‘And I Love Her’ was one of Paul McCartney’s major contributions to the A Hard Day’s Night album, along with ‘Things We Said Today’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.

It was the first ballad I impressed myself with. It’s got nice chords in it, ‘Bright are the stars that shine, dark is the sky…’ I like the imagery of the stars and the sky. It was a love song really. The ‘And’ in the title was an important thing. ‘And I Love Her,’ it came right out of left field, you were right up to speed the minute you heard it. The title comes in the second verse and it doesn’t repeat. You would often go to town on the title, but this was almost an aside, ‘Oh… and I love you.’ It still holds up and George played really good guitar on it. It worked very well.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

‘And I Love Her’ was written in the music room in the basement of the house in Wimpole Street, London, which belonged to Jane Asher’s parents. Lennon and McCartney wrote many of their mid-period songs together in the room.

‘And I Love Her’ is Paul again. I consider it his first ‘Yesterday’. You know, the big ballad in A Hard Day’s Night. The middle eight, I helped with that.
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

According to McCartney, Asher was the inspiration behind the song.

Precisely because Jane was my girlfriend, I wanted to tell her there that I loved her, so that’s what initially inspired this song; that’s what it was. Listening to it so many years later, I do think it’s a nice melody. It starts with F-sharp minor, not with the root chord of E major, and you gradually work your way back. When I’d finished it, I felt, almost immediately, proud of it. I thought, ‘This is a good ’un’.

Although John Lennon claimed to have helped with the writing, although it is likely that McCartney composed the majority of it alone.

I’m not sure if John worked on that at all… The middle eight is mine. I would say that John probably helped with the middle eight, but he can’t say ‘It’s mine’. I wrote this on my own. I can actually see Margaret Asher’s upstairs drawing room. I remember playing it there, not writing it necessarily.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

‘And I Love Her’ was one of the songs featured in The Beatles first film, A Hard Day’s Night. The group played it during the ‘studio performance’ sequence, which was filmed on 31 March 1964 at the Scala Theatre, London.

Although it became one of The Beatles’ most admired recordings following its release, the group only performed ‘And I Love Her’ once outside Abbey Road. On 14 July 1964 they played it for the BBC’s Top Gear radio show. The session took place at Broadcasting House in London, and was first broadcast two days later.

In the studio

The Beatles began recording ‘And I Love Her’ on 25 February 1964. They recorded two takes that day, with a full electric line-up, but it was evidently not the sound they were after. The second take was later released on Anthology 1.

They returned to it the next day, recording 16 takes and changing the song’s arrangement as they went along. Again they were unhappy with the results, however, and it was re-recorded on 27 February in just two takes.

I brought it to the recording session where The Beatles’ producer George Martin listened to it. We were about to record it, and he said, ‘I think it would be good with an introduction.’ And I swear, right there and then, George Harrison went, ‘Well how about this?’ and he played the opening riff, which is such a hook; the song is nothing without it. We were working very fast and spontaneously coming up with ideas.

The success of ‘And I Love Her’ owes much to the simplicity of its lyrics, and to the effectiveness of George Harrison’s acoustic guitar solo, for which the song’s key switches from F# minor to G minor. The middle section, meanwhile, came about in the studio, as music publisher Dick James later recalled.

They were laying down the tracks and doing the melody lines of the song ‘And I Love Her’. It was a very simple song and quite repetitive. George Martin and I looked at each other and the same thought sparked off in both of our minds. It was proving to be, although plain and a warm and sympathetic song, just too repetitive, with the same phrase of repeating. George Martin told the boys, ‘Both Dick and I feel that the song is just lacking the middle. It’s too repetitive, and it needs something to break it up.’ I think it was John who shouted, ‘OK, let’s have a tea break’, and John and Paul went to the piano and, while Mal Evans was getting tea and some sandwiches, the boys worked at the piano. Within half an hour they wrote, there before our very eyes, a very constructive middle to a very commercial song. Although we know it isn’t long, it’s only a four bar middle, nevertheless it was just the right ingredients to break up the over repetitive effect of the original melody.
Dick James

The key change during the solo was at George Martin’s suggestion.

Another thing worth recalling is that George Martin was inspired to add a chord modulation in the solo of the song, a key change that he knew would be musically very satisfying; we shifted the chord progression to start with G minor instead of F-sharp minor – so, up a semitone. I think George Martin’s classical training told him that that would be a really interesting change. And it is. And this sort of help is what started to make The Beatles’ stuff better than that of other songwriters. In the case of this song, the two Georges – George Harrison with the intro and then George Martin on the key change into the solo – gave it a bit more musical strength. We were saying to people, ‘We’re a little bit more musical than the average bear.’ And then, of course, the song – which is now in F major, or arguably D minor – eventually finishes on that bright D major chord, a lovely, pleasing resolution. So, I was very proud of that. It was very satisfying to make that record and to have written that song for Jane.

Chart success

‘And I Love Her’ was released as a US single on 20 July 1964. Its b-side was ‘If I Fell’. It entered the top 40 on 8 August, spent seven weeks on the chart, and peaked at number 12.

Previous song: ‘I’m Happy Just To Dance With You’
Next song: ‘Tell Me Why’
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