Past Masters album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 5, 13 March 1963
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 11 April 1963 (UK), 27 May 1963 (US)

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

Available on:
Past Masters
Live At The BBC

Thank You Girl was originally intended to be The Beatles’ third single, until they came up with From Me To You.

Thank You Girl was one of our efforts at writing a single that didn’t work. So it became a b-side or an album track.
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

As with From Me To You, it was a collaboration between Lennon and McCartney, written “head-to-head”. It’s likely that Lennon was mainly responsible for the verses, with McCartney contributing the chorus and middle eight.

We’d already written Thank You Girl as the follow-up to Please Please Me. This new number [From Me To You] was to be the b-side. We were so pleased with it, we knew we just had to make it the a-side, Thank You Girl the b.
John Lennon

Originally titled Thank You, Little Girl, the song was intended as a message of gratitude for the support from the group’s fans. As McCartney explained, “We knew that if we wrote a song called Thank You Girl that a lot of the girls who wrote us fan letters would take it as a genuine thank you. So a lot of our songs were directly addressed to the fans.”

Like many of their early songs, (cf. Love Me Do, Please Please Me, PS I Love You), the two songwriters used the trick of including ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘you’ in the title, to make it seem more personal.

These early songs were wonderful to learn by and were good album fillers. [Thank You Girl] was pretty much co-written but there might have been a slight leaning towards me with the ‘thank you, girl’ thing, it sounds a bit like me, trying to appease the mob. A bit of a hack song really, but all good practice.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

A version of Thank You Girl, recorded in front of a live audience at the Playhouse Theatre in London, was included in the Live At The BBC collection. It was taped on 19 June 1963, and broadcast four days later on the Easy Beat programme.

In the studio

Recording mainly took place on 5 March 1963. Thank You Girl was recorded in six takes. Seven additional edits were then recorded.

Mark Lewisohn, in the Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, suggests these edits were for the ‘guitar flourish’ at the end; in Revolution In The Head, Ian MacDonald claims these were, in fact, for Ringo Starr’s closing drum fills.

On 13 March the song was completed with the addition of the harmonica overdub, recorded in 15 takes by John Lennon.