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"AND I LOVE HER"

(John Lennon - Paul McCartney)

"It's funny, the myth developed that I was the melodic, soft one and John was the hard, acerbic one.  There was some surface truth to that."  This quote from McCartney emphasizes the perception that most Beatles fans hold even to this day.  The "surface truth" was that Paul primarily wrote the ballads for The Beatles.  After all, "Michelle," "Here, There And Everywhere," "The Long And Winding Road," "I'll Follow The Sun," "I Will" and the monumental hit "Yesterday" were all written primarily, if not totally, by Paul McCartney.  One can easily point to John's "In My Life" or George's "Something" as examples otherwise, but Paul is definitely the winner in the 'ballads' sweepstakes.

Before the soundtrack to "A Hard Day's Night" burst on the scene, Paul's songwriting was mostly encompassed within the framework of writing "eyeball to eyeball" (as Lennon would call it) with John in collaborative efforts.  When he did fraction off to write by himself, the songs would be rockers, such as "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Can't Buy Me Love."  His reputation as a 'balladeer' began with the inclusion of "And I Love Her" on the movie soundtrack album.  This soft, acoustic sentimental love song stuck out like a sore thumb and made everyone take notice of what this long-haired British rock group was capable of.

Since the movie "A Hard Day's Night" helped to individualize the characteristics of each Beatle in everyone's mind ("the cute one," "the witty one," "the quiet one" etc.), the fans were quick to judge Paul as the "melodic, soft one" of the group.  While history has shown this characterization to be false, evidenced numerous times throughout The Beatles' career (Paul's "Helter Skelter" being the most obvious example), the fact still remains that McCartney was the true master of the 'ballad'.

 

Jane Asher's home at 57 Wimpole St., London

Songwriting History

"And I Love Her" was written in the basement music room at Jane Asher's parents home at 57 Wimpole St. in London.  Paul had just moved in with the Asher's and frequently met with John there to write songs, although this song was apparently written by McCartney alone, at least initially.  "I wrote this on my own," McCartney stated, "I can actually see Margaret Asher's upstairs drawing room.  I remember playing it there."

The song was written in February of 1964 during either their two days at home between their Paris and America trips (February 5th through 7th) or after their return trip home after conquering the US (February 22nd through 25th).  These were the only dates that Paul could have been at the Asher's home in London in February.

"It was the first ballad I impressed myself with," Paul explained in his book 'Many Years From Now.'  "It's got nice chords in it, 'Bright are the stars that shine, dark is the sky...'  I like the imagery of the stars and the sky.  It was a love song really.  The 'And' in the title was an important thing, 'And I Love Her', it came right out of left field, you were right up to speed the minute you heard it.  The title comes in the second verse and it doesn't repeat.  You would often go to town on the title, but this was almost an aside, 'Oh...and I love you.'  It still holds up and George played really good guitar on it.  It worked very well."

Lennon equally admired the song, stating in 1980 "I consider it (Paul's) first 'Yesterday.'  You know, the big ballad in 'A Hard Day's Night.'"  One thing about John's explanatory interviews is that his memory seems to slip according to the year he was interviewed.  At one point he even claimed to have completely written Paul's "Two Of Us."  In the case of "And I Love Her" he stated in 1972, "Both of us wrote it.  The first half was Paul's and the middle-eight (or bridge) is mine."  In 1980, he changed his story slightly, saying "The middle eight, I helped with that."

Paul purges his memory to clarify the matter.  "I'm not sure if John worked on that at all...The middle eight is mine.  I would say that John probably helped with the middle-eight, but he can't say 'It's mine.'  I wrote this on my own."

One thing that helps to put this to rest is a quote from their music publisher Dick James, who happened to be there during one of their earlier attempts at recording the song.  "They were laying down the tracks and doing the melody lines of the song 'And I Love Her.'  It was a very simple song and quite repetitive.  George Martin and I looked at each other and the same thought sparked off in both our minds.  It was proving to be, although plain and a warm and sympathetic song, just too repetitive with the same phrase of repeating.  George Martin told the boys, 'Both Dick and I feel that the song is just lacking in the middle.  It's too repetitive and it needs something to break it up.'  I think it was John who shouted, 'OK, let's have a tea break' and John and Paul went to the piano and, while Mal Evans was getting tea and some sandwiches, the boys worked at the piano.  Within half an hour they wrote, there before our very eyes, a very constructive middle to a very commercial song.  Although we know it isn't long, it's only a four-bar middle, nevertheless it was just the right ingredient to break up the over-repetitive effect of the original melody."

