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Little Deuce Coupe

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The Beach Boys
Little Deuce Coupe / All Summer Long

Capitol Records
CDP 7 96393 2


The Beach Boys first three albums (Surfin’ Safari, Surfin’ USA and Surfer Girl) had established them as the pre-eminent vocal surf group in the world, even if that hadn’t been their original goal. But after Brian wrote his ode to the mythic “Surf City” (a #1 hit for Jan and Dean), he might have felt he had very little left to say about surfing, a sport he’d never really tried. And, as Brian said in the ‘60’s thrived on constant change, the Beach Boys chief writer quickly shifted gears to write about a world he’d always liked…cars.

It was on Little Deuce Coupe, the Beach Boys fourth LP in less than a year, that they solidified their beachhead in the world of hot rods – a teenage obsession the Beach Boys had been singing about since their first Capitol release “409.” Until this album, Beach Boys car songs like “Shut Down” and “Little Deuce Coupe” had been relegated to the B-sides of their respective singles.

Following Capitol Records’ success with the Beach Boys-inspired Shut Down compilation (see the Shut Down Volume 2 liner notes), the Beach Boys decided to assemble their own album of hot rod music: Little Deuce Coupe, their third LP of 1963, was amazingly released just one month after Surfer Girl. Taking the best automotive-related blasts already cut for previous disks (“Little Deuce Coupe,” “Shut Down,” “Our Car Club,” and “409”) and efficiently recording a batch of new ones (according to the production notes, it took only one busy September day to cut eight additional songs), the Beach Boys quickly put together what was really a concept album – a record entirely devoted to one subject. Previously, a typical Beach Boys album had focused on surfing; on Little Deuce Coupe, the spotlight was on cars and more specifically, fast cars.

To those American kids for whom surfing was an impossible dream, the universal appeal of the car songs provided irresistible. This album was a huge smash, spending eight weeks in the top ten. After all, everybody in 1963 America knew somebody with a hot car. Throughout his career, Brian Wilson often worked with a lyricist. For this album, Brian relied on a man who not only knew cars but who had been putting that knowledge into poetry that turned out to be perfectly suited for Brian’s songs. Brian’s main partner for 1963 and early ’64 was L.A. disc-jockey Roger Christian. After Roger’s airshift ended, he and Brian would often repair to a booth at a local hangout and work on their next car classic.

All told, they wrote dozens of songs together, many of which appeared on Beach Boys albums, other in “Beach” movies and on Jan and Dean records. Outside of the Beach Boys, Roger Christian was probably Brian’s most frequent co-writer, and it’s remarkable how much story Christian could pack into a minute and fifty song. In examining what in retrospect seems like an unlikely relationship, Christian feels brian worked with a collaborator because he needed “a sounding board, almost like a competition thing. Two creative people get together and they bring out the best in each other. [But] he did a lot of things by himself. Brian was the most talented creator I’d ever worked with. Brian would do it all. He would write the words, write the music, teach the guys the harmony, produce the record.” However, “as confident as he was, or as he should have been because he was a master, he still needed someone to encourage him and give him confidence. Brian was up and down. One day he knew he had it made, and the world was digging what he did. And the next day one little thing would happen and put him on a downer. When he was happy, he produced great stuff. It was easy for me to see that and encourage him.”

Clearly, Roger did a good job of that. The song he and Brian tuned out in short order perfectly fit the theme of Little Deuce Coupe album and helped make it one of the Beach Boys best-selling LPs ever. Songwriter and record producer Andy Paley (the Dick Tracy soundtrack and the Brian Wilson solo album) remembers that growing up in the sixties, records like Little Deuce Coupe were vital to his musical growth. Paley: “It was always like Christmas when a new Beach Boys record came out, because you knew there were going to be something really cool on just about every track.

It’s been said a million times that the Beach Boys sound is a mix of Chuck Berry guitar with Four Freshman harmonies, but having listened endlessly to the Beach Boys records through the years, I think that’s a little simplistic. Brian definitely learned a lot from those sources, but that actual songs he wrote were much more advanced than what you would have gotten if you had just combined the individual influences. “I remember when I was eleven or twelve…when me and my friends used to play along with records and dream of being in a rock group…it was the Beach Boys records that really opened our eyes. We had never heard of the Four Freshman.

