100 Greatest Beatles Songs

From 'Helter Skelter' to 'Sgt. Pepper's,' ranking of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison's output

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'No Reply'
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images45/100

45. 'No Reply'

Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: September 30, 1964
Released: December 15, 1964
not released as a single

The second Beatles album of 1964, Beatles for Sale, was a rush job, recorded in seven days scattered between August and October 1964, when the Beatles were also busy touring North America and the U.K. Amid the whirlwind of Beatlemania, somehow Lennon found time to push his songwriting forward. "No Reply" was at first written for Tommy Quickly, who was also managed by Brian Epstein; a demo was made in June 1964. Luckily, the Beatles kept the song for themselves and recorded it the same day they finished "Every Little Thing."

The germ of "No Reply" was a 1957 doo-wop song, "Silhouettes," by the Rays, in which the singer sees a couple shadowed at a window and mistakenly thinks his girl is cheating on him. In "No Reply," the girl is cheating. "I had that image of walking down the street and seeing her silhouetted in the window and not answering the phone," Lennon said. "Although I never called a girl in my life — phones weren't part of an English child's life."

Appears On: Beatles for Sale

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