Today’s session was devoted to Paul’s composition “For No One.” For those of you keeping score at home, that makes three for Paul (including “Got to Get You into My Life” and “Eleanor Rigby”), three for John (“Tomorrow Never Knows,” “Dr. Robert,” and “I’m Only Sleeping”), and two for George (“Love You To” and “Taxman”).

Awhile back I wrote how hard I thought it must have been to create given the overwhelming amount of attention that came with being The Beatles. But as I’ve learned more I’ve come to think the secret was this: They weren’t really writing songs for the world at large. Just like in public speaking they tell you to imagine you’re speaking to one specific person, The Beatles were writing for an audience of one (John and Paul, constantly trying to one-up each other) or two (George, always struggling to gain his big brothers’ respect).

The songwriting rivalry between John and Paul would continue, with varying levels of intensity, throughout the 70s and up to the time of John’s demise. Back in 1966, even though it was spurring them to new creative heights, it was also splintering the band into fragments. Instead of operating as a single unit, more and more the principal writer of any given song would act as de facto bandleader, with everyone else serving as backing band.

“For No One,” like “Yesterday” or “Eleanor Rigby,” was essentially a solo Paul McCartney song. In fact the only other Beatle to appear on it at all was Ringo. Also like “Eleanor,” it touches on the darker side of Paul’s romantic sensibility. I find it a quite lovely, if somewhat trifling, little tune. At a barely two minutes, it’s over in a hurry.

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