She's a Woman
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|"She's a Woman"|
US picture sleeve
|Single by the Beatles|
|from the album Beatles '65|
|A-side||"I Feel Fine"|
|Released||23 November 1964|
|The Beatles UK singles chronology|
|The Beatles US singles chronology|
"She's a Woman" is a song by the Beatles, written mainly by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. John Lennon contributed to the lyrics and middle eight (the bridge). The song was finished in the studio the morning of the session. It was released as the B-side to "I Feel Fine" in 1964, their last single release that year. It reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 from frequent airplay.
Composition and recording
"She's a Woman" has been described as an example of the rock and roll and rhythm and blues genres. The song, penned mainly by Paul McCartney (Lennon helped with the lyric and bridge) was his attempt at imitating the vocal style of Little Richard. This is why the song is in such a high register, even for McCartney's tenor range. Some takes of the song (especially recordings of live concerts) feature an extended outro.
The structure of the song is fairly simple, with the melody carried mostly by McCartney's voice. His bass and a backing piano produce a countermelody, with Lennon's guitar playing chords on the backbeat. After the first verse, the piano also plays chords on the upbeats. George Harrison plays a bright guitar solo during the middle eight.
Author Ian MacDonald noted in his book Revolution in the Head that the final mix of "She's a Woman" at the time of its original release was unusual of the time, with the bass kick on Starr's drum kit being barely audible due to it being compressed in the mixing process. MacDonald suggested that McCartney's bass part might be responsible for the rearrangement of the mixing as its more prominent volume was in sacrifice of the drums' usual mixing due to limiting problems.
In the United States, the song was released on the Capitol album Beatles '65, and is presented in a duophonic mix featuring a layer of reverb added by executive Dave Dexter, Jr. A true stereo version of the song can be found on the Past Masters, Volume 1 CD. Some people say that this stereo version was first released in Australia without authorization. There is also another stereo version that sounds the same but with McCartney's count-in which appears on the CD EP box set. The song is heard being played on a tape recorder underground during the Salisbury Plain scene in the movie Help!. In the UK, the first album release was on the 1978 compilation LP Rarities in mono in the box set The Beatles Collection and later released separately.
The band started including the song in their live shows in 1965. It is characterised by the classic percussive "honk" of Lennon's Rickenbacker 325. One of the versions of the song can also be found on the Beatles' live albums, Live at the Hollywood Bowl and Live at the BBC, while a version from the first of two shows at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in 1966 appears on Anthology 2.
On the US charts, the song was the final of 11 top ten hits in the calendar year 1964. This is an all-time record for most top ten hits in a calendar year on the Billboard Hot 100 charts by one artist/group. It was also the twelfth top 10 hit written by Lennon–McCartney, an all-time record for most top 10 hits in a calendar year on the Billboard Hot 100 by a songwriter.
- Paul McCartney – vocal, bass, piano
- John Lennon – rhythm guitar
- George Harrison – lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, chocalho
- George Martin – producer
- Norman Smith – engineer
MacDonald was not sure whether McCartney or Harrison played the lead guitar solo. He said that "on the basis of sound and style", it was probably McCartney. However, on Take 6 of "I Feel Fine", Harrison can be heard running through this solo shortly before the take begins.
Cover versions include Jeff Beck's instrumental jazz fusion version featuring a talk box from his 1975 album Blow by Blow, also produced by George Martin, which achieved substantial album oriented rock radio airplay in the US. Also, a latin jazz version was recorded by Joe DeRenzo from his Core Beliefs album, and a version by ESC on their Beatles compilation Step Inside LOVE. Also, a pop-reggae reading by Scritti Politti featuring Shabba Ranks was recorded. José Feliciano also recorded a cover version of this song, and Chet Atkins an instrumental version. Other artists who have covered the song include The Churchills and Jess & James. The song was also covered by Chikezie during Season 7 (2008) of American Idol.
McCartney performed the song on Unplugged in 1991.
- Michael R. Frontani (18 September 2009). The Beatles: Image and the Media. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-60473-156-9. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- Tim Riley (2002). Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album by Album, Song by Song, the Sixties and After. Da Capo Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-306-81120-3. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- Ian MacDonald "Revolution in the Head"
- MacDonald 2005, p. 133.
- "Beatles for Sale". The Beatles Interview Database. 1980. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 978-1-84413-828-9.
- "Emma Louise Layla". Wu-Tang VS The Beatles. 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.