A day spent near the beach was perfect for todays selection, “All Summer Long” by the Beach Boys. Believe it or not, by July of 1964, this was actually their 6th album. It continued to demonstrate the advancing production capabilities of Brian Wilson, as well as his more prominent role on lead vocals. This album also was the beginning of their shift away from surfing and cars as their primary song topics, and you can see the early roots of Brian’s experimental shift taking hold here.
“I Get Around” is the most well-known track on the album, and it is a great one, but there are some less prominent gems as well. The title track “All Summer Long” is perfect in theme and in harmonies. “Little Honda” is a motorcycle song, not a car song, but it is a classic Mike Love-led track with supporting vocals from Dennis Wilson. “Wendy”, ultimately a name Brian chose for one of his daughters, is another stunning harmony-rich melody, as is “Girls on the Beach”.
As noted, there are some more experimental moments here. “Carl’s Big Chance” is an odd guitar instrumental, and “Our Favorite Recording Sessions” comes across to me as a fairly altered state recording, even if it wasn’t intended that way.
Rivalries stretched across the ocean, as Brian Wilson continued to push the boundaries of pop music just as Lennon and McCartney were doing back in the UK. This sensation only gets more profound from here, but this album is a nice intro and somewhat of a farewell to the early days for the Beach Boys all at the same time.