Since Paul and Jane Asher's romance had just bloomed shortly before, it is easily assumed that the song was written with her in mind.  Paul insists, though, that this wasn't the case.  "It's just a love song, it wasn't for anyone," Paul proclaimed in 1984.

Nonetheless, Paul remains quite proud of this song.  "Having the title start in mid-sentence, I thought that was clever...it was a nice tune, that one.  I still like it."

 

The Beatles in EMI Studio Two, 1964

Recording History

The first day that The Beatles utilized in earnest for recording tracks for their upcoming first motion picture was on February 25th, 1964.  Two sessions were booked in EMI Studio Two for this day, the first of which finished off “Can’t Buy Me Love” and its’ B-side “You Can’t Do That.”  The later session, from 2:30 to 5:30 pm, bore no real fruit except for introducing two new songs that would eventually be used in the movie; “I Should Have Known Better” and “And I Love Her.”

Only two takes of “And I Love Her” were attempted on this day, only one of which made it through to the end.  The song was much different to what we’ve come to know, being that they envisioned the song in their usual guitar/bass/drums format.  The song was viewed as completely written at that time, although it did not contain the bridge at this point, only verses and a guitar solo section before the last verse.  The song didn’t even have a suitable ending worked out at this point.

It was developed to a certain point, though, as it contained George Harrison’s plucking guitar runs in most of the verses (played on his new Rickenbacker 12-string) as well as the rising key change for the solo section of the song as we’re used to hearing in the final version.  The guitar solo was even identical to the finished version at this stage, however clumsily played, which followed the melody line of the verses.  They probably felt that they could keep working out the arrangement in the studio like they did with other songs, but they apparently felt that it just wasn’t feeling right and left it for the next day.

The next day, February 26th, saw The Beatles back in EMI Studio Two from 2:30 to 5:30 pm to work on the two songs they left off from the previous day.  “I Should Have Known Better” did get completed, but “And I Love Her” still wasn’t good enough.  They recorded another 17 takes of the song (takes 3 through 19) which saw the song evolving into what became the final arrangement.  Midway through the sessions, Ringo switched to playing bongos instead of drums.  It was apparently during this session that John and Paul wrote the bridge to the song (as related above in the quote from Dick James) which added a new dynamic to the arrangement and took the song’s length to over two minutes for the first time.

Their struggles on this day solidified the shape the song would eventually take, but they still weren’t happy.  When engineer Norman Smith announced “Take 14,” Paul quipped “Ha, take 50!” indicating the frustration they were having.  Once again, they decided to leave it for the next day.

The Beatles entered EMI Studio Two the next day (February 17th) to finally complete the song.  In Martin Scorsese’s documentary “George Harrison: Living In The Material World,” Paul explains much detail as to the group’s arrangement procedures during their early recording sessions and, in the process, reveals an interesting detail concerning “And I Love Her.”:

“We’d go in the studio, ten in the morning, and this was the first time George and Ringo had heard any of the songs.  This is how good they were.  So John and I would go, ‘It goes like this’… and they’d go, ‘um, hum.’  George would cop the chords…not writing them down, it’s just like ‘yeah, right…I can see what you’re doing, ‘cause I’m one of you, you know, I didn’t write it but I see what you did.’  And Ringo would just stand around with his sticks and just ‘tick-a-tic-tic,’ do a little thing.”

"And I was just thinking actually about my song, ‘And I Love Her.’  ‘I give her all my love,’ I had that.  But then George comes in with, ‘doo-doo-doo-doo.”  Now you think about that – THAT’s the song!  But you know, he made that up on the session, ‘cause he nicked the chords and we just said, ‘it needs a riff.’  I didn’t write that!”

With the song’s signature riff in place, only two takes were needed during the first session booked for this day (10:00 am to 1:00 pm) to finish it off, this time as a complete acoustic arrangement.  George skillfully played his parts on his Jose Ramirez acoustic guitar (as he used on his excellent solo in “Till There Was You” the year prior) while Ringo remained on bongos.  The second take of this day (take 21) was deemed the best, which then required a couple overdubs; one to double-track Paul’s vocals and the other for the claves (percussive wooden sticks) overdub, which presumably was played by Ringo (although some claim George may have played them).  By approximately 11 am, this three day project was finally completed.

The mono mix of the song was made on March 3rd in the control room of EMI Studio One by producer George Martin and engineers Norman Smith and A.B. Lincoln.  As well as being used for the mono releases of the song America, it was shipped to United Artists Pictures for use during the making of their movie “A Hard Day’s Night.”  The EMI staff took care to use Paul’s double-tracked vocals only in strategic places, which in this case was only when he sang the title of the song and during the bridge.

Work was also done on the song on June 9th in the control room of EMI Studio Three.  Mono tape copies were made of all the movie soundtrack songs to distribute to both American record labels that would be releasing these songs, namely Capitol Records and United Artists Records.  This was done by George Martin, Norman Smith and 2nd engineer Ken Scott.

June 22nd saw a marathon mixing session for the “A Hard Day’s Night” album, creating all the stereo mixes of the songs as well as many mono mixes not done yet.  Two mixes of “And I Love Her” were made on this day; a mono mix for the British album and a stereo mix for general release everywhere.  Less care was always taken for the stereo mixes, so Paul’s double-tracked vocals appear throughout the song (except for the lines “bright are the stars that shine, dark is the sky” in the third verse, where apparently Paul didn’t double-track his vocals).  This mixing session was attended only by George Martin, Norman Smith and 2nd engineer Geoff Emerick.

A note should be made concerning some controversy regarding the German version of the album “ Something New ” that contains a stereo version of the song with six guitar riffs at the end of the song instead of four as contained in all other releases of the song.  No other stereo mix of the song was made, so therefore an editing job must have been made for some unknown reason to artificially extend the song for this release.  The guitar does appear a little softer on the left channel, but the centered vocals are a little more to the right of the mix, which indicates that the balance was off a little and not that there was a different mix sent to Germany.  This version did get released in the US on the 1980 album "Rarities."

 

Scene from the movie "A Hard Day's Night"

Song Structure and Style

"And I Love Her" appears to fall into the standard Beatle structure of verses and bridges, which is quite usual for this early time period in their songwriting career.  But as we've seen through examination of their catalog, idiosyncrasies rule the day.  One difference here is that the bridge only appears once whereas, when we expect it to appear again after a third verse, a guitar solo emerges in a raised key.  Nonetheless, we have here a 'verse/ verse/ bridge/ verse' (or aaba) format with an instrumental section and a final verse added in.

We start out, though, with a four measure introduction that nicely premiers the sparse acoustic arrangement of the song.  Harrison's gentle guitar runs segue appropriately into the first ten-measure verse which, as the rest of the song does, emphasize the intimate solo vocal performance of McCartney.  A second verse then appears which mimics the first in structure and instrumentation except for George's delicate arpeggio that adds a degree of elegance to the proceedings.  Since the first verse ends with the simple phrase "I love her," this second verse is the first time we hear the title of the song "And I love her."

The simple eight-measure bridge (which Dick James mistakenly referred to as a "four-bar middle") now appears for the only time in the song, which adds a beautiful variance to break up what could have become monotony, as witnessed in the earlier "Anthology 1" version taped two days before.  Harrison adds even more variance by accentuating the one-beat of each measure with a Spanish-like strum on his Jose Ramirez guitar before transitioning the bridge into a third verse with his signature guitar run.

After a third identically structured verse, which features the same delicate guitar arpeggio from the second verse (although starting from the second measure to allow George to finish the introductory guitar run), the song takes a half-key shift upward for the guitar solo.  This section is played to the chord structure of the verse right down to the actual melody line being performed exquisitely on acoustic guitar.

After a repeat of the final verse, which is identical except for the raised key, we now see the reappearance of the introduction to complete the cycle.  This conclusion extends the concept of the introduction from four measures to six measures, ending with a Baroque-sounding twist; a resolve in a major key.  This solidifies the question as to whether the song as a whole is in a major or minor key.  Since all of the verses end in a major key when the title of the song is heard, as well as the song itself ending in a major key, the argument is settled.  "And I Love Her" can be said to be in a major key.  That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Lyrically the song can be described as "moon-in-June," or quite cliché for a love song.  Keeping in mind that this was a jumping-off point for McCartney as to ballad writing, his intricate sensitiveness, such as in his 1966 masterpiece "Here, There And Everywhere," was yet to come.

The entire lyric was written as if the female in question was not present but was relating his feelings to a third party (or to all of us).  This is the case throughout except for the later-written bridge which is sung directly to his girl, as evidenced in the line "as long as I have you near me."  It can be assumed that this was unintentional, since the bridge was hastily written in the studio and was the only input John Lennon had in the writing of the song.

As stated earlier, McCartney was quite proud of the simply stated lyrics in this song.  He also was quick to notice when his idea for the title of the song was used elsewhere.  "Having the title start in midsentence, I thought that was clever," Paul mused in 1984.  "Well, Perry Como did 'And I Love You So' many years later.  Tried to nick the idea.  I like that."  Unbeknownst to Paul, credit for 'nicking the idea' should actually go to Don McLean of "American Pie" fame who actually wrote the Perry Como song.

Musicianship-wise, George gets the biggest nod for his simple-but-effective acoustic lead guitar work.  After three days of practice in the studio, he came through well rehearsed and impressive, adding a classy touch to an intimate ballad.

Paul has to get due credit for his melancholy vocal work which comes across as convincible and with sincerity.  His bass work, while simplistic in comparison to his work even up to this point, is suitable to the occasion and done simultaneously with his spot-on vocal delivery.

Lennon holds down the rhythm quite nicely with acoustic guitar throughout.  He strums somewhat harshly at times, such as during the last two measures of each verse, but this adds a nice quality that I'm sure we wouldn't want to do without.  Ringo's obligatory bongo playing works nicely to create the perfect ambience for this delicate piece of music.

 

United Artists "A Hard Day's Night" soundtrack album

American Releases

June 26th, 1964 is when US audiences got their first taste of "And I Love Her."  United Artists Records rush-released their soundtrack album for "A Hard Day's Night" which topped the Billboard album charts for 14 weeks.  This album got its' compact disc release on January 21st., 2014, both the mono and stereo versions of the album being contained on a single CD.

Capitol Records were hot on their heels to expose America to the song in a great way.  On July 20th, they released their album "Something New" which featured four songs from the movie including "And I Love Her."  While it didn't outsell the soundtrack album, it was highly successful and peaked at #2 on the album charts right under the United Artists album.  This album was also released on an individual compact disc on January 21st., 2014, both the mono and stereo versions being contained on one CD.

Simultaneously on July 20th, Capitol released the song as a single with "If I Fell" as the B-side.  This helped give another song from the movie exposure which, in turn, meant more sales for Capitol in the long run.  The primary attention on the singles charts was on their recently released single "A Hard Day's Night," but "And I Love Her" still had a very good chart response, reaching #12 in Billboard.

"The Beatles' Story" was a documentary double-album that Capitol released in time for the Christmas season on November 23rd, 1964.  On the track entitled "A Hard Day's Night - Their First Movie" we hear a segment of the song "And I Love Her" to represent the success of the film.  While this is not considered an actual release of the song, it is a noteworthy mention.  Surprisingly, "The Beatles' Story" was also released on compact disc on January 21st., 2014, but only as contained in the 13 album box set "The U.S. Albums." 

The next actual American release of the song wasn't until April 2nd, 1973 on the first 'greatest hits' package entitled "The Beatles/1962-1966" (aka "The Red Album").  This very successful album spent eight weeks in the top ten of the Billboard album charts, peaking at #3.  The stereo mix of "And I Love Her" was included on this album as with the compact disc release in 1993.  The re-release of the CD set on October 19th, 2010 features a re-mastered stereo mix of the song.

This didn't stop Capitol from including the song in another compilation album they wanted to spring on American record buyers.  On November 21st, 1977 they released an album of Beatles ballads entitled "Love Songs," which didn't do quite as well but nonetheless peaked at #24 on the Billboard album charts and ended up selling three million units.

As mentioned above, Capitol was motivated by the British release of an album of Beatles rarities to release one of their own in America.  The US "Rarities" album, released on March 24th, 1980, featured the version of "And I Love Her" that was contained on the German "Something New" album which had a few extra measures at the end.  The implication was that this was how the song was recorded, but in actuality these extra measures were edited on in Germany for some reason, creating a unique but artificial "rarity."

In order to bring in even more Beatles sales, Capitol came up with another compilation idea.  "Reel Music" was released on March 22nd, 1982 and contained highlights from all five Beatles motion pictures (including "Magical Mystery Tour").  "And I Love Her" was one of four songs taken from the "A Hard Day's Night" movie to make this compilation album, which did quite well by peaking at #19 on the Billboard album charts.

February 26th, 1987 was the date that the actual "A Hard Day's Night" album was released in its' entirety in the US.  This was the debut of the album on compact disc, which featured the original British mono mix.  The stereo edition was released on the re-mastered version on September 9th, 2009.

