Monday, February 18, 2008

I Saw Her Standing There

I'm sure most of you are at least somewhat familiar with the original version of this song, which is of course one of the Beatles' earliest and best. This is a live recording of one of the songs that John Lennon performed with Elton at Madison Square Garden in 1974, due to a bet Lennon made with John about the chart success of his "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" single earlier that year. If it hit #1, he agreed to appear onstage. It sadly proved to be the last time he would ever do so.

This is a pretty standard run-through, all things considered; Elton and the band tear right into it and it's fun to listen to. Of course, the most notable thing about it was the way Lennon introduced it:

I'd like to thank Elton and the boys for having me on tonight. We tried to think of a number to finish off with so I can get out of here and be sick, and we thought we'd do a number of an old, estranged fiancé of mine, called Paul. This is one I never sang, it's an old Beatle number, and we just about know it.

It surfaced as the B-side of "Philadelphia Freedom" in 1975, and was also included on the expanded CD version of Elton's 1976 live album Here and There.

3 comments:

Matt said...

Maybe I'm just a sentimental ass but this performance always gets me. Like you said, especially the intro. I also think the horn section adds a lot of sizzle.

jabartlett said...

I take issue (in a friendly way) with your characterization of "I Saw Her Standing There" as a standard run-through. I've never found Elton's live recordings especially compelling, and the uptempo live numbers are usually a cut below the live ballads---but on this thing, to my ears the band kicks ass like they want to wear out their shoes. I prefer this version to the Beatles' original.

I have always wondered why it wasn't on the original vinyl release of "Here and There," tracks for which were recorded at the same MSG show. Fortunately, the CD reissue includes it.Lennon's appearance wasn't even mentioned on the original album's liner notes, even though it was clearly the most significant thing about the concert to begin with.

Keep up the good work . . .

jb
The Hits Just Keep on Comin'
jabartlett.wordpress.com

Johnny B said...

Well, I did say "all things considered", which gives me a little wiggle room! :-)

I guess what I meant to say was that they didn't really step out and try to embellish it- I would guess John being there kept them honest. But no doubt, it's energetic and bittersweet fun to listen to.

As far as to why it didn't get included on the original Here and There release, I don't know, but perhaps the sea of legal red tape that surrounded everything the Beatles did back then was a hinderance. IIRC, he played uncredited guitar on Elton's covers of "One Day (at a Time)" and "Lucy in the Sky", too...