Saturday, 29 June 2013

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

It began when Paul McCartney was listening to a Bobby Rydell song "Forget Him". It was planned as an 'answering song' where McCartney would sing 'she loves you' and John Lennon and George Harrison 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 John Lennon who wanted the track to be 'stirring: " 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. We added some"wooooo"'s, which we got from The Isley Brothers' 'Twist and Shout'.  We stuck it in everything we could think of".
John and Paul proudly played the finished song on acoustic guitars to McCartney's dad at home after the song was completed: "We went into the living room, 'Dad, listen to this. What do you think? And he listened and thoughtfully said 'That's very nice son, but there's enough of these Americanisms around. Couldn't you sing 'She loves you, yes, yes, yes instead!'. At which point we collapsed in a heap and said 'No, Dad, you don't quite get it!'".

EMI recording engineer Norman Smith had a somewhat similar reaction, later recounting, "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."
One final touch was added at the recording studio where George Harrison suggested the three of them should end the song with an unusual chord. George Martin, the Record producer, was intrigued: "The final chord was an odd sort of major sixth, with George doing the sixth and John and Paul the third and fifths, like a old-fashioned Glenn Miller arrangement. They were saying, 'It's a great chord! Nobody's ever heard it before!' Of course I knew that wasn't quite true! But nobody had done it for 20 years, and certainly not in a Rock and Roll record!"

The Beatles recorded 'She Loves You' (and B side 'I'll get You') on 1st July, beginning at 5pm at Abbey Road's studio two, and finishing at 10pm, although the session had been booked for 2.30-5.30pm. For the first time, the studio came under siege from young female Beatles fans who rushed the commissionaire and actually got into the studio. Although they were eventually ushered out, they continued to pound on doors, try to break in and chant and squeal all evening, and the drama and panic of the day made it's mark on the song recorded- She Loves You has a dynamic, near hysterical quality that owes a little to being taped under such conditions.
Towards the end of the song, there's an edit piece where the line "pride can hurt you too, apologise to her" is added from a different take, purely because of the way the three singing Beatles phrased the one word 'apologise'. They never managed to sing it so uniquely again, so it had to be in the record. Technology being what it was 50 years ago (ie twin-track mono), the edit is not seamless, and the sound of the drums changes dramatically at that point before another edit takes us back to the original take.

Released on August 23rd 1963, 'She Loves You' quickly became The record of the Week, Of 1963, probably of the 60s, maybe of the 20th century, possibly of all-time, and remains the one song that instantly brings to mind four skinny cheerful young men in suits with 'long hair' shaking their heads and having the time of their lives.

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