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"I Saw Her Standing There"

Categories: Beatles songs

If Please Please Me was intended to be a snapshot of The Beatles' live show and sound, how better to open it than with that exuberant count-in to "I Saw Her Standing There"?


You can still hear how flipped-out excited and gut-wrenched nervous they really were. First Paul, impatiently lurching into his bassline before his 'four' has fully died away. Always loved his enthusiasm to just get into the song. Can't really blame him though, can you?

Well, she was just seventeen,

but he hadn't yet turned twenty-one... Mind you, as if to dispel any doubts George Martin may still have had about his capabilities, it doesn't take Ringo more than half a beat to pick him up.

John's performance ain't flawless either: he never seems quite sure whether it's a "since" or a "when" he saw her standing there; but it's little things like that which make up the perfect balance of youthful inexperience and earnest determination which still crackle from the whole of the album. That's why your heart still goes "boom", if

You know what I mean!

Of course it's rock 'n' roll, but a little more refined than it used to be — starting to be 'pop'. Pretty much like the boys themselves: still not long out of the leathers and into the suits, it's a perfect polaroid of the band at the time. Jitters aside, it's all as tight as you like: born from that legendary school exercise book, then worked and reworked on stage. The chug-along drive has lost none of its butt-moving capacity, and the vocal acrobatics none of their breath-taking freshnness. The handclaps, the woooohs, and not forgetting George's nifty little breaks and solo — history being made:

Way beyond compare...

The song went on to make a little more history the following year, as the flipside to Capitol's "I Want To Hold Your Hand" single, their first US number one. For their BBC Easy Beat rendition, Paul counted it in in German.

He's still playin' it live, as — somewhat perversely — did John, along with Elton, at Madison Square Garden in 1974.

I'll never dance with another
— wooooohhhh —
Since I waw her standing there!!!
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