The Paul McCartney Project

This Boy

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1963
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

This Boy” is a song by English rock band the Beatles, written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney). It was released in November 1963 as the B-side of the British Parlophone single “I Want to Hold Your Hand“. It also appears as the third track on side one of the 1964 U.S album Meet the Beatles!. The Beatles performed it live on 16 February 1964 for their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. “This Boy” was remastered for compact disc by George Martin and released in 1988 on the Past Masters, Volume One compilation. On 9 September 2009 it was re-released on the two CD set Past Masters, as part of the remastering of the original Beatles’ catalogue, and was included in The Beatles Stereo Box Set and in The Beatles in Mono box set.

Composition

Its composition was an attempt by Lennon at writing a song in the style of Motown star Smokey Robinson, specifically his song “I’ve Been Good To You“, which has similar circular doo-wop chord changes, melody and arrangement. The tune and arrangement also has some resemblance to ‘You Don’t Understand Me‘, a B-side to a Bobby Freeman single. Paul McCartney cites the Teddy Bears’ 1958 hit “To Know Him Is To Love Him” as also being influential. Lennon, McCartney, and George Harrison join together to sing an intricate three-part close harmony in the verses and refrain (originally the middle eight was conceived as a guitar solo, but altered during the recording process) and a similar song writing technique is exercised in later Beatles songs, such as “Yes It Is” and “Because“. The song, in D major, revolves around a Fifties-style I-vi-ii-V doo-wop sequence in 12/8 time before moving to the harmonically complex middle eight (G-F#7-Bm-D7-G-E7-A-A7) and back again for the final verse and fade-out. William Mann describes the song as, “harmonically…one of their most intriguing, with its chains of pandiatonic clusters“.

An instrumental version of “This Boy“, orchestrated by George Martin, is used as the incidental music during Ringo Starr’s towpath scene in the film A Hard Day’s Night. The piece, under the title, “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy)” was released as a single — but failed to chart in the UK — on 7 August 1964 with “And I Love Her” on the B Side, although it did reach number 53 in the American Top 100 later that year. It was also included on Martin’s Parlophone album Off the Beatle Track and the EP Music From A Hard Day’s Night by the George Martin Orchestra, released 19 February 1965. It was also included on the American A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack album.

Recordings

The Beatles recorded “This Boy” on 17 October 1963. On the same day they recorded “I Want To Hold Your Hand“, the group’s first fan club Christmas single, and a version of “You Really Got A Hold On Me“.

They recorded fifteen takes of “This Boy“, followed by two overdubs. The song was recorded with a rounded ending, although it was faded out during a mixing session on 21 October. Two takes were joined together to make the final master, with the edit between the middle eight and final verse (1:28).

Alternative recordings have also been officially released. A live version performed on Two of a Kind in 1963 was released on Anthology 1 and two incomplete takes from the original recording were released as a track on the single Free as a Bird. […]

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 21 Oct 1963. edited.
    UK: Parlophone R5084 single 1963, Parlophone PSLP261/PCM1001 Rarities 1978-79.
    US: Capitol T 2047 Meet the Beatles 1964.
    CD: EMI single 1989.
  • [a1] mock stereo made from [a] 1964, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol ST 2047 Meet the Beatles 1964.
  • [a2] mock stereo made from [a] 1977.
    UK: Parlophone PCSP 721 Love Songs 1977.
  • [b] stereo 21 Oct 1963. edited.
    Canada: Capitol 72144 reissue 1976 [B side of All My Loving].
    Australia: Parlophone A8103 reissue 1976.
    UK: Parlophone SGE 1 (EP) 1981.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 90043 2 Past Masters 1 1988.

The edit removed an instrumental break after the bridge, leaving an abrupt transition to the last verse.

The only stereo mix documented in Lewisohn is of 10 Nov 1966, but a mix from 1963 is known from the tape compilation by John Barrett at EMI, with an intro spoken by Norman Smith who was not engineer on Beatles sessions in 1966. The stereo image is also similar to that of I Want to Hold Your Hand mixed the same day. Does the 1966 mix exist?

The 1963 mix was ignored for many non-UK compilation albums that used mono or locally-made mock stereo, and was finally found and used for the first time for two single reissues in 1976, but for some reason the compilers of Love Songs in 1977 either could not find it or did not know it existed, and instead made yet another mock stereo version.

Last updated on February 10, 2016

Lyrics

That boy took my love away
Oh, he'll regret it someday
But this boy wants you back again

That boy isn't good for you
Though he may want you too
This boy wants you back again

Oh, and this boy would be happy
Just to love you, but oh my
That boy won't be happy
Till he's seen you cry

This boy wouldn't mind the pain
Would always feel the same
If this boy gets you back again

Officially appears on


I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy

7" Single • Released in 1963

2:13 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 17, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Meet the Beatles! (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:16 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 17, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Meet the Beatles! (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:15 • Studio versionA1 • Stereo • Mock stereo made from [A], by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 17, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


The Beatles

EP • Released in 1981

2:14 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 17, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Past Masters

Official album • Released in 1988

2:16 • Studio versionB

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 17, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Anthology 1

Official album • Released in 1995

2:22 • LiveL1

Concert From "The Morecambe And Wise Show" in Borehamwood, United Kingdom on Apr 18, 1964


Free As A Bird

EP • Released in 1995

3:18 • Studio versionC • Takes 12 and 13. An eavesdrop into the recording session for This Boy featuring the incomplete takes 12 and 13.

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Remix engineer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 17, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2

Official live • Released in 2013

2:16 • Radio showL2 • Released in the UK on the flip-side of "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "This Boy" is distinguished by a three-part harmony, sung at one microphone, by John, Paul and George. This distinctive blend of their voices can also be heard on the BBC recording of "To Know Her Is To Love Her", included the first volume of Live At The BBC, and a later B-side ballad "Yes It Is".

Bernie Andrews:
Producer

Concert From "Saturday Club" in London, United Kingdom on Dec 21, 1963

Bootlegs


The BBC Archives Volume 8

Unofficial album

2:19 • Radio show


The BBC Archives Volume 9

Unofficial album

2:13 • Radio show



The Beatles At The Beeb - Volume 8

Unofficial live • Released in 2003

3:04 • Live

Concert From "Saturday Club" in London, United Kingdom on Dec 21, 1963


The Beatles At The Beeb - Volume 9

Unofficial live • Released in 2003

3:16 • Live

Concert From "From Us To You" in London, United Kingdom on Mar 30, 1964


Live performances

“This Boy” has been played in 69 concerts and 1 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where “This Boy” has been played








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