A German language version of ‘She Loves You’, ‘Sie Liebt Dich’ was recorded by The Beatles in Paris in January 1964, along with ‘Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand’, a similar reworking of ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’.

EMI’s West German couterpart, Electrola Gesellschaft, persuaded the group to re-record the songs, for release as a double a-side single in February 1964. The practice of recording special versions for foreign markets was a common occurrence at the time, but the 29 January session was the only time The Beatles did so.

As noted by Ian MacDonald in Revolution In The Head, foreign-language versions of British hits subsequently fell out of favour. “The resulting promotion of the English language around the world is one of [The Beatles’] most substantial, and least documented, achievements,” he wrote.

The translation was done at short notice by Camillo Felgen, a singer, lyricist and television and radio presenter. He received an urgent phone call from Otto Demmlar, an EMI producer in Germany, asking if he would translate ‘She Loves You’ and ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, and travel to Paris to teach the phonetic pronunciations to The Beatles.

Felgen rose to the challenge and immediately set off for France. The Beatles were in Paris for a 19-day series of concerts at the city’s Olympia Theatre.

As if forty-odd shows weren’t enough, Brian would also arrange all these other duties, like writing and recording sessions. While we were in Paris, we ended up re-recording ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’ in German: ‘Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand’ and ‘Sie Liebt Dich’ by Die Beatles. Our producer, George Martin, came over for the recording at the Pathé Marconi studio, and at the same time we put down the basic tracks for ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.

In the studio

When The Beatles had recorded ‘She Loves You’ on 1 July 1963, and it had been mixed for mono, the original two-track tape had been destroyed by EMI. For ‘Sie Liebt Dich’, therefore, the group had to re-record the song again from scratch.

This they did in 13 takes, following which they overdubbed their vocals. The new lyrics by Felgen kept the familiar “Yeah, yeah, yeah” refrain of the original.

The vocals took multiple takes to complete, and were edited together for the final version.

They were extremely pleased to get it over with. We all were. I found the studio very odd to work in, the equipment was alien to anything we were used to.
Norman Smith
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

Camillo Felgen used the alias J Nicolas for his songwriting credit – his full name was Camillo Jean Nicolas Felgen. ‘Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand’ and ‘Sie Liebt Dich’ were credited to Lennon/McCartney/Nicolas/Hellmer – the latter presumably being a misspelling of Otto Demmlar’s surname.

On all British releases, including Past Masters, the songs were given the familiar Lennon-McCartney credit.

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