We’ve Been Having Fun All Summer Long

It’s already time for our next 50 year celebration of a Beach Boys studio album. 1964 was a pivotal year in terms of the Beatles coming to America, and this was Brian’s first studio album response after the British Invasion. While there is some step up in terms of song quality and studio time, Brian’s response was to create  the archetypal “fun in the sun” Beach Boys album, in which the surf and car themes of the previous albums are extended into a general summertime theme, with a generous dose of romance.

I Get Around was the monster hit and rock classic, but most people should also recognise Wendy, Little Honda and the title track, used for the movie American Graffiti. Much of the rest is worthwhile, although there is some filler in the studio blooper reel Our Favorite Recording Sessions.

The album ends on the motivational pep-talk Don’t Back Down, ostensibly a surf song, but also possibly pre-empting the changing times ahead. There is something of an end-of-the-innocence-era here, with Brian’s breakdown on tour occuring a few months later, and Brian soon taking a leap into more complex production and emotional lyrics. As a reminder of a more innocent era, and for some great music, this album remains in the upper tier of the group’s records and a very spritely and hip 50 year old.

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