Beatles – I Saw Her Standing There

(One, two, three, four)

Well, she was just seventeen
You know what I mean

One of the most famous count offs in history. It’s a great rocker by the early Beatles. This wasn’t released as a single in England. In the US, it was released as the flip side of “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” which was their first hit in the America.

The title was original “Seventeen” until it was changed for the album. There have been many covers of this song…some very good but I’ll take the original every time.

This was one of 10 songs The Beatles recorded in one day (February 11, 1963) for their UK debut album, Please Please Me. It was the first song on the tracklist. Can you imagine that happening today?

I Saw Her Standing There peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #1 in New Zealand, and #1 (I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There) in Canada in 1964.

This was the last song John Lennon performed for a paid audience. He played it at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 1974 when he took the stage at an Elton John concert. Elton released this version as the B-side of “Philadelphia Freedom” the following year.

Paul McCartney: “Those early days were really cool, just sussing each other out, and realizing that we were good. You just realize from what he was feeding back. Often it was your song or his song, it didn’t always just start from nothing. Someone would always have a little germ of an idea. So I’d start off with [singing] ‘She was just 17, she’d never been a beauty queen’ and he’d be like, ‘Oh no, that’s useless’ and ‘You’re right, that’s bad, we’ve got to change that.’ Then changing it into a really cool line: ‘You know what I mean.’ ‘Yeah, that works.'”

From Songfacts

John Lennon and Paul McCartney started writing this in McCartney’s living room after they skipped school one day, with Paul writing the majority of this song in September of 1962.

The Beatles frequently played this at the Cavern Club, where they often played between 1961-1963. In fact, it was because of the crowd reaction to their live shows that George Martin decided to have them simply record their live show in the studio for their first album. That’s why he kept Paul’s “1, 2, 3, 4” count at the beginning, which was taken from the 9th take and edited on to the first. 

The Beatles performed this on their first two Ed Sullivan Show appearances, which took place a week apart in February 1964. Getting on the show was a really big deal because it had a huge audience. About 73 million people watched the first show, which made The Beatles household names.

This became the first Beatles song performed on the TV series American Idol when Jordin Sparks won in 2007 and sang it on the finale with runner-up Blake Lewis. The first line of the song – “She was just 17” – was fitting, as that was Sparks’ age.

Chuck Berry was a big influence on The Beatles, and the bass line of this song borrows from Berry’s track “I’m Talking About You.” 

At the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks, McCartney went to one of the games at Yankee Stadium and was shown between innings singing along as this played in the stadium. It was McCartney’s second visit to Yankee Stadium, and he saw The Yankees win that day, although they eventually lost the World Series.

Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman sing this song during a very powerful scene in the 1988 Oscar-winning film Rain Man. 

The Who, Daniel Johnston, Santo & Johnny, and The Tubes all covered this song. 

With Dave Grohl playing drums, Paul McCartney played this at the Grammy Awards in 2009.

I Saw Her Standing There

(One, two, three, four)

Well, she was just seventeen
You know what I mean
And the way she looked
Was way beyond compare
So how could I dance with another
Ooh, when I saw her standing there?

Well, she looked at me
And I, I could see
That before too long
I’d fall in love with her
She wouldn’t dance with another
Ooh, when I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went “boom”
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine

Oh we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long
I fell in love with her
Now I’ll never dance with another
Ooh, since I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went, “Boom”
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine

Oh, we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long
I fell in love with her
Now I’ll never dance with another
Oh, since I saw her standing there
Oh, since I saw her standing there
Yeah, well since I saw her standing there

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

32 thoughts on “Beatles – I Saw Her Standing There”

      1. During interviews, John Lennon sometimes made less than flattering comments about the Beatles following their breakup.

        I recall reading he once said the Beatles were at their best when they played rock & roll covers during the early days when they were not famous yet. When they performed at venues like the Cavern in Liverpool and the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany.

        While of course that statement seems to romanticize the early period and, perhaps more importantly, completely ignores studio gems like Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road, I get what he was saying on some level.

        It was during those early years when The Beatles rally became tight and a great live band. Once they became famous, the insanity of Beatlemania took out all the fun from performing live. And later once they became a studio band only, there were many times when they recorded tracks separately, not as a full band.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea I take what John said with a pinch of salt. It seemed to depend on what side of the bed he got out of that day…but yea I know what he means. He was such a 50s music fan and he connected with those songs.

        John and Pete Townshend remind me of each other…they will say things just shocking one day…and then the opposite the next.

        Hamburg really made them tight…they played 6-8 hour sets. Have you read Mark Lewisohn’s book about the Beatles up until 1963? If you haven’t…it’s the Beatles bible until that time. It beats any other book…but it’s long.

        Yea Beatlemania took it’s toll on them because they couldn’t hear each other…and their live playing went downhill a little bit.

        Yes like you…I get what he is saying.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yep, while sadly I’m not a big reader, I did read that book by Mark Lewisohn. That was actually a long time ago, and it would probably be worthwhile to read it again – this time the original version, as opposed to the German translation I read at the time!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. He will be coming out with part two pretty soon. Christian you might want to try what I do… Audiobooks which I love. I go through two or three a month going back-and-forth to work.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. When Vee Jay released *Introducing… The Beatles!* (their version of *Please Please Me*), they tried to cut the countdown out completely, thinking it was left there by mistake, but they weren’t able to cut “four!” because the song came in right after that. So I heard it that way until I heard *Meet The Beatles* with the full countdown.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had that album before. I got it at a used record shop…That is funny that they thought it was a mistake….
      Meet The Beatles…I still love that album. I like it better than it’s UK counterpart With The Beatles… It Won’t Be Long was my first favorite Beatle song.

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      1. I see a lot of people badmouth the Capitol albums, but that’s how I heard a lot of Beatles songs for the first time. In fact, I created playlists in iTunes (or as it’s now called Apple Music) that follow the Capitol order. The Beatles had input when Capitol was going to reconfigure the albums, and they turned out very well. One of the things Capitol did was to take the songs that were released on singles in the UK and added them to the albums, something that I understand Parlophone didn’t want to do. *Meet The Beatles* and *The Beatles’ Second Album* had everything from *With The Beatles* plus all the singles. I used to think the Capitol albums were somehow inferior and were just Capitol trying to squeeze every last dime out of the recordbuyers, but see the logic behind it now: American audiences want all the hits on the albums.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t mind the early albums as much…It was a singles market then and I can understand it…The only time I didn’t like it was when it came to Rubber Soul and Revolver…I do wish they would have stopped before them…they finally did with Sgt Pepper.
        I owned The Beatles Second Album also…I really liked that one.

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      3. Part of it was tha,t in the US, albums had twelve songs on them, as opposed to 14 in the UK. That being said, *Rubber Soul* and *Revolver* ended up with 11 songs on them, and it wouldn’t have been that big a deal to leave those songs on the albums.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The only reason I say those is because…that was the start of the “album” as a whole instead of Meet The Beatles…just a collection of songs.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m jealous…I wish I could have seen him back then….I think both of us wish we could have seen him in 76 (9 years old but still) with Wings Over America tour.

      Liked by 1 person

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