The Beatles

I Saw Her Standing There

Composed by John Lennon / Paul McCartney

Song Review by

A highlight of the Beatles' first album, "I Saw Her Standing There" was the first Lennon-McCartney song to become a rock standard, if a standard is defined as a song familiar to untold millions of people, and frequently covered by several generations of musicians. In some respects this was one of the Beatles' more blatant nods to their formative rock influences. There was a basic, straightforward energy to the verses and vocals that recalled Little Richard and Chuck Berry; Paul McCartney even admitted that the bass line was nicked from Berry's "I'm Talking About You." As was almost always the case with the Beatles, however, Lennon and McCartney (the latter of whom was the song's principal composer) took that template into new territory. There was that remarkable spoken "1-2-3-4!" opening by McCartney, and that deviation from standard rock chord progressions in the chorus, particularly when the group sings "Oh!" together, which in turn provided them with another opportunity (in concert, at any rate) to shake their heads and shriek. McCartney's vocal debts to Little Richard became apparent in the bridge's climax, when he breaks into an almost gospel-ish near-falsetto. What puts the song across more than any compositional device, however, is the absolutely unbridled enthusiasm with which the Beatles attack the song, particularly in the guitar solo, punctuated by McCartney's unpredictable yells of delight. It's rather odd, indeed, that the lyrics, read cold, seem to describe a suitor whose heart is in his mouth from nervousness at asking a teenage girl to dance. From the utter confidence with which they storm through the song, it seems unlikely that there could be any doubt in the performers' minds that they were going to get that dance (and, by implication, a lot more by the night's end). As a guaranteed crowd rabble-rouser, "I Saw Her Standing There," unlike some of the subtler early Lennon-McCartney songs, was instantly adaptable to the live repertoire of uncounted bands from the 1960s onward. Record-wise, the most successful revival of the song, ironically enough, was a live cover duet between Elton John and John Lennon in the mid-'70s -- ironic because, as previously stated, McCartney was the principal composer of the classic.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Please Please Me 1963 EMI 2:54
The Beatles No. 1 [EP] 1963 Parlophone 2:50
Introducing...The Beatles 1964 Vee-Jay
Meet the Beatles! 1964 Universal Music 2:57
No Image 1964 Vee-Jay
No Image 1976 Capitol 2:56
Live at Star Club 1962, Vol. 1 1977 Sony Music Distribution 2:29
No Image 1980 Capitol 2:50
No Image 1984 MGM
Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 1 1988 The Swingin' Pig
No Image 1989 Swingin' Pig 3:00
No Image 1991
Various Artists
No Image 1991 Yellow Dog Records
No Image 1992 Toshiba EMI
Compact Disc EP Collection 1992 Capitol
No Image 1993 Big Music 3:07
Live at the BBC 1994 Apple Records
Complete BBC Sessions 1994 Great Dane Records
Anthology 1 1995 Apple/Capitol 2:48
Free as a Bird [US Single] 1995 Capitol 2:51
The Ultimate Box Set 1995 Capitol 2:55
EP Boxset 1999 Parlophone 2:57
Last Night in Hamburg 1999 Rockcartoon 2:35
Forever Gold 1999 Diamond Recordings 2:04
1962 Live at the Star Club in Hamburg 2000 Walters Records 2:28
Beatles Story 2001 CTA
Around the World 2003 Import
The Beatles in Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 1964 [Video] 2003 Music Video Distribution
The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 2004 Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:55
Tribute to the Beatles: The Essential Collection 2006
Various Artists
The Beatles: Stereo Box Set 2009 EMI 2:52
The Beatles USB 2009 Capitol 2:53
On Air: Live at the BBC, Vol. 2 2013 Universal
Thirty Weeks in 1963 2014 Doxy Records
No Image 2014 Capitol / Universal 2:57
The Beatles in Mono [Vinyl Box Set] 2014 Capitol
Love Me Do [Stargrove] 2015 Stargrove 2:55
Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years [Documentary] 2016 Capitol 5:21
No Image
The Beatles & Friends
Various Artists
The Beatles: 16 Superhits, Vol. 2 Dorado Records 2:55
No Image Encore Recordings
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