I Will - The Beatles
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"I Will" - The Beatles (1968)
Written by McCartney in India, "I Will" features him on lead vocal, guitar, and “vocal bass”. It’s one of the few post mop top songs that could have fit into any of their musical recording eras.
As simple as it sounds, the very quiet song required 67 takes to complete.
“We’re not just completely rock & roll. We’re not just completely one kind of group. On one hand you’ll get something like I Will: and then you’ll get “Why Don’t’ We Do It In The Road”. It’s still one of my favorite melodies that I’ve written. You just occasionally get lucky with a melody and it becomes rather complete and I think this is one of them---quite a complete tune.”
Author Jonathan Gould wrote that I Will is so well crafted and smoothly harmonized that it lacks all strong feelings, with Paul professing undying love for a girl (the lyrics tell us) he’s never met and whose name he doesn’t know. Gould says this is one of the few instances in which the restraint Paul typically brought to his ballad singing branches into something that sounds like simple indifference.
In his essay Evolution of Rock Bass Playing; McCartney Style, Dennis Alstrand comments:
“The song’s lovely harmonies, romantic lyrics, and a tune that all but whistles itself is what makes it likeable. It comes from a tradition of calypso style and its reassuring bass (sung rather than played by McCartney, according to some sources) to its somewhat vapid, which harkens back to the bandstand singer tradition.”
David Quantick, who wrote a book on The White Album, says that as empty as the song may be, its technical excellence, almost casual delivery, and utter musical confidence are still striking, and very few groups could come near to pulling it off.
Beatle scholar Terence O’Grady thought that this song was The Beatles’ greatest experimental triumph as it demonstrated more interest in the graceful manipulation of clichés than in the invention of novel features.
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