The Beatles

You Won't See Me

Composed by John Lennon / Paul McCartney

Song Review by

In comparing the early Lennon-McCartney songs in which Paul McCartney was the primary composer and those in which John Lennon was the primary composer, it can be seen that, although these are equal in quality, Lennon was much more apt to express doubt and personal emotions in his lyrics. "You Won't See Me," along with another song on Rubber Soul ("I'm Looking Through You"), was a turning point for McCartney in that it marked the first time that he expressed some romantic uncertainties and frustration in a romantic song that seemed related to personal experience. Nevertheless, as was the Beatles' wont, the melody was not only exceptionally catchy, but also extremely bouncy, even if the situation described in the song (a girlfriend who won't see or take the calls of a narrator) was downbeat. The song's most captivating feature was the brilliant interaction of counterpoint melodies between McCartney's lead vocal and the playful responsive harmonies. That really comes to the fore when McCartney sings the title phrase, and backup voices immediately respond with the same phrase, but sung with an entirely different, ascending melodic hook. The super-cheerful melody of the verse is offset by a more melancholy bridge, which again has delightful counterpoint harmonies at the very end. At nearly three and a half minutes, "You Won't See Me" was also the longest track the Beatles had released up to that point. That's not a very long track by the standards of just a few years later, and not a length the Beatles would routinely match and exceed until 1967, but it was a small breakthrough, nonetheless. Like many Beatles compositions released only as album tracks, it had considerable commercial potential as a single, as MOR vocalist Anne Murray proved when she took a cover of "You Won't See Me" into the Top Ten in 1974.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Rubber Soul 1965 Apple Records / Capitol 3:19
Nowhere Man [EP] 1966 Parlophone
Compact Disc EP Collection 1992 Apple Records
The Ultimate Box Set 1995 Capitol 3:22
EP Boxset 1999 Parlophone 3:23
The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2 2006 Apple / Capitol / EMI 3:23
The Beatles: Stereo Box Set 2009 Capitol 3:19
The Beatles USB 2009 Capitol / EMI 3:19
The U.S. Albums 2014 Capitol / Universal 3:26