ENDLESS SUMMER (1974) is an outstanding collection of songs by The Beach Boys pre-dating 1966’s PET SOUNDS. This collection was released by The Beach Boys’ old label Capitol Records, while they were under contract with Reprise Records. This album spent 155 weeks on the Billboard album chart. It peaked at No 1 and sold over 3 million copies in the United States. The songs are from the 60’s but the animated artwork accompanying the album shows The Beach Boys as they looked in the 70’s. My parents had this on cassette and it hooked me pretty quick!
‘Surfin’ Safari’ is one of four songs penned by the duo of Brian Wilson and Mike Love. It starts the album out on a lighthearted note: “Early in the morning we’ll be startin’ out/Some honeys will be coming along/We’re loading up our woody/With our boards inside/And headin’ out singing our song/Come on (surfin’) baby, wait and see (surfin’ safari)/Yes, I’m gonna (surfin’) take you surfin’ (surfin’ safari) with me”. ‘Surfer Girl’ is one of twelve songs on this compilation that is credited to Brian Wilson alone. This sleepy ballad finds a guy thinking out loud: “Little surfer, little one/Made my heart come all undone/Do you love me, do you surfer girl?/Surfer girl, my little surfer girl/I have watched you on the shore/Standing by the ocean’s roar/Do you love me, do you surfer girl?/Surfer girl, surfer girl”.
‘Catch a Wave’ is an upbeat song that praises surfing and its longevity: “Not just a fad cause it’s been going on so long/All the surfers going strong/They said it wouldn’t last too long/They’ll eat their words with a fork and spoon/And watch ‘em they’ll hit the road and all be surfin’ soon/And when they catch a wave, they’ll be sittin’ on top of the world”. ‘The Warmth of the Sun’ is a tender song of heartbreak: “The love of my life she left me one day/I cried when she said ‘I don’t feel the same way’/Still I have the warmth of the sun within me tonight”.
Brian Wilson wrote the lyrics to ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ which is one of the funnest rock and roll songs ever. The music is borrowed from Chuck Berry’s ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’. Here are some of the words to the Beach Boys song: “We’ll all be planning out a route/We’re gonna take real soon/We’re waxing down our surfboards/We can’t wait for June/We’ll all be gone for the summer/We’re on safari to stay/Tell the teacher we’re surfin’/Surfin’ U.S.A.” ‘Be True to your School’ encourages loyalty: “I got a letterman’s sweater/With a letter in front/I got for football and track/I’m proud to wear it now/When I cruise around/The other parts of the town/I got a decal in back/So be true to your school/Just like you would to your girl or guy/Be true to your school now/Let your colors fly”.
‘Little Deuce Coupe’ is one of two songs written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian. It is a groovy rock and roll song that has a guy bragging about his wheels: “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”. ‘In My Room’ was penned by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher. It is a pretty song that has a message just as relevant for teenagers today: “There’s a world where I can go/And tell my secrets to/In my room (2X)/In this world I lock out/All my worries and my fears/In my room (2X)/Do my dreaming and my scheming, lie awake and pray/Do my crying and my sighing, laugh at yesterday”.
‘Shut Down’ is a danceable song about a car race: “It happened on the strip where the road is wide/Two cool shorts standin’ side by side/Yeah, my fuel injected stingray and a four-thirteen/A revin’ up our engines and it sounds real mean/Tach it up, tach it up/Buddy gonna shut you down”. ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’, is, well, a catchy song about having fun: “Well, she got her daddy’s car/And she cruised through the hamburger stand now/Seems she forgot all about the library/Like she told her old man now/And with the radio blasting/Goes cruising just as fast as she can now/And she’ll have fun, fun, fun/Till her daddy takes the T-bird away”.
‘I Get Around’ has an adventurous spirit about it: “We always take my car cause it’s never been beat/And we’ve never missed yet with the girls we meet/None of the guys go steady cause it wouldn’t be right/To leave their best girl home now on Saturday night/I get around/Get around, round, I get around/From town to town”. ‘The Girls on the Beach’ is a slow number that is every teenage boys fantasy: “On the beach you’ll find them there/In the sun and salty air/The girls on the beach/Are all within reach/If you know what to do/How we love to lie around/Girls with tans of golden brown/The girls on the beach/Are all within reach/And one waits there for you”.
‘Wendy’ finds a guy heartbroken: “Wendy, Wendy, what went wrong?/Oh so wrong/We went together for so long/I never thought a guy could cry/’Til you made it with another guy/Wendy, Wendy, left me alone/Hurts so bad/Wendy, Wendy, don’t lose your head/Lose your head/Wendy, don’t believe a word he says”. ‘Let him run Wild’ is one of the most experimental tracks both musically and vocally. Lyrically, it offers advice to a gal: “When I watched you walk with him/Tears filled my eyes/And when I heard you talk with him/I couldn’t stand his lies/And now before he tries it/I hope you realize it girl/Let him run wild, he don’t care baby”.
‘Don’t Worry Baby’ is a mellow song that contains these intimate words: “Oh, what she does to me/When she makes love to me/And she says/Don’t worry baby (3X)/Everything will turn out alright”. ‘California Girls’ is one of my favourite mainstream songs of all time. It’s a great party song: “Well, east coast girls are hip/I really dig those styles they wear/And the southern girls with the way they talk/They knock me out when I’m down there/The mid-west farmers daughters really make you feel alright/And the northern girls with the way they kiss/They keep their boyfriends warm at night/I wish they all could be California (2X)/I wish they all could be California girls”.
‘Girl Don’t Tell Me’ is a song of disappointment: “Hi little girl, it’s me/Don’t you know who I am?/I met you last summer/When I came up to stay with my Gran/I’m the guy/Who left you with tears in his eyes/You didn’t answer my letters/So I figured it was just a lie”. ‘Help Me, Rhonda’ is a bouncy rock and roll song that utilizes tambourine and harmonica. It finds a guy looking for a rebound relationship: “She was gonna be my wife/And I was gonna be her man/But she let another guy come between us/And it ruined our plan/Well, Rhonda you caught my eye/And I can give you lotsa reasons why/You gotta help me Rhonda/Help me get her out of my heart”.
‘You’re so good to Me’ paints a picture of every guy’s dream girl: “You take my hand/And you understand/When I get in a bad mood/You’re so good to me/And I love it, love it.../And every night/You hold me so tight/When I kiss you goodbye/You’re so good to me/And I love it, love it”. ‘All Summer Long’ is a cheery song about puppy love: “Sittin’ in my car outside your house/’Member when you spilled coke all over your blouse/T-shirts, cut-offs, and a pair of thongs/We’ve been having fun all summer long.../I can’t see enough of you”.
When Capitol Records released this album on CD in 1987 they included 1966’s ‘Good Vibrations’ as the last track. This quirky song that uses the theremin was The Beach Boys third U.S. No 1 single. It is about sexual infatuation: “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/Good, good, good/Good vibrations”.
ENDLESS SUMMER is an absolutely terrific collection of songs representing the early years of America’s favourite band. This album is a lot of fun to listen to! It puts you in mind of a time when things were simpler and innocent. This collection still serves as a good way to introduce younger audiences to these musical heroes. I’m rating it 98%. For more info visit: www.beachboys.com and www.capitolrecords.com.