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Posts Tagged ‘The Beach Boys’

At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters is Brian Wilson. Wilson is the creative genius behind The Beach Boys, one of the most innovative bands of the 1960s. He has written such timeless classics as ‘God Only Knows’ (which I have blogged about here and here), ‘Sloop John B’ (which I blogged about here), ‘Good Vibrations’ (which I blogged about here), ‘Surfin’ USA’ and many others.

At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Brian Wilson.

At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Brian Wilson.

In addition to being a prolific songwriter, Wilson produced many of the Beach Boys’ records, becoming a master of multi-track recording in the days when most studios had a four-track recorder if they were lucky. His production of the Beach Boys’ seminal 1966 album Pet Sounds is considered one of the great works of the 1960s.

The song I thought I would share from Wilson’s vast songwriting catalogue is one of the Beach Boys’ early ones – ‘Little Deuce Coupe’. This song was released in July of 1963 as the B-side to the single ‘Surfer Girl’. It is also the title and first track on their fourth studio album, Little Deuce Coupe. Of course, the song has the Beach Boys’ trademark close-harmony singing.

One of the reasons I chose this particular song is that the title is essentially incomprehensible to someone from the Disunited Kingdom (and possibly most other places too!), until you find out what a ‘deuce coupe’ is. It is/was a slang term for a Ford Model 18, the 1932 model was called the ‘deuce coupe’. Another reason I chose this song is that it typifies the early 1960s Beach Boys’ “surfer sound”, which didn’t just glamorise the surfing culture but also cars and the car culture of southern California.

Little deuce Coupe
You don’t know what I got
Little deuce Coupe
You don’t know what I got

Well I’m not braggin’ babe so don’t put me down
But I’ve got the fastest set of wheels in town
When something comes up to me he don’t even try
Cause if I had a set of wings man I know she could fly
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)

Just a little deuce coupe with a flat head mill
But she’ll walk a Thunderbird like (she’s) it’s standin’ still
She’s ported and relieved and she’s stroked and bored.
She’ll do a hundred and forty with the top end floored
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)

She’s got a competition clutch with the four on the floor
And she purrs like a kitten till the lake pipes roar
And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid
There’s one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy

And comin’ off the line when the light turns green
Well she blows ’em outta the water like you never seen
I get pushed out of shape and it’s hard to steer
When I get rubber in all four gears

She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got

Here is a video of this great song. Enjoy!

Which is your favourite Brian Wilson song?

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At number 6 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs is “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys. This is one of my favourite Beach Boys songs, along with “God Only Knows (number 25 on this same list), which I blogged about here.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 6 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys.



This song is a recording masterpiece. It was recorded during the recording sessions for The Beach Boys’ album “Pet Sounds”, rated the 2nd best album of all time (see my blog here about that album). Recorded in 1966 over a seven month period, with the most complex arrangements and overdubs of any song up until that point. It drove Brian Wilson to the edge of madness and despair. It did not appear on “Pet Sounds” in the end, but was rather released as a stand-alone single, not appearing on any albums.


I-I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
She’s giving me excitations (Oom bop bop)
I’m pickin’ up good vibrations (Good vibrations, oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations)

Close my eyes, she’s somehow closer now
Softly smile, I know she must be kind
When I look in her eyes
She goes with me to a blossom world

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
She’s giving me excitations (Oom bop bop)
I’m pickin’ up good vibrations (Good vibrations, oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations)

(Ahh)
(Ah, my my, what elation)
I don’t know where but she sends me there
(Oh, my my, what a sensation)
(Oh, my my, what elation)
(Oh, my my, what)

Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’

(Ahh)

Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
(I’m pickin’ up good vibrations) (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations

Na na na na na, na na na
Na na na na na, na na na (Bop bop-bop-bop-bop, bop)
Do do do do do, do do do (Bop bop-bop-bop-bop, bop)
Do do do do do, do do do (Bop bop-bop-bop-bop, bop)


Here is a video of this fantastic song. Enjoy!





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At number 2 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums is “Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys. I remember the first list I ever saw of “the best albums” in The Observer newspaper back in the late 1970s when I was about 14 or 15. I remember that this album was either number 2 or number 3 in that list (with Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” being the other album which was either 2 or 3). Although I like the Beach Boys, I have to admit that I have never been much of a fan of this album. I just cannot get into it, groundbreaking though it may have been in its harmonies.



At number 2 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums is "Pet Sounds" by The Beach Boys.

At number 2 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums is “Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys.



There are four songs I like very much on this album, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”, “Sloop John B”, “God Only Knows” (which I blogged about here) and “Caroline, No”, but I am not much of a fan of most of the others. I can’t explain it, as I appreciate the harmonies in the songs, and the complex musical arrangements, but for some reason these other songs just don’t do it for me. I feel I should like this album more as it is so highly rated, but there you go, I don’t.

I have already shared “God Only Knows”, so today I thought I would share “Sloop John B”. For some reason, this song became the default song for rugby teams when I was in my teens; so any away match we played, we would sing this on the bus both going and coming back. What a dubious honour for a song!


We come on the Sloop John B
My grandfather and me
Around Nassau town we did roam
Drinking all night
Got into a fight
Well I feel so broke up
I want to go home

So hoist up the John B’s sail
See how the main sail sets
Call for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I want to go home, yeah yeah
Well I feel so broke up
I want to go home

The first mate he got drunk
And broke in the Cap’n’s trunk
The constable had to come and take him away
Sheriff John Stone
Why don’t you leave me alone, yeah yeah
Well I feel so broke up, I want to go home

So hoist up the John B’s sail
See how the main sail sets
Call for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I want to go home, let me go home
Why don’t you let me go home
(Hoist up the John B’s sail)
Hoist up the John B
I feel so broke up I want to go home
Let me go home

The poor cook he caught the fits
And threw away all my grits
And then he took and he ate up all of my corn
Let me go home
Why don’t they let me go home
This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on

So hoist up the John B’s sail
See how the main sail sets
Call for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I want to go home, let me go home
Why don’t you let me go home


Here is a video of “Sloop John B”. Enjoy!






Which is your favourite song on “Pet Sounds”?

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Apparently today is Valentine’s day, or so my wife’s constant nagging gentle reminders would lead me to believe. So I thought I would share this wonderful song by The Beach Boys. “God Only Knows” is one the group’s best known songs, and is on their seminal album “Pet Sounds”, which was released in 1966. “Pet Sounds” is in the top 5 albums in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest albums, a list that I have been counting down elsewhere in my blog. The song itself has been ranked the 13th best song of all time my Mojo Magazine. When it was released as a single it reached number 2 in the Disunited Kingdom, but only number 39 in the US.

This song shows the trademark harmonies which were such a feature of The Beach Boys. Less obvious are some instruments which were rarely used on pop songs, such as French horns and accordions. The sound produced by The Beach Boys in their album “Pet Sounds” heavily influenced The Beatles in creating the complex sounds found on Sgt. Pepper.
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The melody was written by Brian Wilson, and the lyrics by Tony Asher (the brother of Jane Asher who was the girlfriend of Paul McCartney at the time). ***UPDATE*** Oops, I was wrong. Tony Asher was an American lyricist, nothing to do with Jane Asher’s family!!

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
Ill make you so sure about it

God only knows what I’d be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I’d be without you

God only knows what I’d be without you

If you should ever leave me
Well life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I’d be without you

I cannot find the studio version of the song on YouTube, so here is a live version. Enjoy!

Which is your favourite Beach Boys song?

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