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"Boys"

Categories: Beatles songs

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Although LPs from this period were normally just a collection of songs — usually fourteen in the UK — strung together in no particular order, "Boys" is very nicely placed on Please Please Me. After the slower pace of the preceding three numbers, it drop-kicks the listener right back to the exuberant energy with which "I Saw Her Standing There" had opened the record.

And, of course, it gives us Mr Starkey's first crack at lead vocal on record. What can I say? You either love the man's voice or you don't. A bit like Keith Richards, I think: both of 'em would be the first to admit their failings, but they have such a great time trying that their enthusiasm usually carries 'em through.

"Boys" was originally a Shirelles B-side (those girl groups again!) but The Beatles rock up the "bop shoo-wop" relentlessly. It had been 'Ringo's song' when he was playing with Rory Storm and, curiously, Pete Best's in Hamburg and The Cavern. Why two butch Liverpudlian drummers should have chosen to "talk about boys" is anybody's guess, but what the heck!

The "Pretty Woman" meets "Route 66" riff drives it along at breakneck speed, and Ringo gives the skins a real thrashing to accompany himself. The whoops and squeals behind him are positively delirious. 'Alright George' drops in a slick little solo, and there we have it:

What a bundle of joy!

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