I've Just Seen A Face - Reviews

Reviewed by Ian MacDonald, in Revolution in the Head:

Absorbed in his life with Jane Asher, with whose family he now lodged in Wimpole Street, McCartney had fallen far behind Lennon in output since his solo fling with CAN'T BUY ME LOVE eighteen months before. His partner had written The Beatles' last four singles and sung lead on and written a third of EIGHT DAYS A WEEK, an extra single issued only in America. Lennon's album material, too, had become deeper, more original, and more varied. While never stuck for production ideas, McCartney had ground to a halt with his songwriting, only SHE'S A WOMAN standing out among his contributions since EVERY LTITLE THING. Thus far, the only substantial work on the flimsy Help! album had been Lennon's. Unless McCartney woke up, he risked losing his equal status in the partnership.

A month having elapsed since their last hastily convened session, The Beatles broke off from post-production work on the film to finish the album. The first of three new numbers by McCartney recorded on 14th June was I'VE JUST SEEN A FACE, the simplest of descending-sequence guitar songs, made indelible by a melody based on an equally simple game with the first three intervals of its A major scale. Because his Auntie Gin liked it, the tune was shortlisted as 'Auntie Gin's Theme' until McCartney added the love-at-first-sight lyric which, with its tumbling internal rhymes and gasping lack of breathing spaces, complements the music perfectly. Taped in six takes, without frills or second thoughts, the song grabbed Capitol's A&R department so firmly that they pulled it off the American version of Help! and turned it into the opening track of the American version of Rubber Soul, so conspiring to give the US public the impression that the latter was 'The Beatles' folk-rock album'. As with YESTERDAY, there is no doubt that had I'VE JUST SEEN A FACE been ready three months earlier, it would have featured in the film. As it was, it lifted the later stages of the Help! album with its quickfire freshness - a pop parallel to the fast-cutting impressionism of contemporary Swinging London movies like Richard Lester's The Knack, John Schlesinger's Darling, and John Boorman's Catch Us If You Can.

Posted: 3 feb 2013

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