Label of Canadian 7-inch single
|Single by The Beatles|
|Released||29 November 1963|
|Recorded||17 October 1963|
|The Beatles singles chronology|
"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.
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 draws from "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 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.  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.
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.
Robson & Jerome covered the song on their self-titled 1995 album; by a remarkable coincidence, this was #1 on the UK Albums Chart in the same week the Beatles' Anthology 1, which features a version of the song, peaked at #2.
- John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, acoustic guitar
- Paul McCartney – double-tracked harmony vocal, bass
- George Harrison – double-tracked harmony vocal, lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Pedler, Dominic (2010). The Songwriting Secrets Of The Beatles. Omnibus Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN 9780857123466.
- "The Beatles - This Boy - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
- Harry 1992, p. 650.
- MacDonald 1998, p. 92.
- Sheff 2000, p. 193.
- All Together Now, the ABC of the Beatles songs and albums, David Rowley (2013), page 183–84
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 36.
- Mann, William (1963). "London". Times (27 December). cited in Everett, Walter (2001). The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men Through Rubber Soul, p.204. Oxford. ISBN 9780195141054.
- The Beatles Record Collection 2011.
- The Beatles Bible 2008.
- "Official UK Albums Chart Top 100 - 26 November-2 December 1995". Official Charts. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- "Freebies: Two New Mixtapes Offer Covers of 'N Sync, Springsteen, INXS, Beasties, and 23 More Artists!".
- Harry, Bill (1992). The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-681-3.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-55798-7.
- MacDonald, Ian (1998). Revolution in the Head. London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-6697-4.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
- "This Boy". The Beatles Bible. 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
- "The Beatles U.K. Singles/Parlophone original#2". The Beatles Record Collection. 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
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