Search

Pre-taping Beatles podcast show notes--"This Boy"

Monday 7/6/20

Heading out, wanted to get this to you early. Re: "This Boy," some things I'm thinking: the Beatles relationship with and regard for girl groups. Separates them in a big time way from any other male band at the time. These were macho, Northern guys, who also had zero problem singing "Boys." A lot of what they knew about a kind of choric singing came from girl groups. Can also get into Beatles and doo wop, which never comes up. The vanilla guitar chording of the song. Simple, constant, memorable. Beatles B-sides in general at the time, how they regarded them, utilized them. The middle eight and that moment when Lennon's voice hangs in air. It's one of his finest vocal moments, but one also marred by one of George Martin's worst edits. How quickly they return to the three part harmony. Lennon is able to transition back into the fold very quickly after expending all of that breath. The version from the Ed Sullivan Show, Washington Coliseum, and on the BBC, all of which might be better, on account of not having the edit. And for other reasons we can tease out. The track's companion B-side, if you will, "Yes It Is," including the fantastic unreleased early takes. The theme of Lennon and jealousy in the band's early music, and the various facets of that jealousy and how they sonically manifest. The role of "This Boy" as the B-side to "I Want to Hold Your Hand." What that was like for listeners at the time. We have to realize what a departure and shock this would have been. You flip over the record, after the euphoric A-side, and you find this. Those real-time moments are obscured when we just think of the track as one on a Past Masters or whatever. Also--How Lennon's voice changed, and this song as rhythm and blues, which no one thinks of it as. Hope you had a nice Fourth, sir, and your Sunday is a good one.