All we knew was that after playing along with records by the Ventures, trying to keep up with a Beach Boys song was a real challenge and an education.” Historical Note: This was the last Beach Boys album on which David Marks was pictured. However, even though Al Jardine isn’t present in the back cover group photo, he had already returned to the Beach Boys as a member of the touring group, and he played on this album. ____________________________________________________________________


“Little Deuce Coupe”

Lead Vocal: Mike

Highest Chart Position: #15 (It was the “B” side of “Surfer Girl.”)

In a detailed interview in Bob Shannon and John Javna’s entertaining book, Behind The Hits, Roger Christian, who grew up in Buffalo, New York - a city with almost exactly the opposite climate of Southern California, recalls that teenage life for guys in the ‘50’s centered on the same three things: Whether you were near the Pacific Ocean in L.A. or by Lake Ontario in upstate New York, “Your girl, your car and football were the only things that mattered.”

And, according to Christian, the care to have was deuce coupe…that is, a 1932 Ford Coupe. Christian: “Everyone wanted one because deuce coupes had great lines, and you could make street rods out of them that looked so pretty. Nowadays, most people don’t know what they look like, but if you saw ‘American Graffiti,’ you saw a beauty. The yellow hot-rod the cowboy drove? That was a deuce coupe. Anyway, most high school kids would pay a hundred, a hundred twenty five bucks for one, and that was it. They’d get a car that ran. But it would be rusted out from all the salt they put on the roads in Buffalo during the wintertime. And I didn’t want a rusted-out car. I wanted a cherry one.”

So in pursuit of his dream car, Christian moved to Southern California, where he got a job, saved his money, bough a cherry deuce coupe and moved back home. It was, Christian notes, his first car.

That car, the subject of one of Roger Christian’s poems, became a hit song when Brian Wilson flipped through Roger’s notebook looking for lyrics. According to Christian, the first poem that appealed to Brian was “Shut Down, and he turned that into a top 40 it.”

Then, Christian recalls, “Mike Love brought up the subject of ‘deuce coupes’ because he owned one. Mike told Brian that he thought it would be great to do a song about it. So Brian came back and said, ‘You still got that song about the deuce coupe?’ I said, ‘Sure,’ and gave it to him. The next time I heard it was when Brian brought back a demo. I loved it, but Brian said he was sad. He’d had to replace Dennis’ drumming on the record with (session drummer) Hal Blaine’s. It made him sad to have to tell Dennis.”

Historical note: According to rock historians Javna and Shannon, Brian made one major addition to Roger Christian’s words, coming up with the lyric “And one more thing, I got the pink-slip, daddy.” In California, where hot-rodders would “race for pinks,” the pink slip was the registration, the ownership paper. If you “had the pink,” the car was yours.

“Ballad Of Ole Betsy”

Lead Vocal: Brian

This ballad to an aging auto features what was fast becoming a Beach Boy Specialty…a beautiful a cappella vocal tag.

“Be True To Your School”

Lead Vocal: Mike

This was the first version the Beach Boys recorded of this teen anthem. As you compare it to the 45 hit rendition that’s a bonus track on this package, you’ll hear how by taking a second shot of it, Brian produced a superior record.

Nevertheless, the LP cut of “Be True To Your School” (even though it was the only song on the ablum that didn’t have a car lyric) was an instant favorite, from the dramatic drums and sax on the intro to the ‘rah, rah, rah, rah, sis boom bah,” of the chorus.

Even 27 years later, it’s still one of the most popular songs the Beach Boys perform in concert.

When Mike sings, “When some load braggart tries to put me down and says his school is great/ I tell him right away, now/ what’sa matter buddy ain’t you heard of my school?/ it’s number one in the state,” it is impossible not to feel the pride and power of eternal youth.

Loyalty was always important in the Wilson household, and maybe because Brian was writing about such a real experience (as opposed to using his imagination on the surfing and hot rod songs) he came up with some of his best lyrics. The concept of “Be True To Your School” is one that hit home with everybody.

“Car Crazy Cutie”

Lead Vocal: Brian

“Car Crazy Cutie” which opens with another of the Beach Boys great vocal intros (clearly inspired by Dion and the Belmonts), lyrically combines the two most important subjects of early Beach Boys songs – cars and girls.

Later that year, working with his roommate (and collaborator) Bob Norberg and neighborhood musician friends under the name “The Survivors,” Brian produced a reworked version of “Car Crazy Cutie” and turned it into a punchier and more potent track titled “Pamela Jean.” Capitol released it as a single, but the record never charted.

