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My Boyfriend's Back

August 31 – September 20, 1963

The Angels

My Boyfriends Back

Where was her boyfriend anyway?

Back from where?

Because of the tone and era, I imagine he was a year or two older than the damsel in distress, and maybe he was coming back from college.  I would prefer to envision that he was returning after a stint in jail where he brutally murdered a prostitute in a seedy motel, after making a shocking Crying Game like discovery during the dirty deed.

What’s wrong with me?

Let’s return to the innocence and the song, but as this is the only time we will see the Angels, with “My Boyfriends Back”, which is arguably one of the most successful and remembered girl group songs of the 60s.  That is the case for the song, though not for the Angels.

“My Boyfriends Back” was not the first hit by the Angels, as in 1961 they had a #14 hit with ‘Til in 1961.  From New Jersey, the group initially consisted of sisters, Barbara and Phyllis Allbut[1], who flanked their lead singer Linda Jansen.  Jansen left to pursue a solo career, and she would be replaced with Peggy Santiglia.[2]  

This was a better move for the group, as Santiglia has a more marketable voice, that could also serve multiple purposes.  Under their new label, Smash Records, the group recorded a demo of “My Boyfriends Back”, a song penned by the songwriting trio of Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer.  This group was interesting enough in their own right, as the trio from New York City would later create a band called “The Strangeloves”.  They would even create a fictional backstory that they were Australian sheep farmers, and it was their way of keeping up (or countering) with the British Invasion.  Their biggest hit, was “I Want Candy”, which went to #11 in 1965.  

Anyway, the demo, which was originally meant to be shopped to the Shirelles, was considered good enough to release as a single, which is exactly what they did.  It checked so many of the boxes, to make it a hit.  With the hand clapping, easy to follow lyrics and story, harmonies and horn infused arrangement, girls everywhere could sing along to it.  

It opened with a verbal warning, which told any listener exactly everything you needed to know:

He went away,[3] and you hung around

And bothered me, every night

And when I wouldn’t go out with you

You said things that weren’t very nice

Simple right?

It continued, with the most recognized part and most repeated part:

My boyfriend’s back, and you’re gonna be in trouble

Hey-la-day-la my boyfriend’s back

While the song was so easy for anyone to sing (especially girls), the message of someone of a man/boy spreading bullshit about bedding (or whatever innocent or non-innocent idea) and getting what was coming to them was something that women of any day, and really any age can understand.  We all know many men who have lied about their amount of sexual conquests, and while women are stereotyped as gossipers, that attribute can be found in any gender, even the non-binary ones that nobody in 1963 could envision.

Even if you were a young girl who had yet to have a boyfriend, that individual could easy long for the day where they had a man in their life who would protect that them that way.  That seems a little (a lot) antiquated now, but if you strip away the gender roles, it is still about your significant other having your back and righting a wrong at your expense.  This seems relatable, and remains a fun song to sing, regardless of the era.

Other Notable Songs that charted but did not go to number one in this time period: August 31, 1963 – September 20, 1963.

8/31/63: Be My Baby by the Ronettes went to #2 and reached #4 on the R&B Chart.[4]  

9/7/63: Monkey Time by Major Lance reached #8, but went as high as #2 on the R&B Chart.  

9/14/63: Then He Kissed Me by The Crystals went to #6 but went to #8 on the R&B Chart.[5]  

9/14/63: Lonely Surfer by Jack Nitzsche hit #39.  


[1] Apparently, the sisters had the nicknames of “Jiggs and Bibs”.  Sounds like bad stripper names to me.

[2] How did her solo career go?  As well, as you think it went.

[3] Again, where the fuck did he go?

[4] For what it is worth, I consider “Be My Baby” to be one of the greatest songs, not only of its kind but ever.  If I had Doc’s DeLorean, I would go back in time to try to date Ronnie Spector.

[5] I don’t feel as strong as I do about this song as I do about the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”, but this also would have been a great one to have talked about.

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