Let It Be album artworkWritten by: Harrison
Recorded: 25 January 1969; 8 January 1970
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Glyn Johns

Released: 8 May 1970 (UK), 11 May 1970 (US)

Available on:
Let It Be
Anthology 3
Let It Be… Naked


George Harrison: vocals, acoustic guitar
John Lennon: lap steel guitar
Paul McCartney: piano
Ringo Starr: drums

Written by George Harrison for his wife Pattie, ‘For You Blue’ was a straightforward blues song recorded during the Let It Be sessions.

It’s a simple 12-bar song following all the normal 12-bar principles, except that it’s happy-go-lucky!
George Harrison

In the studio

‘For You Blue’ was recorded in six takes on 25 January 1969, with the working title ‘George’s Blues (Because You’re Sweet And Lonely)’. The last of these was selected for inclusion on the unreleased Get Back album and on Let It Be.

John Lennon played a lap steel guitar on the song; unusually, he used a shotgun shell as a slide. During his solo, George Harrison encouraged Lennon with the words “Go, Johnny, go” and “Elmore James’ got nothing on this baby!”

There is no bass guitar on ‘For You Blue’, as Paul McCartney was playing piano. He treated the piano’s strings to change the sound of the instrument.

It’s a fuzzy, metallic sound, which he did by putting a piece of paper in the piano strings, causing them to vibrate against the paper when struck. You can hear on the session tape Paul’s fiddling around, trying to get the right sound.
Paul Hicks, Abbey Road Studios
Mix Online

‘For You Blue’ was remixed by Glyn Johns on 8 January 1970. Prior to this, Harrison re-recorded his lead vocals.

A new mix of take six was made in 2003 for Let It Be… Naked. An alternative take from the 25 January 1969 session was included on Anthology 3.

On 30 March 1970, Phil Spector made a 16-second loop using the song’s instrumental break, onto which he overlaid snippets of speech from the Let It Be film soundtrack. It was never used.

Several mixes were made in this fashion, utilising such cinéma vérité moments from the rooftop performance element of the film as the old woman’s “I just can’t see that it makes sense!”, the young girl’s “Yeah, I think it’s great… livens up the office hours, anyway”, the bowler-hatted vicar’s “Nice to have something for free in this country at the moment, isn’t it?”, the taxi driver’s “Is it their new record? Oh, great, I’m all in favour of it!” and the pompous businessman’s “This type of music is all right in its place, it’s quite enjoyable. But I think it’s a bit of an imposition to absolutely disrupt all the business in this area…”
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

In the end Spector used just one piece of dialogue from the Twickenham film sessions. Heard immediately prior to ‘For You Blue’ on Let It Be, it was Lennon’s “Queen says no to pot-smoking FBI members.”

‘For You Blue’ was the b-side to the US single ‘The Long And Winding Road’, released on 11 May 1970.

Previous song: ‘The Long And Winding Road’
Next song: ‘Get Back’