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She Loves You

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


"She Loves You" is a hit song written by John Lennon and Paul 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, a record which is still unchallenged. It is The Beatles' best-selling single in the United Kingdom. The song was also the first time Lennon's name had taken precedence over McCartney in the credits — until then, they had traditionally been credited as "McCartney/Lennon." "She Loves You" was the first release of many more to come in which "Lennon/McCartney" would appear on all of the credits.

The song was one of the Beatles' first songs to be heard by more than a smattering of Americans — the only United States release by The Beatles before that had even charted was "From Me To You," which lasted three weeks in August 1963, never going higher than 116th. The song was controversial at the time due to the unconventional "yeah, yeah, yeah" refrain after each verse, leading to the song being panned by many critics. "She Loves You" is also unusual in that, under the title "Sie Liebt Dich", it is one of only two songs to have been rerecorded by The Beatles in German (the other being "I Want to Hold Your Hand").

In October 2005, Uncut Magazine named "She Loves You" the third biggest song that changed the world, behind Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone".

Writing in a hotel

McCartney and Lennon were inspired to write "She Loves You" after a concert at the Majestic Ballroom in Newcastle as part of their tour with Roy Orbison and Gerry and the Pacemakers. McCartney recalled they wrote the song in a hotel in Newcastle, but which hotel, exactly, became the subject of heated debate. In 2003, plans to install a plaque at the hotel concerned were stalled after it turned out neither Paul McCartney nor Ringo Starr, the last two surviving Beatles, could recall whether it was the Imperial Hotel or the Royal Turk's Head where The Beatles had stayed. Although it had been generally accepted that it was the Imperial Hotel, Les Curry, a retired taxi driver, claimed otherwise: "It definitely wasn't the Imperial. They were wearing jeans which wasn't the thing in those days and I remember telling them that the Turk's Head was a bit of a posh hotel for them. They killed themselves laughing and told me they were The Beatles. I helped them take their luggage inside into the hotel and I got all their autographs."

Regardless of the hotel, the other circumstances under which the song was written are generally agreed upon. McCartney described it in the same year "She Loves You" was written: "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."

Lennon emphatically agreed at the same time: "'Yeah.' That's sort of the main catch phrase from "She Loves You." We'd written the song, and then suddenly realized we needed more... so we added 'yeah, yeah, yeah' and it caught on." The "yeah, yeah, yeah," refrain became the subject of controversy upon the song's release, as it was considered uncouth at the time. McCartney's father himself objected, asking his son if they couldn't possibly change it to the better sounding (in his opinion) "yes, yes, yes."

The British single of "She Loves You" had a 33-week combined total run in the charts, and claimed the top ranking on two separate occasions.
The British single of "She Loves You" had a 33-week combined total run in the charts, and claimed the top ranking on two separate occasions.

Interestingly for a love song, the lyrics were written in the third person. This idea was attributed by Lennon to McCartney, in 1980: "It was written together (with Paul) and I don't remember how. I remember it was Paul's idea — instead of singing 'I love you' again, we'd have a third party. The 'Woooo' was taken from the Isley Brothers' 'Twist And Shout,' which we stuck into everything."

George Martin, The Beatles' producer, argued with Lennon and McCartney about the major sixth chord that ends the song. McCartney declined to be too verbose in describing the matter, merely saying in 1982: "Occasionally, we'd overrule George Martin, like on "She Loves You", we end on a sixth chord, a very jazzy sort of thing. And he said, 'Oh, you can't do that! A sixth chord? It's too jazzy.' We just said, 'No, it's a great hook, we've got to do it.'"

Eventually McCartney opened up, giving a fuller description of the disagreement, in 1988: "We rehearsed the end bit of "She Loves You" and took it to George. And he just laughed and said, 'Well, you can't do the end of course... that sixth... it's too like the Andrew Sisters.' We just said, 'Alright, we'll try it without,' and we tried it and it wasn't as good. Then he conceded, 'You're right, I guess.' But we were both very flexible. We would listen to George's ideas too, because he was a producer and a musician, and he obviously knew what he was talking about. There was good to-and-fro. We loved that bit, and we rehearsed it a lot. John and I wrote that in a hotel room, on twin beds during an afternoon off — I mean, God bless their little cotton socks, those boys worked! Here I am talking about an afternoon off, and we're sitting there writing! We just loved it so much. It wasn't work."