“Cherry Cherry Coupe”

Lead Vocal: Mike

Before the Beach Boys signed with Capitol, Brian built up quite a backlog of songs. The Little Deuce Coupe album was recorded so quickly after they had finished Surfer Girl, that Brian needed a carload of songs in a hurry. He dipped into his stockpile and came up with, among others, “Cherry Cherry Coupe.”

As Southern California music historian Domenic Priore points out, “it wasn’t unusual for a Beach Boys car song to have started life as something else. For example, ‘Pamela Jean’ is reported to have been written first [copyright notices, which in those days weren’t always filed promptly, bear that out] before being re-written as “Car Crazy Cutie” for this LP. Similarly, ‘Cherry Cherry Coupe’ was originally written and produce as ‘Land Ahoy’ in 1962.” “Land Ahoy” appears as a bonus track on the Beach Boys “Double Play” CD of Surfin’ Safari/Surfin’ U.S.A.


Lead Vocal: Mike

Highest Chart Position: #76 (It was the “B” side of “Surfin’ Safari.”)

This track, which was on both the group’s first single and first album, made its debut appearance in stereo on this LP. However, Brian’s production technique was advancing so quickly that “409” almost sounds as if it was produced in another decade, as opposed to only a year before the rest of this album.

“Shut Down”

Lead Vocal: Mike

Highest Chart Position: #23 (It was the “B” side of “Surfin’ U.S.A.”)

For “Shut Down,” Brian really perfected his combination of Four Freshman-like harmonies with rock ‘n’ roll (the “tach it up” intro) and created something altogether new. The chord changes on the last two lines of each verse (e.g. “gotta be cool now/power shift here we go”) were, with the exception of Burt Bachrach’s work, way ahead of what was on the pop charts.

Beach Boys historian Peter Reum points out that “Little Deuce Coupe,” “409,” and “Shut Down” were all songs which described facets of teenage life, which were common to hundreds of American towns, and in many cases still are. These three songs are perfect mirror-images of the car culture which has existed in America for decades. “Shut Down,” a description of a cocky driver whose confidence in his ‘rod is unshaken, serves as a perfect foil for the sadder but wiser driver of Shut Down, Volume 2’s “Don’t Worry Baby,” whose invincibility has been shaken by self-doubt and anguish. The two songs illustrate two prime aspects of Brian’s artistic personality: the competitive and driven hitmaker in opposition to the kid who whom stardom came quickly and who honestly wondered whether his songs were that good. Mike Love’s great lead vocals were the perfect vehicle for Brian and Roger Christian’s assertive masculine music and lyrics.”

“Spirit of America”
Lead Vocal: Brian

In the early ‘60’s, Craig Breedlove set the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. His car was named “Spirit Of America,” and this beautiful ballad is a tribute to the man and the car. In 1975, it became the title song for the follow-up compilation to the 1974 Beach Boys platinum #hits package Endless Summer.

“Our Car Club”

Lead Vocal: Mike and Brian

Like “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Our Car Club” had just been released on the Surfer Girl album, but it fits into the theme of this album perfectly. (For more on this track, see the Surfer Girl liner notes.)

“No-Go Showboat”

Lead Vocal: Brian and Mike

Superb chord changes and a major falsetto workout for Brian highlight this song about a car that looked fine but couldn’t really go very fast. The lyric about the car going so slow that it was “even shut down by the ice cream truck,” is really a clever miniature piece of Americana for those who remember the snail’s pace of the neighborhood “Good Humor Man.”

Andy Paley: “It was the early albums, which a lot of people dismiss because of the subject matter in the lyrics, that were really musically important to not only me but literally dozens of other successful musicians and songwriters I’ve talked to. Tracks like “No-Go Showboat” were so influential to us because they were much more complicated than the hits.”

It’s not that Paley didn’t love the surf and car songs. “I was living in upstate New York, and me and all my friends went crazy for the surfing stuff and “Girls On The Beach,” but to us, as aspiring musicians, the challenge was to try and play and sing this music. “No-Go Showboat” and “Custom Machine” are the really advanced songs on this album. And some of the even earlier cuts…like “Lana” (from Surfin’ U.S.A.), whose sliding blues piano lick was a teenage Brian Wilson imitating George Gershwin…really were tough to figure out. Brian always played with the songwriting formula in some way, that’s what made these records so much fun to live with.”

