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Paul McCartney fondly remembered a John Lennon quip from the recording of The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There.” The joke showed off John’s vulgar side. Later, Paul said “I Saw Her Standing There” had a sexual element to it. He also revealed what he thought about it in retrospect.

Paul McCartney lost his pick at the recording of The Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’

During a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Paul discussed The Beatles’ raw tapes. “The talk between the takes — I’ve always loved that,” he said. “We always had this two-track tape recorder running in case we came up with a little jam. ‘Take 36, what was that like?’

“But it was actually a chronicle of our dialogue,” he said. “There’s one bit I particularly liked: We were doing ‘I Saw Her Standing There.’ I went, ‘I can’t do it. I haven’t got my plec.’ We didn’t call them ‘guitar picks,’ we called them ‘plectrums.’ John said, ‘Where is it?’ — this in our thick Liverpool accents. ‘I think I left it in my suitcase.’ John goes, ‘Ah, soft a**.’ ‘Soft a**? I’ll give you a soft a**.'”

A reporter said the aforementioned exchange sounded like schoolyard banter. “The Beatles became more worldly,” he said. “But it’s nice to see the school stuff, the banter. To answer your question, is there any more? There’s a few things. Is it worthwhile? I don’t know.”

A reporter said The Beatles’ song was similar to a famous Monty Python sketch about sex

During a 2009 interview with Clash, Paul recalled that he started writing “I Saw Her Standing There” before he met John. Then, he showed John the track at his house in Liverpool. The two then worked on “I Saw Her Standing There” together, refining the lyrics. Like many of the band’s early songs, “I Saw Her Standing There” sounds suggestive, but it was still innocent enough to garner massive radio play during a more repressive time.

In that interview, a reporter told Paul that “I Saw Her Standing There” had a “nudge, nudge, wink wink” element to it. The reporter was likely referring to a Monty Python sketch about sexual innuendo. Paul agreed, saying the track worked “as a kind of boy/girl song.”


Paul McCartney Removed a Line From The Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ Because It Made Him ‘Cringe’

The mixed legacy of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’

“I Saw Her Standing There” had the honor of being the first song on the first Beatles album: Please Please Me. It went on to become a defining hit of the Fab Four’s early years, exemplifying the bubblegum rock ‘n’ roll sound that The Beatles embraced until they started making folk music.

Today, the track is probably most known for the line “She was just 17 / If you know what I mean.” That line hasn’t aged very well! It’s for the best that other Beatles tracks from this era like “Can’t Buy Me Love” or “She Loves You” didn’t specifically focus on teenagers.

The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” helped the band achieve superstardom and Paul had happy memories of its recording.