With Jane Asher in Switzerland, McCartney’s composed “For No One”. Instead of the third party comforting his friend he sadly informs him that there is “no sign of love” remaining.
As was his habit, Paul took advantage of a Beatle-less vacation out of the country and, while away, found the atmosphere perfect for writing a song. “I wrote that on a skiing holiday in Switzerland, in a hired chalet amongst the snow,” he remembered . This vacation took place in March of 1966 with girlfriend Jane Asher in Klosters, Switzerland where they rented a chalet about half a mile from town.
In the book “Anthology,” Paul goes into greater detail: “I was in Switzerland on my first skiing holiday. I’d done a bit of skiing in ‘Help!’ and quite liked it, so I went back and ended up in a little bathroom in a Swiss chalet writing ‘For No One.’ I remember the descending bass-line trick that it’s based on, and I remember the character in the song – the girl putting on her make-up.”
Paul said that it was all about his own experience of living with a woman when he was fresh from leaving home. Later he was less specific, saying that he was thinking only of the character of a typical working girl.” One may speculate that his three-year relationship with Dot Rhonewas the experience used as inspiration for “For No One,“I suspect it was about another argument. I don’t have easy relationships with women, I never have. I talk too much truth.”
Originally titled “Why Did It Die?,” it appears to have been written solely by Paul. John himself confirms this assumption in his 1972 “Hit Parader” magazine interview when asked about the authorship of the song. “Paul. Another of his I really liked,” he stated. “One of my favorite pieces of his, too. That and ‘Here, There And Everywhere.’ A nice piece of work, I think,”
At right around the half way mark of recording their “Revolver” album, Paul and Ringo entered EMI Studio Two on May 9th, 1966 at 7 pm for a four hour session devoted to beginning Paul’s “For No One.” A simple rhythm track was recorded with only Paul on piano and Ringo on drums, which were played very subtly mostly on the hi-hats. It took ten attempts to get it right; the tenth take now ready for overdubs.
Producer George Martin remembers: “On ‘For No One,’ the track was laid down on my own clavichord. I brought it in from my home, because I thought it had a nice sound. It was a very strange instrument to record, and Paul played it.” Mark Lewisohn, in his book “The Beatles Recording Sessions,” insists that the clavichord was “hired at a cost of five guineas from George Martin’s AIR Company.” In any event, George Martin was responsible for getting it in the studio on that day. At 11 pm, the two Beatles called a halt to the session which left the song as an instrumental, deciding to record the vocals on another day. “Occasionally we’d have an idea for some new kind of instrumentation, particularly for solos,” relates Paul.