She’s A Woman

My love don’t give me presents

She knows that I’m no peasant

Not the best known of Beatles songs, although these opening lines must surely be among the worst ever written. They are memorable for me, though, as She’s A Woman was the first pop song I learnt to play. My friend Chris Oliver strummed the chords and I tried to pick out the melody on our acoustic guitars in Chris’s bedroom in Chatham in 1971. We had the Beatles and Stones songbooks, and Chris’s dad helped us find the easiest songs to play. From the Stones we chose Ruby Tuesday.

We learnt some more songs too. All Right Now. Ballroom Blitz. Jumping Jack Flash, and teamed up with a ten year old drum prodigy, to form a band called OWL – also known as Oliver, Wolff and Letley, a name which had, at least, a familiar rhythm to it. Matthew Letley, a brilliant drummer even then, is now with Status Quo. Don’t know what happened to Chris Oliver. And me? I’m Jo Wolff, Professor of Philosophy at UCL, and one of Ben Boilerhouse’s three brothers. I’ll be posting the occasional blog.

But to correct to the impression given by the Beatles lyric, my love does give me presents. Most recently a fabulous Rock Family Tree print, number 01/100 of a new release. Johnnie Allan’s The Promised Land, one of the first graphics Pete did in the Family Tree style. Not a tree exactly, but a map of the US illuminating Johnnie Allen’s zydeco version of the Chuck Berry song, also performed by Elvis. But Johnnie Allen’s is the one I always want to listen to.

3 thoughts on “She’s A Woman

  1. The greatest record ever made? Well it is exceptional I agree, but the greatest ever? Greater than, say, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’? Or a few dozen others?


  2. Its a fun game and no more than that and at any given moment the choice can change but – much as I love MOJO master Bob’s Stone – PL never fails.
    Its something to do with its propulsion, the guitarised motorized rolling sound of a car/plane/train at full tilt barreling over the great American highway signalled by the intro.
    The way the voice squeezes itself out of the mix
    intensifying the man machine interface that is a key component of many Berry songs and becomes a matter of life, death and soul survival in PL.
    And , pace its brevity, its a such a functional, directed and purposeful recording.
    The way its energy is contained to bursting point makes it purely inspirational.
    So Im always happy to argue its credentials.
    While I calculate whether to invest in number 2 in the run…


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