My Boyfriend’s Back is hit song by the girl group, The Angels. It is a little tale about a bully who learns that he’s about to get his comeuppance at last. The song only lasts about two minutes, and it only gives one perspective: the point of view of a girl who’s been resisting this relentless jerk who has been hitting on her and telling lies about her, yet it really hits the spot. The girl informs the dude that her “kinda big and awful strong” boyfriend is back and he’s about to help her get revenge.
We don’t know where the boyfriend’s been, and we don’t find out what happens after the confrontation. In fact, we never even know if this boyfriend is even a real person, it could just be an intimidating story the girl is making up. We don’t care because the song tells us everything we really need to know; it is up to us to imagine what’s been going on and what’s about to happen.
It’s a truly great pop song, crisp and compelling with jittery guitars, handclaps, and bursts of bright horn. It sounds serious yet joyous. There’s no alarm or anguish as the vocals mock the tormentor who is about to get the shit kicked out of him.
The Angels were a trio from New Jersey trio who had some minor hits before going through several lineup changes. My Boyfriend’s Back is their only big hit.
Songwriters Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldsmith, and Richard Gottehrer didn’t have much experience when they wrote and produced My Boyfriend’s Back. Feldman later said that he heard a girl give a similar talking down to a guy, and that inspired the song. The 1960s were the end of Tin Pan Alley, when songwriters and producers put together young singing groups and chose their music, and so the trio of songwriters formed their own group, The Strangeloves, writing songs for themselves instead of for other artists.
The Strangeloves had a sort of Punk Garage sound that was both bubblegum-catchy and giddily percussion-driven. Their singles, I Want Candy and Night Time, still sound fresh.
They also produced and play on The McCoys’ huge hit, Hang On Sloopy. Goldstein later became a producer and songwriter for the band, War, who fused Rock, Funk, Jazz, Latin, Blues, Psychedelia, and Reggae into hits such The World Is A Ghetto, The Cisco Kid, Why Can’t We Be Friends?, and Low Rider. Goldstein also served as manager for Isaac Hayes and Sly And The Family Stone. Gottehrer co-founded Sire Records and he produced the debut albums for Blondie and The Go-Gos.
My Boyfriend’s Back starts with a spoken word intro from the lead singer: “He went away, 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“.
On the album version, it features the line: “Hey. I can see him comin’/ Now you better start a runnin’“, before the instrumental bridge.
The song was originally intended as a demo for The Shirelles. In September 1963, the single spent three weeks at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and reached Number Two on the R&B Billboard chart. Other girl groups, The Chiffons and Martha And The Vandellas released cover versions shortly after the Angels’ original release. In 1983, Melissa Manchester released a faithful cover version as a single that made it to Number 33 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
It figures prominently in the made-for-television movie My Boyfriend’s Back (1989), with Jill Eikenberry, Sandy Duncan, and Judith Light as former members of a fictitious girl group “The Bouffants”. The Angels original recording was used in the promotional trailers for the Philip Seymour Hoffman, Matthew McConaughey, and Matthew Fox zombie flick, My Boyfriend’s Back (1993), yet oddly, it is not used in the film itself.