Paley, who is a huge fan of Beach Boys music, also asserts that from the very beginning, “there are certain things that Brian’s always done…like the incredible harmonies on this song. It’s not that he invented anything, it’s just that for those of us who were used to listening to early rock ‘n’ roll, it was incredible to hear chord changes like the ones on “No-Go Showboat.”

“A Young Man Is Gone”

Lead Vocal: Group

Bobby Troup, best known for writing the jazz classic “Route 66,” penned the a capella standard “Their Hearts Were Full of Spring.” For this album, the Beach Boys changes Troup’s lyrics and turned it into a tribute to the late actor James Dean, who had died in a car accident.

The Beach Boys voices carry this track, and on it you can hear how tight and clear their singing was. “One of the secrets of how their voices blend,” explains arranger, composer and songwriting great Jimmy Webb, “is that they use very little vibrato, which is really old-style church singing of five or six hundred years ago. They way the voices fitted together was very complex. The voices all lie down beside each other very easily; there’s no bumping between the voices because the pitch is very precise. Everybody [in the group] knows the pitch, and they would sing it and do it until they got it right.”

To get a sense of how the Beach Boys vocals were influenced by the Four Freshman, you might want to seek out their version of “Their Hearts Were Full of Spring.” On the Beach Boys ’69 live album, they do a note-perfect version of this song with Troup’s original words.

“Custom Machine”

Lead Vocal: Mike

The Little Deuce Coupe album ends as it begins: with a detailed description of a dream car – except “Custom Machine” is really they lyrical flip side of “Little Deuce Coupe.” Instead of telling us how fast the car can go, on “Custom Machine” we’re hearing about how hot the ‘rod looks.

Musically, note the boogie woogie piano break, a real nod to Brian’s earliest piano-playing passion.



Each of the Beach Boys first five albums basically had something of a central concept, and All Summer Long (their second long-player of 1964 and their sixth LP in less than three years) was no exception. This time, instead of zeroing on just one subject, like surfing or cars, the Beach Boys sang about thewhole gamutof teenage life…cars, girls, the beach, et al…from a more autobiographical point-of-view than had been present on the earlier records. This was really the first time the Beach Boys recorded a complete album about therir own Southern California lifestyle.

Ironically, by this time the Beach Boys were a little too busy making music to play the miniature gold they sing about in the title song. And it’s worth mentioning that the Beach Bos, who have been unfairly stereotyped as a group that only sings car and surf songs, rarely recorded another song on either subject after this album.

False images aside, it was on this record that the Beach Boys public personalities began to emerge more fully. Read their individual comments on the back over and you’ll get a surprisingly revealing glimpse of the young men who had no way of knowing in 1964 that they would be spending the vast majority of their lives as Beach Boys. Dennis’ letter is particularly eerie. After all, Dennis (the ‘real’ Beach Boy who died in ’83) wrote here, “I wouldn’t give up this life for anything in the world. If won’t last forever, either, but the memories will.” Brian’s quote, tinged with self-analysis, shows that even when he was writing his most fun-filled records he was in touch with the complicated feelings that generate the songs.

All Summer Long was the last regular studio album the Beach Boys recorded before Brian quit the touring band – the last complete Beach Boys album Brian cut before he suffered a nervous breakdown in late December of 1964. While it seem to possess a certain musical innocence, that feeling is subtly undermined by the unease present in some of the lyrics. For example, in “I Get Around” (“I’m getting bugged driving up and down the same old strip/I got to find a new place where the kids are hip”) it sounds like Brian might be getting tired of focusing on teenage concerns.

And in “Don’t Back Down,” he seems to be writing and singing to himself (“You gotta be a little nuts/ to show ‘em now who’s got guts, Don’t’ back down …”). The lyric is almost a pep talk that he knew was doomed to fail. Ironically, on the front over of the first pressing of this album, the song “Don’t Back Down” was mistitled as “Don’t Break Down,” an uncanny warning of what was to come.

Historical note: All Summer Long is an album full of important Beach Boys first and last. Shut Down Volume 2, for the most part, had been recorded before the Beatles’ tidal wave engulfed America; All Summer Long was the first Beach Boys album recorded in the face of Beatlemania. As such, it showed that there was at least one group up to the challenge; All Summer Long yielded the first Beach Boys #1 single, “I Get Around” and helped break the stranglehold the Beatles had on the top chart positions.

