#150: Bad Boy

The earliest days of this blog produced a great rivalry that kept readers on the edge of their seats, biting their nails, pulling out their hair, and losing their lunches. I’m referring of course to the Great Carl Perkins vs. Larry Williams War of 2016, which historians consider “trite” and “didn’t actually happen,” but those who lived through it know otherwise.

Alas, this is a monumental day because the last survivor of that contentious battle is no more. The Larry Williams-composed “Bad Boy” outlasted all its comrades and competitors but now takes its place as the Albert Woolson of the conflict.

Yep, folks, it’s finally happened. The inevitable Albert Woolson reference on my blog ranking Beatles songs. I’m sorry for being so predictable.


“Bad Boy” was a bit of an afterthought for the band, recorded because their U.S. record label needed to fill up an LP for release in June 1965. But it was less necessary across the pond, and didn’t show up in Britain until 18 months later, when it was shoehorned into a compilation where it stood out like a sore thumb among tracks like “She Loves You” and “A Hard Day’s Night.” It shares a lot of DNA with another Larry Williams cover, “Dizzy Miss Lizzy”–a gritty Lennon vocal and spiky guitar licks–which makes sense considering they were recorded the same day. Yet for some reason everything I hate about “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” has the opposite effect here. Lennon’s vocal is less contrived, and the guitar is less shrill and irritating. The lyrics are a lot more fun, and this is notably the only Beatles song to use the word “poop” (save for early drafts like “Can’t Poop Me Love,” “We Can Poop It Out,” and “The Long and Winding Poop”).

Anthony Cusumano’s Beatles ranking blog: your #1 stop for obscure Civil War references and poop jokes!

#150: Bad Boy