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"She Loves You"

Original "She Loves You" 45
Single by The Beatles
B-side "I'll Get You"
Released 23 August 1963 (UK)
16 September 1963 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 1 July 1963
Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 2:17
Label Parlophone R5055 (UK)
Swan 4152 (US)
Writer(s) Lennon/McCartney
Producer George Martin
The Beatles singles chronology
"From Me to You"
1963
"She Loves You"
1963
"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
1963
Music sample
"She Loves You"
Alternate covers
First US release (Swan 4152)
1992 CD issue

"She Loves You" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney based on an idea by McCartney, originally recorded by The Beatles for release as a single in 1963. The single set and surpassed several records in the United Kingdom charts, and set a record in the United States by being one of the five Beatles songs which held the top five positions in the American charts simultaneously. It is The Beatles' best-selling single in the United Kingdom, and was the best selling single in Britain in 1963.

"She Loves You" was credited to "Lennon/McCartney" as were all subsequent songs written by the pair and released during the remainder of the band's tenure. With the exception of the single version of "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You", all prior songs were credited as "McCartney/Lennon".[1] The sequence was a source of controversy when McCartney changed it to "McCartney/Lennon" for some live versions released later in his career.[2]

This was the first song by The Beatles to be heard by a substantial number of Americans; the only United States release by The Beatles that had even charted before that was "From Me to You", which lasted three weeks in August 1963, never going higher than number 116.

In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked "She Loves You" as the 64th Greatest Song of All Time. In October 2005, Uncut magazine named "She Loves You" as the third biggest song that changed the world, behind Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone".

In August 2009, at the end of its "Beatles Weekend", BBC Radio 2 announced that "She Loves You" was The Beatles' all-time best-selling single in the UK based on information compiled by The Official Charts Company.[3]

"She Loves You" (as "Sie liebt dich") was one of the two songs rerecorded by The Beatles in German, the other being "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (as "Komm gib mir deine Hand"). "Sie liebt dich" was released in Germany and in the US b/w "I'll Get You" by "Die Beatles" on 21 May 1964, (Swan 4182).[4]

Contents

Composition

McCartney and Lennon started composing "She Loves You" after a concert at the Majestic Ballroom in Newcastle as part of their tour with Roy Orbison and Gerry & The Pacemakers. They began writing the song on the tour bus, and continued it later that night at their hotel in Newcastle.[5][6] In 2003, plans to install a plaque at the hotel concerned were stalled after it turned out neither Paul McCartney nor Ringo Starr, the surviving Beatles, could recall whether it was the Imperial Hotel or the Royal Turk's Head where the group had stayed.[7]

The other circumstances under which the song was written are generally agreed upon. In 2000 McCartney said: "There was a Bobby Rydell song out at the time "Forget Him" and, as often happens, you think of one song when you write another. We were in a van up in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I'd planned an 'answering song' where a couple of us would sing 'she loves you' and the other ones would answer 'yeah yeah'. We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called 'She Loves You'. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it — John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars." It was completed the following day at McCartney's family home at Forthlin Road, Liverpool.[8] Unusually for a love song, the lyrics were written in the third person. This idea was attributed by Lennon to McCartney in 1980: "It was Paul's idea: instead of singing 'I love you' again, we’d have a third party. That kind of little detail is still in his work. He will write a story about someone. I'm more inclined to write about myself".[8]

The British music establishment at that time found the phrase "yeah" controversial. National radio in the form of the BBC broadcast the single and "in some quarters it was seen to hail the collapse of civilised society".[9] Lennon, being mindful of Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up", wanted something equally as stirring: "I don't know where the 'yeah yeah yeah' came from. I remember when Elvis did "All Shook Up" it was the first time in my life that I had heard 'uh huh', 'oh yeah', and 'yeah yeah' all sung in the same song".[10] "The 'wooooo' was taken from The Isley Brothers' 'Twist And Shout'. We stuck it in everything".[11] McCartney recalls them playing the finished song on acoustic guitars to his father at home immediately after the song was completed: "We went into the living room [and said] 'Dad, listen to this. What do you think? And he said 'That's very nice son, but there's enough of these Americanisms around. Couldn't you sing "She loves you, yes, yes, yes!". At which point we collapsed in a heap and said 'No, Dad, you don't quite get it!'".[12]

