Bad Boy

Past Masters album artworkWritten by: Larry Williams
Recorded: 10 May 1965
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 9 December 1966 (UK), 14 June 1965 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: bass, Hohner Pianet electric piano
George Harrison: lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, tambourine

Available on:
Past Masters

The Beatles recorded two Larry Williams songs during a single 10 May 1965 session: Bad Boy and Dizzy Miss Lizzy, both sung by John Lennon.

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The songs were recorded for Capitol, The Beatles' North American label, so they could release the Beatles VI album in June 1965.

Beatles VI was otherwise a mish-mash of six tracks from Beatles For Sale, some others intended for Help!, and Ticket To Ride's b-side Yes It Is.

Having been part of The Beatles' live set since the early 1960s, The Beatles wasted little time in recording Bad Boy in four takes. The first three were rhythm tracks only, and onto the fourth were overdubbed rasping vocals (Lennon), double-tracked lead guitar (Harrison), electric piano (McCartney) and tambourine (Starr).

The song didn't appear in the UK until December 1966, when EMI released A Collection Of Beatles Oldies to plug the Christmas gap after Revolver. It was the only previously-unreleased song on the album, and its inclusion meant that all Beatles songs from 1962 to that point were available on both sides of the Atlantic.


A bad little kid moved in to my neighbourhood
He won't do nothing right just sitting down and looks so good
He don't want to go to school and learn to read and write
Just sits around the house and plays that rock 'n' roll music all night

Well, he put thumb tacks on teacher's chair
Puts chewing gum in little girls' hair
Now junior, behave yourself

Buy every rock 'n' roll book on the magazine stand
Every dime that he get, ooh, he's off to the jukebox, man
Well he worries his teacher till at night she's a-ready to poop
From rockin' and a-rollin', spinnin' in a hula hoop

Well this rock and roll has gotta stop
Junior's head is hard as rock
Now junior, behave yourself

Gonna tell your mama, you better do what she said
Get to the barber shop and get that hair cut off your head
Took the canary and you fed it to the neighbour's cat
You gave the cocker spaniel a bath in mother's laundromat

Well this modern mess has got to stop
Junior's head is hard as rock
Now junior, behave yourself

18 responses on “Bad Boy

  1. Kent Brockman

    Larry Williams’ original lyric is “he don’t do nothing right, his report card looks no good”. John either didn’t like the line or just couldn’t be bothered- he sings:

    “He won’t do nothin’ right
    hizim frizzim card look so good”!

  2. brian

    This song really rocks! Ringo’s drumming is very solid and John’s rock ‘n roll vocal is killer. All The Beatles cut loose on this one. … Love this website by the way!

      1. Dean Prescott

        I also agree. John’s vocal is simply amazing. That Lennon tone is so perfect. Another tune I think has that quality but is completely different is “I Know (I Know) from 1973’s “Mind Games.

  3. Daniel

    I read that in Beatles books and websites because it was the first song not to be released anywhere in worldwide after the US, such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

  4. Bill

    Would’ve loved to have heard a BBC version of this, bet it would’ve rocked even harder. Twin Specialty Records influences; Little Richard for Paul, Larry Williams for John.

  5. Graham Paterson

    Great John Lennon vocal. First obtained a copy of this when I got Beatles ” Oldies ” album in August 1980. Lennon does Larry Williams songs so well i.e. ” Slow Down”, ” Dizzy Miss Lizzy ” and ” Bad Boy “. The British “Oldies” album is essential, a long side the US ” Hey Jude” album, because those songs on them compliment the” “regular” albums so to speak. The ” Oldies” cover is brilliant and is a great singles collection 1963-1966 and the inclusion of the brilliant “Bad Boy” with it’s great beat, guitar and vocal tops it off.

  6. DianeC

    I had never heard of this song until I read about it in Stephen King’s newest novel “Bazaar of Bad Dreams”. Mr. King rocks because this is not the first song he’s written about that I’d never heard of.

  7. Cachiva

    More lyric corrections needed:

    Thumb tacks, not some tacks

    Every dime that he gets, he’s off to the jukebox, man

    Took the canary. No throwing!

    Mama’s head? Please. “This modern mess has got to stop”


    1. R cross

      The word has many meanings including ‘to stop because of exhaustion’. Your question is silly though, as LarryWilliams, the writer was American not British, so why would he use a purely British expression?

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