I’ve Just Seen a Face :: Langhorne Slim
“Had it been another day,
I might have looked the other way,
and I’d have never been aware,
but as it is I’ll dream of her tonight.“
I love the unexpected cover captured in an unexpected place, like this one, with Langhorne Slim, casually, acoustically, covering The Beatles in a parking lot (with a Santa hat on, to boot). It reminds me of gatherings with friends when I was younger, when a guitar would be passed around and someone would start singing a familiar song. Sometimes we’d all join in, other times the song would play in the background, adding to the layers of conversations and other music piping in through the stereo speakers, and then sometimes we’d all quiet down and pay attention, watching and listening as the song played on through.
The Beatles’ catalog is immediately recognizable to most of us, though this one may not be as immediately accessible as say some of their bigger hits (or at least songs that have been used, reused, and covered more frequently). This one reminds me of my childhood, of my Mom playing the Rubber Soul album (my favorite Beatles album) in our living room, and me, lying on the floor close to the speakers, drawing pictures in notebooks, or reading books while the music played. It also reminds me of another cover of the song, from the film Across the Universe, sung by Jim Sturgess, in the bowling alley scene. It is a more sped up version, but hits the same sentiment of those early moments of falling for someone; the advent of a crush.
I’ve Just Seen a Face :: Jim Sturgess (from Across the Universe)
I’ve Just Seen a Face is a song originally written and recorded by the Beatles. It appeared on their 1965 United Kingdom album Help! and in the United States on the Capitol Records version of the Rubber Soul album.
The song has been said to have been written by Paul McCartney, though it is credited to Lennon-McCartney, and features McCartney on vocals. Prior to the song’s release, the song was briefly titled Aunty Gin’s Theme, after his father’s youngest sister, because it was one of her favorites. It is one of the very few Beatles’ songs that lacks a bass track.
McCartney has said about the song:
“It was slightly country and western from my point of view… it was faster, though, it was a strange uptempo thing. I was quite pleased with it. The lyric works; it keeps dragging you forward, it keeps pulling you to the next line, there’s an insistent quality to it that I liked.”
The song’s lyrics sound effortless and conversational, but they also contain a complex sequence of cascading rhymes (“I have never known/The like of this/I’ve been alone/And I have missed”) that is responsible for the song’s irresistible propulsion.
Capitol Records chose it as the lead track for the US edition of Rubber Soul with the intent of giving the album a stronger acoustic feel, in step with the then-current folk-rock movement.
The song was recorded by the Beatles on June 14, 1965 at Abbey Road Studios in London in the same session with Yesterday, and I’m Down.
What do you think of Langhorne Slim’s cover? What about the use of it in Across the Universe? Do you know of any other covers of this song that you enjoy? What are some other covers of The Beatles that you consider favorites?
I’ve Just Seen a Face :: The Beatles