97) The Angels – “My Boyfriend’s Back”

It’s not surprising that one of the first crop of girl groups was called The Angels.  After all, the genre’s style (at least in the early years) was built on sweet, pure voices singing about innocent love.  “My Boyfriend’s Back” is perhaps the ultimate distillation of what a girl group named “The Angels” should sound like. In fact, if the group hadn’t had a hit with “Til” two years earlier, it would seem like the group’s name was coined expressly to tie in with the 1963 single’s subject matter.  After all, “My Boyfriend’s Back” is a statement of chastity and fidelity.  When the titular boyfriend leaves for unexplained reasons, our narrator isn’t even tempted by her suitor’s nightly advances.  Her moral fortitude endures, even after the rejected suitor spreads lies about her conduct.  She may not be St. Catherine, but her sullied reputation makes her the closest thing to a  modern-day high school martyr. “Angel” though she may be, our narrator nevertheless relishes the comeuppance soon to be inflicted on her aggressor.  Our narrator and her boyfriend’s faith in each other is unshakable, and his righteous vengeance is just.  Yet, all the while, these heavy themes are buoyed along on the back on a tune so light and frothy that it could be a toothpaste jingle.  Which, of course, is the cardinal rule of successful pop: sing anything you want, just as long as it’s catchy.  “My Boyfriend’s Back” could have been overwrought and self-pitying; instead, it’s got a sense of humor, a dance-worthy beat and lyrics that beg to be sassed-along with. 7

Hit #1 on August 31, 1963; total of 3 weeks at #1
97 of 977 #1’s reviewed; 9.93% through the Hot 100

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3 Comments

Filed under 07, 1963

3 responses to “97) The Angels – “My Boyfriend’s Back”

  1. Fabulous blog! And of course, amazing girl group. A lot of people underestimate the girl groups of yore as mere tools, but I think a lot of their work was rather subversive.

  2. Thanks! You’re right about the subversive undercurrents in girl group pop. Songs like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “Love Child” have themes that would have been controversial were they not wrapped up in the trappings of catchy pop. There’s a whole dissertation that could be written about that!

  3. GeorgeL

    I’ve always wanted to sing this song at Karaoke from the point of view of the macho boyfriend who is about to smack down the other guy.

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