This Boy

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This article is about the song by the Beatles. For the song by James Morrison, see Undiscovered (James Morrison album). For the song by Franz Ferdinand, see You Could Have It So Much Better.
"This Boy"
Single by The Beatles
A-side "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
Released 29 November 1963
Recorded 17 October 1963
Genre Merseybeat, doo-wop[1][2][3]
Length 2:13
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
The Beatles singles chronology
"She Loves You"
(1963)
"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
(1963)
"Can't Buy Me Love"
(1964)

"This Boy" is a song by English rock band the Beatles released in November 1963 as the B-side of the British Parlophone single "I Want to Hold Your Hand". The Beatles performed it live on 16 February 1964 for their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. It also appears as the third track on side one of the American release, Meet the Beatles!. "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]

Its composition was an attempt by John Lennon [4][5] at writing a song in the style of Motown star Smokey Robinson,[6] 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 an uncanny resemblance to 'You Don't Understand Me', a B-side to a Bobby Freeman single.[7] Paul McCartney cites the Teddy Bears' 1958 hit "To Know Him Is To Love Him" as also being influential.[5] 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)[8] 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. [5]

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,[9] 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[edit]

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.[10] Two takes were joined together to make the final master, with the edit between the middle eight and final verse (1:28).[5]

Alternate 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.

Cover versions[edit]

The Smithereens covered the song on their 2007 album Meet The Smithereens!

Personnel[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rock Guitar For Dummies, Jon Chappell, Carl Verheyen, John Wiley & Sons, 2011ISBN 1118069609, 9781118069608. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KlZYecv9tcIC&pg=PT312&dq=the+beatles+this+boy+doo-wop&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9b5oU7D7MIHBOPnagaAI&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. ^ The Beatles in Mono, Andrew Hickey, ISBN 1446184897, 9781446184899 pp. 116
  3. ^ The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years, Barry Miles, Omnibus Press, 2009ISBN 085712000X, 9780857120007.[1]
  4. ^ Harry 1992, p. 650.
  5. ^ a b c d MacDonald 1998, p. 92.
  6. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 193.
  7. ^ All Together Now, the ABC of the Beatles songs and albums, David Rowley (2013)
  8. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 36.
  9. ^ The Beatles Record Collection 2011.
  10. ^ The Beatles Bible 2008.

References[edit]

External links[edit]