10 Interesting Facts Behind Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’
via The Beatles/YouTube
The Beatles had a stunning debut with “Please Please Me”. And one of the highlights of the album was “I Saw Her Standing There”. It was written by Paul McCartney and was the opening track to the aforementioned LP. Here are ten interesting facts about it:
1. It’s a collaborative effort between McCartney and John Lennon.
It was written primarily by Macca but Lennon also helped him. They wrote it in the former’s living room after they skipped class one day.
“I wrote it with John in the front parlour of my house in 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton,” McCartney recalled. “We sagged off school and wrote it on guitars and a little bit on the piano that I had there.”
2. It was originally titled “Seventeen”.
McCartney also changed the line “She was just 17, she’d never been a beauty queen” to “She was just 17, you know what I mean.” He explained to GQ Magazine, “It makes more sense, even though you don’t know what I mean.”
3. The Beatles performed it at their Cavern Club shows and also during their two appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.
At the end of 1962, they played the first live recording of the song at Cavern Club. It was a slower version and features Lennon on harmonica in the intro.
4. It wasn’t released as a single in the UK.
In the US, however, it was on the flip side of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. It became their first hit in America.
5. It was one of the songs recorded in one day for “Please Please Me”.
They even recorded it under the title “Seventeen”.
“That’s Paul doing his usual good job of producing what George Martin used to call a ‘potboiler’,” Lennon said. “I helped with a couple of the lyrics.”
6. The bass line was lifted from Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You”.
“I played exactly the same notes as he did and it fitted our number perfectly,” McCartney admitted. “Even now, when I tell people about it, I find few of them believe me. Therefore I maintain that a bass riff doesn’t have to be original.”
7. It was the last song Lennon played during his final live performance at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 1974.
He introduced it by saying, “I’d like to thank Elton and the boys for having me on tonight. We tried to think of a number to finish off with so I can get out of here and be sick, and we thought we’d do a number of an old, estranged fiancé of mine, called Paul.”
He added, “This is one I never sang, it’s an old Beatle number, and we just about know it.”
8. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman sang this in the 1988 American road drama film, Road Man.
9. McCartney performed it at the 1986 Prince’s Trust Rock Gala.
He was backed by an all-star band that featured Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Mark Knopfler, and Ray King.
“It is a good thrill playing with musicians of this calibre,” Macca noted. “Since it was a birthday thing, they wanted to do something silly at the end, and that’s me.”
10. It helped cement Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting partnership.
“Sometimes we would just start a song from scratch, but one of us would nearly always have a germ of an idea, a title or a rough little thing they were thinking about and we’d do it,” McCartney explained. “‘I Saw Her Standing There’ was my original, I’d started it and I had the first verse, which therefore gave me the tune, the tempo and the key. It gave you the subject matter, a lot of the information, and then you had to fill in.”
He continued, ” It was co-written, my idea, and we finished it that day.”