Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Beatles - "She Loves You" (1963)

John Lennon sings a A on the line "She loves you and you know you should be glad." For a long time, I've assumed that this line is sung over a borrowed iv chord (C minor). In lieu of video footage possibly showing what the guitarists were playing, let's look at the possibilities for what's happening here:

1) Lennon is actually playing some voicing of an A half-diminished chord on the guitar during this line. If so, where might the idea of a half-diminished chord built on the supertonic, and used as a dominant prep chord, have come from?

2) Lennon is, in fact, playing a C minor chord, in which case the Beatles probably did not realize he was singing a non-chordal tone and this seemingly unique (?) harmonic phenomenon came about as a result.


  1. Hmm, my hearing is that the song is in the key of G, and the chord in question is a simple C min, a neat trick John Lennon used on several occasions, such as in the final chord in the verses of "I'm So Tired."
    - Guerin in Michigan (greenstreet@mindspring.com)

    1. Yeah, they probably played it in G. When I check it, though, it sounds like it's in between F# and G. I actually had this post originally worded with everything considered in terms of G major and I think I'll switch it back. Thank you!

      Of course, the unusual thing that I wanted to point out was that A that John Lennon sings, which is emphasized (seems to be part of the harmony) and really makes it an A half-diminished.

  2. The chord could be called either A half-diminished over a C bass (i.e., Amin7b5/C) or C minor 6 (Cmin6).