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I Saw Her Standing There
The Beatles
Genre Rock'n'Roll
Written by Paul McCartney
Released 22 March 1963
Album Please Please Me
Also featured on Introducing...The Beatles
Recorded 11 February 1963
Length 2:55
Label Parlophone
Producer George Martin
Please Please Me guide
Introducing...The Beatles guide

I Saw Her Standing There is the opening track of Please Please Me, the Beatles' debut album, and was written mainly by Paul McCartney and released on March 22, 1963.

The song was released as the B-side of "I Want to Hold Your Handin the United States in December 26, 1963. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 two months later, peaking at number 14, and stayed there for 11 weeks. The song has recieved positive reception from critics and has been covered multiple times.


The song was a Lennon and McCartney collaboration based on McCartney's initial idea. Originally titled "Seventeen", the song was apparently conceived by McCartney while driving home from a Beatles' concert in Southport, Lancashire as a modern take on the traditional song As I Roved Out, a version of Seventeen Come Sunday that he had heard in Liverpool in 1960. The song was later completed at his Forthlin Road home with Lennon. McCartney later described in Beat Instrumental how he went about the song's composition: "Here’s one example of a bit I pinched from someone: I used the bass riff from 'Talkin’ About You' by Chuck Berry in 'I Saw Her Standing There'. I played exactly the same notes as he did and it fitted our number perfectly. Even now, when I tell people, I find few of them believe me; therefore, I maintain that a bass riff hasn’t got to be original". The lyrics were written on a Liverpool Institute exercise book. Remember, a book by McCartney's brother Mike McCartney, includes a photograph of Lennon and McCartney writing the song while strumming guitars and reading the exercise book. It was typical of how Lennon and McCartney would work in partnership, as McCartney later commented: "I had 'She was just seventeen,' and then 'never been a beauty queen'. When I showed it to John, he screamed with laughter, and said 'You're joking about that line, aren't you?'" "We came up with, 'You know what I mean.' Which was good, because you don't know what I mean" (Barry Miles. Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now), "It was one of the first times he ever went 'What? Must change that...'" Lennon said: "That's Paul doing his usual good job of producing what George Martin used to call a 'potboiler'. I helped with a couple of the lyrics." (David Sheff. John Lennon: All We Are Saying). The songwriting credit on the Please Please Me liner notes is "McCartney–Lennon" which differs from the more familiar "Lennon–McCartney" that appears on subsequent releases.


The first live recording (a slow version of the song) was made at the Cavern Club at the end of 1962. Lennon didn't play rhythm guitar; he played harmonica in the introduction and during the verses. Lennon and McCartney laughed when they sing "Well we danced all night/And I held her tight/And I held her in mine" second time.

The song was recorded at EMI Studios on February 1963 and engineered by Norman Smith, as part of the marathon recording session that produced 10 of the 14 songs on Please Please Me. The Beatles were not present for the mixing session on February 25, 1963. It was not common for band to present at such sessions at the time.

On the album, the song starts with the rousing "One, two, three, four!" count-in by McCartney. Usually, these count-ins are edited off the final audio mix. However, record producer George Martin wanted to create the effect that the album was a live performance: "I have been up to the Cavern and I've seen what they could do, I knew their repertoire, and I said 'Let's record every song you've got, come down to the studios and we'll just whistle through them in a day.'" Martin took the count-in from take 9, which was considered 'especially spirited' and spliced it onto Take 1. Music journalist Richard Williams suggested that this dramatic introduction to their debut album was just as stirring as Elvis Presley's "Well it's one for the money, two for the show..." on his opening track, "Blue Suede Shoes", for his debut album seven years earlier. In addition it also made the point that the Beatles were a performing band as, at the time, they opened their live set with this song. One the first American release of the song, issued on Vee-Jay Records, the count was edited out-but the "Four!" is still audible.

The full take 9 version of the song appears on the Free as a Bird CD single as a B side, released for the first time.


  • British LP: Please Please Me
  • British EP: The Beatles (No.1)
  • American LP: Introducing... The Beatles
  • American Single: "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
  • American LP: Meet the Beatles!


Critical acclaim[]

Carr and Tyler in the Beatles: An Illustrated Record, claimed it was only the third all-British rock classic up to that time, the previous two being Cliff Richard's "Move It" and Johnny Kidd's "Shakin All Over".

Later performance by the Beatles[]

  • A 1974 liver version was recorded by the Elton John Band with John Lennon and released as the B-side to the former's "Philadelphia Freedom" single. The song is available on the Lennon box set, and on Elton John's To Be Continued... box set as well as the expanded CD edition of his 1976 live album Here and There. Lennon's introduction:

"I'd like to thank Elton and the boys for having me on tonight. We tried to think of a number to finish off with so I can get out of here and be sick, and we thought we'd do a number of an old, estranged fiance of mine, called Paul. This is one I never sang, it's an old Beatle number, and we just about know it."

