- Ringo Starr - drums, lead vocal
- John Lennon - lead guitar, solo
- George Harrison - 12-string rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney - bass
- George Martin - piano
Matchbox is one of Carl Perkin's most popular rock and roll hits. He wrote it and recorded it in 1956. On February 7, 1957 it was released by Sun Records. The song traces its heritage to a 12-bar blues recording from 1927 by Blind Lemon Jefferson, but the two songs have very little in common besides lyrics in one verse. Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins put together a boogie-woogie Improvisation in the Sun studios, which became the song. Starting in 1961 the Beatles, who were Perkins fans, started covering Matchbox in performances. Drummer Pete Best usually sang the vocal part. On the performance album Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 it is John Lennon who sings it. When the Beatles recorded songs for BBC's Pop! Go The Beatles program in June, 1963, the nod went to Ringo to sing the vocals in Matchbox. This recording is on the Live at the BBC compilation.
On June 1 of the following year, 1964, the Beatles reconvened to record Matchbox for EMI (Parlophone) as part of the Hard Day's Night project. They made 5 takes of the rhythm track, and Ringo double-tracked the vocal part. Perkins may have been present at that recording session. It was even suspected that Perkins played the low, opening guitar riff on the track instead of John (who usually played the riffs and solo on this song). George played a 12-string as rhythm guitar. When it became evident that Ringo would have the vocal lead in another song, this recording was not included in the Hard Day's Night album. Instead, it was released on the Long Tall Sally EP in the UK, and on the Something New album in the US. In August, it was also released as a single in the US and Canada.
A live version with John on lead vocals was recorded in late December, 1962 and included on Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 (1977).
Another live version with Ringo on lead vocals was recorded on July 10, 1963 for the BBC and was released on Live at the BBC (1994).
Live recordings with Pete Best on vocals are said to exist.