George Martin, The Beatles' producer, questioned the validity of the major sixth chord that ends the song, an idea suggested by George Harrison[13] "They sort of finished on this curious singing chord which was a major sixth, with George [Harrison] doing the sixth and the others doing the third and fifth in the chord. It was just like a Glen Miller arrangement".[11] McCartney later reflected: "We took it to George Martin and sang 'She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeeeeeaah…' and that tight little sixth cluster we had at the end. George said: 'It's very corny, I would never end on a sixth'. But we said 'It's such a great sound, it doesn't matter'".[8]

Recording

The recording of the song on 1 July 1963 was done on a two-track recording machine. Standard procedure at Abbey Road Studios at the time was to erase the original two-track session tape for singles once they had been "mixed down" to the (usually monaural) master tape used to press records. This was the fate of two Beatles singles (four songs): "Love Me Do", "P.S. I Love You", "She Loves You", and "I'll Get You". These tracks only exist as a mono master, although several mock-stereo remixes have been made by EMI affiliates worldwide, including a few made in 1966 by Abbey Road engineer Geoff Emerick.

The German division of EMI (the parent of the Beatles' British record label, Parlophone Records) decided that the only way to sell Beatles records in Germany would be to re-record them in German. The Beatles thought it unnecessary, but were asked by George Martin to comply, recording "Sie Liebt Dich" on 29 January 1964, along with "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand", at the Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris. The Beatles recorded new vocals over the original backing track to "I Want to Hold Your Hand" but "She Loves You" required them to record a new rhythm track as the original two track recording had been scrapped.[14] The Beatles then embarked on a new song, "Can't Buy Me Love". Other than the earlier sessions backing Tony Sheridan (recorded in Hamburg), Can't Buy Me love (recorded in Paris) [15], "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" (recorded at McCartney's Scotland farm over demos recorded by Lennon in New York City), it was the only time in their career that The Beatles recorded outside London. The track was a big hit in Germany, but today the English versions are much better known in Germany (The Beatles' Red and Blue albums still feature the English hits on the German pressings).

Release and legacy

On 23 August 1963, the "She Loves You" single was released in the United Kingdom with "I'll Get You" as the B-Side.[4] The single set several British sales records, starting with becoming the biggest-selling single, up to that point. It entered the charts on 31 August and remained in the charts for thirty-one consecutive weeks, eighteen of those weeks in the top three. During that period, it claimed the ranking of number one on 14 September, stayed number one for four weeks, dropped back to the top three, then regained the top spot for two weeks starting on 30 November. It made its way back into the charts for two weeks on 11 April 1964, peaking at forty-two.

It was the best-selling single of 1963,[16] and remains the best-selling Beatles single in Britain today. It was the best-selling single in the United Kingdom for fourteen years until it was surpassed by "Mull of Kintyre" by Wings.

The song's gigantic success posed an ever-bigger puzzlement for The Beatles' producer, George Martin, and manager, Brian Epstein: why were the Beatles running up hit after hit in Britain, but utterly flopping on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean? Martin, who was angered by Capitol Records' stubbornness in turning down the Beatles, and a chance to become their record label in America, later recalled: "I said, for God's sake, do something about this. These boys are breaking it, and they're going to be fantastic throughout the world. So for heaven's sake latch onto them." This did not take long for Capitol of Canada, for "She Loves You" was a chart-topping hit there.

Before Capitol came along, The Beatles had been with Vee-Jay Records, until Vee-Jay failed to pay the royalties on time. Transglobal Music, an affiliate of EMI, held the licenses to The Beatles' output in America, and promptly ordered Vee-Jay to halt their manufacturing and distribution of Beatles records. Epstein, who needed a record label to release "She Loves You" in the United States, asked Transglobal to find another record label for him, and Transglobal came up with Swan Records. To avoid potential disagreements and lawsuits, the contract signed with Swan licensed to them only "She Loves You" and "I'll Get You", enough only for the A- and B-Sides of a single — and only for two years. Even four songs would be enough to abuse the contract — in 1964, Vee-Jay released an album in America entitled Jolly What! England's Greatest Recording Stars: The Beatles & Frank Ifield on Stage, which in reality consisted of the only four Beatles songs that had been licensed to them, the rest of the album made up of performances by Frank Ifield.

