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American "She Loves You" picture sleeve

"SHE LOVES YOU"

(John Lennon - Paul McCartney)

The Rolling Stones had "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."  The Who had "My Generation."  The Kinks had "You Really Got Me."  Roy Orbison had "Oh, Pretty Woman."  The Temptations had "My Girl."  Billy Joel had "Piano Man."  Whitney Houston had "I Will Always Love You."

All of the above are examples of songs that define the artists.  They may not have been their biggest hits, but when you think of the artist, you think of the song (and vice versa).

When it comes to The Beatles, though, there may be some debate as to what song defines them as artists.  Some may rightly suggest the anthem-esque "Hey Jude," others may site "Yesterday" because of the plethora of cover versions it boasts, and still others will insists that "I Want To Hold Your Hand" fits the bill because of it breaking the group in America.

Most authors and reviewers agree that the defining song in the entire Beatles catalog must go to what became Britain's biggest selling record of the 60's, which of course is "She Loves You."  Selling over 1.3 million copies in their home country, it was the biggest British hit The Beatles had, even topping the 1.25 million copies sold of "I Want To Hold Your Hand."  Only McCartney himself could topple this feat, his 1977 Wings hit "Mull Of Kintyre" selling over 2 million copies in Britain.

This is not to say that 'sales' is the deciding factor in deciding The Beatles' defining song.  In just over two minutes, The Beatles captured the essence of what was shortly thereafter termed "Beatlemania."  It transported them from regional superstars into a national phenomenon.  The band portrayed themselves as energetic, fresh and exciting, with a driving beat, jangly guitars, and distinctive harmonies.  Nobody could help but stop to notice.

The song stayed in the British Top 20 from August of 1963, through February of 1964, spending four weeks at the top of the charts (four weeks at number one, seven further weeks in the top three, and then two more weeks at number one).  It's release in America was at first without any notice at all, but once "Beatlemania" broke in the US with "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You" shot up to number one there as well (for 2 weeks).

In October of 2005, Uncut Magazine named "She Loves You" the third biggest song that changed the world (after "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Like A Rolling Stone").

But the undeniable reason for claiming "She Loves You" as the defining song for The Beatles lies in the simple phrase, "yeah, yeah, yeah."  Headlines around the world grabbed hold of this nonsense phrase and propelled the "fab-four" into the western world's consciousness forever.  Four and a half decades later (and assuredly for many more to come),  this phrase will be synonymous to one group and one group alone.

 

Majestic Ballroom, Newcastle

Songwriting History

In June of 1963, Lennon and McCartney were convinced that they had their next hit single written and ready for their next recording session, which was scheduled for July 1, 1963.  The song they had just written was "I'll Get You," which followed a similar tempo and style to their current hit "From Me To You."  On June 26th, they changed their mind.

"We were in a van up in Newcastle somewhere," stated McCartney back in 1963, "and we'd just gone over to our hotel.  I originally got an idea of doing one of those answering songs, where a couple of us sing about 'she loves you' and the other one sort of says the 'yes, yes' bit.  You know, 'yeah, yeah' answering whoever who is saying it.  But we decided that was a crummy idea anyway.  But we had the idea of writing a song called 'She Loves You' then.  And we just sat up in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it."

As for the above mentioned iconic phrase, Cynthia Lennon, in her 2005 book "John," recalls an event in late 1958 which may indicate Lennon as the true originator of the phrase:  "He was also romantic, a side of him I saw more often as our relationship deepened.  He wrote love poems on scraps of paper and passed them to me at college.  For our first Christmas he drew a card with a picture of me in my new shaggy coat, standing opposite him, our heads together, his hand on my arm.  It was covered with kisses and hearts and he wrote, 'Our first Christmas, I love you, yes, yes, yes.'  A few years later he used the same idea in one of the Beatles' first hits, 'She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.'"

The Beatles were in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on June 26th, 1963, to play the Majestic Ballroom.  Before the show, at the Turk's Hotel, John and Paul sat facing each other on the twin beds and took advantage of some spare time to work out that original idea Paul had on the bus.

McCartney later recalled, "We must have had a few hours before the show so we said, 'Oh, great!  Let's have a ciggy and write a song!'  So that's how we began 'She Loves You'."  Paul remembers the inspiration for the song came from a current hit named "Forget Him" by Bobby Rydell.  "I remember for some reason thinking of Bobby Rydell; he must have had a hit that we were interested in.  I remember thinking of him and sitting on the bed in this hotel somewhere with John in the afternoon daylight.  It was again a she, you, me, I, personal preposition song.  I suppose the most interesting thing about it was that it was a message song, it was someone bringing a message.  It wasn't us any more, it was moving off the 'I love you, girl' or 'Love me do,' it was a third person, which was a shift away.  'I saw her, and she said to me, to tell you, that she loves you' so there's a little distance we managed to put in it which was quite interesting."

John corroborates that the song originated from Paul.  "I remember it was Paul's idea," Lennon recalled, "Instead of singing 'I love you' again, we'd have a third party."

Even though it may have been Paul's original idea, Lennon insists "it was written together."  McCartney concurs, "It was very co-written as I recall...I think we just sat down and said, 'Right!'  So who had the inspiration, who came up with what line, in these kind of songs, is very difficult to remember because it was all over in a couple of hours."

History does show, however, that the song wasn't completed in those couple of hours on that day.  The next day, June 27th, the Beatles had a day off of touring, which was quite unusual during those days.  John ended up meeting with Paul at his Forthlin Road home's dining room to finish up the song.

"We sat in there one evening," Paul remembers, "just beavering away while my dad was watching TV and smoking his Players cigarettes...we actually just finished it there because we'd started it in the hotel room."

Paul then relates how they premiered the song to his father.  "We went into the living room - 'Dad, listen to this.  What do you think?'  So we played it to my dad 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!'"

Lennon also recalls that "She Loves You" had an additional influence.  "The 'Whooo' was taken from The Isley Brothers 'Twist And Shout,' which we stuck in everything."  Not to mention the Buddy Holly-like "yesterday-ee-ay" inflections sung throughout the first part of each verse.

Sometime in the next three days, The Beatles rehearsed the song and initiated the arrangement somewhat resembling the released version as we know it.  George Harrison is credited with the idea of adding a sixth note to the harmony on the final "yeah," which is heard in the songs' introduction as well as the closing moments of the song.  The Beatles were quite taken by the collective tone this harmony created, but it was almost vetoed from the song, as we'll see later.

 

Recording History

"We wrote that two days before we recorded it, actually."  This quote from John Lennon in 1963 about the song "She Loves You" may be an exaggeration, but only slightly so.  Four days after the song was completed at Paul's Forthlin Road home on June 27th, they premiered the song to George Martin and the recording staff at EMI studio two, July 1, 1963.

Engineer Norman Smith remembers his first impression of the song.  "I was setting up the microphone when I saw the lyrics on the music stand.  I thought I'll just have a quick look. '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 jobbing around."

George Martin recalls being impressed as well, but with one particular concern.  "I was sitting in my usual place on a high stool in studio two when John and Paul first ran through the song on their acoustic guitars, George joining in on the choruses.  I thought it was great but was intrigued by the final chord, an odd sort of major sixth, with George doing the sixth and John and Paul the third and fifths, like a 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."

Paul adds a little more detail to this interchange with George Martin on this day.  "We rehearsed the end bit of 'She Loves You' and took it to George (Martin).  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.'...We loved that bit, and we rehearsed it a lot." 

Regarding George Martin's suggestions, McCartney continues, "He would often give us parameters, like, 'You mustn't double a 3rd,' or, 'It's corny to end with a 6th, and a 7th is even cornier.'  We'd say, 'We like it, man, it's bluesy.'  It was good that we could override a lot of his so-called professional decisions with our innocence.  If anyone now asks, 'What is the sign of a great songwriter?' I say, 'If the songs sound good.'  So we never listened to any rules.

Young Geoff Emerick, a teenager at the time, was privileged to be secured as second engineer for this session.  He describes his first impression of "She Loves You" as "a fantastic song, with a powerhouse beat and a relentless hook.  Norman (Smith) and I immediately agreed that it was destined to be a hit, for sure.  But there was also a level of intensity in the performance that I had not heard before."

Emerick concludes that this "level of intensity" was brought on by the first duty of business on this day.  This entailed removing dozens of hysterical teenage fans who had stormed the doors of EMI studios to get at The Beatles.  Before the recording session began at 2:30 pm, the Beatles met in the alleyway outside the studios for a photo shoot.  The usual group of Beatle fans could climb on top of the walls around the studio perimeter to see that they were there, which led them to alert more friends and increase in number.

Once The Beatles were inside for their recording session, the 'barbarians stormed the walls,' as Lennon joked, one of them even managing to get inside Studio Two, where The Beatles were.  After being tackled by roadie Mal Evans and escorted out, it was discovered that fans were swarming all through the building.  Police were enlisted to handle the matter, but the flattery and the adrenaline rush, no doubt, spurred the Beatles on to the performance of their life

Before the session began, Norman Smith tried a couple new things to get a better sound.  "This old dog still has a few tricks up his sleeve, mate," he told Geoff Emerick that day.  One thing that he did was use a compressor to reduce the dynamic range of the drums and bass guitar independently, instead of together as was the usual practice.  Next, he suspended an overhead microphone over the drums to acquire a "more prominent, driving rhythm sound," as Emerick explained it.  Together, these two elements created a sound unlike all of their earlier recordings, but which continued throughout the rest of their recording career.

"She Loves You" was recorded during the afternoon session that day, which ran from 2:30 to 5:30 pm.  Both Ringo and George Harrison were no doubt pumped up about this session since they both had just acquired brand new instruments to use at this session; Ringo's first Ludwig drum kit and George's Chet Atkins-style Gretsch "Country Gentleman."  George experimented with a recently acquired Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone pedal for this recording, but it was not used in the final take.  John used his Gibson J160E acoustic/electic guitar which was plugged into his Vox amplifier which resulted in quite an electric sound for an acoustic based guitar.  The number of takes needed to complete the song, as well as if any overdubs were performed, is not known because the recording details no longer exist.  We do know that three reels of tape were filled on this day, which comprise the recording of "She Loves You" and its' B-side "I'll Get You."

Another thing that isn't known is how drastically the arrangement of the song changed as they recorded it.  It was the habit of The Beatles to come up with new ideas while recording the song or to take suggestions from George Martin for improving the arrangement, even altering a songs' structure for greater effect.  Johnny Dean, editor of The Beatles Book, happened to be there on that day and he remembers the song being altered dramatically as the session went on.  Starting the song out with an altered version on the refrain was a suggestion of George Martin, which was an alteration that was done for other Beatles songs as well, such as "P.S. I Love You" and even "Strawberry Fields Forever."  

It has been speculated that many of George Harrison's guitar fills were either overdubbed or even recorded on a separate tape and remixed in the editing stage.  An edit that was made just before the third verse shows the rhythm track momentarily drop out during George's guitar flourish, which doesn't drop out.  Either way, it appears that at least this guitar fill was recorded after the rest of the song was recorded.

Geoff Emerick suggests that the vocals were also overdubbed after the rhythm track was recorded, although this was not standard practice for The Beatles until much later.  Their usual pattern, which continued through the next couple of albums, was to record the rhythm track with all instruments and vocals as if performing live, and then overdubbing extra elements afterward, such as handclaps, added harmonies, double-tracked vocals, etc.  But since Emerick was present and involved in the recording process on this day, we'll assume that he's correct.  After all, documentation in regards to this song are now lost, as are the actual master tapes.

"During the playback of the final recording up in the control room," Emerick continues, "all four Beatles were beaming, and Norman Smith was more hyped up and excited than I'd ever seen him before.  He was actually dancing around the console in glee.  From a chair in the back of the room George Martin looked on it pride.  'Nice job lads,' was all he said to us, but you could tell he was elated."

Three days later, on July 4, 1963, it took a three hour session (10 am to 1 pm) to perform the editing work and the mono mix of the song.  "I'll Get You" was also mixed on this day but, since no editing work was necessary for this song, most of these three hours were devoted to "She Loves You."  Since all documentation is now lost, there is no way of knowing which takes were edited together on this day.

The trouble spot of the song seemed to be in the area of the third verse.  As stated earlier, an edit can be heard just before this verse starts during a small guitar flourish from George.  The second half of the verse, encompassing the lyrics "pride can hurt you too, apologize to her," apparently needed to be taken from a different take of the song, so this was edited into the final mix.  The obvious difference is noticeable by the intensified treble in Ringo's open hi-hats during this segment of the verse.

The next time "She Loves You" was heard at EMI studios was on June 3, 1964, but this was for rehearsal purposes only.  With Ringo having tonsillitis and pharyngitis, Jimmy Nicol was recruited to replace him on their first world tour which started the next day.  After rehearsing six songs, Nicol passed the audition and off they went to Copenhagen.

While on this tour, they performed at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California on August 23, 1964.  This is noteworthy because this performance was recorded for a possible live album to be released in the US by Capitol Records in 1964.  While this didn't happen at that time, this performance did eventually get released on "The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl" on May 4, 1977.  The session was originally produced by Capitol vice president Voyle Gilmore and George Martin and was engineered by Hugh Davies.  On August 27th, a rough stereo remix of the song was performed by Gilmore and Davies with added equalization, reverb and limiting.

Since the Beatles did not have an album to release for Christmas of 1966 (as was their custom for that time of year), EMI was preparing a compilation package which became "A Collection Of Beatles Oldies."  Since stereo mixes weren't made of many of their earlier singles, it was the job of EMI staff to create them.  While most of these songs posed no particular problem, "She Loves You" was the exception.  Since the original two-track tapes were now missing, all that survived was the mono master tape.  George Martin (lovingly) gave the duty of creating a pseudo-stereo mix of the song to engineer Geoff Emerick.

Emerick entered room 53 at Abbey Road on November 8, 1966, and spent an hour and a half (4 to 5:30 pm) constructing two mixes of the song.  The first one was made by cutting all the high frequencies from the left channel and cutting all the low frequencies from the right channel.  This is the one that made it on the album, which was released in Britain only on December 9, 1966.  The second mix had Emerick shift the track from channel to channel during different portions of the song, which wasn't used.

Although the recording history of "She Loves You" ends at this point, it is a noteworthy mention that it's legacy lived on later in The Beatles recording career.  The song was vocally reprised during the recording of "All You Need Is Love" on June 25, 1967, as well as the "yeah, yeah yeah" lyrics heard in "Polythene Pam," vocals being recorded on July 28th and 30th, 1969.



Song Structure and Style

For the first time in a Lennon/McCartney composition we see the use of a refrain.  Their usual 'verse/ verse/ bridge/ verse' formula (or aaba), so common in their early rock and roll roots, were expanded upon starting with this song.  They continued the use of the refrain shortly thereafter with songs like "All My Loving" and then with "Eleanor Rigby," although they remained loyal to the aaba format throughout most of their career.

"She Loves You," however, comprises a 'verse/ verse/ refrain/ verse/ refrain' formula (or aabab).  An intro and outro section also appears in the song, but there is no need for an instrumental, or solo, section.

To introduce the eight measure intro section, we hear a quick disjointed drum fill from Ringo, which creates the feeling that we're entering into a song already in progress.  This effect is partially created because the intro is quite similar in structure to the refrain we'll hear a little later where Ringo always performs a similar drum fill. 

The intro then proceeds with the full band performing full throttle, three part harmonies and all, repeating three times the lyrical hook-line of the song, "she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah."  Whenever the refrain pattern occurs, which include the intro and outro sections because of their close similarities, Ringo avoids the use of cymbals.  Therefore, the drums are very tom-heavy until the final two measures, which is where we first hear the extra "yeah" with Harrison's added 6th note.  Also noteworthy in the intro is the syncopated drum accents at the end of the second, fourth and sixth measure.  These accents are not unlike those heard in "Ticket To Ride" nearly two years later.  Since McCartney suggested these accents for the latter song, many conclude he must have suggested them here as well.

With Ringo's open hi-hats at full volume, we enter into the first sixteen measure verse.  Lennon and McCartney go out of their way to avoid using the same tired chord patterns so prominent in early rock and roll, so we see here the beginnings of the expansive imagination these songwriters were to continue to develop.  John and Paul switch back and forth between singing in unison and harmony throughout the verse, while the chords change every measure for the first half of the verse and every two measures for the second half.  The full octave range of the songs' melody line is displayed in the verses, the high end heard climactically with the title phrase "she loves you" in the ninth measure.

The phrase "yeah yeah yeah" is really emphasized throughout the song, even when they don't sing it.  Notice George Harrison playing the "yeah yeah yeah" progression in each verse after the words "can't be bad."  Also of interest is the accent the band hits in each verse after they state the title of the song in the ninth measure.  This accent always occurs on the off-beat between the two and three count, which gives us a stumbling feeling.  The obvious purpose of this trick is to drive home the title of the song in our minds.  Curiously they never do it when they repeat the title in the fifteenth measure of the verse, proving the old adage that "less is better."

The second verse occurs after a small guitar line from George which contains some impressive minor touches.  This second verse mimics the first in structure, except for the Isley Brothers' "Wooh" in the final measure, which was the built in opportunity for shaking heads during their performance of the song and, therefore, screaming girls.

We then progress into the first eight measure refrain, which welcomes George into the fold vocally, as well as Ringo's return to tom-heavy percussion for the first half.  We also see a strategic '1-2-3' accent occurring on the words "love like that" followed by the customary 'Beatles break' before the band continues in full swing for the final three measures.

After a structural repeat of the verse, we dive into another refrain, which has all the same dynamic tricks that we heard the first time.  A new trick is then introduced for the first time in the Beatles cannon, this being the driving home of the '1-2-3' accent and the 'Beatles break' three times in a row.  And, to top it all off, the music suddenly comes to a grinding halt to showcase the three part harmony of the line "you know you should..." leaving us breathlessly awaiting the resolve.  When it finally comes with the lyrics "...be glad", which is triumphantly at the top of the octave again, we delve straight into the eight measure outro.  Ringo flails away on his toms again as George plays the first "yeah yeah yeah" instrumentally, only to be followed by the three part harmony of the final two "yeah yeah yeah"s.  The final occurrence of the 6th note chord ends the song and resonates well after the actual instruments die out.  This arrangement can only be described as a classic pop masterpiece!

Lyrically, the singer appears to be confiding in a friend about some inside information he received from this friends' former girl.  His friend "thinks" he doesn't have her as a girlfriend anymore, but the singer had a conversation with her and she instructed him "what to say" to her former boyfriend.  After informing him that she still loves him, the singer can't help but add his own encouragement, such as "you should be glad."  The friend probably cheated on the girl, as is revealed by the "hurt" she felt that made her 'almost lose her mind.'  She now has regained trust and wants him to know how she feels.

Many have suggested that there is a tone of competition in the lyrics, especially with lines like "it's up to you / I think it's only fair," insinuating that if he doesn't want her, the singer will pursue her.  While this isn't clearly stated, the overall theme is sincere.  After all, the singer is encouraging him to "apologize to her."

Lennon's stellar performance is definitely to the fore, with his prominent vocals and full rhythm guitar work.  McCartney is next to be commended for his pitch-perfect vocals and his altering bass lines, which are not unlike what is heard many years later in "All Together Now."

Ringo's insistent attention to details, from his accents to his structural consistencies, shows him at the top of his game as well as his dependability to do what it takes to get it right, even without much time to rehearse as in this case.  Harrison also comes through with flying colors, with his classy minor guitar fills and accent runs throughout the song, as well as his harmonic 6th note that add the perfect nuance to the final moments of the song. 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO "SHE LOVES YOU" 

American Releases

Since Capitol Records once again passed up the opportunity to release a Beatles single in the US, and since Vee Jay Records was negligent in payment royalties for their first two Beatles singles (not to mention impending bankruptcy), Brian Epstein once again shopped around for an American record label that would be interested in giving The Beatles a chance.  Philadelphia based Swan Records agreed and, on September 16, 1963, "She Loves You," with "I'll Get You" as the B-side, hit American shores.

Not that any US residents noticed anyway, because the song received almost no promotion nor radio airplay in 1963.  Or course, this changed dramatically once "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and Capitol's extensive promotion, made huge waves in the states.  Thereafter, in January of 1964, Swan Records printed up over a million copies of the single and the rest, as they say, is history.  On March 21, 1964, "She Loves You" hit #1 on the Billboard pop charts and stayed for a second week as well, only to be replaced at the top by "Can't Buy Me Love."

The initial release of the Swan single had a white label with red lettering, most copies having the words "Don't Drop Out" on the label, which was an encouragement for youths to stay in school.  The reprinting of the single in January was on a black label with silver lettering, some of which had "Don't Drop Out" on the label.  Obviously, the white label copies are much more valuable since not many were printed or sold.

The second release of the song was on April 10, 1964 on Capitol's "The Beatles' Second Album."  Although they passed on the chance to release it as a single, that didn't stop them from capitalizing on the success of the song with an album, even advertising the song's inclusion right on the front cover.  On January 21st, 2014, this album was released as an individual compact disc for the first time, the mono and stereo mixes being contained on a single CD.

An interesting footnote is that when Swan Records folded in 1967, "She Loves You" ceased to exist as a single in America.  Capitol apparently felt that its' inclusion on "The Beatles' Second Album," as well as later album releases, was sufficient enough for any Beatles fans in the US.

Although The Beatles' first movie "A Hard Day's Night" did feature the song at the close of their live performance sequence, it did not appear on the soundtrack album.  It did, however, get a partial appearance in the track "Beatle Medley" on the November 28th, 1964 documentary album "The Beatles' Story."  Surprisingly, this album was also released on compact disc on January 21st., 2014, but only as contained in the 13 album box set "The U.S. Albums." 

Although Capitol had tentatively planned on releasing a "Best Of The Beatles" compilation album in mid-1964, a 'greatest hits' package didn't actually surface in America until April 2, 1973.  "The Beatles / 1962 - 1966" (affectionately known as "The Red Album") featured, of course, the #1 hit "She Loves You."  The album did very well, peaking at #3 on the Billboard album charts.

May 4, 1977, was the next release of the song, which was the live version that was recorded back on August 23, 1964 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California.  "The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl," after extensive production and engineering by George Martin and Geoff Emerick, saw great success on the Billboard album charts, peaking at #2.

On October 11, 1982, Capitol put out a single-album compilation album entitled "20 Greatest Hits."  The American edition featured "She Loves You" as the lead off track.  Since the album only peaked at #50 on the Billboard album charts, it appeared that The Beatles novelty had wore off at that point in American music history.

October 24, 1988, was the next release of the song on the "Past Masters, Volume One" album, which encompassed all early British singles and EP's that weren't released on a British album.  Although it only peaked at #149 on the US charts at the time, it remains an essential ingredient to the full Beatles catalog to this day.  Both volumes of "Past Masters" were then combined on September 9th, 2009 into one volume simply entitled "Past Masters."

On June 30th, 1992, the song was included in the box set “Compact Disc EP Collection.”  Its appearance here was due to it being on the British EP “The Beatles’ Million Sellers,” which was originally released on December 6th, 1965.

Even though Capitol hadn't commercially released "She Loves You" as a single, a "For Jukeboxes Only" version of the single did get released in February of 1994.  This Cema series single was printed on red vinyl and is quite the collectors' item today.

The highly anticipated "Anthology 1" album was the next release to feature "She Loves You."  Appearing in the US on November 21, 1995, it features the famous Beatles' performance of the song at The Royal Variety Show on November 4, 1963.  The album reached #1 in the US.

The ultimate compilation album, "Beatles 1," came out on November 13, 2000.  It debuted at the #1 position in the US and has become the biggest selling album of the year, as well as selling 31 million copies worldwide (over 10 million in the US alone).

The song is also featured on the November 15th, 2004 released box set “The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1” as part of “The Beatles’ Second Album” in both the mono and the original “duphonic stereo” mix. 

On September 9th, 2009, the box set “The Beatles In Mono” was released which features a stunning re-mastered mono mix of “She Loves You” on its CD “Mono Masters.”

Yet another version of the song appeared on the November 11th, 2013 released album "On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2."  This rendition was recorded on September 7th, 1963 and was aired on the radio program "Saturday Club" on October 5th.

 

The Beatles at The London Palladium, October 13th, 1963

Live Performances

It's probably pretty safe to say that once "She Loves You" was released in Britain on August 23, 1963, every stage performance by The Beatles for the next year or so included the song.  In actuality, the first public debut of the song occurred even before the record was released.  On August 13, 1963, the BBC radio show "Pop Go The Beatles" transmitted the first broadcast of the song, which was recorded especially for the BBC on July 16th.  They also replayed this performance on the "Pop Go The Beatles" show the following week, August 20, 1963.

Many noteworthy and historic live performances of the song occurred, which we'll outline below.  First, on August 27, 1963, The Beatles performed the song before television cameras at the Little Theatre in Hoghton Street, Southport.  Although no audience was present, film footage of the crowd at their appearance at the Odeon Cinema, Southport, the previous day was interspersed with this performance footage to create a scene in the British TV show "The Mersey Sound."  Although this show was well received, this performance of "She Loves You" is historic because the footage was sold to NBC for a January episode of "The Jack Parr Show."  This was the television debut of The Beatles in America on January 3, 1964.  Even though Jack Parr spoke disparagingly of The Beatles while the footage was being played on his show, such as saying sarcastically "It's nice to know that England has finally risen to our cultural level," it boosted the interest of The Beatles, which paved the way for their imminent arrival in February on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

October 13, 1963 saw The Beatles perform the song at the famous London Palladium, which was broadcast live on the top-rated British TV show "Val Parnell's Sunday Night At The London Palladium."

While both their Swedish tour in October and their British "Autumn Tour" in November included "She Loves You," the most impressive inclusion of the song was on November 4, 1963, for the "Royal Command Performance" at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London.  This performance took The Beatles from strictly a youthful fad to a national phenomenon, as hardly a newspaper in all of Britain could deny their presence.  Even American journalists took notice in their coverage of this unusual main attraction on the bill of such a prestigious event.

After finishing of 1963 performing the song during their three-week "Beatles Christmas Show," they took the song to Paris during their 18-day run at the Olympia Theatre.  From there, they took the song to America where it was finally being played non-stop on US radio.  Their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th included "She Loves You," as did their performance the following week (February 16th) on location in Miami, Florida.  In between time, their first US live concerts at the Washington Coliseum and at Carnegie Hall included the song as well.

Finally, their world tour, stretching from June 4th in Denmark to November 10th in Bristol, included the song, which appears to be the last date on record that The Beatles performed the song.  John Lennon's 1971 statement about not wanting to be "dragged on stage playing 'She Loves You' when we've got asthma and tuberculosis and when we're fifty" proved true much earlier on.

There were a total of ten performances of the song for BBC radio.  After the aforementioned "Pop Go The Beatles" shows on August 13th and 20th, 1963, they recorded it for "Saturday Club" on July 30th, which aired on August 24th.  Then on August 1st, they recorded it for another "Pop Go The Beatles" show, which was broadcast on August 27th.  Two more "Pop Go The Beatles" shows included the song, both recorded on September 3rd and broadcast on September 10th and September 24th, respectively.  "Saturday Club" broadcast another recording of the song on October 5th (recorded on September 7th), and then "The Ken Dodd Show" broadcast their October 9th recording of the song three times:  November 3rd, November 6th and February 1st, 1964.  They then recorded "She Loves You" for the BBC show "Easy Beat" on October 16th, 1963, which aired on October 20th, while another edition of "Saturday Club" got a fresh recording of the song on December 17th, which was broadcast on December 21st.  Finally, the new radio show "From Us To You" featured a December 18th recording of the song on their Boxing Day program of December 26th, 1963.

Brian Matthew

Conclusion

Hardly anyone, even today, can have a negative comment to say about "She Loves You," but that was not always the case.  "Brian Matthew, the radio presenter, reviewed 'She Loves You' in Melody Maker," stated McCartney, "and called it 'banal rubbish'...but when the record zoomed to number one in the Melody Maker chart the next week, he was on the front page disclaiming his comments."  Matthew's recanted words were "At first I thought it was a little banal...but it grows on you."  And grow it did.

Seeing that "She Loves You" was their biggest selling record in Britain, as well as becoming the worldwide anthem of Beatlemania, we can see how critics can be wrong.  "Criticism didn't really stop us and it shouldn't ever stop anyone," McCartney continued, "because critics are only the people who can't get a record deal themselves."  Well said. 


Song Summary

 "She Loves You"

Written by:  John Lennon / Paul McCartney

  • Song Written: June 26th and 27th, 1963
  • Song Recorded: July 1, 1963
  • First US Release Date: September 16, 1963
  • US Single Release: Swan #4152
  • First US Album Release: Capitol #ST 2080 "The Beatles' Second Album"
  • Highest Chart Position: #1 (2 weeks)
  • British Album Release: Parlophone #PCS 7016 "A Collection Of Beatles Oldies"
  • Length: 2:19
  • Key: G major
  • Producer: George Martin
  • Engineers: Norman Smith, Geoff Emerick

Instrumentation:

  • John Lennon -  Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar (1962 Gibson J160E)
  • Paul McCartney - Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
  • George Harrison -  Lead Guitar (1962 Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman), Harmony Vocals
  • Ringo Starr -  Drums (1963 Ludwig Downbeat Oyster Black Pearl)

    Written and compiled by Dave Rybaczewski

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