I SAW HER STANDING THERE, 1962
Lead Vocal: Bobby Cohen
"The only mere pop group you could remove from history and suggest that culturally, without them, things would have been significantly different."
-- Hanif Qureshi
What can you say about The Beatles that hasn't already been said?
What gets me is not just their clear talent and charisma - but their growth both as musicians and humans. They were four provincial kids from Liverpool, who paid their dues performing in the strip clubs of Hamburg while still in their teens. They moved to London after they were 'discovered', and in the 7 years from 1962 to 1969 changed pop music and culture forever. Writing your own songs, treating album covers as art in their own right, the "concept" album, the "back to the roots" album. The incorporation of orchestral and world music (and many other genre blends/bends). Performing in stadiums, then replacing live performances with music videos ... The firsts go on and on.
Timing matters. There was a population boom of young kids born after the Second World War who were tired of the social norms and tastes of their parents; and importantly, they had their own money to spend. The Beatles got big in the UK in late 1962, and in 1964 the release of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand / I Saw Her Standing There" marked the official start of worldwide Beatlemania and the first 'British Invasion.'
Their early musical influences (which stayed with them through all their studio and sound innovations) were the rock n' roll of Chuck Berry and his contemporaries, and the harmonies of the girl bands of the 50s. These harmonies and use of jazzier chords distinguished their sound from others like the Stones, who were playing straight up rhythm and blues with a Brit accent. And anchoring it all was Paul McCartney's bass. Not obvious at first listen, but Paul's bass lines are often the hidden driver of Beatles songs.
"I Saw Her Standing There" leads off The Beatles' first album Please Please Me, most of which was recorded live in one day! The Chuck Berry influence is obvious (in fact the bass line was stolen from Chuck Berry's "I’m talking About You"). But the additional complexity and Beatles ‘vibe’ comes from the harmonies. The syncopated guitar and hand claps add further interest. Keith Richards popularized the syncopated rhythm guitar riff, but George was actually doing it all along, buried deep in the mix.
This is essentially a Paul McCartney song. Paul is a musical genius, and he was the musical anchor of The Beatles; but in my opinion, he needed the creative tension with John to produce his best work. He has written some of the most iconic tunes of all time, yet left to his devices, he would tend toward more sappy story songs like "Maxwells Silver Hammer," "Rocky Raccoon," "Lovely Rita." etc.
Parthiv worked hardest on this song, wanting to one up Paul's frantic bass playing- which I think he does! I had fun being both John and George.