Well, she was just 17
You know what I mean
The very first line in The Beatles' discography perfectly captures the Lennon-McCartney songwriting dynamic.
With the original idea for this song coming from McCartney, he had originally tried the opening line
Well, she was just seventeen
Never been a beauty queen
After wrangling his head for some time and deciding it just didn’t sound right, he took it to the young John Lennon. Young Lennon was brash and more inclined to express his rock'n'roll swagger aggressively in his lyrics (this is one of the reasons why Paul became “the cute one” and John “the tough one” during Beatlemania).
John took one look at the lyric and changed it to “you know what I mean”. To imply such sexuality in a seventeen year old girl was risqué at the time, and a tactic the formal and measured McCartney would probably not have come up with by himself.
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