‘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.
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
As with ‘From Me To You’, it was a collaboration between Lennon and Paul 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.
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.”
In many of their early songs, such as ‘Love Me Do’, ‘Please Please Me’, and ‘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.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
In the studio
The recording of ‘Thank You Girl’ mainly took place on 5 March 1963. The song was recorded in six takes. Seven additional edits were then recorded.
Mark Lewisohn, in The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, suggested that these edits were for the ‘guitar flourish’ at the end; in Revolution In The Head, Ian MacDonald claims they were, in fact, for Ringo Starr’s closing drum fills.
‘Thank You Girl’ was completed on 13 March 1964, with the addition of the harmonica overdub. This was recorded in 15 takes by John Lennon.
The Beatles recorded ‘Thank You Girl’ on three occasions for BBC radio. The first was on 1 April 1963 for the Side By Side show, and was first broadcast on 13 May.
In addition to ‘Thank You Girl’, The Beatles taped versions of ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘A Taste Of Honey’, ‘Chains’, ‘Boys’, and ‘From Me To You’.
The second BBC recording was for Steppin’ Out. It was taped on 21 May 1963 and broadcast on 3 June. During the session The Beatles also recorded ‘Please Please Me’, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘From Me To You’, and ‘Twist And Shout’.
The final BBC radio version was for Easy Beat. It was recorded in front of a live audience on 19 June 1963 at the Playhouse Theatre in London, and broadcast four days later.
The four songs recorded on that day were ‘Some Other Guy’, ‘A Taste Of Honey’, ‘Thank You Girl’, and ‘From Me To You’. The versions of ‘Some Other Guy’ and ‘Thank You Girl’ were included on 1994’s Live At The BBC, while ‘A Taste Of Honey’ was included on the 2013 digital download collection Bootleg Recordings 1963.
According to Beatlesebooks.com, George Martin apparently decided that some extra harmonica overdubs weren’t needed for the mono mix of Thank You Girl, so they were left off during that mixing session. That’s because they were added later for the stereo mix.