What would July 4th be without The Beach Boys? In selecting the single for this feature, I initially wanted to highlight the ultimate summertime song, “All Summer Long,” but, surprisingly, it was not initially released as a single in the US, although it was a popular album cut, and was released in various formats after the band’s successful years.
The second definitive Beach Boys single is, of course, “California Girls.” It’s a paean to the girls of the United States, whilst showing special allegiance to the girls of their home state. It’s a powerhouse of a song, too, with everything right: Brian Wilson‘s compositional skills are superior, Mike Love‘s excellent singing, an a complex arrangement featuring the work of both the Wrecking Crew and the Wilson harmonies. One simply need close their eyes whilst listening and one will envision the beach, the beautiful boys and girls on the beach, and an endless summer.
The flipside, “Let Him Run Wild” was a song that highlighted Wilson’s more introspective side. It foreshadowed that softer, melancholic style that would soon be found on Today! and Pet Sounds. Brian’s singing is angelic, of course, with him slipping into his falsetto. Again, it’s Wilson at his finest, and one of the great Beach Boys songs. It’s also notable that it is one of the last recordings the band made using only the original group members.
This little single shows that they were a changing band, but the sad truth of their descent into the legendary mess they became isn’t evident.
Oh, and here’s “All Summer Long.” Enjoy and have a fun, safe Independence Day!