Monday, September 16, 2013

surfer girl

The Beach Boys made a creative leap forward with the orchestral experimentation and lush harmonic balladry of this shimmering summery surge.  Having struck gold earlier that year with their sophomore release 'Surfin' U.S.A.'the group was ready to change up their surf rock formula.  For the first time, Brian Wilson took the reigns as producer for the sessions at United & Western Studios in Hollywood, California.  

'Surfer Girl' credits Al Jardine on backing and harmony vocals, bass guitar, and hand claps; Mike Love on lead, backing and harmony vocals and hand claps; David Marks on backing and harmony vocals, rhythm guitar, and hand claps; Brian Wilson on lead, backing and harmony vocals, bass guitar, piano, organ, and hand claps; Carl Wilson on backing and harmony vocals, lead guitar, bass guitar, and hand claps; Dennis Wilson on lead, backing and harmony vocals, drums, and hand claps;   with Hal Blaine adding drums and percussion; Steve Douglas on tenor saxophone; and Maureen Love on harp.  

'Surfer Girl' was the second of three albums (followed by 'Little Deuce Coup') the Beach Boys released in 1963, a banner year for the band.  The album went to number thirteen in the UK and number seven in the US, where it was certified gold.  

Brian Wilson from the reissue liner notes:  "'Surfer Girl' was a good step in the right direction. The single, “Surfer Girl,” was my group’s ballad theme song. It means a lot to me, spiritual, and it is really a song about how the group first started singin’ pretty harmonies. The introduction to this song is, at first, a simple one but if you study the form, it is original. To me, it represents the start of music when we first got movin’. “Catch A Wave” represents my first big Beach Boy vocal arrangement. I am proud of it and I can remember how excited I was when I first arranged it. I jumped up from my piano and yelled for my mom and dad to come hear it. They flipped. The boys loved recordin’ it with me. We were so wired when we did it that a little extra bit of juice was flowin’. It was where The Beach Boys were at during that time. We love doing “Little Deuce Coupe.” It was good “shuffle” rhythm, which was not like most of the rhythms of the records on the radio in those days. It had a bouncy feel to it. Like most of our records, it had a competitive lyric. This record was my favorite BeachBoy car song. I also enjoyed producing “In My Room.” There is a story behind this song. When Dennis, Carl and I lived in Hawthorne as kids, we all slept in the same room. One night I sang the song “Ivory Tower” to them and they liked it. Then a couple of weeks later, I proceeded to teach them both how to sing the harmony parts to it. It took them a little while, but they finally learned it. We then sang this song night after night. It brought peace to us. When we recorded “In My Room,” there was just Dennis, Carl and me on the first verse…and we sounded just like we did in our bedroom all those nights. This story has more meaning then ever since Dennis’ death. “Hawaii” features me on falsetto. “Our Car Club” is my production ability brought to a higher level. I really felt this one as a saxophone trip. “Surfers Rule” was a big competitive step when we said in the fade-out, “Four Season, you better believe it!” we started some trouble around town and we haven’t been able to stop ever since. This attitude we had was liked by some people and not liked by others. I have heard some positive feedback and some negative feedback over the years. I did for competitive music what Jack LaLanne did for health. Anyway, as usual, the album, Surfer Girl, has a bit for everybody. Enjoy."

"Surfer Girl" 
 "Back in 1961, I'd never written a song in my life. I was nineteen years old. And I put myself to the test in my car one day. I was actually driving to a hot dog stand, and I actually created a melody in my head without being able to hear it on a piano. I sang it to myself; I didn't even sing it out loud in the car. When I got home that day, I finished the song, wrote the bridge, put the harmonies together and called it 'Surfer Girl'."

"Catch a Wave"

"Little Deuce Coupe"

"In My Room"

'Surfer Girl' 
full album:

Side one
1. "Surfer Girl"   Brian Wilson Brian Wilson 2:26
2. "Catch a Wave"   B. Wilson/Mike Love Mike Love/B. Wilson 2:07
3. "The Surfer Moon"   B. Wilson B. Wilson 2:11
4. "South Bay Surfer (The Old Folks at Home)"   Stephen Foster (music); B. Wilson/Carl Wilson/Al Jardine (lyrics) Love/B. Wilson 1:45
5. "The Rocking Surfer"   trad. arr. B. Wilson instrumental 2:00
6. "Little Deuce Coupe"   B. Wilson/Roger Christian Love 1:38
Side two
1. "In My Room"   B. Wilson/Gary Usher B. Wilson 2:11
2. "Hawaii"   B. Wilson/Love Love/B. Wilson 1:59
3. "Surfers Rule"   B. Wilson/Love Dennis Wilson/B. Wilson 1:54
4. "Our Car Club"   B. Wilson/Love Love/B. Wilson 2:22
5. "Your Summer Dream"   B. Wilson/Bob Norberg B. Wilson 2:27
6. "Boogie Woodie"   trad. arr. B. Wilson instrumental 1:56

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