Boys EP artwork - SpainWritten by: Luther Dixon/Wes Farrell
Recorded: 11 February 1963
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 22 March 1963 (UK), 10 January 1964 (US)

Available on:
Please Please Me
Anthology 1
On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2

Personnel

Ringo Starr: vocals, drums
John Lennon: backing vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, bass
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar

‘Boys’ was Ringo Starr’s vocal spotlight on The Beatles’ debut album Please Please Me.

The song was written for the US girl group The Shirelles, and was originally the b-side of their November 1960 single ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’. The Beatles also recorded The Shirelles’ ‘Baby It’s You’ for Please Please Me.

‘Boys’ was part of The Beatles’ live set from 1961. It had been performed by Pete Best prior to Starr joining, and remained the band’s main ‘drummer spot’ until 1964.

The Beatles apparently didn’t consider the song’s lyrical connotations until after its release.

Ringo always used to do a song in the show. Back then he had ‘Boys’. 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.
Paul McCartney
Anthology

In the studio

‘Boys’ was recorded in a single take on 11 February 1963, and marked Ringo Starr’s first recorded lead vocal.

That the song was knocked off so quickly in the studio is testament to The Beatles’ tightness as a live act – little preparation was needed, since Starr had performed ‘Boys’ during his time with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

A version of ‘Boys’, recorded for the April 1964 TV special Around The Beatles, appeared on the Anthology 1 album.

BBC recordings

The Beatles also recorded ‘Boys’ seven times for BBC radio. The first was on 1 April 1963, for the Side By Side show.

The band recorded seven songs, plus the Side By Side theme, for the show, which was first broadcast on 13 May 1963: ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘A Taste Of Honey’, ‘Chains’, ‘Thank You Girl’, ‘Boys’, and ‘From Me To You’. ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘A Taste Of Honey’, ‘Chains’, and ‘Boys’ were included on the 2013 digital collection Bootleg Recordings 1963.

The second BBC recording was made on 4 April 1963. It was again for Side By Side, and was broadcast on 24 June. The other songs recorded were ‘Too Much Monkey Business’, ‘Love Me Do’, ‘I’ll Be On My Way’, and ‘From Me To You’.

The Beatles third BBC recording of ‘Boys’ was made on 21 May 1963, for Saturday Club. The episode, broadcast on 25 May, also included new versions of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’, ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘From Me To You’, and ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’.

On 17 June 1963 The Beatles recorded an edition of their Pop Go The Beatles show. It was broadcast on 25 June, and included recordings of ‘Anna (Go To Him)’, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Boys’, ‘Chains’, ‘PS I Love You’, ‘Twist And Shout’, and ‘A Taste Of Honey’.

This fourth BBC version of ‘Boys’ was included on the 1995 single ‘Baby It’s You’, and also on the 2013 collection On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2.

The Beatles recorded another three episodes of Pop Go The Beatles on 3 September 1963, one of which included their fifth BBC version of ‘Boys’, along with ‘Chains’, ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’, ‘Misery’, ‘Lucille’, and ‘From Me To You’. This day’s recording of ‘Boys’ was released in 2013 on Bootleg Recordings 1963.

Another version of ‘Boys’ – the sixth BBC rendition – was made on 18 December 1963 for an episode of From Us To You. Also recorded on that date were the From Us To You theme, ‘She Loves You’, ‘All My Loving’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Till There Was You’, ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’, and ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’.

The Beatles’ seventh and final BBC recording of ‘Boys’ was the only one dating from 1964. It was for another edition of From Us To You, recorded on 17 July and first broadcast on 3 August. They also recorded two versions of the From Us To You theme, plus ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘If I Fell’, ‘I’m Happy Just To Dance With You’, ‘I Should Have Know Better’, ‘Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!’, and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’.

Lyrics

I been told when a boy kiss a girl
Take a trip around the world
Hey, hey (Bop shuop, m’bop bop shuop)
Hey, hey (Bop shuop, m’bop bop shuop)
Hey, hey (Bop shuop, m’bop bop shuop)
Yeah, she say ya do (Bop shuop)

My girl says when I kiss her lips
Gets a thrill through her fingertips
Hey hey, hey hey
Hey hey, yeah, she say you do

Well, I talk about boys (yeah, yeah, boys)
Don’t you know I mean boys (yeah, yeah, boys)
Well, I talk about boys, now (yeah, yeah, boys)
Aaahhh, boys (yeah, yeah, boys)
Well, I talk about boys, now (yeah, yeah, boys)
What a bundle of joy! (yeah, yeah, boys)
Alright, George!

My girl says when I kiss her lips
Gets a thrill through her fingertips
Hey hey, hey hey
Hey hey, yeah, she say you do

Well, I talk about boys
Don’t ya know I mean boys
Well, I talk about boys, now
Aaahhh, boys
Well, I talk about boys, now
What a bundle of joy!

Oh, oh, ah yeah boys
Don’t you know I mean boys?
Ooh, boys
Ah ha
Well I talk about boys now
Ah, boys