Friday, 13 May 2011

12:31 Oh! Darling

Oh! Darling is unashamedly in the old school R&B ballad mould and would have sat well with the original concept for the doomed 'back to basics' Get Back album it was originally intended for. It was the one Beatles song that John Lennon wanted to take the lead vocals on instead Paul McCartney. But 'the main author gets to sing lead' was the Beatles rule so Lennon had to make do with piano and backing vocals. Perhaps it had happy memories for him as he was rehearsing it during the Let It Be sessions when he heard Yoko's divorce had been granted prompting him to burst into singing “I'm free this morning, papers told the lawyer it's OK”

It's slim pickings songwriting wise but let's pull out 3 good points now and save one cautionary tale for next time.

The intro

“What intro?”, you cry. (Go on. Cry it)

It's just a single E augmented (E+) chord played on piano and guitar (Ticket 2). Such an unusual chord really grabs your ear and leaves the song wide open. From here it could go anywhere!

The 'out' bridge

D, F, A, A7,
B, B, E F, E E+,

IV, bVI, I, I7,
II, II, V, bVI, I, I+

After staying 'in key' in the verse, the bridge introduces a lot of chords that don't fit. F (the flat 6 – Ticket 1), B and E+ don't belong in the key of A. Neither does A7, but it is an effective and commonly used way of leading strongly to the D. On the downside perhaps the weirdness of the chords push McCartney into an extremely monotonal melody?

Song sung blue

It's not just the grit-gargling vocals that give the track a blues edge. McCartney nails it by constantly singing the b3rd (C) instead of the 3rd (C#)

e.g. make it alo-ne
you didn't need me anymore amongst others.

Ticket 22 in full effect.


  1. I've never really thought about this song that much. I like it, but what you've written here has made me think more. Looking at the chords and everything is interesting as well, because I'd not even thought of that before now either.

    Thank you Matt.

  2. I've always liked this song a lot, even thought the delivery is probably a bit over-the-top.

    Macca can "bring it" when he wants to.