All Martin would say about the matter was: "I told them it was corny. I told them Glenn Miller was doing it twenty years ago. But they said, so what? That was what they wanted."

At work in the studio

The recording of the song on July 1, 1963 was uneventful, in contrast to another Beatles' hit from the same period, "I Want To Hold Your Hand," with one exception — although "She Loves You" was recorded on a two-track recording machine, the original stereo master tape has been lost, with the result that every release of the song from 1963 till the present day has been in mono. How the stereo tape was lost has never been fully ascertained. [1]

However, there was one other recording anomaly that set "She Loves You" apart from other Beatles' songs — Electrola Gesellschaft, 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 rerecord them in German. The Beatles found the idea stupid, but were forced by George Martin to comply, recording "Sie Liebt Dich" on January 29, 1964, along with a few other German versions of their songs, at the Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris. Other than the earlier sessions backing Tony Sheridan it was the only time in their career that The Beatles recorded outside London.

Martin later described how he had persuaded The Beatles to record in German: "The boys were enjoying their new life. They were very busy and they were tasting their first fruits of success. I had asked them to appear at the EMI studios one afternoon and I got there with this German fellow, who came to coach them with this language and when the time came, I think it was four o'clock, there was no sign of them, at all! I was a bit puzzled by this, and thought, 'I wonder what has happened to them?' So I rang their hotel and I spoke to Neil Aspinall, who said, 'Oh, they are having tea. They're not going to come.'"

Puzzled, Martin asked, "'But, why?' And he said, 'Well they don't want to. They've decided they don't want to make a record in German, after all.' I was absolutely livid! So, I hopped in a cab, together with the German, and I tore to the George V hotel and I burst in on the scene and they were all having tea there … [a]nd as I burst into the room, and yelled at them, they all fled to corners of the room … looking over a cushion, or a chair, pretending to hide, and laughing. I said, 'Look, you really owe this fellow a great apology. He's come all this way, over from Germany, so, say you're sorry.' And they, in their cheeky Liverpool way, said, 'Oh, sorry, so sorry!' After that, they came and did the German record in the studio. They still didn't like doing it very much, but they did it. That was the very first time I had a row with them, and probably the only time."

The release

On August 23, 1963, the "She Loves You" single was released to the British public, pairing "She Loves You" on the A-Side with "I'll Get You" on the B-Side. The single set and smashed several records in the British music scene, starting with becoming the biggest-selling single, up to that point, in the United Kingdom. It began charting on August 31, and stood its ground and remaining in the charts for thirty-one consecutive weeks, an exceptionally long run, spending eighteen of those weeks in the top three. During that period, it claimed the ranking of number one on September 14, clinging on for a month, before falling back to the top three, only to lunge forward for a second run at number one on November 30, which lasted two weeks. As if that wasn't enough, it made its way back into the charts for two weeks on April 11, 1964, peaking at forty-second. It was the best-selling single of 1963, and indeed, it remains the best-selling Beatles' single in Britain today, fending off other works of The Beatles such as "Hey Jude". Such was The Beatles' success that "She Loves You" remained the best-selling single in the United Kingdom for fourteen years, only to be beaten out by Wings' "Mull of Kintyre", a band founded by McCartney himself.

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." Eventually Capitol did latch onto them, but not before other record labels had had their turn at dipping their finger in The Beatles' pie of profits.

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. Even four songs would be enough to abuse the contract — Vee-Jay had 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 September 16 1963, nobody paid attention to it. A few 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. Encouraged by the success of "I Want To Hold Your Hand", Swan rereleased the "She Loves You" single. Swept along by the wave "I Want To Hold Your Hand" originated, "She Loves You" found itself beginning a fifteen-week run on the American charts on January 25 1964. On March 21, "She Loves You" crowned the incredible turnaround by The Beatles in America, from practical nobodies three months before to the latest hit band everybody was talking about, by reaching the top of the American charts.

