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072 – This Boy – Doug Hammond

 
Original version recorded October 17 1963
Ukulele Version recorded – June  2012
 
Doug Hammond – Vocal & orchestration
John Benthal – Ukulele & tiple
 
Produced by Doug Hammond
Mix and additional production by David Barratt
at The Abattoir Of Good Taste
 
Written and credited to Lennon & McCartney
 
ABOUT THE SONG
 
In October 1963 legendary baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax became even more legendary when set a World Series record by striking out 15 New York Yankees in a 5-2 victory in Game 1 at Yankee Stadium. 
 
A couple of weeks later The Beatles had an equally productive day at the office when they  recorded "This Boy", "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".
 
This makes me feel very lazy indeed.
 
“This Boy” was an attempt by John at writing a song in the style of  Smokey Robinson,specifically  "I’ve Been Good To You", which has similar circular doo-wop chord changes, melody and arrangement. Paul cites The Teddy Bears 1959 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 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".
 
An instrumental version of “This Boy” was used in  A Hard Day’s Night. The piece, under the title, "Ringo’s Theme (This Boy).
 
This Boy never refers to a she, although it’s clearly implied. The "(Ringo’s Theme)" part of the title is a clue. I think the song is a disguised adolescent dig at Pete Best. The lyrics are directed from Pete Best’s point of view begging the Beatles to give him a second chance, that Ringo was bad for them. So Pete is actually "This Boy", Ringo is "That Boy", and the implied girl in the song is "The Beatles". But the song lyrics are written in enough of a general way to also pass as a love song, and that’s the clever part of it.
 
The ukulele version re-imagines the song in a strict soul style. Maybe this is how Smokey in his prime would have done it.

 

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