You're Sixteen

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"You're Sixteen"
You're Sixteen Johnny Burnette.jpg
Single by Johnny Burnette
from the album Johnny Burnette
B-side"I Beg Your Pardon"
ReleasedOctober 1960
RecordedSeptember 1960, United Recorders, Hollywood, California
LabelLiberty (U.S.)
London (UK)
Songwriter(s)Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman
Producer(s)Snuff Garrett
Johnny Burnette singles chronology
"You're Sixteen"
"Little Boy Sad"

"You're Sixteen" is a song written by the Sherman Brothers (Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman). It was first performed by American rockabilly singer Johnny Burnette, whose version peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100 in December 1960 and number 3 in the UK in 1961.[1] The original 1960 version of "You're Sixteen" by Johnny Burnette is featured prominently on the 1973 motion picture soundtrack of the film American Graffiti.

Chart history[edit]


The personnel on the Johnny Burnette version included:

Ringo Starr version[edit]

"You're Sixteen"
You're Sixteen Ringo Starr.jpg
UK picture sleeve
Single by Ringo Starr
from the album Ringo
B-side"Devil Woman"
Released3 December 1973 (US)
8 February 1974 (UK)
RecordedSeptember 1973
GenreRock and roll, country
Songwriter(s)Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman
Producer(s)Richard Perry
Ringo Starr singles chronology
"You're Sixteen"
"Oh My My"

Ringo Starr's version was released as a single in the United States[nb 1] on 3 December 1973, and in the UK[nb 2] on 8 February 1974.[8] In January 1974, the song, taken from the album Ringo, hit number one. The latter performance reunited Ringo Starr with his former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney. McCartney is credited on the liner notes of the album Ringo as having played the solo on a kazoo. But reviewer Michael Verity has quoted the song's producer Richard Perry as revealing it wasn't actually a kazoo. “In fact, the solo on ‘You’re Sixteen,’ which sounds like a kazoo or something, was Paul singing very spontaneously as we played that track back, so he’s singing the solo on that.”[9] Starr's version remains one of the few #1 singles to feature a 'kazoo-sound' solo. Harry Nilsson sang backing vocals on Starr's version; Nicky Hopkins is heard playing the piano, including going up and down the scale in the instrumental fade of the song. In Ringo's version, the melody and the chords were different in the Bridge Section, which led to a minor key, while the original version used only major keys. The fadeout also featured Starr breaking into a chorus of "What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?"

The 1978 video of Starr's version features Carrie Fisher as Starr's love interest.

Chart history[edit]

Other covers[edit]

The song title has been the subject of musical parody by various performers, from Australian punk rock band Frenzal Rhomb's "She's Sixty, She's Beautiful and She's Mine" to Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly's "You're 39, You're Beautiful and You're Mine". A reference to "You're Sixteen" is made in the title of Cold Chisel's EP You're Thirteen, You're Beautiful, and You're Mine.

An instrumental version of the song is used in the 1987 film Some Kind of Wonderful, where the older generation dances to the tune until a group of motorcyclists arrive, interrupting the reception with their own younger generation tune.


  1. ^ US Apple 1870[6]
  2. ^ UK Apple R 5995[7]
  1. ^ You're Sixteen Chart Positions Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  3. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 1/07/61". Archived from the original on 2015-06-02. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  4. ^ "Sixties City – Pop Music Charts – Every Week Of The Sixties".
  5. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1961". Archived from the original on 2015-05-17. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  6. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 183. ISBN 9780753508435.
  7. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 182. ISBN 9780753508435.
  8. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. pp. 182, 183. ISBN 9780753508435.
  9. ^ Michael Verity, “Number 1 With A Bullet: Ringo Starr’s ‘You’re Sixteen’”[permanent dead link] Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ a b "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada", Missing or empty |url= (help)
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – You're Sixteen". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  13. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 9 Mar 1974
  14. ^ "SA Charts 1965 – March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 2/02/74". Archived from the original on January 16, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  16. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image: RPM Weekly".
  17. ^ "Top Discs of '74 (BRMB)". Record Mirror. 11 January 1975. p. 6.
  18. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1974/Top 100 Songs of 1974".
  19. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1974". Archived from the original on July 22, 2019. Retrieved July 9, 2017.

External links[edit]