What an unexpected song!
As emblematic of the whole wonder, I admire certain unexpected low notes in the melody. They come at these places in the first verse:
Whenever I, whenever I am away from you (0:28)
I want to die, ’cause you know I want to stay with you (0:37)
And again in the second verse, setting up a special effect that will soon follow:
Whenever I, whenever I am away from you (1:03)
My alibi is telling people I don’t care for you (1:12)
The note of that you is a G, a step down from the easier choice, A. In the accompaniment we’re going back and forth here between an E-minor chord and an A major. The G note belongs to the E-minor, not the A major — that is, to the preparation for the A resolution, a step off from the A resolution itself — so even though it’s in harmony at that moment there’s something stubborn and backward about it. It’s one of the telltales of the unsure undercurrent of love.
This G has made such an impression that it haunts a later note that is fully three steps higher, the note for “who’s”:
Maybe I’m just hanging around with my head up, upside down
It’s a pity, I can’t seem to find someone who’s (1:27)
as pretty and lovely as you
“Who’s” is on C (backed by an F major chord), same as the C of “(some)one,” but it would make so much sense to go down to G again (and “who’s” does rhyme with “you”) that my ear reaches all the way down for it. I’m aided by a blurring of the C and the F-major feeling by a lower harmony-vocal E note dropping in, strange reminder of the old E-minor (and making a spooky major seventh of the F chord, potentially a major ninth including a G). I may also be loosened up by the words “I can’t seem to find someone . . .” The result, for one or more of these numerous reasons, is a definite phantom G. Now that I concentrate fifty years later on hearing what the note actually is, I’m quite surprised it’s way up there at C.
I must now try to erase that knowledge. This is not a hook for which clarity is helpful. Sorry.
On the subject of songs we never expected, what about “Piece Of My Heart,” first sprung on the world by Erma Franklin in 1967? Here’s an impressive 1992 performance:
It starts out very calm and ordinary, doesn’t it? But since when are you allowed to ratchet up so much more intensity in the second phase of a verse? And where’s the ladder that got us up to the “Come on, come on, come on, come on”? And how can there still be room for another thrilling leap upward to “Take it!”?