Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cars: Beach Boys

I break down the Murry Wilson-managed Beach Boys into three periods: Surf, Hot Rod and Brian Wilson's bedroom-written songs, his agoraphobic output.

It was a great creative time for the band - highly honed Pop songs with strong melodies and sharp harmonies, backed by some of Los Angeles' best session musicians. Here's a collection of Beach Boy car songs from the Hot Rod section of their career - enjoy!

Beach Boys: 409


This is about the Chevrolet 409, a 409 cubic inch W-series V8 engine popular with hot rodders of the day - it was dubbed Turbo-Fire, could generate up to 360 horsepower going zero to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds. One of the lyricists, Gary Usher, at the time was coveting the 409 (pictured above). The engine noises at the beginning of the tune were from Usher's Chevrolet 348, the W-series predecessor to the 409.

Beach Boys: Little Deuce Coupe


A deuce is a Ford car produced in 1932, the 2 in 1932 is the deuce. Most of them had big V8 engines and were perfect for drag racing - the one The Beach Boys sing about is the Ford Model B. The Model Bs were easily modified, the song mentions the flat head mill and lake pipes.

Beach Boys: Shut Down


Like Little Deuce Coupe, Shut Down is another Brian Wilson and Roger Christian composition. Mike Love's name was added as a result of a lawsuit filed by him against Wilson in the 1990s.

This one's about a drag race between a 413 cubic-inch Super-Stock 1962 Dodge Dart and a fuel injected 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. My money's on the Stingray.

Beach Boys: Fun, Fun, Fun


Fun, Fun, Fun, written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, was about Shirley England, the daughter of the owner of radio station KNAK in Salt Lake City, Utah. She borrowed her father's Ford Thunderbird to go study at the library but ended up at a hamburger stand instead. When her daddy found out, he took the T-bird away.

The Wilsons' father, Murry, claimed the song was immoral and tried to prevent the group from recording it - later, it became a top-five hit. In short time, Murry had The Beach Boys taken away and was fired as their manager.

Souped Up Bonus:

Beach Boys: I Get Around


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