The Beatles were already sizzling hot property before they released ‘She Loves You’ in 1963. Still, the song elevated them from being the flavour of the month into an unavoidable institution that were more than just a pop group. The Beatles were the only force in music that mattered. More importantly, on an artistic level, the song elevated their songwriting to an unprecedented degree and transformed pop music in the process.
It was only their fourth single, yet, they’d already had one number one hit to their name before ‘She Loves You’ became their second, and the view from the top of the apple tree is a sight that they soon became comfortable looking out from.
The track is a fixture embedded in every one of our minds; whether you were one of those who lived through the swinging ’60s or it soundtracked car journeys throughout your childhood, the song carries a universal appeal that awards it an undeniable classic status. Despite the thousands of times we’ve all heard ‘She Loves You’, those sweet harmonies still sound equally graceful as they did all those years ago.
On a wider level, the track modified how John Lennon and Paul McCartney approached songwriting in general, sparking a revolution that can still be felt within the arena of pop today. As Macca told Barry Miles: “It was again a she, you, me, I, personal preposition song. I suppose the most interesting thing about it was that it was a message song, it was someone bringing a message.”
Adding: “It wasn’t us anymore, it was moving off the ‘I love you, girl’ or ‘Love me do’, it was a third person, which was a shift away. ‘I saw her, and she said to me, to tell you, that she loves you, so there’s a little distance we managed to put in it which was quite interesting.”
Furthermore, in Anthology, McCartney elaborated on his point: “John and I wrote ‘She Loves You’ together. There was a Bobby Rydell song [‘Forget Him’] out at the time and, as often happens, you think of one song when you write another. We were in a van up in Newcastle. I’d planned an ‘answering song’ where a couple of us would sing ‘She loves you…’ and the other one answers, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ We decided that that was a crummy idea as it was, but at least we then had the idea for a song called ‘She Loves You’. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it.”
After getting the bones of the song together, the band took it to McCartney’s home, and that’s where ‘She Loves You’ came to life. “We sat in there one evening,” McCartney recalled, “Just beavering away while my dad was watching TV and smoking his Players cigarettes, and we wrote ‘She Loves You’. We actually finished it there because we’d started it in the hotel room.
“We went into the living room – ‘Dad, listen to this. What do you think?” So we played it to my dad 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!’ That’s my classic story about my dad. For a working-class guy that was rather a middle-class thing to say, really. But he was like that.”
Writing from somebody else’s eyes would change how The Beatles created music forever, propelling them lightyears ahead of any other beat band. It showed progression, and it was an early evolution from a band that only kept on enhancing with each pressing release.
Their cavalier attitude paid off generously, and the rewards that came their way for being open so open-minded to change only encouraged the band to spread their wings even further. Even just a subtle change such as writing from a different perspective was enough to ensure that The Beatles would never sway from their progressive intuitions.