Day 212: “She Loves You”

When was it recorded?   Jul. 1, 1963

When was it first released, and on which album?   Aug. 23, 1963 as a single

Who wrote it?   Lennon/McCartney

Have I heard this song before?   Yes

What my research dug up:

Bear with me, this post was kind of rough but there was a lot of background information to go through. “She Loves You” is massive and I doubt I’ll do it justice.

John and Paul started writing “She Loves You” Jun. 26, 1963 “in a room in the Turk’s Hotel in Newcastle, prior to The Beatles’ second performance at the city’s Majestic Ballroom” (Beatles Bible).

“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.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)

According to John, the idea to have the song’s narrator as a third party to the troubled relationship was Paul’s idea. According to Paul, everything apart from that decision was equal parts him and John. “She Loves You” drew inspiration from a number of popular songs – Elvis’ “All Shook Up,” the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout,” and Buddy Holly in general. (I didn’t read anything about it, but those “woo”s probably owe something to Little Richard as well.) The duo finished writing “She Loves You” at Paul’s home the next day.

“We sat in there one evening, just beavering away while my dad was watching TV and smoking his Players cigarettes, and we wrote ‘She Loves You’… 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!’ That’s my classic story about my dad. For a working-class guy that was rather a middle-class thing to say, really. But he was like that.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)

Four days after writing it, the Beatles recorded “She Loves You” on Jul. 1, 1963. EMI protocol back then was to erase the tapes once the final version was mixed. These early takes or any information regarding the number of takes exists anymore.

*inhales deeply for one full minute*

OK… “She Loves You” was released as a single in the UK on Aug. 23, 1963. As far back as June, thousands of fans had pre-ordered the single. According to Wikipedia, about 500,000 orders had been placed by the day before the single was released. The number was on the UK music charts for 31 consecutive weeks. It hit #1 on Sept. 14 and stayed there for four weeks. Then it dropped in the ranks… and then it bounced back to #1 on Nov. 30 and stayed there for another two weeks. It also reentered the charts the following April once Beatlemania was in full full swing.

The success of “She Loves You” in continental Europe led to a Beatles tour of Sweden in Oct. 1963. According to Wikipedia, “Prior to The Beatles’ breakthrough with ‘She Loves You,’ British acts had only managed sporadic successes in continental European markets.”

Across the pond… we didn’t get it.

With previously failed relationships with Capitol Records and Vee-Jay Records, Brian Epstein asked Transglobal Music (an affiliate of EMI) to find a new American label willing to distribute “She Loves You.” Transglobal came up with Swan Records. The contract only licensed Swan to distribute “She Loves You” [they eventually claimed this gave them the rights to “Sie Liebt Dich,” which worked weirdly enough] and its B-side, “I’ll Get You” for two years.

So Swan released “She Loves You” as a US single Sept. 16, 1963. Quoth Wikipedia, “it received a positive notice in Billboard, but garnered very little radio airplay.” It sold about 1,000 copies and didn’t hit Billboard anywhere in the charts.

Of course, after “I Want to Hold You Hand” hit the charts in Jan. 1964, Americans were much more accepting of “She Loves You,” which Swan graciously re-released. It reached #2 behind “Hold You Hand” for five weeks; then on March 21 the two singles switched places. Quoth Wikipedia, “During its fifteen-week run on the American charts, ‘She Loves You’ was joined by four other Beatles songs at the top five in the American charts and became part of the group setting several all-time records for the Hot 100.”

Unlike their neighbors to the south, Canada released “She Loves You” as a single in Sept. 1963. It entered the charts at the start of December and reached the Top 5. In early 1964, it finally hit #1 and stayed there for nine weeks.

Given its immense popularity, “She Loves You” was a staple of the Beatles’ live shows until they stopped touring. One performance for The Royal Variety Show on November 4, 1963 appeared on “Anthology 1” in 1995.

Another live version from August 23, 1964 was released in 1977 on “The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl.”

According to Beatles Books, “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.” The Fab Four recorded the number 10 times of BBC Radio. On the version recorded Sept. 7, 1963 for Oct. 5’s “Saturday Club” has been released officially, on last year’s “On Air – Live at the BBC Vol. 2.”

Back on Day 111: “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” I talked about how the Beatles got strong-armed into re-recording the track into German. It happened, here too.

When was it recorded?   Jan. 29, 1964

When was it first released, and on which album?   Mar. 5, 1964 as the B-side to “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand”

Who translated it?   Camillo Felgen

Have I heard this song before?   No

What my research dug up:

The Beatles recorded “I Want to Hold Your Hand”/ “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” first using the original instrumental track. However, as I mentioned earlier, the original track of “She Loves You” was erased by EMI, so the Fab Four had to re-record “She Loves You”/ “Sie liebt Dich” from scratch. They completed the rhythm track in 13 takes.

Again, Luxembourg musician and radio personality Camillo Felgen translated the lyrics into German. He’s credited both as “Jean Nicolas” and “Jean Montague” for tax evasion purposes.

Though released two months earlier in Germany, quoth Wikipedia, “‘Sie Liebt Dich’ was released as a single in the United States on 21 May 1964, by Swan Records.” It peaked at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“She Loves You” was the best-selling single of 1963. It’s also the Beatles’ all-time best-selling single in Britain and was the best-selling single for any artist in the UK until 1977 (a record broken by Paul McCartney’s second band, Wings). According to Wikipedia, “As of November 2012, it is the eighth best-selling single of all time by any artist in the UK, with sales of 1.9 million copies.”

The song’s noteworthy chorus gets dropped at the end of the Beatle’s later song, “All You Need is Love.” Rolling Stone ranked “She Loves You” #64 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It also appears in the finale concert of 1964’s “A Hard Day’s Night.”

I can tell you it’s a true, enduring classic – I just listened to “She Loves You” fifty times over and I’m not yet sick of it or wishing I could get it out of my head. Yeah yeah yeah!



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