Matchbox - The Beatles

Return to artist songs >>

Select a song or an artist- and read about and hear these great recordings:

"Matchbox" - The Beatles (1964)

Originally a hit for rockabilly legend Carl Perkins in 1959, “Matchbox” was first recorded as "Match Box Blues" by Blind Lemon Jefferson  in 1927, and reworked by several bluesmen afterwards. The Beatles' version is clearly influenced by Perkins.

The Beatles play all of the instruments with the exception of George Martin on piano. George Harrison plays 12-string rhythm guitar, while Lennon provides the lead guitar riffs and solo. Ringo comes in with a double-tracked solo vocal; the piano and lead guitar parts are featured prominently in the mix.

Beatle scholar Alan Pollack points out the Beatles-like staggered entrance of the instruments during the intro to the track.

The original first line in the song is "Sittin' here wonderin' will a matchbox hold my clothes," a reference to being poor. Perkins uses this line in his version, but Ringo sings both this line and "Sittin' here watchin', matchbox hole in my clothes," which are erroneously assumed by many to be the real lyrics.

There are also verses present which don't exist in Perkins' original, suggesting the group had heard other interpretations.

Pollack adds:

“Although the topic here would seem to be love-related, the specific perspective of the "man who's sad and lonely" which it represents is a novel departure from the typical Beatles love songs which had been officially recorded until this point.”

Carl Perkins himself was present at the session when The Beatles recorded the song.  At one point, Ringo referred to Carl as "Mr. Perkins," prompting him to say, "Son, I wish you'd call me Carl. Mr. Perkins is my daddy."

Make a suggestion to improve this song profile