Don't Worry Baby
|"Don't Worry Baby"|
|Single by The Beach Boys|
|from the album Shut Down Volume 2|
|A-side||"I Get Around"|
|Released||May 11, 1964|
|Recorded||February 20th, 1964|
|Genre||Surf rock, pop|
|Writer(s)||Brian Wilson, Roger Christian|
|The Beach Boys singles chronology|
"Don’t Worry Baby" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian, produced by Wilson and first recorded by The Beach Boys. The band's version, a tender ballad with falsetto lead vocal by Brian, was first released on their 1964 album Shut Down Volume 2. It was also released as the B-side of The Beach Boys' first U.S. number-one hit single, "I Get Around", also reaching number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its own right. The single was released in the United States in May 1964 through Capitol Records. It was released a month later, in June 1964, in the United Kingdom.
The song "Don't Worry Baby" is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list. It is ranked as the 176th greatest song of all time in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and Pitchfork Media placed it at number 14 on its list of "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s".
Writing and recording
The song, as originally performed by the Beach Boys, is sung from the point of view of a teenager who reluctantly agrees to a challenge to race a rival after rashly bragging about his car, and is reassured by his girlfriend's plea to take her love with him when he races.
Brian Wilson cited the song as his attempt to capture the essence of his all-time favorite record, "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes, who would later cover this song. At one time, Wilson listened to his 45 record of the song he "could never do" up to 100 times a day.
The stereo mix of the song had been used on Shut Down Volume 2 when it was released in 1990 and 2001. A single mono mix appeared on the 20 More Good Vibrations compilation. On the 2008 Singles box set, a mono album version was used instead of the single mix. The original stereo mix of "Don't Worry Baby" had Brian's lead vocal hard-panned in the left channel, the instrumental track in the centre and backing vocals on the right. Thanks to the discovery of the lost multi-track masters in 2009, an alternate stereo mix was created from the analog master with the instrumental track and Brian's lead vocal placed in the middle channel while the backing vocals were shared between the left and right channels. This new stereo mix can be found on the 2009 compilation Summer Love Songs.
Lorrie Morgan sang lead vocals on the Beach Boys' 1996 Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 album and was their only venture into the genre of country music to date. This version peaked at number 73 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
- The Beach Boys
- Al Jardine – harmony and backing vocals; bass guitar
- Mike Love – harmony and backing vocals
- Brian Wilson – lead, harmony and backing vocals; piano
- Carl Wilson – harmony and backing vocals; lead guitar
- Dennis Wilson – harmony and backing vocals; drums
- Production staff
- Brian Wilson – producer
- Chuck Britz – audio engineer
The song has been played live at most Beach Boys concerts since its release. However with Brian Wilson's absence from the group the song has had many lead vocalist for its live versions.
Al Jardine sang lead on the song during the early '70s with Carl Wilson taking over in the late '70s. Brian Wilson sang the song live in 1981 in his brother Carl's absence. In the mid '80s Carl Wilson and backing musician Jeffrey Foskett shared the lead vocals. While in the early '90s singer Adrian Baker would take over on the lead. In the mid 90's Al Jardine's son Matt sang the lead. Following the departure of Matt Jardine, Adrian Baker once again sang the lead until his departure in 2003 in which bassist Randell Kirsch took over the lead.
Brian Wilson performed the song live during his solo concerts in which he took the lead. However in the late 2000s the lead was given to Jeffrey Foskett a member in Brian Wilson's backing band.
For The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour Jeffrey Foskett once again took the lead and continues to do so on current Beach Boys tours.
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- Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, covered this song on his only solo album, Two Sides of the Moon, with Dick Dale on solo guitar.
- New Zealand band Zed performed an uptempo rock-oriented cover version in 2003 on their album This Little Empire.
- Garbage's 1998 hit, "Push It", contains an interpolation of its chorus.
- The B.J. Thomas version has a slightly altered story, as a man waking up to his partner every morning, thinking that her love for him is fading, but his spirits rise as she reminds him how much she believes in him and loves him.
- Billy Joel performed the cover version of this song at "An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson (2001)". Before he sang, he mentioned that his daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, adored the song from Never Been Kissed and dedicated the song to her.
- New York Rock and Soul Revue, with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan, played this song live, with Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald and Phoebe Snow featured on lead vocals.
- Ronnie Spector covered the song on her She Talks to Rainbows EP.
- Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo in 1992 recorded a cover of the song which appears on Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo.
- Devonté Hynes of Lightspeed Champion covered the song in 2010 live on the BBC.
- Bryan Ferry
- the Everly Brothers
- the Bay City Rollers
- the Fun & Games
- Andy Pratt
- Unterberger, Richie. "Shut Down, Vol. 2 review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "500 songs that shaped rock and roll" 
- Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
- Video on YouTube
- Greg Panfile's Musical Analysis of "Don't Worry Baby"
- Video on YouTube
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics