Boys (The Shirelles song)

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"Boys"
Song by the Beatles from the album Please Please Me
Released March 22, 1963
Recorded February 11, 1963
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:24
Label Parlophone
Writer Luther Dixon/Wes Farrell
Producer George Martin
Please Please Me track listing

"Boys" is a song by Luther Dixon and Wes Farrell, originally performed by The Shirelles and released as the B-side of their "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" single in November 1960. It was covered by English rock group The Beatles and included on their first album released in the United Kingdom, Please Please Me (1963).

The Beatles' version[edit]

The Beatles' version was recorded at Abbey Road Studios on February 11, 1963, in a single take, and is Ringo Starr's first recorded lead vocals with the Beatles; and, as the fifth track on the Beatles first album, Please Please Me, represents the first time many fans heard Starr singing on a lead vocal.[1] February 11 was a marathon day for the Beatles, as they recorded 10 of the 14 tracks they needed for Please Please Me.[2] The band covered an additional song by the Shirelles on their first album, "Baby It's You".[3][4]

The Beatles did not concern themselves about possible homosexual undertones that go with singing a song about boys, although they altered the gender pronouns employed on the Shirelles' version (e.g. "My girl says when I kiss her lips..."). In an October 2005 Rolling Stone interview, Paul McCartney stated: "Any one of us could hold the audience. Ringo would do 'Boys', which was a fan favourite with the crowd. And it was great — though if you think about it, here's us doing a song and it was really a girls' song. 'I talk about boys now!' Or it was a gay song. But we never even listened. It's just a great song. I think that's one of the things about youth — you just don't give a shit. I love the innocence of those days."[5] (The lyrics talk specifically about a boy kissing a girl, not another boy.)

McCartney also said: "Ringo always used to do a song in the show. Back then he had 'Boys'. It was a little embarrassing because it went, 'I'm talking about boys - yeah, yeah - boys'. It was a Shirelles hit and they were girls singing it, but we never thought we should call it Girls, just because Ringo was a boy. We just sang it the way they'd sung it and never considered any implications." (Paul McCartney. From Anthology.)[6]

"Boys" had always been the Beatles' 'drummer' song during their Cavern days - Pete Best sang it then.[7] "Boys" was their main 'drummer' song until 1964.[6] Coincidentally, Starr also sang this for his solo spot with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes; Cilla Black would sometimes join him on stage, sharing the microphone.[8] Best would release his own version of the song in 1965.

Their cover of the song is playable on The Beatles: Rock Band video game.

On February 9, 2014, Ringo sang and played drums on "Boys" as part of the finale on the CBS 50th-anniversary special of the Beatles' first Ed Sullivan appearance (February 9, 1964).

Personnel[edit]

Engineered by Norman Smith

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[6][9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 26. ISBN 0-517-57066-1. 
  2. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. pp. 25–26. ISBN 0-600-61207-4. 
  3. ^ Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Revised and Updated. London: Virgin Publishing. p. 999. ISBN 0-7535-0481-2. 
  4. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. p. 200. ISBN 0-600-61207-4. 
  5. ^ Binelli, Mark (October 20, 2005). "Sir Paul Rides Again". Rolling Stone 985. 
  6. ^ a b c Boys | The Beatles Bible
  7. ^ Harry, Bill. The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia. p. 118. ISBN 0-86369-681-3. 
  8. ^ Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Revised and Updated. p. 202. 
  9. ^ MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). pp. 73–74. ISBN 1-84413-828-3.