Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"I Saw Her Standing There"

Note: Several years ago I began a project running through the Beatles' catalog. I didn't get very far in that effort, but I felt it was worthwhile archiving that work here. Enjoy, if you dare!

For a song nearly 3 minutes long, "I Saw Her Standing There" (ISHST) sures packs a lot into the first 7 seconds. Paul counts us in with a "One, two three" and a shouted "Four!" While the guitars riff on an E chord, Paul's bass line starts pounding away. Overlaying it all, handclaps are heard; two quick claps on the second beat, another on the fourth.

The lyric begins will Paul informing us, with a nod and a wink, that, "Well, she was just 17, you know what I mean." Immediately the stage is set for this rollicking fast rocker. The dancefloor looms before us, and all the lustful pursuits of teenage boys are on display. Lustful but, in the end, rather innocent as in the bridge Paul's voice rises when he tells us all that he "held her hand in mine!"

The song is propelled along by its sheer velocity and the force of its precocious sexuality. When Paul starts to scream going into George's solo it is one of joy not release. The solo begins rather slowly and has a meandering quality to it, which might work against most other quick rockers, however, the bass line and hand claps are so forceful throughout that the solo feels like the sonic equivalent of picking your way across a crowded room. The stops and starts feel authentic.

Ringo's drums roll us out of the solo and into the bridge a second time. The song ends on pretty much the note it started. We haven't left the dance floor, although the band has stopped to take a bow. Who knows if true love will be found with the 17 year old girl. But when you are on the dance floor, who cares?

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