On June 30th, 1992, Capitol released a box set entitled "Compact Disc EP Collection" which contained the mono mix of "And I Love Her" because of its inclusion on the original British EP "Extracts From The Film A Hard Day's Night."

The highly anticipated "Anthology 1" album was released on November 21st, 1995 by Apple Records.  Beatles fans were all surprised to hear the only complete take of the song (take 2) that was recorded on their first attempt at its' recording on February 25th, 1964.  It revealed how different the song originally sounded as well as showing that a good song can be done many different ways and still works well.  This track was definitely a highlight on this very successful #1 album.  A sampler disc of this album was also distributed to US radio stations just before this release.  This single disc also contains this version of "And I Love Her."

The box set "The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1," which was released on November 15th, 2009, contains the song in both stereo and mono as originally heard on the album "Something New."

The re-mastered mono mix of "And I Love Her" is included in the September 9th, 2009 released box set "The Beatles In Mono."

On November 11th, 2013, the album "On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2" was released which featured yet another version of the song as recorded on July 14th, 1964 for the radio program "Top Gear."  This rendition is noteworthy for the use of the more conventional instrumentation of George on electric guitar and Ringo on standard drums.  Paul's vocals were double-tracked throughout on this recording, him even changing the lyrics slightly in the second verse from "she gives me everything" to "she brings me everything."  Subtle but noticeable.

Also released around this date was a fourteen-track sampler of the above album for promotional purposes, “And I Love Her” being included therein.

Not to be forgotten, though, is Paul's "Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)" album that was released on May 20th, 1991.  This stripped-down performance for the "MTV Unplugged" series featured "And I Love Her," which was the first time he performed the song anywhere outside of The Beatles.  This limited edition album did very well in the US, peaking at #14 on the Billboard charts.

 

The Beatles on "Blackpool Night Out"

Live Performances

This song had an extremely short performance life for the Beatles.  They performed it once for the BBC on July 14th, 1964 for the show "Top Gear," which was broadcast on July 16th.  They also performed it on the British live variety television show "Blackpool Night Out" on July 19th.  Other than its' appearance in the movie "A Hard Day's Night," this was the full extent to which the Beatles promoted "And I Love Her."  Not that it needed it anyway, because it's' popularity gave it a spot in their hugely successful 'greatest hits' package "The Beatles/1962-1966."

McCartney also thought to perform the song live as a solo act, but only for a short time.  As stated above, he played it on his segment for "MTV's Unplugged" which was recorded on January 25th, 1991, and also during his "New World Tour" of 1993, but it was only contained in the February set list of this tour.  His December 2009 "Good Evening Europe Tour" also featured the song, as did his 2010 "Up And Coming Tour."  Then, his "Out There!" tour of 2013 included the song as well.

Conclusion

This simple but stirring and gentle ballad shows for the first time the variance of what Lennon and McCartney could conjure up within the confines of one album.  They would be later known for their 'highs and lows,' 'peaks and valleys' on their albums, such as the range of genres on the "White Album" (from "Helter Skelter" to "Blackbird" to "Honey Pie").  While the gentleness of "A Taste Of Honey" and "Till There Was You" from their first two albums were evidences of this, they resorted to cover songs to display the variance.  With "And I Love Her" they display that they have this capability right from their own arsenal.

At any rate, so begins the magic of the McCartney ballad.  The balance between the melody and lyrics reveal this tune to be among the best he will ever write, and one that he rightfully has remained proud of till this day.

Song Summary

 "And I Love Her"

Written by:  John Lennon / Paul McCartney

  • Song Written: February 1964
  • Song Recorded: February 27, 1964
  • First US Release Date: June 26, 1964
  • First US Album Release: United Artists #UAS 6366 "A Hard Day's Night"
  • US Single Release: Capitol #5235
  • Highest Chart Position: #12
  • British Album Release: Parlophone #PCS 3058 "A Hard Day's Night"
  • Length: 2:31
  • Key: E major
  • Producer: George Martin
  • Engineers: Norman Smith, Richard Langham

 Instrumentation:

  • Paul McCartney - Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar (1963 Hofner 500/1)
  • John Lennon - Rhythm Guitar (1962 Gibson J160E)
  • George Harrison - Lead Guitar (1950 Jose Ramirez Guitarra de Estudio),Claves (?)
  • Ringo Starr - Bongos, Claves(?)

 Written and compiled by Dave Rybaczewski

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