Friday, July 25, 2014

She Said She Said

"She Said She Said" is a Lennon composition that was released on the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver.  The most well known Beatles fact about the song is that it evolved from an exchange between John Lennon and Peter Fonda.

In August of 1965, Brian Epstein rented a house in Beverly Hills so that the Beatles could take a much-needed six-day break from their 1966 tour.  Word spread that the Beatles were there, and soon fans gathered near the house, making passage in and out extremely difficult.  Even police helicopters patrolled the skies overhead.  Since the group could not get out of the house safely, they invited several guests to join them, such as Peter Fonda, the Byrds, Joan Baez, Peggy Lipton, Eleanor Bron (an actress from Help!), and others.

Fonda said that "I enjoyed just hearing him [Lennon] speak, and there were no pretensions in his manner.  He just sat around, laying out lines of poetry and thinking--an amazing mind.  He talked a lot, and yet he still seemed so private."

The Beatles and Fonda (and some of the other guests) eventually made their way to a large, empty sunken tub in the bathroom.  Fonda began speaking of a nearly-fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound he suffered as a child and said that he knew what it was like to be dead.  Lennon shot back, "You're making me feel like I've never been born."  Lennon found Fonda's references to his accident extremely unsettling, as did Harrison.

At George Harrison's suggestion, Lennon spliced a snippet of another song into "She Said She Said," a small piece that was too short for release as a song by itself.  This was the middle section with the lines "When I was a boy, everything was right . . . "  Musically, the song shifts between 3/4 time and 4/4 time.

The song was recorded on June 21, 1966 at Abbey Road during the final session for the album.  It took a total of nine hours to rehearse the song, record it, and add overdubs.  Lennon sang lead and harmony vocal, and Harrison sang a backing vocal.  Lennon played acoustic guitar and Hammond organ, Harrison lead and bass guitar, and Starr drums.  Starr was impressed with his drumming on the track, as were many others such as Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  On Hammond organ, Lennon plays only one note throughout the song, a B flat that fades in and out.  While some sources list McCartney as playing bass on the track, most agree that he was not present.  He himself is quoted as saying, "I'm not sure, but I think it is one of the only Beatle records I never played on."

Lennon was fond of the song.  He said, "I like this one.  It's an interesting track.  The guitars are great on it."

Cover versions were performed by Matthew Sweet, Lone Star, The Chords, The Black Keys, Overwhelming Colorfast, and others.


Beatles Albums: Background and History
Beatles Biography
Beatles Connections: Official Websites for the Beatles Inner Circle
Beatles Discography
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Beatles Roadies: Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans
Beatles Solo Discography
Beatles Songs Discussed on
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Beatles Trivia Quiz
Books About the Beatles
Books by John Lennon and George Harrison
Sites Related to Beatles History
Songs Covered by the Beatles
The Beatles Official Website
The Lennon Pages

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