I’ve Just Seen A Face

Help! album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 14 June 1965
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 6 August 1965 (UK), 6 December 1965 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, acoustic guitar
John Lennon: acoustic guitar
George Harrison: acoustic lead guitar
Ringo Starr: brushed snare drum, maracas

Available on:
Help!

I’ve Just Seen A Face was composed by Paul McCartney in the music room at Jane Asher‘s parents’ house on Wimpole Street, London.

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Because McCartney’s aunt expressed a liking for it, the song was briefly known as Auntie Jin’s Theme until the lyrics were completed.

It was slightly country and western from my point of view. It was faster, though, it was a strange uptempo thing. I was quite pleased with it. The lyric works: it keeps dragging you forward, it keeps pulling you to the next line, there’s an insistent quality to it that I liked.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

I’ve Just Seen A Face was well received by Capitol’s A&R department. The Beatles’ US label then removed it from the American edition of Help!, and it became the opening song on their version of Rubber Soul.

In the 1970s, meanwhile, the song became one of the few Beatles songs to be performed by McCartney’s group Wings.

In the studio

The Beatles recorded I’ve Just Seen A Face in six takes on the morning of 14 June 1965. To the last of these they overdubbed a maraca part. The song is unusual in that it doesn’t contain a bass guitar part.

In a breathtaking display of versatility, McCartney’s songs I’m Down and Yesterday were also recorded on the same day.

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19 Responses to “I’ve Just Seen A Face”

    • Asaf

      Who played the solo ? Who played the triple notes guitars ( one on the nylon and regular acoustic guitars ) ?

      Reply
  1. brian

    Capitol Records may have hacked up the British lp’s but “I’ve Just Seen A Face”
    did make a great album opener on the U.S. version of “Rubber Soul”.

    Reply
  2. Roger

    Yeah, I agree with brian…I made a CD of Rubber Soul and added “I’ve Just Seen A Face” just because I’m used to that song being the opener and because it makes a great opener for RS.

    Reply
  3. BeatleMark

    Yes, the Captiol version of this album is by far a great one. Especially if you have a copy of the rare “East Coast” version. The Scranton Pa. pressing plant had a master stamper with a layer of reverb across the entire album. Sounds warm and beautiful! Dr. Ebbetts made a “needle drop” recording/bootleg of it. If you can find it, download it! A must for any fan of this album in it’s U.S. version.

    Reply
  4. Von Bontee

    Never heard that, but I used to own the old 8-track tape with the “false start” version of “I’m Looking Through You”.

    Y’know what REALLY makes a great album? Combine both the US and UK editions and throw in “Day Tripper/We Can Work it Out” as well!

    Reply
  5. Ben

    I gotta be honest, when I first heard this song I thought it was one of their “shout-out” songs. Like USSR was recognising The Beach Boys or If I Needed Someone was for The Byrds.

    This could pass as a Simon & Garfunkel song. With the harmony in the chorus and the overall “folksy” feel to it.

    Reply
    • vonbontee

      Oh, absolutely – “The Boxer” even has the “li di di” lyrics. Except that “I’ve Just Seen a Face” predated much of S&G’s well-known recorded work, so it’s more likely a case of all of them being influenced by the Everly Brothers.

      Reply
      • Tony Keen

        True, ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ predates most people knowing about Simon & Garfunkel. But Wednesday Morning 3 A.M. had come out in October 1964, and Simon had spent much of late 1964 and early 1965 touring Britain. The Beatles were very hot on keeping up with new stuff coming out, so I think it’s entirely possible that McCartney had a copy of Wednesday Morning and/or had seen Simon play live.

        Reply
  6. mr. Sun king coming together

    The brushed snare drum is actually bongos
    Check Rolling Stone’s 100 best Beatles Songs

    Reply
    • Joe

      I haven’t got that particular issue of Rolling Stone (or any others). However, a quick listen to the song confirms that it’s definitely a snare drum.

      Reply
  7. Bill

    Probably the group’s most overtly country-sounding song, as far as original compositions are concerned…

    Reply
  8. Leonard Meyer

    Very much disagree that this song is of little distinction. I believe that this song and Don’t Let Me Down are the two most underrated songs in the Beatles catalogue.

    Reply
  9. amy vandenberghe

    actually john paul george all play acoustically together and harmonise vocals ringo plays bongos the lyrics are propulsive and drive the song forward to the chorus Ithink it is a rollicking fun number that is totally unique to the whole catalog jesus mosquito

    Reply

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