Teddy Boy

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the McCartney LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1970
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1968 (Paul McCartney was 26 years old)

Master release


Related interviews



"McCartney" press release Q&A

Apr 09, 1970 • From Apple Records

Related articles


The Beatles in India

February 19 to March 26, 1968

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Song facts

Teddy Boy” is a track from Paul McCartney’s debut solo album, “McCartney“, released in April 1970.

Another song started in India and completed in Scotland and London, gradually. This one was recorded for Get Back film but later not used. Rerecorded partly at home…(guitar, voices and bass)…and finished at Morgan. Linda and I sing the backing harmonies on the chorus and occasional oos.

Paul McCartney, from the press release of “McCartney”, April 1970

From Wikipedia:

“Teddy Boy” is a song by Paul McCartney included on his first solo album McCartney, released in April 1970. According to Ernie Santosuosso of The Boston Globe, it describes the way in which a close relationship between a widow and her grown son is destroyed by her new romantic interest.

Background

Paul McCartney wrote “Teddy Boy” during the Beatles’ 1968 visit to India. In 1970, McCartney described the song as, “Another song I started in India and completed in Scotland, and London gradually. This one was recorded for the Get Back film, but later not used.

RecordingJanuary 1969

McCartney first played the song to the other Beatles on 9 January 1969. The Beatles did not return to the song until 24 January, recording several takes. This recording includes some instances of guitar feedback. During one rendition of the song, John Lennon is heard calling “do-si-do” and other square-dance steps, something both musicologist Walter Everett and Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn ascribe to Lennon’s boredom with the song. Musicologist and writer Ian MacDonald writes that any attempts at recording the song “were sabotaged by Lennon’s continuous burble of parody“. MacDonald describes “Teddy Boy” as an “annoyingly whimsical ditty – notable solely for its key change from D major to F sharp major“.

The Beatles recorded “Teddy Boy” again on 28 and 29 January.

RecordingDecember 1969 – February 1970

McCartney recorded the McCartney version of “Teddy Boy” at his home in Cavendish Avenue, St John’s Wood. He began the album around Christmas 1969, recording on a recently delivered Studer four-track tape recorder, without a mixing desk, and therefore with no VU displays as a guide for recording levels. McCartney described his home-recording set-up as “Studer, one mike, and nerve“. He had finished recording the basic track of “Teddy Boy” by 12 February 1970, when he brought his tapes to Morgan Studios. These tapes were transferred from four- to eight-track tape, adding an audible hiss to the recording. At Morgan Studios, McCartney completed the track by overdubbing drums, a bass drum and clapping.

Release and receptionThe Beatles

The Beatles asked engineer Glyn Johns to mix an LP from their January 1969 recordings. Johns selected take two of “Teddy Boy” from 24 January for his first mix of Get Back. Authors Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt view this selection as “poor judgement” on the engineer’s part. Johns mixed the track for stereo on 10 March 1969 at Olympic Sound Studios. Bootleg copies of the mix circulated under titles such as Hot as Sun and Kum Back. In October 1969, Ernie Santosuosso obtained a version of Johns’ Get Back and reviewed it for The Boston Globe, writing of “Teddy Boy” that “‘Mama, Don’t Worry, Your Teddy Boy’s Here’ offers a persistent repetition of theme larded with square dance calls and deft guitar chord changes.” As there was no footage of the Beatles playing “Teddy Boy” in the Let It Be film, Johns removed it from his second version of Get Back, replacing it with “Across the Universe” and “I Me Mine“. Lewisohn writes that it is also possible that on 4 January 1970 McCartney told Johns that he was about to re-record the song for his solo album.

Due to the Beatles’ dissatisfaction with Johns’ two attempts, Lennon passed the Get Back tapes onto Phil Spector. Although Johns omitted “Teddy Boy” from the LP, Spector, assisted by engineers Peter Brown and Roger Ferris, made two mixes of the song on 25 March 1970. He kept one at its full length and edited another down from 7:30 to 3:10. This mix, which Sulpy and Schweighardt describe as a “butchered version”, has never been officially released. A later mix included on the 1996 compilation album Anthology 3 comprises three portions of the 28 January take joined to two segments of the 24 January take.

Release and receptionMcCartney

In his album review for the Chicago Tribune, Robb Baker wrote that “‘Teddy Boy’ exists only as a bad example of the story song genre that McCartney usually does so well.” Jared Johnson of The Morning Call said that the Beatles’ version as heard on bootlegs had “substance, force and conviction“, while “The finished product, though more refined, is shallow and superficial, threatened with fading away into nothingness.” According to Santosuosso, the song “tells of filial alienation from a widowed mother who falls in love again. The recurring refrain is the guts of this song.” […]


One night, I mixed a bunch of stuff that they didn’t even know I’d recorded half the time – I just whacked the recorder on for a lot of stuff that they did, and gave them an acetate the following morning of what I’d done, as a rough idea of what an album could be like, released as it was. There was one thing that only happened once, a song that Paul played to the others, which I believe he later used on one of his ensuing albums, called “Teddy Boy”, and I have a tape of Paul actually teaching the others this song. I loved it, and I was hoping they’d finish it and do it, because I thought it was really good. But my version does go on a bit, and they’re just going round and round, trying to get the chord sequence right, I suppose, and the best bit is where John Lennon gets bored – he obviously doesn’t want to play it anymore, and starts doing his interjections. They came back and said they didn’t like it, or each individual bloke came in and said he didn’t like it, and that was the end of that.

Glyn Johns – From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

We’ve now put together a version, an edit of one of the takes of us trying it, which sounds interesting. You can hear on it that the band wasn’t very interested in it. I don’t know why. Maybe I hadn’t finished it enough or something. Maybe it was just tension coming in. The bit I’d like to keep actually was John sort of making fun of it. He starts towards the end of it, going, ‘Grab your partners, do-si-do,’ so we’ve kept that on. And while it was, in some way, indicative of friction, it was good-humoured friction.

Paul McCartney – About the version in The Beatles Anthology, 1996

Some of the songs on “McCartney” I had tried with the Beatles and they hadn’t worked out. There was one called Teddy Boy – the unsuccessful Beatles version is on Anthology. The Beatles were breaking up and nobody had any patience, whereas in the earlier days we might have said, ‘Why don’t we try it like this?’ So I thought, ‘Right, I’ll do it on my own album’.

Paul McCartney – From “Wingspan: Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run“, 2002

‘Teddy Boy’ was good. I’d tried to make that with the Beatles but we didn’t have enough patience with each other. It got on the Anthology — there was just enough to make a proper version. No one was having much patience with me, it never got made. So I pulled it over into this.

Paul McCartney – From “Conversations with McCartney” by Paul du Noyer, 2016

My second cousin Ted is the son of my cousin Betty Danher, who was a big influence on me musically. […] She was married to a guy called Mike Robbins. They brought their kids up surrounded by a lot of music.

Ted was their first boy, so that’s partly why I refer to him as ‘Teddy Boy’. It’s an affectionate term, as I’m just over ten years older than him. But the Teddy Boys were also the ruffians of my youth, the guys who wore long frock coats with velvet collars, drainpipe trousers and crepe-soled shoes. […]

So, Ted is the jumping-off point for the song, but as usual, it takes its own cues and puts on its own show. The ‘tales about his soldier dad’ are pure imagination. The lines ‘Teddy boy’s here / Teddy’s gonna see you through’ are what I imagined Teddy saying to his mum when he was trying to support her. […]

Paul McCartney – From “THE LYRICS: 1956 to the Present“, 2021

From the press release of “McCartney”, April 1970
From THE BEATLES GET BACK TO LET IT BE WITH SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES | The Beatles

Last updated on April 5, 2022

The book "The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present", published in 2021, covers Paul McCartney's early Liverpool days, the Beatles, Wings, and solo careers, by pairing the lyrics of 154 of his songs with first-person commentaries of the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now.

"Teddy Boy" is one of the 154 songs covered.

Lyrics

This is the story of a boy named Ted,
If his mother said, Ted be good, he would,
She told him tales about his soldier dad, but it
made her sad, then she'd cry, oh my !
Ted used to tell her he'd be twice as good, and he
knew he could, ‘cos in his head, he said

Momma don't worry now
Teddy Boy's here,
Taking good care of you
Momma don't worry your Teddy Boy's here,
Teddy's gonna see you through.

Then came the day she found herself a man,
Teddy turned and ran, far away - O.K.
He couldn't stand to see his mother in love with
another man, he didn't know oh no !
He found a place where he could settle down,
And from time to time, in his head, he said…

Momma don't worry…
…and she said,

Teddy don't worry, now mummy is here,
taking good care of you…
Teddy don't worry your mummy is here,
mommy's gonna see you through.

