UNITED STATES: Released as a single January 13, 1964 (the B side of "I Want to Hold Your Hand"), this song entered the Top 40 in January 1964, hitting No. 14 during its eight-week stay. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and Billboard
AUTHORSHIP McCartney (.8) and Lennon (.2)
McCARTNEY: "Sometimes we would just start a song from scratch, but one of us would nearly always have a germ of an idea, a title or a rough little thing they were thinking about and we'd do it. 'I Saw Her Standing There' was my original, I'd started it and I had the first verse, which therefore gave me the tune, the tempo and the key. It gave you the subject matter, a lot of information, and then you had to fill in. I had, 'She was just seventeen, she'd never been a beauty queen.' So we went, 'Ugh, this is one of these.' And by then we'd written a couple in the little book and we'd started to realise that we had to stop at these bad lines or we were only going to write bad songs. So we stopped there and both of us cringed at that and said, 'No, no, no. Beauty queen is out! There's got to be another rhyme for seventeen.': so we went through the alphabet: between, clean, lean, mean; 'She wasn't mean; you know what I mean; great! Put that in.' And then the significance of it built as we sang it, 'She's just seventeen, you know what I mean?' and people picked up on the implied significance later. It was a good way out of that problem. So it was co-written, my idea, and we finished it that day." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now
McCARTNEY: "With John and me on a song, if I come up with some lines which I know aren't really very good and I'm just hopking to fool him, I know I won't. 'I Saw Her Standing There' was the best example of it. I thought of the idea driving home from a concert in Southport. I had 'She was just seventeen,' and then, 'Beauty queen'. I knew this was rubbish, and that I'd put it down just because it rhymed. When I showed it to John, he screamed with laughter, and said, 'You're joking about that line, aren't you?' And I realised that, in fact, I was, and we changed it." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
Paul's brother Michael includes a photograph in his book Remember which captures the moment of composition: Paul and John are seen strumming guitars in the front room of Forthlin Road hunched over the working manuscript of 'I Saw Her Standing There' in a Liverpool Institute exercise book on the floor in front of them.
Paul later told Beat Instrumental that he stole the bass line from Chuck Berry's 'I'm Talking About You' (1961):
McCARTNEY: "I played exactly the same notes as he did and it fitted our number perfectly. Even now, when I tell people about it, I find few of them believe me. Therefore I maintain that a bass riff doesn't have to be original." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now
LENNON: "That's Paul doing his usual good job of producing what George Martin used to call a 'potboiler.' I helped with a couple of the lyrics." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
February 11, 1963, at Abbey Road.
McCARTNEY: bass, lead vocal, handclaps
LENNON: rhythm guitar, harmony vocal, handclaps
HARRISON: lead guitar, handclaps
STARR: drums, handclaps
This song was part of the Beatles' repertoire for concerts from 1962 to 1964, usually used as the opening song to a concert. The Complete Beatles Chronicle
On November 28, 1974, Lennon joined Elton John on the Madison Square Garden stage and performed the song. Elton John released the recorded performance in the United States on March 1, 1975, as the B side of "Philadelphia Freedom" A-Z and Road It was the A side of a single in the United Kingdom.
McCartney performed this song at the Prince's Trust Concert (1986) with several rock luminaries.