The Beatles' music: quotes and info


Ringo’s quote about “Matchbox”

RINGO 1964: “I’m featured on it. Actually it was written by Carl Perkins about six years ago. Carl came to the session. I felt very embarrassed. I did it just two days before I went in the hospital (with tonsilitis) so please forgive my throat.”

Info about “Matchbox”

"Match Box" / "Slow Down" single
“Match Box” / “Slow Down” single cover

As fans of Perkins, the Beatles performed “Matchbox” during their 1961 and 1962 concerts. The song was sung by Pete Best until his sacking in August 1962, when John Lennon took over as lead singer. There is a live version of this song included on the 1977 album Live at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962. The Beatles performed “Matchbox” on their BBC radio show Pop Go the Beatles in July 1963, with Ringo Starr replacing Best as the lead singer. This version was included on the 1994 compilation Live at the BBC.

In 1964, Starr also sang lead vocals on the band’s Long Tall Sally EP. The session on June 1 was observed by Perkins while he was visiting London. Having a bad throat led to Starr feeling very embarrassed. Two days later, he was hospitalized with acute tonsillitis and pharyngitis, so he missed the start of the Beatles’ world tour. Producer George Martin played piano on the recording along with the band. According to Ian MacDonald’s commentary on the track, the Beatles’ performance is “flat-footed” and only George Harrison shows “any motivation” in his contribution as a student of Perkins’ playing.

“Matchbox” was released on June 19 in the UK. In the US, it appeared on Capitol Records’ Something New album in July before being released as a single backed by “Slow Down” on August 24. On three record charts, “Matchbox” reached number 17: in the U.S., the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box, and in Canada, the RPM Top 40. Subsequently, the song was included on the Beatles compilation albums Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, Past Masters, and Mono Masters.


  • Ringo Starr – drums and lead vocals
  • John Lennon – rhythm guitar
  • Paul McCartney – bass guitar
  • George Harrison – lead guitar
  • George Martin – piano

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