The Beach Boys quickly recorded this seasonal sensation and reached a turning point in their career. During the recording of 'Today!' band leader Brian Wilson announced that he would no longer be touring with the band. He would later reveal: "When I was on stage I could hear voices telling me negative things about myself...I believe they started picking on me because they are jealous. The voices in my head are jealous of me...I knew right from the start something was wrong. I’d taken some psychedelic drugs, and then about a week after that I started hearing voices, and they’ve never stopped. For a long time I thought to myself, 'Oh, I can’t deal with this.' But I learned to deal with it anyway."
'Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)' was recorded in Hollywood at Studio United Western Recorders, Gold Star Studios, and CBS Columbia Square with Al Jardine on lead vocals, harmony vocals, and backing vocals, electric rhythm guitar, and hand claps; Bruce Johnston (Brian's replacement during live shows) on harmony and backing vocals, acoustic grand piano, hammond organ, celeste, and hand claps; Mike Love on lead vocals, harmony vocals, and backing vocals, and hand claps; Brian Wilson on on lead vocals, harmony vocals, and backing vocals, bass guitar, acoustic upright piano, hammond organ, hand claps, and timpani; Carl Wilson on lead vocals, harmony vocals, and backing vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, twelve-string guitar, and hand claps; and Dennis Wilson on harmony and backing vocals, drums, tambourine, and hand claps; with Israel Baker, Arnold Belnick, James Getzoff, Bernard Kundell, Leonard Malarsky, Ralph Schaeffer, Sid Sharp, and Tibor Zelig on violin; Hal Blaine on drums and timbales; Glen Campbell and Bill Pitman on electric guitar; Frank Capp on vibraphone; Roy Caton on trumpet; Jerry Cole on twelve-string guitar; Al De Lory on organ; Joseph DiFlore and Harry Hyams on viola; Steve Douglas and Plas Johnson on tenor saxophone; William Hinshaw on french horn; Carol Kaye on electric bass guitar; Jay Migliorii on baritone saxophone; Jack Nimitz on bass saxophone; Ray Pohlman on bass guitar; Lyle Ritz on upright bass; Howard Roberts on guitar; Leon Russell on piano; Billy Lee Riley on harmonica; Billy Strange on rhythm guitar, ukulele, and tambourine; Ron Swallow on tambourine; Tommy Tedesco on lead guitar; Julius Wechter on claves; and Marilyn Wilson on harmony and backing vocals. Brian Wilson produced the sessions with sound engineer Chuck Britz.
Carl Wilson: “‘Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)’ was a turning point; that album sticks out. Brian [Wilson] was really getting into a very expansive stream of energy. We could see that he was opening up and making very serious music, and it was serious rock ’n’ roll music, which made it complete.”
Jardine: "We were fundamentally just keeping up with the pace of the productivity. You could feel it growing at an accelerated rate. Brian was always waiting for us to come home from touring. He got inpatient and began experimenting with other musicians. This was the turning point. "
The album went to number four in the UK and number two in the US. Brian Wilson says: "My favorite [Beach Boys album] is Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) because it had cool rock and roll songs like Salt Lake City, you know? ... Surfing music is dead. It was just a summer craze for kids on the beach ... My brother Dennis said surfing was the new thing, the new fad. He was the surfer in the group ... I was never a surfer. I never learned ... The ocean scares me ... You say how you feel, and songs don't lie. Songs are the most honest form of human expression there is - there's nothing that lies about a song ... I approach my music-making as an art form - something pure from the spirit to which I can add dynamics and marketable reality. Music is genuine and healthy and the stimulation I get from molding it and adding dynamics is like nothing else on earth ... I've never written one note or word of music simply because I think it will make money ... People are part of my music. A lot of my songs are the result of emotional experiences, sadness, pain, joy, and exultation in nature and sunshine and so on... like 'California Girls' which was a hymn to youth."
"California Girls" went to number fifty-eight in Australia, twenty-six in the UK, six in Sweden, three in the US, and number two in Canada. Brian Wilson would describe the song as: "something I’m very proud of in a sense because it represents the Beach Boys really greatest record production we’ve ever made. It goes back to 1965 when I was sitting in my apartment, wondering how to write a song about girls, because I love girls. I mean, everybody loves girls. So I got the notion, and I wrote “California Girls.” And then I said [to myself], this needs some kind of an introduction that would be a total departure of how the song sounds and yet would somehow lead into the melody.”
"Help Me, Rhonda" reached twenty-seven in the UK, sixteen in Australia, five in Sweden, and number one in Canada and the US.
"Let Him Run Wild"
'Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)'
All songs written and composed by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, except where noted.
1. "The Girl from New York City" sung by Mike Love 1:54
2. "Amusement Parks U.S.A." sung by Love/Brian Wilson 2:29
3. "Then I Kissed Her" (Phil Spector/Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry) sung by Al Jardine 2:15
4. "Salt Lake City" sung by Love/B. Wilson 2:00
5. "Girl Don't Tell Me" (B. Wilson) sung by Carl Wilson 2:19
6. "Help Me, Rhonda" sung by Jardine 2:46
1. "California Girls" sung by Love/B.Wilson 2:46
2. "Let Him Run Wild" sung by B. Wilson 2:20
3. "You're So Good to Me" sung by B. Wilson 2:14
4. "Summer Means New Love" (B. Wilson) instrumental 1:59
5. "I'm Bugged at My Ol' Man" (B. Wilson) sung by B. Wilson 2:17
6. "And Your Dream Comes True" sung by The Beach Boys 1:04