Day 232: “Teddy Boy”

When was it recorded?   Jan. 24 & 28, 1969

When was it first released, and on which album?   Apr. 17, 1970 on “McCartney” (Paul McCartney solo album)

Who wrote it?   McCartney

Have I heard this song before?   No

What my research dug up:

I actually know this British term (shocker!), but for reference:

“Teddy Boy was a term used throughout the UK. A ‘Teddy Boy’ or ‘Ted’ was a term used to describe a young man who looked and acted like a punk. All of The Beatles, and John Lennon in particular, were accused of being ‘Teddy Boys’ in the early days of the band.” – Song Facts

Despite that, Paul’s the one who penned “Teddy Boy” while in Rishikesh (well, he started it there at least. He finished the song upon returning to Britain). He brought it to the Beatles during the Jan. 1969 Get Back sessions. Quoth the Beatles Bible, however, “‘Teddy Boy’ was clearly disliked by John Lennon, who sabotaged McCartney’s early attempts to teach it to the group.”   No one else really wanted to work on it either, Paul said in the “Wingspan” documentary, mostly due to the group’s deepening rift.

Despite the tension, the Beatles recorded six takes of “Teddy Boy” on Jan. 24, 1969. Glyn Johns even went as far as to mix one take from this day for the abandoned “Get Back” album. It was something like this.

The Fab Four worked on it again four days later. They only got two takes, but the longer of the two was edited into a take from the previous session in 1996. This composite version appeared on “Anthology 3.”

“We’ve now put together a version, an edit of one of the takes of us trying it, which sounds interesting. You can hear on it that the band wasn’t very interested in it. I don’t know why. Maybe I hadn’t finished it enough or something. Maybe it was just tension coming in. The bit I’d like to keep actually was John sort of making fun of it. He starts towards the end of it, going, ‘Grab your partners, do-si-do,’ so we’ve kept that on. And while it was, in some way, indicative of friction, it was good-humored friction.” — Paul McCartney (Anthology)

The Beatles recorded one more version of “Teddy Boy” at the end of Jan. 29’s session. According to the Beatles Bible, “This arrangement was more rock-oriented, in contrast to the acoustic-based earlier attempts.”

Two days later Michael Lindsay-Hogg tried to get the band to play “Teddy Boy” while filming for “Let It Be.”

“‘Teddy Boy’ is actually… that’s as far as it’s gonna get. I thought maybe we can come back after a week or something…” — Paul McCartney

… yeah, that never happened.

Phil Spector, however, deemed “Teddy Boy” acceptable for the “Let It Be” album and mixed his own two versions of it Mar. 25, 1970. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “the first was faithful to the 25 January recording.”

His other edit was similar but lasted about three minutes. Obviously, his mixes went unused. As much as I rag on Phil Spector here, I’m definitely curious about why he decided to redo this song and how different “Let It Be” would have been with this song’s inclusion. (I mean, it wouldn’t be radically different, by any means, but it’s an interesting notion to entertain…)

Paul repurposed “Teddy Boy” for his debut solo album, recording it in his home studio with Linda “in late 1969 or early 1970, with further overdubs added at Morgan Studios in February 1970” (BB).

I think I prefer Paul’s solo version (definitely enjoy that ending), but it’s probably not fair to compare the polished final product to what are essentially demos. …Eh, it’s the Beatles. Even their demos are a cut above the rest.




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