When "She Loves You" came out as a single in America on 16 September 1963, nobody paid attention to it. Three months later, the Beatles released "I Want to Hold Your Hand", which climbed all the way to number one, launching the British invasion of the American music scene, paving the way for more Beatles records, and releases by other British artists. Swan re-released the "She Loves You" single, which began a fifteen-week run on the American charts on 25 January 1964, two of those weeks at number one. On 21 March, Beatlemania had landed in America, spurred by The Beatles' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in February, where they performed, among other songs, "She Loves You". During its fifteen-week run in the American charts, "She Loves You" was joined by four other Beatles songs at the top five in the American charts.[17]

New York City deejay Murray The K later recounted: "In late '63 they brought a record to me and mentioned the possibility that the Beatles might be coming to America, so I said, 'Okay,' and I put it on air. I had a record review contest on WINS at the time, where I'd play five new records each day. The audience would then vote on which records they liked best, and the winners of each week would be played next Saturday. And when I ran the Beatles in a contest with their record 'She Loves You', it came third out of five. But I still continued to play it for two or three weeks. But nothing happened. I mean, really no reaction. Absolutely nothing! Two months later I received an urgent call from my station manager in New York telling me 'The Beatles are coming!' 'Fine,' I said, 'Get an exterminator.'"

When Beatlemania reached the US, the record labels holding rights to Beatle songs rereleased them in various combinations. Swan claimed the rights to "Sie liebt dich", the German version of "She Loves You", although they did not. After buying and playing a copy of the German single, on 21 May 1964, "Sie liebt dich" was released by Swan in America, featuring "I'll Get You" on the B-Side, just like the English-sung single. American consumers bought the single as well, leading to a one-week run in the charts at 97th on 27 June.

"She Loves You" was included on the US album, The Beatles' Second Album, which overtook Meet the Beatles! on 2 May 1964, reaching the top spot in the album charts. It was the first time an artist had taken over from themselves in the American album charts, and provided a hint of the successes The Beatles would continue to achieve.

"She Loves You" would also be featured in the albums A Collection of Beatles Oldies, 1962–1966, 20 Greatest Hits, 1 and in the 2004 CD release The Capitol Albums, Volume 1. It was also included on the American promotional version of the Rarities album, issued as the bonus disc in the limited edition boxed set The Beatles Collection, from November 1978.

Although no other act made "She Loves You" into a hit, a number attempted their own versions. American singer Neil Sedaka recorded it, as did comedians Peter Sellers and Ted Chippington. At a number of concerts, U2s Bono has snippeted "She Loves You" into the end of "Vertigo" — a song that has a 'Yeah yeah yeah' outro. In 1987, Cher features the "She loves you/yeah, yeah, yeah" chorus and chord progression in the bridge of the track "Working Girl", from her self-titled album. Avantgarde band The Residents worked a sample of the "yeah yeah yeah" outro to their Beatles collage "Beyond the Valley of a Day in the Life".

The Beatles sang the chorus of "She Loves You" in the long fade-out of "All You Need Is Love".

In Raffi on Broadway, Raffi sang this part during the end of "All I Really Need (Reprise)".

Melody and lyrics

"She Loves You" avoids the use of a bridge, instead using a refrain to join the various verses. The chords tend to change every two measures, and the harmonic scheme is mostly static.

The lyrics were largely unconventional, again contrasting with the simplicity of "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Critics panned the song, dismissing the "yeah, yeah, yeah," as an uncouth slang from a fad band. The "yeah"s were to have a great effect on The Beatles' image — in Europe, they became known as the Yeah-Yeahs.[18]

Personnel

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[18]

Notes

  1. ^ Lewisohn 1988, pp. 21–22, 35.
  2. ^ BBC News 2003.
  3. ^ Stourbridge News 2009.
  4. ^ a b Lewisohn 1988, pp. 200–201.
  5. ^ Harry 2000, pp. 990–992.
  6. ^ The Beatles Interview Database 2009.
  7. ^ Davis 2003.
  8. ^ a b c The Beatles 2000, p. 96.
  9. ^ Mojo Magazine 2002, p. 60.
  10. ^ MacDonald 1997, p. 74.
  11. ^ a b Badman 2000, p. 65.
  12. ^ Miles 1997, p. 150.
  13. ^ Harry 2000, p. 601.
  14. ^ Lewisohn 1988, pp. 38.
  15. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 138.
  16. ^ UK Charts 2009.
  17. ^ Harry 2000, p. 264.
  18. ^ a b MacDonald 2005, pp. 83–85.

References

External links

Preceded by
Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets
UK best-selling single in history
12 September 1963 - 3 December 1977
Succeeded by
"Mull of Kintyre / Girl’s School" by Wings
Preceded by
"Bad to Me" by Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas
UK number one single
12 September 1963 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"Do You Love Me" by Brian Poole and The Tremeloes
Preceded by
"You'll Never Walk Alone" by Gerry & The Pacemakers
UK number one single
28 November 1963 (top again, two weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles
Preceded by
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
21 March 1964 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Can't Buy Me Love" by The Beatles
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