"This Boy" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by John Lennon[3][4] (credited to Lennon–McCartney). It was released in November 1963 as the B-side of the band's Parlophone single "I Want to Hold Your Hand". In the United States, it was issued in January 1964 on Meet the Beatles! which was Capitol Records' reconfigured version of the With the Beatles album. The Beatles performed the song live on 16 February 1964 for their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. An instrumental easy listening arrangement by George Martin, re-titled "Ringo's Theme (This Boy)", was featured in the film A Hard Day's Night and the United Artists soundtrack album. This version was also issued as a single, reaching number 53 in the US and number one in Canada.

"This Boy"
Canadian picture sleeve
Single by the Beatles
  • 29 November 1963 (1963-11-29) (UK)
  • 1964 (Canada)
Recorded17 October 1963
Producer(s)George Martin
The Beatles UK singles chronology
"She Loves You"
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" / "This Boy"
"Can't Buy Me Love"

"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 edit

The track's composition was Lennon's attempt[3][4] to write a tune in the style of Motown star Smokey Robinson,[5] and 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 draws from "You Don't Understand Me", a B-side to a Bobby Freeman single.[6] Paul McCartney cites the Teddy Bears' 1958 hit "To Know Him Is to Love Him" also as being influential.[4]

Lennon, McCartney, and George Harrison joined to sing an intricate three-part close harmony in the verses and refrain and a similar technique is employed in later Beatles songs, notably "Yes It Is" and "Because". Originally the middle eight was conceived as a guitar solo but altered during the recording process.[7] Written in D major, the song revolves around a 1950s-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.[4] William Mann describes the song as, "harmonically...one of their most intriguing, with its chains of pandiatonic clusters".[8]

Recordings edit

The Beatles recorded "This Boy" on 17 October 1963, 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 to make the final master, with the edit between the middle eight and final verse (1:28).[4]

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".

Ringo's Theme edit

"Ringo's Theme (This Boy)"
US picture sleeve
Single by George Martin and His Orchestra
from the album A Hard Day's Night
B-side"And I Love Her" (instrumental)
ReleasedJuly 1964 (1964-07) (US)
LabelUnited Artists
Producer(s)George Martin

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,[11] 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. Vic Flick's lead guitar work can be heard on "Ringo’s Theme", which plays as the Beatles drummer wanders around London on his own.

Chart performance edit

Chart (1965) Peak
Canada 1
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 53

Personnel edit

Vic Flick lead guitar on Ringo's theme instrumental.

Notes edit

  1. ^ Pedler, Dominic (2010). The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Omnibus Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN 9780857123466.
  2. ^ "The Beatles – 'This Boy'". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b Harry 1992, p. 650.
  4. ^ a b c d e MacDonald 1998, p. 92.
  5. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 193.
  6. ^ All Together Now, the ABC of the Beatles songs and albums, David Rowley (2013), page 183–84
  7. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 36.
  8. ^ Mann, William (1963). "What Songs the Beatles Sang", The Times (27 December 1963), cited in Everett, Walter (2001). The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men Through Rubber Soul, p.204. Oxford. ISBN 9780195141054
  9. ^ Pedler, Dominic (2010). The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Omnibus Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN 9780857123466.
  10. ^ "The Beatles - This Boy - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  11. ^ The Beatles Record Collection 2011.
  12. ^ "The Beatles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 24 November 2019.

References edit

External links edit