100 Greatest Beatles Songs

From 'Helter Skelter' to 'Sgt. Pepper's,' ranking of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison's output

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'I've Just Seen a Face'
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images58/100

58. 'I've Just Seen a Face'

Main Writer: McCartney
Recorded: June 14, 1965
Released: December 6, 1965
Not released as a single

McCartney once described "I've Just Seen a Face" as "a strange uptempo thing." There's no tune quite like it in the Beatles catalog. Just over two minutes long, it's both a pretty love song and a breathless race to the finish, with an all-acoustic arrangement (McCartney, Lennon and Harrison on guitars, Starr on percussion) and Appalachian-style harmonies that give it an almost bluegrass feel.

Its 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. As McCartney noted, "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."

McCartney wrote "I've Just Seen a Face" for the Help! soundtrack, but in the U.S. it appeared as the lead track on Rubber Soul — part of Capitol Records' attempt to make that album more appealing to American folk-rock fans.

Appears On: Help!

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