She Loves You, Yes, Yes, Yes

They completed “She Loves You” in McCartney’s house back in Liverpool. When his father heard the song, he said, “Son, there’s enough Americanisms around. Couldn’t you sing, ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ just for once?” McCartney said, “You don’t understand, Dad. It wouldn’t work.”

                                                                                                     Rolling Stone Magazine

Why not?

© Sing Better English, 2015

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4 thoughts on “She Loves You, Yes, Yes, Yes”

  1. In the movie “Peggy Sue Got Married,” a girl travels back in time to her school days in 1960, and “writes” this 1963 Beatles song for her boyfriend, who sings in a doo-wop group. He decides it sounds better as, “She loves you, ooh, ooh, ooh.”

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    1. That’s interesting. Thanks for that. What do you think? Did ‘ooh, ooh, ooh’ sound any good? Are you with the boyfriend or with the Beatles? 🙂

      Though, thinking about it, ‘ooh, ooh, ooh’ sounds much less forceful than ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’. It sounds like a flopsy harmony, rather than an energetic encouragement. ‘Ooh, ooh, ooh’ floats away, doesn’t it?

      ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’ stakes its territory and actively strengthens the love statement. And it wafts its magical, exotic, modern ‘American’ flavour through the song.

      I was interested to see that when ‘She Loves You’ was translated into German for the Beatles to sing, the translator kept the ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ instead of translating it as ‘ja,ja,ja’. The power of that ‘yeah’! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVF-WyrwPI8

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      1. It’s interesting the effect different choices make, since those three syllables almost determine the genre the song fits into. The verses are pretty standard stuff as verse goes, and I should think they’d do for most any popular musical style. But singing “ooh ooh ooh” in the refrain would inevitably make it a doo-wop song; or you could almost imagine Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra covering it, if they could say “yes, yes, yes” instead of the undignified “yeah, yeah, yeah!” (Might as well make the exclamation point explicit, since the words mandate it.) Change it to “Baby, baby, baby” and you have a Motown hit single. Sing “hey, hey, hey!” and you might have… I don’t know, bubblegum pop? (I could hear those lovable Beatles knock-offs The Monkees singing that one.)

        “Yeah” is informal, and evokes the spontaneity of the Beat poets—who had made a strong enough impression on Lennon and McCartney that they’d named the band accordingly. (“Beetles” in homage to Buddy Holly and the Crickets; “Beatles” because, hey, man, we’re just talking about our generation.) Unlike “yes,” which sounds like an answer to a question, or “ooh,” which is just… vague… “yeah” is the definitive stand-alone affirmation; the repetition makes it exuberant, and joyous, and there you go: rock and roll!

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      2. Yes, choice is all.

        Here in 2015, where we live, it’s hard to imagine what a powerful message the word ‘yeah’ carried with it back in 1963 Britain. Like an arrow aimed straight into teenage hearts.

        I’m surprised you find yeah undignified. To me, it sounds just right, on the level of sound alone. The y at the beginning is like a trampoline push of energy and the h at the end lets that energy fly straight through, out into the air, without the s of yes to get in its way. The word’s a clear channel of encouragement and affirmation. It’s a knowing choice, but the perfect choice.

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