable” in “down in the dumps,” classic blues-style was never their thing.

The track is an easy, 12-bar blues, rhythm-and-blues number played ukulele-high, dripping with slide guitar and staccato accent. Harrison’s charming comments in the instrumental break enhance the song’s amenable nature. It is one of the very few twelve-bar blues songs recorded by the group.

Lennon is playing a lap slide guitar- a type of steel guitar where the player changes pitch by pressing a metal or glass bar against the strings instead of the strings against the fret board. John uses a shotgun shell for the effect. This is similar to the slide played by Elmore James, leading George to remark, during the solo: “Go, Johnny, Go!” and “Elmore James ain’t got nothin’ on this, baby!”

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