"No Reply" first appeared on June 3, 1964 in what was originally scheduled to be the final session for A Hard Day's Night. That morning Ringo had taken ill with tonsillitis and Jimmy Nicol had been drafted at the last minute to fill in during the opening dates of their intercontinental tour which would begin in Denmark the next day. The Beatles, with Nicol, spent the day listening to playbacks, rehearsing and, after Jimmy had gone home to pack, loosely recorded three demos - George's "You'll Know What to Do", Paul's "It's For You" which he later gave to Cila Black and John's "No Reply," which he had considered giving to another Brian Epstein managed artist Tommy Quickly.
However, by September, with their grueling touring schedule forcing them to book sessions during "rest" days and hindering songwriting efforts, John decided to keep "No Reply" for the Beatles. They recorded it on the 30th of the month. Stricken with jet-lag and a long day of singing, John found himself unable to hit the high notes in the song (which was designed for Quickly's vocal style) so he allowed Paul to do the high harmonies. Eight takes were laid down. Take five was an attempt to increase the length of the song: 3:17" as opposed to the released 2:14 on the final version.
This is John's "complete story."
John Lennon - Rhythm guitar, lead vocal
Paul McCartney - Bass guitar, harmony vocal
George Harrison - Lead Guitar, harmony vocal
Ringo Starr - Drums
George Martin - Piano