And I Love Her

A Hard Day's Night album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 25-27 February 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 10 July 1964 (UK), 26 June 1964 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
John Lennon: acoustic rhythm guitar
George Harrison: acoustic lead guitar, claves
Ringo Starr: congas

Available on:
A Hard Day's Night
Anthology 1
On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2

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

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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

It is likely that Asher was the inspiration behind the song. 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 it 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 the song 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. They weren't happy with the results, however, and it was completed on 27 February in just two takes.

The success of the song owes much to the simplicity of its lyrics, and to the effectiveness of 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

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 inside, and peaked at number 12.

27 responses on “And I Love Her

  1. SD

    This is a good example for one of the many mistakes Ian MacDonald has in his book (it’s a shame that everyone relies on this source, he has done such little research, rather nothing). For the correct instrumentation you have to know how the released version was recorded:

    At first they recorded the two basic tracks (at the same time):
    1. John’s acoustic guitar, Paul’s bass and Ringo’s bongos
    2. Paul’s lead vocal, George’s claves(!)

    Then overdubs were made for the two remaining tracks, these were:
    3. Paul’s second vocal
    4. George’s Ramírez classical lead guitar part

    (Ringo couldn’t do both, claves and bongos, because they were recorded at the same time).

    1. Joe Post author

      I think the confusion over the bongos and claves stems from Mark Lewisohn’s Sessions book, in which he says (26 Feb 1964): “And I Love Her was quite problematic however. Ringo swapped his drums for bongos and claves midway through the session but the sound was still not quite right.” How do you know for sure that the bongos and claves were recorded together, and that George played the latter?

      1. SD

        It’s possible that Ringo played claves on February 26, but the released version was recorded a day later with George on claves. Source: Walter Everett: “The Beatles as Musicians”, he gave a lot of detailed information about the recordings.

        1. salviandres

          if you see the footage of the session, you can seen that the basis track was:
          John:Acoustic Guitar
          George:Acoustic Guitar (Electric In The Beggining)
          Ringo: Bongos (Drums In Beggining)

      1. Julio Sanchez

        I love how Paul finally starts acknowledge George’s musical contributuions to his songs in the new film “Living in the Material World”. He says that George came up with the main riff to this song, which I feel is such a major part of the song that he should have recieved songwriting credit.

        1. lemperayam

          Just to be clear, not the main riff, but that signature melodic acoustic guitar lines accompanying the verse chords. Sure it’s a major part of the song, arrangement wise, but surely it doesn’t warrant co-writing credit.

          I don’t find Paul’s acknowledgment strange at all — he always gives a credit when it’s due. The problem is people can’t seem to accept when Paul claims what’s his, like the middle eight of this song, for example.

        2. ForgetScowl

          George consistently provided tasteful to the moment pastiche guitar work that shored up the bulwark of their sound which is repeated in this day by such artist’s as Lana Del Rey within the production of “West Coast”.

      2. jennifur Sun

        isn’t it though. i’ve heard that song since George died and it just doesn’t sound the same. wonder if anyone out there can tell me if the rumor i have heard, that the Beautiful Rick 12 string he is playing was stolen later on. if it hadn’t been for that song and that movie we may never have heard of Roger M and the Byrds.

    2. Gustavo

      I agree with you. I keep saying that McDonald is not accurate, but like you said, people relies on this source.

      In “Drive my car” page I asked about your sources (here you quote Everett’s, who by the way is an excelent book), about the piano on that song.

      1. Joe Post author

        Please don’t take everything Walter Everett wrote as gospel – his books aren’t perfect either. I think without having been there (and we all know memory can fail too) it takes a certain degree of guesswork to say precisely who played what, and while Everett seems to have given a great deal of thought to the matter, I’m not sure he’s correct every time.

        For example, he claims that George Harrison added a bass guitar overdub to I Want To Hold Your Hand. He offers no clarification that it was a bass, and that George played it, yet it’s repeated as a fact elsewhere in the first book. It sounds more like a guitar line to me. Guesswork, you see.

        1. Gustavo

          Is not gospel, buy is more accurate than McDonald. That´s all.

          I don´t know the book by Russell (1982). Dolwding (1989) quotes this book as his principal source, but is pretty inaccuratte. Then, it seems to me that McDonald just reproduce Dowlding, with some new research (not always quoted) but with the same inaccuracies.

  2. Richard

    And I Love Her,…This is my favorite Beatle song! The sheer majestic simplicity and beauty of this song in ‘A Hard Days Night’ made the movie romantically and poetically memorable for all time! This was the best song on the album and in the movie. The lighting at the end of the video, wow!!

  3. carlos gutman

    Claves could have been played by George Martin, who used to assist them with different instruments on those days.Or any recording assistant (Mal Evans, Neil Aspinall, Norm Smith, etc,), after all it´s not such a difficult instrument to play

  4. Nate

    When watching the Live at the BBC version on YouTube, I’m pretty sure John says “I like that one, it’s one of my favorites” just before the song starts.

    It’s either John or Ringo.

  5. Jay

    Is there any mention, report or information about the bass set-up of Paul McCartney on this song?
    I think Paul tuned the 4th open E-string of his Hofner bass to drop LOW open C# or Db to get that distinctive low Db sound.
    Their experiments on those early records like this including on instrument tuning really produced a very good full sound which contributes to the overall uniqueness of this song ‘And I Love Her’ as the tecnique(drop tuning) is rarely done by any other bands during those times.

  6. Chris, St. Charles, MO, USA

    George’s guitar-playing on this song sounds Spanish-influenced. I would love to find out more about the musical influence for this song.

  7. BeatleBug

    I’ve heard it a million times, played it a thousand, butchered it 5 billion times, and I still swoon when I hear it. WHAT A SONG!!!! It’s magic.
    And Paul is right– that riff is absolutely iconic. Four notes; terribly simple and terribly effective.

  8. Golden Slumber

    The songwriting credit on this one should be McCartney/Lennon/Harrison, IMO. Harrison’s contribution is vital to the song.
    Just to clarify, Lennon didn’t say ‘It’s mine’ about the middle eight, he said: ‘The middle eight, I HELPED with that’.

  9. Graham Paterson

    Lovely Paul McCartney song. A real highlight of the album and film “A Hard Days Night”. As others have said brilliant guitar by George Harrison.

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