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I Saw Her Standing There

The history of this classic Beatles song


The original US sleeve for

The original US sleeve for "I Saw Her Standing There"

source: freewayjam.blogspot.com

I Saw Her Standing There

Working Title: Seventeen
Written by: Paul McCartney (80%) and John Lennon (20%) (credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: February 11, 1963 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: February 25, 1963
Length: 2:30
Takes: 12
Musicians: John Lennon: backing vocal, rhythm guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325)
Paul McCartney: lead vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
George Harrison: lead guitar (Gretsch Duo Jet)
Ringo Starr: drums (Premier)
First released: March 22, 1963 (b-side of "I Want To Hold Your Hand") (US: Capitol 5112)
Available on: (CDs in bold)
  • Please Please Me, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1202, PCS 3042, Parlophone CDP7 46435-2p, US: Capitol CLJ 46435)
  • Introducing The Beatles, (US: VeeJay VJLP 1062)
  • Meet The Beatles, (US: Capitol (S)T 2047, CDP 7243 8 66875 2 4}
  • The Beatles No. 1 (EP), (UK: Parlophone GEP 8883}
  • Written by Paul when still a schoolboy at the Liverpool Institute for Boys, the original version -- a first verse and chorus written on a schoolbook -- was titled "Seventeen." Supposedly it was written for Iris Caldwell, the sister of fellow Merseybeat musician Rory Storm (of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, which at one time featured Ringo on drums).
  • John helped Paul finish the song, either during a day the boys played hookey from school or while on tour in Hamburg. Aside from helping construct a bridge, John's major input was in suggesting that Paul change the second line of the song from "Never been a beauty queen" to the more bluesy "You know what I mean." Though Paul claims the new line has no real meaning, his salacious delivery suggests otherwise.
  • The bass line from this song was lifted almost directly from Chuck Berry's "I'm Talking About You."
  • The famous count-off that opens the song was actually from a different take -- take 9, which found Paul increasingly frustrated, leading to the almost angry quality of the opening. (Ironically, the final mix was made from Take 1 after all, with the opening spliced in and handclaps overdubbed.)
Live versions: December 25, 28, 31, 1962 (Star Club, Hamburg, Germany), February 11, 1964 (Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C), February 12, 1964 (Carnegie Hall, New York), February 16, 1964 (Deauville Hotel, Miami, FL, for broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show), June 4, 1964 (K.B. Hallen Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark), June 6, 1964 (Blokker, Amsterdam, Holland), June 12-13, 1964 (Centennial Hall, Adelaide, Australia), June 15-17, 1964 (Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia)
BBC radio versions: 11 (for the BBC radio programs From Us To You, Saturday Club, Side By Side, Steppin' Out, Pop Goes The Beatles, and Easy Beat)
  • John performed this onstage with Elton John at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 1974, effectively making it his last public performance. Lennon introduced the song as written by "an old estranged fiancee of mine named Paul."
Covered by: The Chipmunks, The Crickets, Jerry Garcia, Elton John, Daniel Johnston, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, George Martin, Moon Martin, Anthony Newley, Cliff Richard, Tiffany, The Tubes, Bob Welch, J. Frank Wilson
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