Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 8 October 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
Released: 27 November 1964 (UK), 23 November 1964 (US)
Written primarily by Paul McCartney, the bluesy She’s A Woman was first released as the b-side of the I Feel Fine single.
I have a recollection of walking round St John’s Wood with that in my mind so I might have written it at home and finished it up on the way to the studio, finally polished it in the studio, maybe just taken John aside for a second and checked with him, ‘What d’you think?’ ‘Like it.’ ‘Good. Let’s do it!’
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Played on the off-beat, Lennon’s choppy guitar chords drive the song, although McCartney’s roaming bass and soulful vocals make it a strong team effort. George Harrison did not perform on the rhythm track, but overdubbed his lead guitar part in the evening of 8 October 1964.
John did a very good thing: instead of playing through it and putting like a watercolour wash over it all with his guitar he just stabbed on the off-beats. Ringo would play the snare and John did it with the guitar, which was good, it left a lot of space for the rest of the stuff.
She’s A Woman was perhaps the first Beatles song to contain a drugs reference. The Beatles had been introduced to cannabis by Bob Dylan on 28 August 1964. “Turn me on when I get lonely” was supposedly Lennon’s line; he later said he was pleased it wasn’t picked up by the censors.
That’s Paul with some contribution from me on lines, probably. We put in the words ‘turns me on’. We were so excited to say ‘turn me on’ – you know, about marijuana and all that, using it as an expression.
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
The Beatles also performed the song live for the BBC’s Top Gear radio programme. It was recorded on 17 November at London’s Playhouse Theatre and first broadcast on the 26th.
The recording later appeared on the Live At The BBC album. Prior to the performance, Lennon told host Brian Matthew how they’d had “about one verse and had to finish it rather quickly” in the studio.
Another version, recorded at the Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo on 30 June 1966, appeared on Anthology 2. Their show had been recorded by Japanese broadcaster NTV.
In the studio
She’s A Woman was recorded in seven takes on 8 October 1964, in a session lasting from 3.30-5.30pm. The sixth take was the best, and became the basis for further overdubs.
These were added during a second session, from 7-10pm. McCartney overdubbed piano and vocals, Harrison added lead guitar, and Starr recorded the sound of a chocalho, a cylindrical metal shaker.