The summer and fall of ’64 were very busy for the band. In addition to their increasingly demanding schedule of personal appearance and regular recording sessions, they also cut their first Christmas and live albums, and went on their first European promotional tour.

All the hard work paid off, as All Summer Long became the first of three straight top ten albums the group would release in 1964. Later in the year, their live album Beach Boys Concert and their holiday offering, The Beach Boys Christmas Album, would both be big sellers.

To many fans, this is the ultimate Beach Boys album, from the ‘beach party’ cover photos shot in Malibu to the collection of songs that really summarized what would later be described as the “Endless Summer.”


“I Get Around”

Lead Vocal: Mike and Brian

Highest Chart Position: #1

From the opening note to the falsetto wail on the fade, this is one of the greatest tracks the Beach Boys ever cut.

In 1964, “I Get Around” was a real change of pace for the group. While it lyrically was about teenage scenes, the arrangement was much more sophisticated… a major, revolutionary step in Brian’s use of dynamics. Powered by the driving lead guitar break, the explosive harmonies and the handclaps, everything about this track was very spirited. “I Get Around” still makes for an extremely exciting cut.

Historical Note: Reportedly Mick Jagger, appearing on England’s “Ready, Steady, Go” television program, crowned “I Get Around” as a great record. His endorsement helped make it the first Beach Boys top ten in Great Britain, paving the way for the huge British success their later recordings would enjoy.

Production Note: While most of the All Summer Long album appears on this CD in stereo, only mono versions of “I Get Around” and “All Summer Long” were located during the search of the Beach Boys archives.

“All Summer Long”

Lead Vocal: Mike

Motion picture producer/director George Lucas used this song for the closing titles of his classic “American Graffiti” because it so perfectly summarizes what we all love about summer. It’s one of the best cuts on the album.

The opening xylophone, Mike’s double-tracked lead vocal, the terrific harmonies and the clever lyrics (“member when you spilled Coke all over your blouse”) makes this track a perfect example of why Beach Boys music makes people feel so good. Put it on, and it’s an instantly summertime.

Lead Vocal: Brian and Mike

“Hushabye” opens and closed with one of the most thrilling vocal arrangements (topped by Brian’s incredible falsetto) the Beach Boys ever recorded. The group’s not-dissimilar cover of the Mystics 1959 top twenty hit is as good as the original. Listen to how the lead vocals float along on a bed of harmonies, and on the intro and tag you can hear how important Dennis’ voice was to the vocal blend.

“Little Honda”

Lead Vocal: Mike

Highest Chart Position: #65

This energetic track features a rumbline fuzz bass, distinctive “engine-sounding” background vocals and the propulsive feeling of the guitar which gives you the sensation of building up speed on a motor bike. Andy Paley: “One of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll records of all time… what an incredible groove.”

This was going to be a Beach Boys single, but when somebody questioned its hit potential, Brian got cold feet and decided not to release it. While it was included on this album and on an EP called “4-By The Beach Boys,” it wasn’t a hit for them. However Brian’s sometimes collaborator Gary Usher loved what Brian had done, and cut a virtual note-for-note version of the track. It went “Top Ten” for the Hondells.

Historical Note: When the Beach Boys performed this song on “The Andy Williams Show,” the network made them change they lyrics, ostensibly so they would not appear to be plugging a product. The Beach Boys sang “Little Cycle” instead of “Little Honda.”

Beach Boys Trivia: Who shouts “Go” at the beginning of the song? My guess is that it’s Dennis.

“We’ll Run Away”

Lead Vocal: Brian

Brian’s lead on this typically gorgeous BW melody drifts along in a late ‘50’s ballad style that is a perfect fit for the lyrics. “We’ll Run Away” is notable for the way Brian used the organ (particularly at the end). The traditional, almost church-like sound of the Hammond organ was not usually featured on your typical rock ‘n’ roll record.

“Carl’s Big Chance”

“Carl’s Big Chance” (originally titled “Memphis Beach”) is the last surf-guitar instrumental the Beach Boys recorded. On their earlier instrumentals, Carl’s guitar work was set within the context of the group’s playing, but on “Carl’s Big Chance,” Carl’s guitar is neatly placed against a studio band and the sound of the guitar and horns is quite interesting. This companion piece to “Denny’s Drums” (from Shut Down Volume 2) is a good place to hear how Carl’s guitar playing had matured from the group’s earliest recordings.


