Dale Hibbert YT: "I Want A Boy For My Birthday" premiere (December 15/16, 2019)

Good things come to those who wait...
Shared by Dale via his 'Smiths Original Demo' channel on YT (formerly known as 'Domu Kafe').
The date was chosen to mark Dale's birthday.

Available only as a low quality snippet for many, many years and now kindly shared by Dale after a year of counting down.


The track was originally the B-side of The Cookie's Will Power (1963) single.
This single peaked at number 72 in the American charts back in '63 (not charting in the UK).
To view the original song lyrics - please click below:

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la sha la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la sha la la
I want a boy for my birthday
That's what I've been dreaming of
I won't have a happy birthday
Without a boy to love
Don't want a bracelet with golden charms
Cuz that won't fill my empty arms
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah
I want a boy to love
Sha la la la la la la la
(oh oh oh)
Sha la la sha la la
I want a boy for my birthday
That's the present that I need the most
Just a boy for my birthday
One who'll love to hold me close
Doesn't matter if he's short or tall
Just as long as he gives his all
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah
I want a boy to love
I want a boy who's gonna treat me right
(yeah yeah yeah)
Hug me, kiss me, squeeze me day and night
I want a boy for my birthday
He doesn't have to be too smart
Just as long as he loves me
And keeps me in his heart
I want a boy to comfort me
And treat me tenderly
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah
I want a boy to love
Sha la la la la la la la
(I want a boy to love)
Sha la la sha la la
(I want a boy for my birthday)

There is a lot of discussion about the choice & usage of this song in the very beginning of The Smiths.

Here are a few (lengthy) pieces doing said:

Mozipedia (under song title):

"Early Smiths cover of a 1963 single by The Cookies, played in concert though never professionally recorded. Morrissey also named the original as one of his favourite records in a couple of magazine lists during the early days of The Smiths.
As he began writing songs with Marr in the summer of 1982, Morrissey proposed they should interpret a 60s girl group track, itself an indirect homage to his beloved NEW YORK DOLLS who’d set the precedent with their cover of The Shangri-Las’ ‘Give Him A Great Big Kiss’, also borrowing its opening lyric for their own ‘Looking For A Kiss’. Morrissey nominated the reasonably obscure ‘I Want A Boy For My Birthday’ by The Cookies, a black New York vocal trio best known for 1962’s ‘Chains’, later covered by THE BEATLES. As its title suggested, the song was a simple lovelorn plea for ‘the present that I need the most’, namely ‘a boy to love’. Marr had never heard the record before but immediately agreed with Morrissey, keenly aware that the lyrics would assume a different sexual connotation if sung from a male perspective. ‘I thought, “Great, this’ll really freak ’em out!”’ admits Marr. ‘But us doing that Cookies song was absolutely echoing the New York Dolls, who everyone had forgotten about at the time but Morrissey hadn’t and I hadn’t. We wanted to bring something to our audience that the Dolls had brought to us. That was it.’
Sometime around August 1982 or thereabouts, Morrissey and Marr recorded a basic bedroom demo of ‘I Want A Boy For My Birthday’ featuring just vocal and guitar. The tape was given to early Smiths bassist Dale HIBBERT, who claims he was told to learn it in preparation for the group’s first demo at Manchester’s Decibel studios that autumn. In the event, this prototype Smiths lineup never got round to recording the Cookies track at Decibel and the bedroom demo, which Hibbert later sold to a private collector, is all that survives. A rare sample clip posted on the internet gives us an idea of how they tackled the song; Marr’s thickly strummed chords followed the original ascending melody while Morrissey applied a gentle vocal carefully avoiding camp or irony.
‘I Want A Boy For My Birthday’ was unveiled as the last of four songs played at The Smiths’ first gig at Manchester’s Ritz on 4 October 1982, with Hibbert on bass and dancer James MAKER also present. It was probably played again at their second, and first with Rourke, at Manchester’s Manhattan club on 25 January 1983 – recollections vary and no tape or setlist seems to have survived – though by the following month Morrissey and Marr had sufficient original material to dispense with the song."

Mozipedia (under Hibbert):

"Among the songs Hibbert either rehearsed with Morrissey and Marr or was given on a cassette to learn were the lost ‘DON’T BLOW YOUR OWN HORN’ and the Cookies cover ‘I WANT A BOY FOR MY BIRTHDAY’. Hibbert refers to the latter song to support a contentious claim that Morrissey and Marr were deliberately choreographing The Smiths towards a ‘gay’ image. ‘They actually came out and said it,’ Hibbert insists. ‘It was Steven’s idea. It wasn’t something that was mentioned and then dropped, it was something they wanted to follow through. Obviously a song like “I Want A Boy For My Birthday” would go hand in hand with that image. Steven said, “We’re going to be a gay band, but not in a Tom Robinson [70s singer/songwriter of ‘(Sing If You’re) Glad To Be Gay’] effeminate kind of way but more in an underlying kind of macho type way.” It was a very strongly manufactured image that was being prepared.’ For the record, Marr dismisses Hibbert’s recollections as a crude misinterpretation, laughing off any suggestion that he and Morrissey ever sat down with Dale and told him to ‘get with the programme!’"

A Light That Never Goes Out - The Enduring Saga Of The Smiths:

"Hibbert would frequently give Morrissey a ride home to Stretford on the back of his motorbike. The relationship was pleasant but, as so often the case with Morrissey and people who didn’t fully subscribe to his worldview, distant. “I thought he was a reasonable guy,” said Hibbert, but “there was nothing that stood out about him.” If there was a surprise, it was that the first song Hibbert was presented with—recorded, with just vocals and guitar, to Marr’s TEAC 3-track Portastudio—was a cover version, a long-forgotten single by early 1960s New York girl group the Cookies, “I Want a Boy for My Birthday.”
Ostensibly, this was no more risqué than Ringo Starr singing the Shirelles’ “Boys” with a straight face on the Beatles’ first album, a record that had also included their version of the Cookies’ biggest hit, “Chains.” (In their own choice of a cover, therefore, deliberately or otherwise, Morrissey and Marr were paying double homage to the early Beatles.) And certainly, it was intended in part as a nod to the New York Dolls, who had incorporated the Shangri-Las into their own live set. The recording itself was none so upbeat as those reference points, however. Morrissey faithfully replicated the lead melody as he sang such traditionally romantic couplets as “I want a boy to comfort me, and treat me tenderly,” but his voice was no match for the Cookies’ Earl-Jean McCrea. And though Marr laid out his template for the Smiths across his two guitar tracks—one softly playing the chords, the other offering a carefully picked arpeggio, and both of them drenched in reverb—neither was he on the level of Gerry Goffin, the original song’s producer, nor Goffin’s wife, Carole King, its arranger. At best, the Morrissey-Marr version of “I Want a Boy for My Birthday” was a purposefully camp presentation of a classic piece of (very) early ’60s sexual stereotyping, which is why it would have made some sense to Hibbert when he was duly informed that the Smiths “were going to be a gay band.”
Interestingly, Marr claimed this idea as his own—a result of his, Andrew Berry’s, and John Kennedy’s nocturnal habits. As Berry, who was straight, noted of Manchester’s dire early ’80s nightlife, “We worked in the center of town and the only bars that were open would be gay bars.” The notion of the Smiths as a gay band, then, said Marr, “was just because a lot of my mates were gay guys who liked rock music. I liked the idea of us being a band that were … saying things for the gay community.” Gay imagery was becoming more prevalent in popular music for those who were searching for it—in the front men of the chart-topping acts Soft Cell and Culture Club, for example—and yet the social climate was still sufficiently repressive that no pop act (including those two) was ready to risk its career by unequivocally coming out. Within the Smiths, Dale Hibbert already had a daughter by his girlfriend, and Marr was in a long-term relationship with Angie Brown; there was no way they could position themselves as a “gay band” without putting the entire onus on Steven Morrissey—and in hindsight, Marr recognised that dilemma. “I wasn’t fronting the band, so it wasn’t on my toes.” The idea was dropped."

Songs That Saved Your Life:

"His exclusion from the Factory discussions aside, Hibbert’s trepidation increased as the band’s debut gig approached, particularly when he was subjected to an emergency makeover. ‘It sounds like I was a sheep,’ laughs Hibbert, ‘but basically it was like, “There’s a hairdresser here and this is how you’re gonna have your hair, and these are your clothes.” It was really bizarre. I had to get a flat top because they were into this 50s thing. At one point we all went down to this Army & Navy store where they’d got hold of these 50s bowling shirts with different names embroidered on the front. Initially, that’s what we were gonna wear. But there was never really a band feeling. It was always just those two. I was always under the impression that’s the way it was, right from the start. It wasn’t something that needed to be vocalised, it was just fairly obvious those were the conditions they were forming the band under. It’s about control. Two people can control an image a lot better than four.’
An even bigger shock was in store for Hibbert come the debut gig itself. The date was 4th October, 1982. The place: Manchester’s Ritz. The event: a student music/fashion show titled ‘An Evening of Pure Pleasure’. The headline act: Blue Rondo A La Turk (‘We knew we were gonna wipe the floor with them,’ Marr later remarked). And the support: The Smiths.
‘We actually played on the floor in front of the stage’, recalls Hibbert. ‘But there was this other guy that came out with us, wearing stilettos (sic) and a leather jacket.’ The combination of their guest's footwear and that night’s inclusion of The Cookies’ ‘I Want A Boy For My Birthday’ was enough for Hibbert to misinterpret Morrissey and Marr’s vision of The Smiths as being overtly ‘gay’. ‘They actually came out and said it,’ alleges Hibbert. ‘It was Steven’s idea. It wasn’t something that was mentioned and then dropped, it was something they wanted to follow through. I mean, that tape of “I Want A Boy” was intended to be on the first demo, so obviously a song like that would go hand in hand with that image. Steven said, “We’re going to be a gay band, but not in a Tom Robinson, effeminate kind of way but more in an underlying kind of macho type way.” It was a very strongly manufactured image that was being prepared.’
‘Well I’m guessing if I was Dale,’ Marr coolly responds, ‘and you’re stood on the stage with a guy in woman’s shoes, playing “I Want A Boy For My Birthday”, around a very effete little guitar player and an unfathomable singer, then he’s probably on the money isn’t he. But we didn’t sit down with Dale and say “Hey Dale — get with the programme!” We hardly knew him for a start. I think that’s a bit clumsy that whole area and we just weren’t and aren’t that clumsy. Us doing that Cookies song was absolutely echoing The New York Dolls, who everyone had forgotten about but Morrissey hadn’t and I hadn’t. We wanted to bring something to our audience that The Dolls and Patti Smith had brought to us. That was it.’
It fitted that the evening’s ‘gatecrasher’ was the London pen pal and dedicatee of Morrissey’s New York Dolls book, James Maker, whom the singer affectionately referred to as ‘Jimmy’ on account of his resemblance to James Dean. ‘I was living in London and travelled to Manchester to attend a couple of the early rehearsals,’ recalls Maker. ‘I’d heard the songs on cassette. I wasn’t there to rehearse. The idea of me going through dance steps whilst Morrissey sang “I Want A Boy For My Birthday” would have been just a little too Diana Ross & The Supremes. I was there to drink red wine, make extraneous hand gestures and keep well within the tight, chalked circle that Morrissey had drawn around me. There was no discussion on how I would fit into the stage show. My involvement was not part of any long-term plan.’"

Johnny Marr (on their first gig @ The Ritz):

"I knew the Blue Rondo audience wouldn't give us much of a chance, so we went out there to be really aggressive. I really had this attitude of, "I know you people just want to stand around at the bar posing, but listen to this, you're not going to hear anything like it again." We were really threatening. I think we had to be at that time. We did four songs, including 'Handsome Devil' and 'Suffer Little Children'. I was pretty nervous. Not as nervous as I got later on with The Smiths, mind you. I counteracted it with heaps and heaps of attitude. I knew we were gonna be one fairly confusing prospect for the audience, which I was not unhappy about. I knew there was nothing around like us. Morrissey and I were both hugely into '60s girl bands too, only via what David Johansen let slip in interviews and the Dolls' cover versions. That's why we did The Cookies' song ['I Want A Boy For My Birthday'] at that first show. Very Dollsy."

Watched by 112 people at the time of premiere - Dale posted as he said he would.
Expect audio in the download section shortly thereafter assuming all is well (Now here).

Big thanks to Dale.

Media coverage:

Related items:
Last edited by a moderator:
Piggybacking off my thread Famey! How dare you! :tongueclosed:
7 pages of almost zero information & some feculence were not in keeping with the auspiciousness of the occasion :)
The above was collated 2 weeks ago.
Dale delivered.
Where did you get this info? Also, answer this in my thread. :sunglasses:

She pulled me leg then?

I wouldn't trust that woman with anything other than her cheating on you and leaving with all my money. Would be totally worth it of course cause sometimes a man wants nothing other than a female tornado to rip his heart and soul out to feel alive again.
I like it. It's really sweet & he does sound like he really would like a boy for his birthday, but probably won't get one.

beautiful !!!

beautiful !!!

beautiful !!!

Last edited:
Top Bottom