I've Just Seen a Face

"I've Just Seen a Face"
Song by the Beatles from the album Help!
Released 6 August 1965
Recorded 14 June 1965,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Folk rock,[1] pop rock,[2] country[3]
Length 2:07
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin

"I've Just Seen a Face" is a song by the Beatles. It appeared on their 1965 United Kingdom album Help! and in the United States on the Capitol Records version of the Rubber Soul album.


"I've Just Seen a Face" was written by Paul McCartney[4][5] (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and features McCartney on vocals. Before its recording, the song was briefly titled "Auntie Gin's Theme" after his father's youngest sister, because it was one of her favourites.[6][7] It is one of very few Beatles songs that lacks a bass track.

McCartney has stated, "It was slightly country and western from my point of view... it was faster, though, it was a strange uptempo thing. I was quite pleased with it. The lyric works; it keeps dragging you forward, it keeps pulling you to the next line, there's an insistent quality to it that I liked."[8] Its lyrics sound effortless and conversational, but they also contain a complex sequence of cascading rhymes ("I have never known/The like of this/I've been alone/And I have missed") that is responsible for the song's irresistible propulsion.[9] According to music critic Richie Unterberger of allmusic, "Several songs on 1964's Beatles for Sale, as well as "I'll Cry Instead" from A Hard Day's Night, had leaned in a country and western direction. But 'I've Just Seen a Face' was almost pure country, taken at such a fast tempo that it might have been bluegrass if not for the absence of banjo and fiddle."[1] Music critic Ian MacDonald said the up tempo song "lifted the later stages of the Help! album with its quickfire freshness."[10] Capitol Records chose it as the lead track for the US edition of Rubber Soul with the intent of giving the album a stronger acoustic feel, in step with the then-current folk-rock movement.[8]


The song was recorded by the Beatles on 14 June 1965 at Abbey Road Studios in London in the same session with "Yesterday" and "I'm Down".[11]


Personnel per Ian MacDonald[7]

McCartney live versions

The song has remained a favourite of McCartney's as indicated by live performances during his solo career. It was one of only five Beatles numbers performed on his Wings Over America Tour in 1976. It was most recently played on his 2013-15 Out There tour.

Post-Beatles live versions appear on the 1976 album Wings over America, on the 1991 album Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) and on the 2005 DVD Paul McCartney in Red Square.

McCartney played a snippet of the song, with Paul Simon, during the opening monologue sequence of the 2015 Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special.[12]

Cover versions

American group Charles River Valley Boys recorded a bluegrass version on their 1966 Beatle Country album.

The Dillards recorded a bluegrass version on their 1968 album, Wheatstraw Suite.

The View recorded a version on their The Don / Skag Trendy CD single [13]

Johnny Rivers performed a country version on his 1974 live album Last Boogie in Paris.

Calamity Jane, a country music band, charted in 1982 with a cover that went to number 44 on Hot Country Songs.[14]

American jazz-funk saxophonist Hank Crawford covered the song as sax-led instrumental on his 1976 album Tico Rico released on Kudu Records later CTI label.

David Lee Roth played the song live on his 1988 Skyscraper tour.

The Forester Sisters led off their 1988 Sincerely album with the song.

Gray Matter covered the song on their 1992 album Thog.[15]

Australian band Things of Stone and Wood covered the song on their 1995 album The Man with the Perfect Hair.

Canadian jazz singer Holly Cole covers the song on her 1997 album Dark Dear Heart.

Canadian folk music group The Paperboys covered the song on their 1997 album Molinos.

John Pizzarelli covered the song on his 1999 album John Pizzarelli Meets The Beatles.

Slovak singer Peter Lipa covered the song on his 2003 album Beatles in Blue(s).

Tyler Hilton performed the song on the TV Show American Dreams in 2004.

The song was also covered by Jim Sturgess in the 2007 movie Across The Universe.

Beatallica, a parody of both the Beatles and Metallica, recorded a parody titled "I'll Just Bleed Your Face", on their 2009 album Masterful Mystery Tour.

Australian indie folk duo The April Maze covered the song on their 2012 album Two.

Austin-based folk duo Dawn and Hawkes performed the song during their blind audition on the TV show The Voice in 2014.

Argentinian band Los Jamiltons covered the song during their shows with a down tempo and almost choral version.

American alternative country and folk rock singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has performed the song in concerts.

Houston country-folk group The Blenders performs a version notable for its tight harmony and lead vocal by Don Mason.


  1. 1 2 Unterberger 2009.
  2. Pollack 2008.
  3. AllMusic Review: ""I've Just Seen a Face" was almost pure country"
  4. Miles 1997, p. 200.
  5. Sheff 2000, p. 195.
  6. Harry 2000, p. 559.
  7. 1 2 MacDonald 2005, p. 155.
  8. 1 2 ""I've Just Seen A Face" by The Beatles. The in-depth story behind the songs of the Beatles. Recording History. Songwriting History. Song Structure and Style". Beatlesebooks.com. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  9. "58 - 'I've Just Seen a Face'". 100 Greatest Beatles Singles. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  10. MacDonald 2005, p. 156.
  11. Lewisohn 1988, p. 59.
  12. Blistein, Jon (2015-02-15). "Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus, Paul Simon Captivate at 'SNL 40'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  13. http://www.discogs.com/View-The-Don-Skag-Trendy/release/3336061
  14. Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 74. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
  15. http://www.discogs.com/Gray-Matter-Thog/release/1993244


External links

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