The 100 greatest UK No 1s: No 3, The Beatles – She Loves You

The Fab Four’s 1963 hit is an explosion of exuberance that made “yeah yeah yeah” the fanfare for a culture on the brink of irreversible change

To hear She Loves You bursting out of a radio in the last week of August 1963 was to recognise a shout of triumph. Everything the Beatles had promised through the first half of the year found its focus in their fourth single, an explosion of exuberance that forced the world, not just their teenage fans, to acknowledge their existence.

The double-jolt of Ringo Starr’s drums kicked off a record that, unusually, began with the song’s chorus: “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.” Straight away that Americanised triple “yeah” (Paul McCartney’s father, the first to hear the completed song, asked if they could change it to “yes, yes, yes”) offered a fanfare for a culture on the brink of irreversible change. It marked the moment when the Beatles moved from being just another pop sensation to a national obsession: misquoted by prime ministers, cursed by barbers, viewed by schoolteachers as the vanguard of a revolution that must be stopped. And before long, almost universally adored.

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