This is the story of a boy named Ted, if his
mother said, Ted be good, he would…

Variations


A Stereo version • From "McCartney"


A1993 1993 remaster • From "McCartney (1993)"

A2011 2011 remaster • From "McCartney - Archive Collection"

A2020 2020 half-speed mastering • From "McCartney (50th Anniversary)"

B A combination of two performances of Teddy Boy from the "Get Back" sessions • From "Anthology 3"

B2016 A combination of two performances of Teddy Boy from the "Get Back" sessions. 2016 remaster • From "Anthology 3 (2016 remaster)"

C January 24, 1969 version mixed by Glyn Johns • From "Let It Be (50th anniversary boxset)"

Officially appears on


McCartney

LP • Released in 1970

2:25 • Studio versionA • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Producer, Recording engineer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Late December 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 12-20, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Late February 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


McCartney (by DCC Compact Classics)

CD • Released in 1992

2:25 • Studio versionA1992 • Stereo • 1992 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Producer, Recording engineer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer
Steve Hoffman :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Late December 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 12-20, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Late February 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


McCartney (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

2:25 • Studio versionA1993 • Stereo • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Producer, Recording engineer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Late December 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 12-20, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Late February 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 3

Official album • Released in 1996

3:18 • OuttakeB • Stereo • A combination of two performances of Teddy Boy [...] Neither was an attempt at laying down a definitive "take", hence the talking in the background, John's barn-dance calls and the feedback, but Paul was clearly using the opportunity to offer up his new song for consideration by the others.

Glyn Johns :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Session Recording:
Jan 28, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


McCartney - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2011

2:25 • Studio versionA2011 • Stereo • 2011 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Producer, Recording engineer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Simon Gibson :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Late December 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 12-20, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Late February 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Anthology 3 (2016 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2016

3:18 • OuttakeB2016 • Stereo • A combination of two performances of Teddy Boy [...] Neither was an attempt at laying down a definitive "take", hence the talking in the background, John's barn-dance calls and the feedback, but Paul was clearly using the opportunity to offer up his new song for consideration by the others.

Glyn Johns :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Session Recording:
Jan 28, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


McCartney (Limited Red LP)

LP • Released in 2017

2:25 • Studio versionA2011 • Stereo • 2011 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Producer, Recording engineer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Simon Gibson :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Late December 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 12-20, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Late February 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


McCartney (50th Anniversary)

Official album • Released in 2020

2:25 • Studio versionA2020 • 2020 half-speed mastering

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Producer, Recording engineer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer
Miles Showell :
Mastering

Session Recording:
Late December 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 12-20, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Late February 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Let It Be (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2021

3:41 • Studio versionC • January 24, 1969 (EMI Tape E90491-8T). The complete sequence with the entire rehearsal lasting longer than seven minutes circulates in the NAGRA Roll 443-444 A and 1043 B. This song was omitted from Glyn Johns compilation # 4 (1970).

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Lead vocal
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic guitar, Lead vocal
George Harrison :
Electric guitar

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


Let It Be (50th anniversary boxset - SHM - Japanese edition)

Official album • Released in 2021

3:41 • Studio versionC • January 24, 1969 (EMI Tape E90491-8T). The complete sequence with the entire rehearsal lasting longer than seven minutes circulates in the NAGRA Roll 443-444 A and 1043 B. This song was omitted from Glyn Johns compilation # 4 (1970).

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Bootlegs


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 24th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

4:44 • Rehearsal • Jan.24 - D2-07 - Teddy Boy 24.32

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


O.P.D.

Unofficial album • Released in 1969

3:43 • Studio version • From Glyn Johns' 2nd "Get Back" compilation

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Session Mixing:
March - May 1969
Studio :
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Mixing:
May 09, 1969
Studio :
Olympic Sound Studios, London


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 24th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

7:24 • Rehearsal • Jan.24 - D2-08 - Teddy Boy 24.33

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 28th, 1969 - 5 & 6

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

9:21 • Rehearsal • Jan.28 - D6-02 - Teddy Boy 28.83

Session Recording:
Jan 28, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 1

Unofficial album

0:35 • Demo • 1/9/69

Recording :
Jan 09, 1969


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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