Lead Vocal: Mike and Brian

Highest Chart position: 144 (Never released on a single, it was on the EP “4-By The Beach Boys)

“Wendy” begins with one of the most unusual introductions of any record from the rock era. The opening notes provide no clue to where it’s going, but when the drum kicks in and the Beach Boys exquisite harmonies enter, this instantly becomes one of the most distinctive Beach Boys tracks ever.

“Wendy” is also notable for its inventive chord changes, and again, Briam makes very exotic use of the organ, this time in a unique-sounding solo. Listen for the talking and coughing in the background on the organ break.

“Do You Remember?”

Lead Vocal: Mike and Brian

With the possible exception of the Dick Clark reference (Alan Freed would have more accurate), this record has a characteristic charm. Plain and simple, “Do You Remember?” is a lot of fun.

Historical Note: This Beach Boys rock ‘n’ roll lesson pays well-deserved tribute to the rock roots of the group’s own sound.

It’s an interesting commentary on 1964 that the Beach Boys felt the need to defend rock ‘n’ roll against its critics.

Andy Paley: “Do You Remember?” has one of the greatest grooves on drums and bass I’ve ever heard on a record…especially at the end of the bridge (during ‘goodness gracious, great balls of fire.’). That bass lick is one of the coolest things, I can listen to it over and over."

“Girls On The Beach”

Lead Vocal: Group

While on the surface, “Girls On The Beach” may sound like a companion piece to “Surfer Girl,” it is in fact one of Brian’s most astonishing compositions. It’s almost impossible to find another rock song that changes keys as often and as smoothly as “Girls On The Beach.”

The modulations on the final verse and last chorus in particular are startling. Also, note Dennis’ especially heartfelt vocal on the “sun in her hair” bridge. “Girls On The Beach” is a perfect example of what was to become a Brian Wilson trademark…a production technique that made is ballads almost overwhelmingly powerful.

Historical Note: “Girls On The Beach” was also the title song to the only beach movie in which the Beach Boys appeared. They performed three songs in the film – this one, “Little Honda” and “Lonely Sea.”


Lead Vocal: Mike

The subject matter was teenage, but this song is anything but simple, and when it was combined with an ingenious production, “Drive-In” became a strong cut. In 1964, it took real musical courage to have such a long silence after the instrumental break, but Brian has always been willing to try anything in the studio.

And, while I’m definitely an opponent of these CDs not being in mono as Brian originally recorded them, (a real minority opinion), I have to admit that it’s a lot of fun to listen to the double-tracked vocals on this track in stereo.

“Drive-In” is also a great example of Brian’s sense of humor working perfectly within a rock ‘n’ roll song.

Andy Paley: “A typical rock ‘n’ roll progression for this song would have been going from F to D minor. Brian goes from a D7 instead which is really unusual and inventive. It kind of throws you for a loop. I can’t think of any song, particularly in that time period, that does that. It was such a weird change that I remember at the time wondering if that change was a mistake or if it was done on purpose, because it almost sounds as if somebody on the record doesn’t quite know. Everybody I knew at the time was kind of scratching their head and saying ‘what is that?’”

“Our Favorite Recording Session”

This is the second of the Beach Boys’ album tracks to expose what “really” went on in the studio. At the end of the session, when somebody (Brian?) says they forgot their note and goes to the piano, the key that’s struck is the opening note of the next track on the album, “Don’t Back Down.”

“Don’t Back Down”

Lead Vocal: Mike and Brian

Nobody else writes songs like this. Listen for how Brian modulates going into every chorus and then how cleverly he gets back into the original key by the end of the chorus. “Don’t Back Down,” brief as it is, is extremely compelling.


“Be True To Your School”

Lead Vocal: Mike

Highest Chart Position: #6

With instruments arranged like a high school marching band (listen to the snatch of “On Wisconsin” in the break) and cheerleading provided by the Honeys, this 45 RPM version of “Be True To Your School” leapt up the charts and into the top ten.

Besides the presence of the Honeys, this track differs significantly from the album cut, most noticeably in that this rendition is faster and in a lower key. It also features an instrumental break (with a hot lead guitar) and an unexpected modulation on the tag.

Historical Note: The Honeys were a girl group that Brian produced in the ‘60’s without notable success. However, Marilyn Rovell, one of the two sisters in the Honeys, married Brian on December 7, 1964.

