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  • John Lennon said The Beatles wouldn’t exist without Elvis Presley.
  • John discussed possible inspirations behind The Beatles’ “She Loves You.”
  • “She Loves You” was a hit.
Elvis Presley holding a guitar
Elvis Presley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

John Lennon said The Beatles wouldn’t have existed without Elvis Presley. In the same vein, he said one of Elvis’ songs may have inspired The Beatles’ “She Loves You.” Notably, the Elvis song in question was a bigger hit than “She Loves You.”

John Lennon discussed The Beatles’ inspirations

According to the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, in 1980, John was asked if current rock music would be the same without The Beatles. “Without rock’ n’ roll there would be no Beatles,” he said. “It’s all speculation. Without Elvis there would be no Beatles.”

John noted that influence is cyclical. “Without Johnnie Ray there would be no Elvis,” he said. “Without whoever came before Johnnie Ray there would be no Johnnie Ray. It’s endless. It’s timeless.”

How Elvis Presley’s ‘All Shook Up’ and other artists may have inspired ‘She Loves You’

John discussed the origin of The Beatles’ “She Loves You.” “It was written together and I don’t know how,” he said. “I remember it was Paul’s idea: Instead of singing ‘I love you’ again, we’d have a third party. That kind of little detail is apparently in his work now where he will write a story about someone and I’m more inclined to just write about myself.”

John was asked what inspired the “yeah yeah yeahs” in the song. “There have been lots of ‘oh yeah’ and ‘yeah’ and ‘uh-huh’ in rock ‘n’ roll,” he recalled. “Lonnie Donegan always did it. He was a Britisher who had done a lot of American folk music. And I remember Elvis did that in ‘All Shook Up.’ But I can’t remember how we got the ‘yeah-yeah-yeah’ for sure.”


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How Elvis Presley’s ‘All Shook Up’ and The Beatles’ ‘She Loves You’ performed commercially

Regardless of whether “All Shook Up” inspired “She Loves You,” both songs became massive hits. The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits says the former reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 for a staggering eight weeks. For context, the Billboard Top 100 was the precursor to the Billboard Hot 100.

“She Loves You” was a big hit, but it wasn’t No. 1 for as long as “All Shook Up.” For two weeks, it topped the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed on the chart for 15 weeks. The song appeared on The Beatles’ Second Album. The album was No. 1 for five of its 55 weeks on the Billboard 200.

“All Shook Up” and “She Loves You” are both classic songs regardless of whether the former inspired the latter.