Walter Ulbricht – overly-enthusiastic Stalinist and founding father of German Democratic Republic was never that big a fan of The Beatles. In a speech denouncing the influence of corrupt western culture on the Communist world he said:
"the monotony of the yeah yeah yeah and whatever it is called".
In 1963 the British Prime Minister was Alec Douglas-Home. He liked The Beatles a bit more but misquoted the lyrics to “She Loves You” in speech when he said –
"I’m too modest to claim the country loves us, but you know, err, that can’t be too bad.”
“She Loves You” is still the best-selling Beatles single. It was the best-selling single by anyone in Britain until it was surpassed by Paul’s horrendous dirge "Mull of Kintyre".
But "She Loves You" is more than a pop record for the same reason that The Beatles are more than a pop group.
“She Loves You” marks the point where The Beatles transcended their pop group roots and morphed into the cultural icons. The “Yeah Yeah Yeah!” and the “Ooh” along with the haircuts and suits was what caught the attention of a world beyond a pop music, but those images and sounds were a signifier for something much more profound.
For anyone over 30 in 1963 there was something unnerving going on that could not be immediately understood or controlled. The Don Drapers of the world could sense it and they didn’t like it.
This was not just entertainment. The post-war youth were speaking in a new language and their elders simply did not comprehend it.
This is Paul on his dad’s reaction to “She Loves You”
"We went into the living room [and said] ‘Dad, listen to this. What do you think? 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!’"
He didn’t. He couldn’t. He was from a pre-war mentality that was soon to be made irrelevant.
The world was ready for something new.
Yeah yeah yeah… OOOHH!!
A generation that had grown up in the rubble of World War 2 were looking for a different way to run the world. It may seem ridiculous that something as ephemeral as pop music would be a catalyst but it was. Here was something that could be universally understood by the post-war generation and impenetrable to those born before.
Of course in the summer on 1963 no one could predict this change. When “She Loves You” was first released in America in August 63’ it was promptly ignored by radio stations and the public alike.
New York City deejay Murray the K later recounted:
"In late ’63 they brought a record to me and mentioned the possibility that The Beatles might be coming to America, so I said, ‘Okay,’ and I put it on air. I ran The Beatles in a contest with their record ‘She Loves You’, it came third out of five. But I still continued to play it for two or three weeks. But nothing happened. I mean, really no reaction. Absolutely nothing!”
It wasn’t until after the assassination of JFK in November of that year that the floodgates opened and the sixties began. After The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show “She Loves You” was re-released and all of a sudden the top five best selling records in America were all by The Beatles.
The “Ooh” that is so often thought of as a Beatles trademark was not a Beatles idea. Listen to the 1962 recording of “Twist And Shout” by Isley Brothers. There it is. John and Paul heard it, loved it and stole it. Ooh!
The “Yeah Yeah Yeah” has been appropriated by artists as diverse as U2, The Residents and Cher. Paul added it to the end of his duet with Stevie Wonder during "What’s That You’re Doing?" from "Tug of War”, but the most famous reference to the song was by The Beatles themselves. During the coda of “All You Need Is Love” Paul sings it. Instant nostalgia for those innocent days of 1963 from 1967.
Very Warhol. Very post-modern.
The song was parodied by two comedy records by Peter Sellers and Ted Chippington. Neither are very funny but it is telling that two very different but smart comedians spotted what was going on and exploited it.
For my sins I have written countless jingles for Corporate America and if the client wanted to reference The Beatles without getting sued all I had to do was sing “Ohh!” in a falsetto just like the lads did before the second chorus of “She Loves You” and everyone gets very happy very quickly.
As a song “She Loves You” is unusual as it is sung by a man to a man about a girl. You could almost think of it a precursor to “Hey Jude”.
When John wrote from this m2m perspective in “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl” he was all threat and bluster, warning off a potential rival but Paul is much more sensitive, more subtle, more female.
He really wants his mate to get back with the girl and he gives him great advice.
You know it’s up to you,
I think it’s only fair,
Pride can hurt you, too,
Apologize to her
I recently walked passed a church in Manhattan and and saw this sign out side.
“If you want the last word, apologize.”
Paul had the same idea in 1963.
Not bad for a kid of twenty-one.
The Ukulele Version features multi-talented actress/singer/musician Lauren Molina. All of the teen adrenaline has been removed from the song and what is left is a tender conversation.
The lyric is so much more kindhearted and believable coming from a female voice. Men tend not to give too much advice to one another on how to get women back. We acknowledge that we have no idea how or why women do things and feel it would be very presumptuous to give advice on how to get back with a woman.
But Lauren sounds so much more believable than any man when she sings:
She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind.
But now she said she knows
You’re not the hurting kind.
But there is a twist. Lauren created this arrangement from a very specific female perspective.
It is heartbreaking to envision
a girl with unrequited love, singing "She Loves You" to the guy she wants to be with.
All the while talking about another girl who’s in love with him, knowing he’ll never choose her.
The recording reflects this double perspective. Parts of the song were recorded by Lauren herself late at night in an elegantly elevated haze alone in her apartment on her laptop while others were meticulously crafted and assembled by veteran studio guru Craig Bishop.
The internal and external. The raw and the cooked. The art and artifice.
Try and spot where the joins are.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lauren Molina is a Broadway actress, musician, singer-songwriter, and artist. She made her mark on Broadway starring as the cello-playing Johanna in the critically acclaimed revival of John Doyle’s "Sweeney Todd", and has since starred in "Rock of Ages", and "Candide" for which she won a Helen Hayes awards for Best Actress in a Resident Musical.
In 2007, she released her debut album "Doo-Be-Doo", a quirky, playful indie pop record. In 2010, she released her second album, entitled "Sea For Two". Lauren combines clever lyrics, peppered with lush harmonies, and delicious instrumentations including cello, ukulele, guitar, piano (all of which she plays), in addition to accordion, and Wurlitzer, to guarantee a delightful tickling of the senses.
Craig Bishop, having finally snagged a BA from San Francisco State University, wasted his remaining youth at a wildly successful music house before jumping into the international freelance music production scene where he recorded and mixed Commercial, Film, TV and Album projects ranging from punk rock pioneers “Television” to full symphony orchestras.
When not sailing, playing tennis or dicking around the kitchen trying to improve his not inconsiderable culinary skills, Craig handles Client Relations / Business Management / Production Coordinating / Mixing / Engineering at the music production company NY Noise, where he is VP / Exec Producer / Partner.