"This Boy" was an original Lennon/McCartney song recorded especially for the singles market and for the flip side of "I Want to Hold Your Hand". The song was written mainly by Lennon and the recording session was held the same day as "Hand". The three part harmonies and the passionate middle eight make it one of the best B-sides ever released by the Beatles. There would be more of those to come, of course. Although "This Boy" was of very high quality song-writing wise, I still find it strange that Capitol in the United States released the "I Want to Hold Your Hand" single with the flip side being "I Saw Her Standing There" which was recorded almost eight months apart. The "butchering" of the Beatles catalogue had started. I suppose it doesn't matter in the end as both versions of the single sold in astronomically high numbers as the quality of the Beatles music was (as is) always superb and as the famous quote goes: "Nothing is Beatle-Proof " (from the "Yellow Submarine" movie).
"This Boy" was recorded on Thursday October 17 1963 and it was done in 15 takes with two overdub takes which makes it 17 takes total. It was well worth the effort however as the song is simply exquisite. The song was mixed for mono only four days later on October 21 1963 and was released in mono on the single for November 29 1963 in time for the Christmas market. The song was mixed for stereo (by mistake) on November 10 1966 because someone from the head office had telephoned EMI Studios and had mistakenly mentioned "This Boy" for an upcoming LP rather than "Bad Boy" which WAS on the upcoming LP at the time.
As well as being available as the B-side to "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the UK, "This Boy" is also available on the US Capitol LP/CD "Meet The Beatles", the Capitol of Canada 6000 series LP "Long Tall Sally", the EMI double LP "Love Songs" and the UK EMI LP version of "The Beatles' Rarities". An instrumental version by George Martin and his orchestra is available on the US United Artists soundtrack LP "A Hard Day's Night". Takes 12 and 13 from the original recording session is available on the Apple EP/CD "Free As a Bird".
"This Boy" was performed live on various television appearances of the day including "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" and the February 16 1964 Miami "Ed Sullivan Show".
"This Boy" was performed twice for BBC radio: Once on "Saturday club" and once on "From Us To You".