She Said She Said

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"She Said She Said"
Song by the Beatles from the album Revolver
Released 5 August 1966
Recorded 21 June 1966,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Psychedelic rock,[1] hard rock,[2] experimental rock[3]
Length 2:37
Label Parlophone
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin
Revolver track listing

"She Said She Said" is a song written by John Lennon[4][5] (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and released by the Beatles on their 1966 album Revolver. Lennon described it as "an 'acidy' song" with lyrics inspired by actor and counterculture icon Peter Fonda's comments during an LSD trip in 1965 with members of the Beatles and the Byrds.[6]

Composition[edit]

In late August 1965, Brian Epstein had rented a house at 2850 Benedict Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills, California for the Beatles' six-day respite from their U.S. tour.[7][8] The huge Spanish-style house was tucked into the side of a mountain. Soon their address became widely known and the area was besieged by fans who blocked roads and tried to scale the steep canyon while others rented helicopters to spy from overhead. The police department detailed a tactical squad of officers to protect the band and the house. The Beatles found it impossible to leave and instead invited guests including actors Eleanor Bron (who co-starred with them in Help!), Peggy Lipton and folk singer Joan Baez.[9] On 24 August,[7] they hosted the Byrds and Fonda and, all except Paul McCartney, took LSD.[9]

Fonda wrote for Rolling Stone magazine:

As the group passed time in the large sunken tub in the bathroom[9] Fonda brought up his nearly fatal self-inflicted childhood gunshot accident, writing later that he was trying to comfort a frightened George Harrison.[10] Fonda said that he knew what it was like to be dead. Lennon snapped, "Listen mate, shut up about that stuff",[9] and "You're making me feel like I've never been born."[10] Lennon explained, "We didn't want to hear about that! We were on an acid trip and the sun was shining and the girls were dancing (some from Playboy, I believe) and the whole thing was really beautiful and Sixties. And this guy—who I really didn't know, he hadn't made Easy Rider or anything—kept coming over, wearing shades, saying 'I know what it's like to be dead,' and we kept leaving him because he was so boring. It was scary, when you're flying high: 'Don't tell me about it. I don't want to know what it's like to be dead!'" "... [H]e was showing us his bullet wound. He was very uncool," Harrison added.[11]

McCartney recalls: "Fonda seemed to us to be a bit wasted; he was a little out of it. I don't know if we expected a bit more of Henry [Fonda]'s son but he was certainly of our generation and he was alright."[11] Actress Salli Sachse recalled: "Peter was really into music. He couldn't wait until The Beatles’ Revolver album came out. We went to the music store and played it, trying to hear any hidden messages."[12]

When someone realised that they had not eaten all day the group tried to make dinner in the kitchen but Lennon was too confused from the drug to use his knife and fork properly and as he tried to stop his food from moving around on his plate he spilled it onto the floor.[9]

Recording[edit]

This was the final track recorded during the Revolver sessions,[13] and was hastily added when the album line-up was found to be a song short. It took nine hours to rehearse and record the entire song, complete with overdubs.[13] After the recording of the track, the Beatles' producer, George Martin, is reported to have said: "All right, boys, I'm just going for a lie-down."

Harrison said he helped Lennon construct the song from "maybe three" separate segments, and described the process as "a real weld".[14] McCartney does not appear on the track; the bass is played by Harrison. McCartney later recalled: "I'm not sure but I think it was one of the only Beatle records I never played on. I think we had a barney or something and I said, 'Oh, fuck you!,' and they said, 'Well, we'll do it.'"[5]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[15]

Music[edit]

The song is in the key of B flat Mixolydian, based on three chords: B flat (I), A flat (flat-VII), and E flat (IV). The key centre shifts to E flat major during the bridge sections by means of an F minor (v minor) chord, a pivot chord The Beatles had used to modulate to the subdominant before on 'From Me To You' and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'. Since the guitars are audibly played in A, the song must have been sped up one semitone (by this time The Beatles routinely played with varying tape speeds) unless the guitarists retuned or used capos. The coda features a canonic imitation in the voice parts, a development of the idea originally presented by the lead guitar in the verse. Lennon's Hammond organ part consists entirely of one note, a tonic B-flat held throughout and faded in and out.

The song uses both 3/4 and 4/4 time, shifting to 3/4 on the line "No, no, no, you're wrong" and back again on "I said ...".

In the middle part, another song comes in which John Lennon penned, but was too short for an album release. After George's suggestion, John put the song in the middle.[16] The middle part has the key element of Lennon's lyrics is the reminiscence of childhood; "When I was a boy everything was right/ Everything was right", a foil to the chaotic feelings of knowing "What it's like to be dead".

The song is often noted for Ringo Starr's "circular" patterns and other contributions: Starr himself has expressed particular pride in his performances during this era. Some drum enthusiasts have referred to Starr's performance on this track as one of the best drum tracks ever recorded in pop music, comparing the approach to that of Mitch Mitchell, drummer for The Jimi Hendrix Experience, who was himself a follower of Elvin Jones. Ian MacDonald rates the drumming as "technically finer than his other tour-de-force 'Rain'".

Denver memorabilia collector Chris Lopez discovered a tape made by Lennon while composing the song. The source was Anthony Cox, ex-husband of Lennon's second wife, Yoko Ono. He sold it along with other recordings made by John at Christie's Auction House in London for a six-figure sum.

Cover versions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lachman, Gary. Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius. p. 281. ISBN 0-9713942-3-7. 
  2. ^ Howard, David. Sonic alchemy: visionary music producers and their maverick recordings. p. 24. ISBN 0-634-05560-7. 
  3. ^ Frontani, Michael R. (2009). The Beatles: Image and the Media. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 118. 
  4. ^ Sheff 2000, pp. 179–180.
  5. ^ a b Miles 1997, p. 288.
  6. ^ Wenner 2000, pp. 51–52.
  7. ^ a b Miles 1998, p. 169.
  8. ^ "2850 Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, California on Google Maps". 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Brown & Gaines 2002, pp. 171–172.
  10. ^ a b Fonda 1998, pp. 207–209.
  11. ^ a b The Beatles 2000, p. 190.
  12. ^ Lisanti 2001, p. 229.
  13. ^ a b Lewisohn 1988, p. 84.
  14. ^ The Beatles 2000, p. 97.
  15. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 211.
  16. ^ NRK's podcast "Vår daglige Beatles" (norwegian)

References[edit]

External links[edit]