“All Dressed Up For School”

Lead Vocal: Brian

The slightly lecherous tone of this song may have made it too racy to release in 1964. It’s too bad, because it’s really unlike their recordings of that era, and it’s an unusually strong rocker. The song itself is hook-filled, and the chorus in particular has great group singing (listen to Mike’s bass line). At long last, “All Dressed Up For School” makes it public bow on this CD.

Historical Note: 1) The opening vocal tag is a progression that is similar to one Brian would later use on a “Heroes and Villains” outtake as well as on the song, “Goin’ One,” which appeared on the Beach Boys 1980 album, Keeping The Summer Alive. The group “dit dit dits” on the fade are similar to what the group sang on Concert’s “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow.”

2) While “All Dressed Up For School” has never been released before, the melody in the verse will be familiar to hard-core Beach Boys fans. Brian took several shots at this song before it saw the light of day. “All Dressed Up For School” was recorded over 25 years ago. In late 1969/early 1970, Brian used the same changes and rewrote it as “I Just Got My Pay,” a track that remains unreleased. Finally, this tune made it to record as “Marcella,” the most “Beach Boys-sounding” cut on the group’s 1972 LP release, Carl and The Passions/So Tough.

Also, note the line “she’s not the little girl I’ve always known.” a lyrical idea that would resurface in 1965 on the top twenty hit, “The Little Girl I Once Knew.”

“Little Honda”

Lead Vocal: Mike

The instrumental track is the same, but this alternate version features different background vocals (“Go Little Honda/Faster Little Honda”) that were simplified for the All Summer Long cut. Also, Mike’s lead is slightly different and there are subtle lyric changes for you Beach Boy sleuths to find.

“Don’t Back Down”

Lead Vocal: Mike and Brian

This version of “Don’t Back Down” is almost completely unlike what was ultimately released on All Summer Long, even though the session annotation indicates that they were recorded on the same day. The vocals, melody and the lyrics are vastly different.

On this never-before-heard bonus track, the lyric is written from an observer’s point of view. The released version of “Don’t Back Down” possesses a much more personal, almost autobiographical feel.

These alternate takes illustrate Brian’s growing compulsion to keep re-recording songs until they had been done to his satisfaction. As a record producer in the ‘60s, Brian was a perfectionist, so it wasn’t uncommon for the 45 and LP versions of Beach Boys songs to be different. What makes the bonus track of “Don’t Back Down” even more interesting is that it’s one of the few surviving examples of how even an album track received total attention. And though each alternate approach is, in its own way, unfinished, these bonus tracks are especially important as insights into the working methods of the Beach Boys leader. Regardless of the extent of the variation, there’s some awfully good previously unavailable music on the bonus tracks, and they’re a lot of fun to hear.

Liner Notes by David Leaf
© 1990 David Leaf

(David Leaf is the author of the critically-acclaimed Brian Wilson biography, The Beach Boys And The California Myth.)

1. Little Deuce Coupe

(B. Wilson-R. Christian) Time: 1:37

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50037 Recorded 6/12/63

Single Released 7/22/63 (Capitol 5009)

Charted 8/17/63 Reached #15

2. Ballad Of Ole’ Betsy

(B. Wilson-R. Christian) Time: 2:14

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50434 Recorded 9/2/63

3. Be True To Your School

(B. Wilson) Time 2:06

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50435 (LP Version) Recorded 9/2/63

4. Car Crazy Cutie

(B. Wilson-R. Christian) Time: 2:47

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50436 Recorded 9/2/63

5. Cherry, Cherry Coupe

(B. Wilson-R. Christian) Time: 1:47

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50437 Recorded 9/2/63

6. 409

(B. Wilson-G. Usher) Time 1:57

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #37736 Recorded 6/13/62

7. Shut Down

(B. Wilson-R. Christian) Time: 1:49

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #39180 Recorded 1/31/63

Single Released 3/4/63 (Capitol 4932)

Charted 4/27/63 Reached #23

8. Spirit of America

(B. Wilson-R. Christian) Time 2:22

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

9. Our Car Club

(B. Wilson-M. Love) Time: 2:20

Screen Gems-EMI Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50366 Recorded 7/16/63

10. No-Go Showboat

(B. Wilson-R. Christian) Time: 1:53

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50439 Recorded 9/2/63

11. A Young Man Is Gone

(Bobby Troup) Time: 2:10

Fred Raphael Music Co.

