Tuesday, January 10, 2017


In 1963 the song ‘Shut Down’ hit the charts for the Beach Boys as the B-side for ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’  Without the permission of the band Capitol Records issued a various artists album in July of that year.  It was named SHUT DOWN and was all about cars.  The album was a #7 hit.  This is how SHUT DOWN VOLUME 2, released on March 2, 1964 got its name.  Released on Capitol, it was the Beach Boys’ fifth album and their first during Beatlemania.  The album reached #13 on the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums chart, and was the first of 3 albums the group would release that year!  It was the first album not to feature rhythm guitarist David Marks.  Appearing on the album are: Al Jardine, Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, and Dennis Wilson.

Starting things off is one of four Brian Wilson/Mike Love compositions on the record.  ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ is a marvelous rock ‘n’ roll song that was a #5 hit for the group.  Mike Love sings lead on this story song: “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/’Til her daddy takes the T-bird away”.  ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ is one of two co-writes between Brian Wilson and Roger Christian, a DJ.  Brian sings lead on this beautiful ballad about a guy, a gal, and his car: “She told me/’Baby, when you race today just take along my love with you/And if you knew how much I loved you/Baby, nothing could go wrong with you’/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’”.

‘In the Parking Lot’ sings the praises of one’s girl: “She looks so great in the morning/She doesn’t even have to try now/It’s not my metal flake paint that the guys are digging when they pass now/Outside it could storm, but we’ll still keep warm/All the kids are splitting to their lockers/But we’re still making out in the car now/Just one long kiss and we’ll be gone/Cause two minutes all there are now”.  Mike Love thought doing a humorous cut on this album would be a good idea.  The result is the novelty song ‘Cassius’ Love Vs. ‘Sonny’ Wilson.  On it, Mike and Brian make fun of each other’s singing voices, with references including an opera star and Mickey Mouse.

Mike and Brian wrote ‘The Warmth of the Sun’ in Brian’s office the day after President Kennedy was assassinated.  Brian writes: “We knew we had a spiritual song on our hands and we recorded it with that kind of attitude”.  According to David Leaf, Brian had just broken up with his first serious girlfriend.  Witness these lyrics from the easy listening ballad: “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/I’ll dream of her arms and though they’re not real/Just like she’s still there/The way that I feel”.  Drummer Dennis Wilson sings lead on ‘This Car of Mine’, which is a love song to one’s wheels: “There’s been a lot of races we been through/No slow poke now/I never want to part with her you see/This little car means a heck of a lot to me/This car of mine, oooo/I remember the day/A-when I chose her over all those old broken junkers/Thought I could tell/Underneath a coat of rust she was gold/No clunker”.

Originally ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’ was a Top Ten hit for Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers in 1956.  Here, Brian Wilson sings lead on the pleasant sounding doo-wop song, which begins: “Why do fools fall in love?/Why do birds sing so gay?/Love is awake at the break of day/Why do they fall in love?/Why does the rain fall from up above?/Why do fools fall in love?”  ‘Pom Pom Play Girl’ is a fun rock ‘n’ roll ditty penned by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher: “Since she’s the head cheerleader she dates the quarterback/And her best friend’s going out with the full back/She might even run for an office this Spring/And that ought to really make her telephone ring”.

Brian sings lead on ‘Keep an Eye on Summer’, a reflective song: “Those things I say in my letters/You’ll find them most sincere/Keep an eye on Summer this year/Soon we’ll be graduating and we’ll be so far apart/And though you could be dating/I’m waiting and waiting”.  Carl Wilson wrote the fun instrumental title track ‘Shut Down, Part II’.  It includes surf guitar and Mike Love on sax.

Richard Berry wrote ‘Louie Louie’ in 1955.  The Kingsmen had a hit with it in 1963.  The Beach Boys cover features Mike Love’s bass vocals.  Last up is ‘Denny’s Drums’ written by Dennis Wilson.  David Leaf notes: “This may have been the first drum solo recorded by a member of a vocal group”, in the liner notes to a CD-reissue of SURFER GIRL/SHUT DOWN VOLUME 2 in 1990.  An extended single version of ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ is one of the bonus tracks.  Another is ‘I Do’, a song Brian Wilson wrote.  Earlier, he had produced a version of the song for the Castells, but it didn’t chart.  The song is about marriage and makes use of bells: “Well, I heard from my folks time and time again/To make sure that I found the right one/And every time you meet your heart will beat/And you’ll want to say/You’ll say/’I do take you for my wife/For the rest of my life/Oh, yes I do’”.

Eight of the twelve songs on SHUT DOWN VOLUME 2 are fast paced rock ‘n’ roll songs, one of which is doo-wop.  On this album, the Beach Boys sound like they are having a lot of fun!  An appreciation for girls is the main lyrical theme, with cars coming in second.  This is definitely a youth oriented album.  Three of the songs of note are the energetic opener ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’, ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ which actually mentions making love, and the novelty song ‘Cassius’ Love Vs. ‘Sonny’ Wilson, which is good for a laugh.  I’m rating SHUT DOWN VOLUME 2 an 88%.  For more info visit: www.thebeachboys.com.