Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Saw Her Standing There, The Beatles (1963)

On far too many days of late, the cumulative effect of all the things that are pervasively wrong in the world, close to home and far away, weighs far too heavily on my psyche. Made worse by the sense that there is almost nothing that can be done to right many of the wrongs - or nothing that will be done, in any case - it's hard to look forward to a better day.

That's when the balm of music seems to have its most profound effect. And there are few songs that are as therapeutic as I Saw Her Standing There. Yeah, it's 45 years old, but every time I hear it, it sounds new. And it transports me into a realm where it's possible to believe that something good could be just around the corner.

A YouTube commenter writes about the song, "The rock'n'roll bass riff. Cool guitar solo dripping with reverb. Rock-solid drumming. Tight, soaring harmonies. Never ever let it be said that The Beatles couldn't rock!"

I certainly would never say that. I'm not sure which Beatles song was the first one I ever heard - it could have been this one - but regardless, I know that whatever I was doing at the precise moment Paul McCartney's 1-2-3-4 count-off assaulted my ears became supremely unimportant. (Count-offs ordinarily would have been edited out in the studio but Beatles producer George Martin intuited the shift in the zeitgeist that was about to occur and left it in - an inspired decision.)

I've said before that many of my favorite Beatles songs were the earliest, the ones that were steeped in their seminal influences. From The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul by Walter Everett, we learn that Paul's persistent (ostinato) bassline here was an homage to a similar one in Chuck Berry's I'm Talking About You (here they are performing it in Hamburg in 1962) and that many of the guitar licks from Little Richard's Ooh! My Soul were incorporated as well, primarily by George Harrison. The Beatles' joyful interpretations of the works of their musical heroes exposed young America to whole new galaxies of rhythm and melody that made us happy to be alive.

And even on a bad day - they still do.


Linda G said...

Thanks, Wendy, for taking me back to the simpler times of youth.

Today's paper had a picture of Ringo with Olivia Harrison as they dedicated a garden in George's memory. It reminded me once again how much I miss the time that was the Beatles. As always, you captured it beautifully.

Mombi said...

It's funny for me to be coming from a different generation, but still finding so much of what you say ringing true.