I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles

Return to artist songs >>


Select a song or an artist- and read about and hear these great recordings:


"I Saw Her Standing There" - The Beatles (1963)

McCartney admits that he stole the bass riff  for “I Saw Her Standing There” from Chuck Berry’s song “I’m Talking About You” saying that the same notes fit the song to a tee.

The narrator is discovering love and just as quickly taking the beloved’s place in the world for granted. Nothing else is being considered but the penetrating rush of adolescent desire. For a change in a Beatle song there is no romantic or emotional complications; no angst, pangs nor even the slightest amount of self-doubt. This time it’s more like some "hip ditty bop noise" to remind us in perpetuity of the "nowness and coolness of being seventeen and hip;" of falling for the first time in what you think just might be true love.

To music writer Steve Turner, the song embodied the Beatle’s existentialist outlook. They grew up in an era that still promoted the concept of courtship. The only girls who went all the way” on a first or second date were “slappers” or “scrubbers” who weren’t considered good wife or mother material.

He writes:

“In the song, there are no preliminaries. He sees her, she sees him, and the next step is that they’re dancing ‘through the night,’ which like ‘holding each other tight’ is usually a euphemism for sex in Beatles’ songs. For Paul there was rarely a delay between seeing and taking. Things didn’t backfire. Jealous boyfriends didn’t pursue him. Reticent girls didn’t slap his face. In this song he only has to walk across the room for all his dreams to come true. His heart goes “boom,” but an accelerated heartbeat or a minor palpitation is a small price to pay.”

The relentless instrumental accompaniment can be heard as a distillation of everything the Beatles had learned from three years of hard labor in the clubs of Hamburg and Liverpool: each 4/4 bar contains eight eighth-notes, and the Beatles make the most of this fact by playing nearly everyone one of them as loudly as possible.

“I Saw Her Standing There" features a middle-eight- the musical trait that becomes one of John and Paul’s unique signatures as composers. In Lennon-McCartney compositions, the middle-eight often represents a pointed lyrical departure from the rest of the song which shares a common link with “turn,” or volta, of a sonnet.

Paul’s bass line tugs and struts along, and blends with John’s rhythm guitar almost seamlessly. Ringo offers a simple-sounding percussive shuffle.

 “I Saw Her Standing There” is the first song that Harrison performs a solo.

One has the feeling that overall- they are listening to a band with a huge amount of spirit that is intent on tweaking and refining the very boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll in their own distinctive way. Everything in it smells and drips with raw energy, excitement and pop electricity. This is the song where The Beatles unveiled their own original “signature sound.”

Make a suggestion to improve this song profile