I've Just Seen a Face
|"I've Just Seen a Face"|
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album Help!|
|Released||6 August 1965|
|Recorded||14 June 1965,
EMI Studios, London
|Genre||Folk rock, pop rock, country|
"I've Just Seen a Face" was written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and features McCartney on vocals. Before its recording, the song was briefly titled "Auntie Gin's Theme" after his father's youngest sister, because it was one of her favourites. It is one of very few Beatles songs that lacks a bass track.
McCartney has stated, "It was slightly country and western from my point of view... it was faster, though, it was a strange uptempo thing. I was quite pleased with it. The lyric works; it keeps dragging you forward, it keeps pulling you to the next line, there's an insistent quality to it that I liked." Its lyrics sound effortless and conversational, but they also contain a complex sequence of cascading rhymes ("I have never known/The like of this/I've been alone/And I have missed") that is responsible for the song's irresistible propulsion. According to music critic Richie Unterberger of allmusic, "Several songs on 1964's Beatles for Sale, as well as "I'll Cry Instead" from A Hard Day's Night, had leaned in a country and western direction. But 'I've Just Seen a Face' was almost pure country, taken at such a fast tempo that it might have been bluegrass if not for the absence of banjo and fiddle."
Music critic Ian MacDonald said the up tempo song "lifted the later stages of the Help! album with its quickfire freshness." Capitol Records chose it as the lead track for the US edition of Rubber Soul with the intent of giving the album a stronger acoustic feel, in step with the then-current folk-rock movement.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, harmony vocal, acoustic lead guitar, acoustic rhythm guitar
- John Lennon – acoustic rhythm guitar
- George Harrison – acoustic lead guitar, acoustic rhythm guitar, electric guitar
- Ringo Starr – brushed snare, maracas
McCartney live versions
The song has remained a favourite of McCartney's, as indicated by live performances during his solo career. It was one of only five Beatles numbers performed on his Wings Over America Tour in 1976. It was most recently played on his 2013-15 Out There tour.
American group Charles River Valley Boys recorded a bluegrass version on their 1966 Beatle Country album.
Johnny Rivers performed a country version on his 1974 live album Last Boogie in Paris.
David Lee Roth played the song live on his 1988 Skyscraper tour.
The Forester Sisters led off their 1988 Sincerely album with the song.
Australian band Things of Stone and Wood covered the song on their 1995 album The Man with the Perfect Hair.
Canadian folk music group The Paperboys covered the song on their 1997 album Molinos.
Slovak singer Peter Lipa covered the song on his 2003 album Beatles in Blue(s).
Australian indie folk duo The April Maze covered the song on their 2012 album Two.
Argentinian band Los Jamiltons covered the song during their shows with a down tempo and almost choral version.
American alternative country and folk rock singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has performed the song in concerts.
Houston country-folk group The Blenders performs a version notable for its tight harmony and lead vocal by Don Mason.
- Unterberger 2009.
- Pollack 2008.
- AllMusic Review: ""I've Just Seen a Face" was almost pure country"
- Miles 1997, p. 200.
- Sheff 2000, p. 195.
- Harry 2000, p. 559.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 155.
- ""I've Just Seen A Face" by The Beatles. The in-depth story behind the songs of the Beatles. Recording History. Songwriting History. Song Structure and Style". Beatlesebooks.com. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
- "58 - 'I've Just Seen a Face'". 100 Greatest Beatles Singles. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 156.
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 59.
- Blistein, Jon (2015-02-15). "Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus, Paul Simon Captivate at 'SNL 40'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 74. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Revised and Updated. London: Virgin Publishing. ISBN 0-7535-0481-2.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
- Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Review of "I've Just Seen a Face"". allmusic. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Album review of "Help!"". allmusic. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- Pollack, Alan W. (2008). "Notes on "Ive Just Seen a Face"". Retrieved 10 June 2013.
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