|Now junior, behave yourself...|
Grooving down in the rec room and basement with my brothers, I loved Lennon's vocal on this song immoderately. It's still one of my favorite Lennon vocals, and the song encompasses everything I love about mid-1960s rock & roll: the group makes the already-dated song swing and danceable; the hooks are sharp; Lennon howls in the guitar solos and leaps into falsetto at irresistible moments ("spinnin' in a hooola hoop"); the words tackle juvee behavior in a playful, funny way. And best of all it's over in two minutes and twenty seconds. The "beat group" dynamic is here in all of its excitement, an aesthetic soon to be challenged by the experimental, skeptical band: a month after recording "Bad Boy" the band cut "I've Just Seen A Face," "Yesterday," and "I'm Down," the first two songs pointing the way toward new sound landscapes, the latter a look backward (MacDonald adroitly pegs "I'm Down" as a "genre prank"). In the middle of Lennon's self-described "fat Elvis years," at a time when their sound was threatening to become rote to them, mere generated product that would take a back seat to experimentation in sound and lyrics, the group, a half decade removed from gritty Hamburg, cut this rock and roll burner.
John Lennon allegedly never like the sound of his voice. If anyone ever begged to disagree with him, I hope their argument led with "Bad Boy."
The Beatles', and Larry Williams's horn-driven original from 1959. Turn it up: