Boys - The Beatles

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"Boys" - The Beatles (1963)

Written by Luther Dixon and Wes Farrell, “Boys” was initially recorded by The Shirelles of whom John was a big fan of their music.

“Boys” was part of The Beatles' live set from Cavern Club days. It was an excuse to give then drummer and heartthrob, Pete Best,  a song to sing.

That the track was knocked off so quickly in the studio is testament to The Beatles' tightness as a live act. Little preparation was needed since Ringo had also performed it during his time with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes where he would sometimes sing it as duet with Cilla Black.

McCartney comments in the Anthology documentary:

“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.”

“Boys” was Ringo's vocal spotlight on the Please Please Me album. Music critic Barry Lenser writes: 

“The busy and rhythmically perky rock tune that features Ringo’s debut as a lead vocalist. Ringo isn’t a natural, polished singer but neither is he entirely dismissible. His technical limitations can serve the purposes of the right material, like on self-mocking songs such as “Act Naturally” and “With a Little Help from My Friends”. On “Boys”, his shouty vocal style brings a spark to the already jaunty song while the accompanying screams, “bop-shuops”, and “yeah yeah boys” from John, Paul, and George make for a boisterous back-up section.  The call-and-response dynamic is infectiously spirited. Ringo even delivers a shout-out to a fellow Beatle – “Alright, George” – before the latter proceeds into a guitar solo.”

Alan Pollack points out that the track employs the twelve-bar blues form throughout:

“This was done by use of a fairly old trick in which the back-beat and arrangement are modified for the "bridge" in order to disguise the fact that the music (or at least the chord progression and phrasing) is identical to that of the verses. The placement of the second bridge at the very end with a third repeat of it into the fade-out is an additional formal novelty, though personally, I don't think it is sufficient to prevent a certain monotony from setting in.”

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