I Saw Her Standing There

This article is about the 1963 song. For the 2013 album, see I Saw Her Standing There (album).
"I Saw Her Standing There"
Song by the Beatles from the album Please Please Me
Released 22 March 1963
Recorded 11 February 1963,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:55
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) McCartney–Lennon
Producer(s) George Martin
Please Please Me track listing

"I Saw Her Standing There"
"I Saw Her Standing There"

US single cover
Single by the Beatles
A-side "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
Released 26 December 1963 (US)
Length 2:55
Label Capitol 5112 (US)
the Beatles singles chronology
"She Loves You"
"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
"Twist and Shout"

"I Saw Her Standing There" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. It is the opening track on the band's 1963 debut album Please Please Me.

In December 1963, Capitol Records released the song in the United States as the B-side on the label's first single by the Beatles, "I Want to Hold Your Hand". While the A-side topped the US Billboard charts for seven weeks starting 18 January 1964, "I Saw Her Standing There" entered the Billboard Hot 100 on 8 February 1964, remaining there for 11 weeks, peaking at #14. The song placed on the Cashbox charts for only one week at #100 on the same day of its Billboard debut. In 2004, "I Saw Her Standing There" was ranked #139 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


The song was mainly written by Paul McCartney. [1] Originally titled "Seventeen", the song was apparently conceived by McCartney while driving home from a Beatles' concert in Southport, Lancashire [2] 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.[3] According to Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn, McCartney worked out chords and changes for the song on an acoustic guitar, at the family home of his Liverpool friend and fellow musician Rory Storm, on the same night, 22 October 1962.[4] Two days later, McCartney was writing lines for the song during a visit to London with his then-girlfriend Celia Mortimer, who was seventeen at the time herself.[5] The song was completed about a month later at McCartney's Forthlin Road home with Lennon.[1]

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".[6]

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?'"[2] "We came up with, 'You know what I mean.' Which was good, because you don't know what I mean."[7][8] "It was one of the first times he ever went 'What? Must change that ...'"[9] 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."[8][10] 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.[11]


The first live recording (a slow version of the song) was made at the Cavern Club at the end of 1962. Lennon did not 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 hand in mine" the second time.[8]

The song was recorded at EMI Studios on 11 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.[12] The Beatles were not present for the mixing session on 25 February 1963.[13] It was not common practice for bands to be present at such sessions at that time.

On the album, the song starts with a rousing "One, two, three, four!" count-in by McCartney. Usually 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 had been up to the Cavern and I'd 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'".[14] Martin took the count-in from take 9, which was considered 'especially spirited'[9] and spliced it onto take 1.[15] 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.[16] In addition it also made the point that the Beatles were a live band as, at that time, they opened their set with this song.[17] On 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.

Take 2 of the song was released on The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 which was an album released exclusively to iTunes in 2013.

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".

Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart (1964) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[18] 14
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 100

Year-end charts

Chart (1964) Rank
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[19] 95



Personnel per Ian MacDonald[20][8]

Later performances by Beatles

John Lennon

A 1974 live 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 and Elton John's Rare Masters. 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 fiancé 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 a single and reached #40 on the UK Singles Chart in March 1981, making it the first time that any version of the song had entered the UK charts.

Paul McCartney

McCartney included "I Saw Her Standing There" on his 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 his album CHOBA B CCCP, but left it 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 and ex-drummer of Nirvana.

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, Phil Collins, 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".[21] Paul McCartney also performed a duet of this song with Billy Joel during the inaugural concert at Citi Field in Flushing, New York.

Tiffany version

"I Saw Him Standing There"
Single by Tiffany
from the album Tiffany
B-side "Mr. Mambo & Gotta Be Love"
Released March 1988
Format 7" single, 12" single, Cassette single
Recorded 1987
Genre Synthpop
Length 4:12 (album version)
3:57 (single remix)
Label MCA
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Tobin
Tiffany singles chronology
"Could've Been"
"I Saw Him Standing There"
"Feelings of Forever"
Music video
"Tiffany - I Saw Him Standing There" on YouTube

"I Saw Him Standing There" was recorded and released by Tiffany. It appeared on her debut self-titled album, changing the lyrics to "him" instead of "her". The track was re-recorded and remixed for single release.

The music video was a live performance of the song in front of thousands of screaming fans. Like her previous videos, it got a lot of play from video stations such as MTV. In Japan, one of Tiffany's most well loved songs, "Can't Stop a Heartbeat" was the b-side. She and the song were featured in TV commercials for Meiji's "Marble Chocolate".

Apparently, before the release of "I Saw Him Standing There" with "Mr. Mambo" as the B-side, MCA released a version of the single with the two sides reversed (with a different catalog number). They may have decided at the last minute to change the A and B sides around.

The fan-favourite "Can't Stop a Heartbeat" was released in Japan before the rest of the world on the b-side on the Japanese release of "I Saw Him Standing There" because it was made for a TV commercial for Meiji "Lucky" chocolate.

Track listings and formats

Cassette single and 7" single
  1. "I Saw Him Standing There"
  2. "Gotta Be Love"
  3. "Mr. Mambo"
UK 7" single
  1. "I Saw Him Standing There"
  2. "Mr. Mambo"
Japanese 3" CD Single
  1. "I Saw Him Standing There"
  2. "Can't Stop a Heartbeat"
Japanese CD EP
  1. "I Think We're Alone Now (extended version)"
  2. "I Saw Him Standing There (dance mix)"
  3. "Can't Stop a Heartbeat (long version)"
  4. "Mr. Mambo"
  5. "Can't Stop a Heartbeat (singalong version)"

Chart performance

Tiffany version

Chart (1988) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[22] 10
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 3
Dutch Singles Chart 40
Irish Singles Chart 4
Japan Singles Chart 64
UK Singles Chart 8
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 7

Sales and certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Japan (RIAJ)[23] 14,550^


  1. 1 2 Miles 1997, p. 93–94.
  2. 1 2 Badman 2000, p. 50.
  3. Schofield 2012, p. 395.
  4. Lewisohn, Mark. The Beatles: All These Years, Volume One – Tune In. Crown Archetype, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4000-8305-3, pp. 747-748
  5. Lewisohn, Mark. The Beatles: All These Years, Volume One – Tune In. Crown Archetype, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4000-8305-3, p. 748
  6. Harry 1992, pp. 329.
  7. Barry Miles. Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now
  8. 1 2 3 4 "I Saw Her Standing There". The Beatles Bible.
  9. 1 2 Lewisohn 1988, p. 9.
  10. David Sheff. John Lennon: All We Are Saying
  11. Parlophone 1963, p. 3.
  12. Lewisohn 1988, p. 24.
  13. Lewisohn 1988, p. 28.
  14. The Beatles 2000, p. 92.
  15. MacDonald 2005, p. 60.
  16. Mojo 2002, p. 40.
  17. MacDonald 2005, p. 68.
  18. [Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002]
  19. http://www.musicoutfitters.com/topsongs/1964.htm
  20. MacDonald 2005, p. 66.
  21. YouTube 2009.
  22. "australian-charts.com > Discography Tiffany". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  23. "Japanese single certifications – Tiffany – Could've Been" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 1988年月 on the drop-down menu

External links

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