Monday, October 31, 2016

She Said, She Said - More Hearsay

On the night of August 24, 1965, John Lennon and George Harrison decided to drop some sugar cubes of LSD, having only been under the influence once before and never of their own accord. Although they attempted to get the whole band to partake, Paul declined. Ringo began shooting pool with the cue the wrong way around; only John and George attempted to tune in to the experience, but George began to feel "like he was dying" and John, having just watched the new Jane Fonda/Lee Marvin Western Cat Ballou at the party, finding it silly and banal, became increasingly agitated.

She said
I know what it's like to be dead
I know what it is to be sad
And she's making me feel like I've never been born

Here's where the stories differ. Jane's brother, actor Peter Fonda, was also at the party, along with Joan Baez, actress Eleanor Bron and the Byrds. Peter claims that he tried to calm George down from his "death trip" by claiming "It's okay, I know what it's like to be dead." (Fonda had injured himself with a rifle as a boy and had his heart stop three times on the operating table.) He claims John overheard this and said, "You're making me feel like I've never been born! Who put all that s**t in your head?" John's own later and perhaps more creditable recollection claims only that Fonda kept telling John and George he knew what it was like to be dead, apropos of nothing, and that John said nothing like that to him, but avoided him the rest of the night as a result. (The Byrds' Roger McGuinn claims John was taking his anger on Jane and her "bad" film out on brother Peter.)

I said
Who put all those things in your head
Things that make me feel like I'm sad
And you're making me feel like I've never been born

2850 Benedict Canyon
Whatever the case, John was intrigued by Peter's phrase, and in March 1966 made working demos of what was to become "She Said She Said," changing the gender of the title because it sounded better with "said."

 The first acoustic demo features only the chorus with a rudimentary bridge; there are some phrases present that would later be dropped, like "You're making me feel like my trousers are torn," "I must be out of my head," and "I don't love you more when he's dead," and some that would be amended, such as "Who put all that crap in your head?" George, for his part, claims that he later went over to John's house and inspired the complex, off-time bridge, claiming he suggested that John take part of another song he'd been working on ("When I was a boy...") and insert it there.

She said you don't understand what I said

I said no no no you're wrong

When I was a boy, everything was right

Everything was right
I said

Even though you know what you know

I know that I'm ready to leave

'Cause you're making me feel like I've never been born


Still, the song wouldn't have even seen the light of day, but on the very last day of the Revolver sessions, a day set aside for mixing, it was discovered that the album was a song short. John immediately taught the band the song, and after 25 rehearsal takes, it was recorded in one 14-hour session, overdubs and all. Notably absent from the session was Paul, who apparently had stormed off due to an argument no one in the band can remember. George took over on bass, using a guitar on loan from a nearby shop called Sound City, the same bass he'd already played on the b-side "Rain." Take 4 was the basic track, featuring George on bass, John on guitar, and Ringo's drums. John then added another rhythm guitar part, George added lead, including the intro and phrases that answer's John's vocal in the verse; John and George came up with a harmony part, and Ringo added percussion. The final piece of the puzzle was the harmonium, a sort of air organ already used by the group on the Rubber Soul track "You Won't See Me." John's vocals were double-tracked and, having been recorded at a slower speed, were sped up slightly, and the Revolver album was complete.