Song facts: She Said She Said

She Said She Said is a John Lennon song, the last track recorded for the band’s Revolver album. Lennon drew inspiration from an LSD-influenced conversation between himself, actor Peter Fonda and George Harrison, during The Beatles US tour of 1965.

The band rented a property on Mulholland Drive where they hung out in between touring. It was there the LSD was taken, while The Beatles were with Roger McGuinn and David Crosby of The Byrds. Later Peter Fonda showed up and it was allegedly a conversation he had with George Harrison that caught John’s attention.

"I told him there was nothing to be afraid of and that all he needed to do was relax. I said that I knew what it was like to be dead because when I was 10 years old I'd accidentally shot myself in the stomach and my heart stopped beating three times while I was on the operating table because I'd lost so much blood.
John was passing at the time and heard me saying 'I know what it's like to be dead'. He looked at me and said, You're making me feel like I've never been born. Who put all that shit in your head?" - Peter Fonda
Revolver album cover, 1966.

Revolver album cover, 1966.

When piecing the song together Lennon had about three different song sections that he was struggling with. George Harrison helped him pull them together to get one completed track.

"I was at his house one day - this is the mid-Sixties - and he was struggling with some tunes. He had loads of bits, maybe three songs, that were unfinished, and I made suggestions and helped him to work them together so that they became one finished song, She Said She Said. The middle part of that record is a different song." - George Harrison

Recording

Paul McCartney is reported to have walked out on this recording session after a feud with the other band members; possibly relating to the subject matter of the song. McCartney wasn’t overly enthusiastic about LSD, certainly not to the degree the others were.

"I really was frightened of that kind of stuff, because it’s what you’re taught when you’re young… 'watch out for them devil drugs'. When acid came around we’d heard that you’re never the same, it alters your life and you never think the same again. And I think John was rather excited by that prospect; I was rather frightened by that prospect. I thought, just what I need, to have some funny little thing were I can never get back home again. So I delayed and I was seen to sort of stall a little bit within the group.. there was a lot of peer pressure; talk about peer pressure.. THE BEATLES!” - Paul McCartney

John, George and Ringo rehearsed and recorded the track from start to finish, during a nighttime session lasting nine hours, finishing at 3:45am. George Harrison is reported to have played bass in McCartney's stead.

"I like the title She Said She Said, which I think was made up on the session. John brought it in pretty much finished, I think. I'm not sure but I think it was one of the only Beatle records I never played on. I think we'd had a barney or something and I said, 'Oh, fuck you!' and they said, 'Well, we'll do it.' I think George played bass." - Paul McCartney

Personnel

  • John Lennon – lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar, Hammond organ
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, bass, lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums, shaker