Thursday, 24 July 2014

REWIND: The Beach Boys - 'Wouldn't It Be Nice'

It's July, the sun has been out pretty much all week, and right now the temperature in my county of Wiltshire is soaring. So what better way to soundtrack this fine weather than with a classic by The Beach Boys? This eternal slice of pop magic and encapsulation of innocent abandon is the opening track from the seminal 'Pet Sounds', the album that turned them from 60s boyband into an innovative musical force. Brian Wilson (who composed and produced it) described the song as "what children everywhere go through ... wouldn't it be nice if we were older, or could run away and get married". A few years later he added that "'Wouldn't It Be Nice' was not a real long song, but it's a very 'up' song. It expresses the frustrations of youth, what you can't have, what you really want and you have to wait for it." The song expresses "the need to have the freedom to live with somebody," according to Brian. "The idea is, the more we talk about it, the more we want it, but let's talk about it anyway." The lyrics were mostly written by Tony Asher, with the odious Mike Love providing the "Good night my baby / sleep tight my baby" coda. The instrumental track was recorded at Gold Star Studios in January 1966. It took 21 takes of recording the instrumental track before Wilson decided that it was good enough to be the master take. 


  1. Gorgeous song. I find Pet Sounds to be vastly overrated as an album, but there are some gems on it and this is one of them. The only problem is that, once Brian got to this stage, he never got beyond it. Part of it was being pigeonholed with the "Beach Boys sound" and part was his mental and physical issues and the unrealistic attempt of his to keep up with the Beatles. Still, his mid-60s output is brilliant.

    1. I blame Mike Love for undermining Brian's confidence and criticising the band's more inventive direction. They weren't quite sure where to go with it afterwards. Still 'Holland', 'Surf's Up' and 'Wild Honey' have some great songs! and of course 'Smile'!