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Beatles - This Boy (Ed Sullivan Show 1964)

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The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, Miami, February 16, 1964

It’s Sunday, February 16, 1964. The Fabs are back for their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, just one week after drawing the largest TV audience of all-time: 73 million viewers had surrendered to the band’s substantial charm and outrageous hair.

This week, Sullivan has left NYC and taken his variety juggernaut on the road, broadcasting live from Miami’s Deauville Hotel. In addition to the Liverpudlian golden boys, the bland host/impresario has booked his usual mix of JFK-era comedy teams (Steve Rossi and Marty Allen), fading film stars (Mitzi Gaynor) and novelty acts (pole-balancers The Nerveless Knocks).  Clearly, the Beatles are the brightest stars in this constellation.

“This Boy” is the second of six songs the band will perform tonight – an underappreciated gem from their early catalog, the B-side of “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Written by John – and clearly influenced by the Teddy Bears’ “To Know Him Is To Love Him” – the ballad features perfect harmonizing by John, Paul and George, and an intense solo vocal flourish by Lennon that elicits screams from the Miami audience. It’s sparse, understated magic.

The band spent a week in Florida. Manager Brian Epstein had granted them some time to enjoy the balmy climate; the Deauville’s owner, Morris Lansberg, allowed them to use his yacht for a day -- a special dead-of-winter treat for four sun-starved pop idols. They also hammed it up at a photo-op with Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay), who was training nearby for his title bout against Sonny Liston later that month.

Pretty heady stuff for a group that had only been in the country for nine days. They were inspiring mass adoration on an unprecedented scale. Near the end of this clip, the camera focuses on a woman who's utterly lost in a Beatle-induced reverie. She wasn't alone. Another 70 million viewers tuned in for their Miami appearance. America had fallen; world domination was complete.

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
This Boy on Wikipedia
"This Boy"
Single by The Beatles
A-side"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
Released29 November 1963
Recorded17 October 1963
ProducerGeorge Martin
The Beatles singles chronology

"This Boy" is a song by English rock band The Beatles composed by John Lennon[1][2] and Paul McCartney[3], and released in November 1963 as the B-side of the British Parlophone single "I Want to Hold Your Hand". The Beatles performed it live on 16 February 1964 for their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. It also appears as the third track on side one of the American release, Meet the Beatles!.


Its composition was an attempt by Lennon at writing a song in the style of Motown star Smokey Robinson,[4] specifically his song "I've Been Good To You", which has similar circular doo-wop chord changes, melody and arrangement, and Paul McCartney cites The Teddy Bears 1959 hit "To Know Him Is To Love Him" as also being influential.[2] Lennon, McCartney, and George Harrison join together to sing an intricate three-part close harmony in the verses and refrain (originally the middle eight was conceived as a guitar solo, but altered during the recording process)[5] and a similar song writing technique is exercised in later Beatles songs, such as "Yes It Is" and "Because".

An instrumental version of "This Boy", orchestrated by George Martin, is used as the incidental music during Ringo Starr's towpath scene in the film A Hard Day's Night. The piece, under the title, "Ringo's Theme (This Boy)" was released as a single - but failed to chart in the UK - on 7 August 1964 with "And I Love Her" on the B Side, although it did reach number 53 in the American Top 100 later that year. It was also included on Martin’s Parlophone album Off the Beatle Track and the EP Music From A Hard Day’s Night by the George Martin Orchestra, released 19 February 1965. It was also included on the American A Hard Day's Night soundtrack album.


The Beatles recorded "This Boy" on 17 October 1963. On the same day they recorded "I Want To Hold Your Hand", the group's first fan club Christmas single, and a version of "You Really Got A Hold On Me".

They recorded 15 takes of This Boy, followed by two overdubs. The song was recorded with a rounded ending, although it was faded out during a mixing session on 21 October.[6]

Alternate recordings have also been officially released. A live version performed on The Morecambe and Wise Show in 1963 was released on Anthology 1 and two incomplete takes from the original recording were released as a track on the single Free as a Bird.


  • John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, acoustic guitar
  • Paul McCartney – double-tracked harmony vocal, bass
  • George Harrison – double-tracked harmony vocal, lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums


  1. ^ Harry 1992, p. 650.
  2. ^ a b MacDonald 1998, p. 92.
  3. ^ Miles 1997, p. 154.
  4. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 193.
  5. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 36.
  6. ^ The Beatles Bible 2008.


  • Harry, Bill (1992). The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-681-3. 
  • Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-55798-7. 
  • MacDonald, Ian (1998). Revolution in the Head. London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-6697-4. 
  • Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-25464-4. 
  • "This Boy". The Beatles Bible. 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2008. 

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