Something in the Way She Moves
|"Something in the Way She Moves"|
|Song by James Taylor|
|from the album James Taylor|
|Recorded||1968 at Trident Studios, London|
|"Something in the Way She Moves"|
|Single by Tom Rush|
|from the album The Circle Game|
"Something in the Way She Moves" is a song written by James Taylor that appeared on his 1968 debut album for Apple Records, James Taylor. It has also been covered by other artists, including Tom Rush and Harry Belafonte. The opening line inspired George Harrison to write the #1 Beatles' song "Something." According to James Taylor's stage banter at The Star in Frisco July 31, 2017, this was the song he played for Paul McCartney and George Harrison as an audition before signing with Apple Records.
James Taylor version
"Something in the Way She Moves" is a romantic song. Rolling Stone critic Jon Landau regards the song as being about "transcendence of a sort." Taylor plays the song accompanied only by acoustic guitar.
Author Barry Alan Farber used "Something in the Way She Moves" as one of his favorite songs on the theme of love that "both comforts and strengthens." He particularly notes the lines:
- It isn't what she's got to say
- But how she thinks and where she's been
- To me, the words are nice, the way they sound
With these lines, Taylor shows awareness, rare in songs, that part of what is soothing about his lover is the quality of her voice. Farber speculates that what is appealing is that it may remind Taylor of his mother's voice, so that Taylor is being soothed by recalling being taken care of as a youth.
Farber also highlights the lines:
- Every now and then the things I lean on lose their meaning
- And I find myself careening
- Into places where I should not let me go.
as effectively expressing a feeling many people have of "being scared of not being anchored sufficiently well in the world."
Allmusic critic Linsday Planer regards "Something in the Way She Moves" as one of the "notable inclusions" on the James Taylor album. Fellow Allmusic critic David R. Adler described it as "one of Taylor's finest melodies". Rolling Stone Album Guide critic Mark Coleman agrees that it is a "highlight" of James Taylor, describing the song as "winsome" and predicting the path Taylor would take in future recordings. Taylor biographer Timothy White describes it as being "unquestionably Taylor's finest performance" on James Taylor. White described it as "spare in presentation" and "poignant on its own elegant terms." Rolling Stone critic Jon Landau believes that the spare performance and Taylor's "restrained delivery" add to the song's power, as Taylor "lets the melody, lyric, guitar, and voice speak for themselves." Martin Charles Strong describes it as being a "memorable original" and one that "marked Taylor out as a kind of male Joni Mitchell, if not quite as adventurous."
Taylor included "Something in the Way She Moves" on his 1976 Greatest Hits but, as with "Carolina in My Mind," also from James Taylor, he had to re-record the song due to rights issues. It was also included on the 2003 compilation album The Best of James Taylor. A live version was included on Taylor's and Carole King's live album Live at the Troubadour. A solo live version leads off Taylor's album One Man Band.
Inspiration for "Something"
George Harrison liked "Something in the Way She Moves" so much that he used the beginning as the first line of his 1969 song "Something" from the Beatles album Abbey Road, which was also released as a single and reached #1. Early in the development of "Something," Harrison had expanded the opening of this song to "Something in the way she moves / Attracts me like a pomegranate," using the word "pomegranate" simply as a place-holder until better words could be found.
Taylor has stated that "I never thought for a second that George intended to do that. I don't think he intentionally ripped anything off, and all music is borrowed from other music. So completely I let it pass." Taylor also acknowledged that the ending of "Something in the Way She Moves" was taken from the Beatles' song "I Feel Fine" and so "what goes around comes around."
Tom Rush covered "Something in the Way She Moves" on his 1968 album The Circle Game. Taylor had played the song for Rush when he visited the Elektra Records offices for an audition in 1967. Rush's version was released as a single and become popular on New England radio stations. Crawdaddy! reviewed the song as being the best song on The Circle Game, saying that it "flows beautifully with Bruce Langhorne's country stylings pushing it through," also acknowledging that "Rush's brand of vocalizing fits perfectly" because "he can never get excited about anything."
Harry Belafonte covered the song as the opening track of his 1971 album The Warm Touch. He also released it as a single. Billboard regarded "Something in the Way She Moves" as one of the "standout" tracks on The Warm Touch. Billboard also called the melody "beautiful" and stated that Belafonte gives the song "his own unique treatment."
- Haney, S.M. "The Circle Game". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- Landau, J. (April 19, 1969). "James Taylor". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- Farber, B.A. (2007). Rock 'n' Roll Wisdom: What Psychologically Astute Lyrics Teach about Life and Love. Greenwood Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 9780275991647.
- Planer, L. "James Taylor". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
- Adler, D.R. "Sketches of James: Selection from the James Taylor Songbook". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
- Coleman, M. (1992). DeCurtis, A.; Henke, J.; George-Warren, H., eds. The Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd ed.). Straight Arrow Publishers. p. 293. ISBN 0679737294.
- White, T. (2009). Long Ago And Far Away: James Taylor - His Life And Music. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857120069.
- Strong, M.C., ed. (2002). The Great Rock Discography. Canongate. ISBN 9781841953120.
- Ruhlmann, W. "Greatest Hits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- Jurek, T. "The Best of James Taylor". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Erlewine, S.T. "Live at the Troubadour". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Erlewine, S.T. "One Man Band". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
- Thompson, D. (2012). Hearts of Darkness: James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens, and the Unlikely Rise of the Singer-Songwriter. Backbeat Books. ISBN 9781458471390.
- Everett, W. (1999). The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 209, 247. ISBN 9780195129410.
- Cross, C. (2004). Beatles-Discography.com: Day-By-Day Song-By-Song Record-By-Record. iUniverse. p. 389. ISBN 9780595314874.
- Paul Du Noyer (13 March 2009). "George Harrison's Uncertain Something".
- Ginelli, C. "The Warm Touch". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- "Billboard Album Reviews". Billboard. February 20, 1971. p. 54.
- "Special Merit Spotlight". Billboard. February 6, 1971. p. 74. Retrieved 2014-06-09.