Master #50441 Recorded 9/2/63

12. Custom Machine

(Brian Wilson) Time: 1:38
Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50441 Recorded 9/2/63

13. I Get Around

(Brian Wilson) Time: 2:12

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #51840 Recorded 4/2/64

Single Released 5/11/64 (Capitol 5174)

Charted 5/23/64 Reached #1

14. All Summer Long

(Brian Wilson) Time: 2:06

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52124 Recorded 5/6 and 5/7/64

15. Hushabye

(D. Pomus-M. Schuman) Time: 2:39

Rightsong Music, BMI

Master #52125 Recorded 4/64

Extended Play Single Released 9/21/64 (Capitol 5267, “Four By The Beach Boys”) Song did not chart.

16. Little Honda

(B. Wilson-M. Love) Time: 1:51

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #51839 Recorded 4/64

Extended Play Single Released 9/21/64 (Capitol 5267, “Four By The Beach Boys”) Charted 10/17/64 Reached #65

17. We’ll Run Away

(B. Wilson-G. Usher) Time: 1:59

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52126 Recorded 4/30 and 5/18/64

18. Carl’s Big Chance

(B. Wilson-C. Wilson) Time: 2:24

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52127 Recorded 4/29/64

19. Wendy

(Brian Wilson) Time: 2:14

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52128 Recorded 5/6 and 5/18/64

20. Do You Remember?

(Brian Wilson) Time: 1:37

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52129 Recorded 5/6 and 5/18/64

21. Girls On The Beach

(Brian Wilson) Time: 2:23

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #51850 Recorded 5/19/64

22. Drive-In

(Brian Wilson) Time: 1:50

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52130 Recorded 4/64

23. Our Favorite Recording Sessions

(Wilson-Wilson-Wilson-Love-Jardine) Time: 1:59

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52131 Recorded 5/64

24. Don’t Back Down

(Brian Wilson) Time: 1:43

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52132 Recorded 4/29/64

Extended Play Single
Released 9/21/64 (Capitol 5267, “Four By The Beach Boys”)
Song did not chart.



25. Be True To Your School (Single Version)

(Brian Wilson) Time: 2:07

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #50435A Recorded 9/63

Single Released 10/28/63 (Capitol 5069) Charted 11/2/63 Reached #6

26. All Dressed Up For School

(Brian Wilson) Time: 2:20

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52826 Recorded 9/16/64

27. Little Honda (Alternate Take)

(B. Wilson-M. Love) Time: 2:20

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #51839A Recorded 6/23/64

28. Don’t Back Down (Alternate Take)

(Brian Wilson) Time: 1:38

Irving Music, Inc., BMI

Master #52132A Recorded 4/29/64





“Little Deuce Coupe” LP – Originally released on October 7, 1963

by Capitol Records (T & ST-1998) Charted 11/9/63 Reached #4

“All Summer Long” LP – Originally released on July 1, 1964

by Capitol Records (T & ST-2110) Charted 8/1/64 Reached #4

Originally Engineered by Chuck Britz

In the preparation of these compact discs, every effort has been made to make these historic recordings sound as they did when Brian, Carl, Mike, Dennis, and Al first made them. The Producers auditioned numerous tapes in order to find the original album masters which have been used throughout. No remixing was attempted, as it was felt that this would not be faithful to the original productions. These original mono and stereo masters were then transferred to digital utilizing a specially-modified tape machine and custom-made analog-to-digital converters. The resulting digital tape was next processed using the Sonic-Solutions digital noise reduction system. The system allows the removal of tape hiss and other defects without any adverse effect on the music. The previously unreleased tracks have been selected from a variety of sources. They were also mixed directly from the original three-and four-track master.

Mark Linett, Los Angeles, CA, February, 1990

Reissue compiled and coordinated by Mark Linett.
Digitally remastered by Joel Gastwirt and Mark Linett at Ocean View Digital, Manhattan Beach, CA.
Assistant Engineer Dave Mitson.

“All Dressed Up For School,” “Little Honda” (Alt. Version), “Don’t Back Down” (Alt. Version) mixed by Mark Linett at Your Place Or Mine Studios, Los Angeles.
Archival material and additional research information by Ron Furmanek and Dennis Diken.
Chart information courtesy of Billboard and Joel Whitburn.
Liner notes by David Leaf.
Art direction by Tommy Steele.
Design by Chuck Ames.
Photo research by Brad Benedict.


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