This was the last major live performance by John Lennon. After Lennon's death the track was released as single and reached #40 on the UK Singles Chart in March 1981, making the first time that any version of the song had entered the UK charts.

McCartney included "I Saw Her Standing There" on this live albums Tripping the Live Fantastic (1990), Back in the US (2002) and Back in the World (2003). In 1987, he recorded a new version for the album CHOBA B CCCP, but it let to outtakes. The song has become a mainstay of McCartney's live sets, and a special version was played when McCartney and his band returned to Liverpool in June 2008. It featured special guest drummer Dave Grohl, the lead singer of the Foo Fighters.

McCartney performed "I Saw Her Standing There" at the 1986 Prince's Trust Rock Gala, as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of HRH Prince Charles' charity. He was supported by an all-star band featuring Elton John, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and Ray King. Interviewed at the time, McCartney said: "It is a good thrill playing with musicians of this calibre... since it was a birthday thing, they wanted to do something silly at the end, and that's me!!" This performance was released to iTunes Stores in October 2009 as part of the Digital Video Singles label. Paul McCartney also performed a duet of this song with Billy Joel during the inaugural concert at the Citi Field in Flushing, New York.

Versions from others[]

  • Bonnie and the Butterflies recorded a version of the song under the title "I Saw Him Standing There" in 1964 on Smash 1878.
  • The Supremes recorded "I Saw Him Standing There". It was recorded during the sessions for their A Bit of Liverpool album, but remained unreleased until 2008.
  • The Who filmed and recorded a version of the song for their film The Kids Are Alright; Keith Moon sang the lead vocal. However, this was not released on the film or soundtrack album, and has only been available on bootleg recordings. The Who also performed the song on their album 1982 Farewell Tour, with John Entwistle on lead vocal, including a performance at Shea Stadium.
  • Los Impala which is considered to be the first Venezuelan rock band, recorded a cover of the song with lyrics translated in Spanish entitled "La vi parada ahi". The song is included in their debut album from 1963.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their 1964 album The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits.
  • Led Zeppelin performed the song live on September 4, 1970 at the Los Angeles Forum as a "Communication Breakdown" medley featuring "Good Times and Bad Times" and "For What's It Worth" on the Live on Blueberry Hill bootleg.
  • Daniel Johnston covered "I Saw Her Standing There" on his album Continued Story with Texas Instruments.
  • Santo & Johnny did a version (which features a steel guitar) on an LP of Beatles songs.
  • In 1977, The Tubes covered "I Saw Her Standing There" on their live CD What Do You Want From Live, and still play the track regularly in live performances.
  • In 1988, Yugoslav band Azra covered "I Saw Her Standing There" on their live album Zadovoljstina.
  • Carmaig de Forest recorded an acoustic version of "I Saw Her Standing There" on his own kitchen in 1991. Halfway through the song, it turns into his own composition "Julie Among the Redwoods", but reverts back to "I Saw Her Standing There" in the end.
  • Peter Grant recorded a jazz version on his debut album New Vintage in 2006.
  • The Punkles did a punk cover on their first album, Beat the Punkles.
  • Allister released a cover version on the Japanese-only EP, Guilty Pleasures.
  • In 1991, Mexican singer Mimi recorded a Spanish version of the song called "Te Vi Parado Ahi" and included it on her self-titled debut album.
  • Serbian doo wop band Vampiri recorded a version with lyrics in Serbian language entitled "Poziv na ples" ("Dance Invitation"), on their 1993 album Bebe.
  • A tribute to the Beatles at 2004 Grammy Awards began with this song performed by Sting, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill and N.E.R.D's Pharrell Williams. Matthews mistakenly sang "I saw her dancing there" during the first verse.
  • Little Richard and Jerry Lewis on Jerry Lee Lewis's 2006 CD Last Man Standing.
  • Jerry Garcia recorded the song on his Run for the Roses album in 1982.
  • Pink Fairies played the song on their 1972 album What a Bunch of Sweeties.
  • Bob Welch who played the song on his 1979 album Three Hearts.
  • Duffy Power & The Graham Bond Quartet recorded a slower version of this song in 1963 (There/Farewell Baby U.K. Parlophone R 5024 1963).
  • Tiffany version of the song appeared on her debut self-titled album.
  • Seminal punk rock group Ramones began most of their songs live with the count "1-2-3-4", usually from Dee Dee Romane, and the count is included in many of their studios songs. They deliberated tried to hark back to "I Saw Her Standing There".

External links[]