Together with "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You" turned the American music scene on its head, and began the frenzy of Beatlemania in America.
Together with "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You" turned the American music scene on its head, and began the frenzy of Beatlemania in America.

Beatlemania had landed in America, spurred by The Beatles' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in January, where they performed, among other songs, "She Loves You". During its 15-week run in the American charts, "She Loves You" was joined by four other Beatles' songs — at the top five in the American charts. It was a record the likes of which had never been seen before, and has never been seen again — such was The Beatles' domination of the music scene in early 1964, that nobody has managed to mount a challenge against their record since.

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.'"

The mad sudden success of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You" set the numerous record labels holding rights to various Beatles' songs scurrying to rerelease them in all manner of formats. Unfortunately, Swan was tied down by their limited license, and couldn't release any new singles without being accused of cheating the public. Or could they? Sneakily, they had the rights to "Sie Liebt Dich", the German version of "She Loves You", as well. On May 21 1964, "Sie Liebt Dich" the single was released, featuring "I'll Get You" on the B-Side, just like the English single. Incredibly, American consumers, seized by Beatlemania and desperate for anything to do with The Beatles, bought the single as well, leading to a one-week run in the charts at 97th on June 27.

The song was also released on an album in America, The Beatles' Second Album, which overtook Meet the Beatles! on May 2, 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, despite various record labels mangling the albums and their content — for example, The Beatles' Second Album contained two songs, "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name", both of which had yet to be released in Britain.

Although no act other than The Beatles ever managed to make "She Loves You" into a successful hit, a number of entertainers have attempted their own versions of the song. American singer Neil Sedaka tried his hand at rerecording the song, as did comedians Peter Sellers and Ted Chippington. Pete Doherty played the song live at the Brick Lane Festival.

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 song is not anywhere near as revolutionary as "I Want To Hold Your Hand" from the melody perspective, but for two things: Firstly, the song begins with a drum roll, and then is immediately launched into the "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah," refrain, giving the listener the appearance that he has just dropped halfway into the performance of a song. Secondly, the sixth chord mentioned earlier is a surprising unlikely contrast, especially given such a chord was more wont to make its way into jazz performances such as those by Glenn Miller's orchestra.

The lyrics, however, as mentioned earlier, were largely unconventional, again contrasting with the simplicity of "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Beatles technician Norman Smith captured the fans' feeling perfectly: "I was setting up the microphone when I first saw the lyrics on the music stand, 'She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah/She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah/She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!' I thought, Oh my God, what a lyric! This is going to be one that I do not like. But when they started to sing it — bang, wow, terrific, I was up at the mixer jogging around." Critics panned the song, however, 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.

As mentioned, the lyrics were written in the third person, from the point of view of a person advising a friend. The singers tell their friend that though he thinks he's lost the girl he loves, it turns out that she really does love him, and advise their friend to "be glad".

  • Beatles -She Loves You excerpt (file info) — play in browser (beta)
    • An excerpt from "She Loves You"
    • Problems listening to the file? See media help.


  • Paul McCartney on bass guitar, lead vocal
  • John Lennon on rhythm guitar, lead vocal
  • George Harrison on lead guitar, harmony vocals (Gretsch Country Gentleman, model PX6122)
  • Ringo Starr on drums


  • The Beatles Ultimate Experience. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2004.
  •'s information on The Beatles' British singles. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2004.
  •'s information on The Beatles' American singles. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2004.
  •'s information on Beatles songs beginning with "S". Retrieved Sept. 3, 2004.
  •'s information on The Beatles' American albums. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2004.
  • Davis, Laura (Feb. 26, 2003). She Loves You (Where? Where? Where?). ic Liverpool.

Further reading

  • Walter Everett The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men Through Rubber Soul Oxford University Press US 1991 ISBN 0-19-514105-9
  • Craig Cross Day-by-day, Song-by-song, Record-by-record iUniverse ISBN 0-595-31487-2
  • Chris Ingram Rough Guides Beatles Rough Guides 2004 ISBN 1-84353-140-2

External links

  • Alan W. Pollack's analysis of "She Loves You"
  • Allmusic article on "I'll Get You"
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