The Beatles And I Love Her Lesson

A love song to “And I Love Her”

“And I Love Her” is a Lennon-McCartney composition from the 1964 album “A Hard Day’s Night,” the Beatles’ third studio album. The Beatles’ first two albums included covers along with original compositions, but this album is all originals by Lennon and McCartney. The soundtrack was written intentionally for use in a movie feature of the same name. This song was included on the A side in the British release and on the B side in the American release, with an instrumental arrangement of the song appearing on the A side.

While this song might sound simple, it’s not for strictly beginner guitar players

The riff is beautiful but not essential if you have difficulties playing both the lead and rhythm at one time.

While this song might sound simple, it’s not for strictly beginner guitar players. McCartney gets the main writing credit for “And I Love Her” but Lennon said he helped write the bridge. The band recorded this on day one in the studio with a heavier instrumentation, including full drum set and 12-string electric, but on day two they opted to go with a scaled-back performance.

The arrangement includes bongos and claves, classical guitar (a nylon-stringed José Ramírez Guitarra de Estudio) played by Harrison, and back-up rhythm guitar (a 1962 Gibson J-160 E played by Lennon). McCartney sang and played the Höfner 500/1 bass, recorded simultaneously as was the practice that year. A live performance recording from “Live at the BBC,” also from 1964, shows the heavier instrumentation where we hear the riff played on electric instead and a more prominent percussion part.

The Beatles And I Love Her Lesson
The Beatles “And I Love Her” single artwork

The song’s placement amid many fast, upbeat pop songs provides a nice contrast. The bongos and claves giving it the feel of a gentle bossa nova (a feel that was played up in “And I Love Him,” a cover by Esther Phillips. The slower tempo and the gentle melody provide a nice contrast from the raucousness of some of the other tunes. The other qualities that make this song so endearing are the use of classical guitar and the single vocalist (McCartney) when most songs had background vocals and harmonizations.

The harmony, although it doesn’t use chords outside the key, is still pretty interesting. The contrast of the simple, devoted lyric with a verse that alternates between minor guitar chords [F#min (ii) and C#min (vi)] gives it a bit of a wistful feeling. The I chord (EM) is delayed until the end of the verse on the words “and I love her,” providing the nice resolution we’ve been waiting for. You can always use a guitar chord chart to help you find these chords. All three of the minor chords that exist in the Major scale (ii, iii, and vi) are used in this song. Finally, the vocal melody includes dissonant notes that resolve down to consonance that are a really nice touch (for example in the first verse “I give her all my love, that’s all I do” where the notes in bold represent notes outside the chord that step down to join the chord.

The Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison in June 5 1964. Photo credit VARA
The Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison in June 5 1964. Photo credit VARA

If you want to make a faithful cover, you’ll need a few friends, but if you want to cover this yourself, here are some options. The song can be played by one guitarist who plays the riff and then begins the rhythmic strumming on beat 2, and there are many covers in this style (Kurt Cobains included). You can play the riff (+4+1) and then begin a strumming pattern on beat 2. You could also play just the rhythm guitar line (D D DUDU strumming pattern if you want to copy the original). If this song is a bit beyond your means, here are three ways you can simplify without ruining the nice effect of the song:

1. Take out the riff. This song was recorded with George Harrison on classical guitar playing the riff and the the arpeggios (all the more delicate touches), and rhythm guitar backing that up with a steady strumming pattern. The riff is beautiful but not essential if you have difficulties playing both the lead and rhythm at one time. 

2. Take out the key change. The key change that happens after verse 3 is a nice touch. The whole song is moved up by a half step, but because of the chord progressions from the I (tonic) in EM to the new Gmin (ii in the new key of F) it gives it a surprising jolt to the listener. None of the notes in the EM chord we end on are the same as the Gmin chord we move to. As nice as the transition is, it is not necessary to successfully perform the song. You can leave the song in the Key of E and sing the final verse and outro without it.

Tom Seminar Ford Rotosound Superia Nylon Classical Guitar Strings

3. Open chord option 1: CM (without key change) If you are not as expert at playing barre chords or playing farther up the neck of the guitar, try transposing the song to the key of C. You will need to play a barre chord for FM (but there are some simplified versions of this chord). 

4. Open chord option 2: GM (without key change) Exactly the same as above, if you move to the key of GM and forgo the key change, you can play this song with mostly open chords, just needing a Bmin in the Bridge (and like above, there are simplified versions of Bmin that you can play). The Key of G is also well-suited for the female voice, being a 3rd higher than the original. 

If you have a band to play with you, other options for instrumentation could be:
-using a melody instrument (flute, trumpet, etc) to play the riff with rhythm guitar

-using a cajon for the percussion

-adding vocal harmonies 

-adding cylinder shaker or egg shakers, with or without the original clave pattern 

-having an all acoustic version with classical guitars

-a jazz arrangement that exploits the potential in the chord changes

The flexibility of this piece is really remarkable. Classical guitarists and slide guitarists have taken this on, as well as beautiful jazz arrangements and pop covers by the likes of John Denver and Neil Diamond. Later live performances by McCartney slow the tempo down considerably and add vocal harmonies. Enjoy playing this simple, heartfelt love song with unique chord changes- you can’t go wrong learning this classic. 

By Katie Sanakai for 30 Day Singer and

Guitar Tricks

By Shawn Leonhardt for Guitar Tricks and 30 Day Singer


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