Never Learn Not to Love

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"Never Learn Not to Love"
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album 20/20
A-side "Bluebirds over the Mountain"
Released December 2, 1968
Format Vinyl
Recorded September 11–17, 1968,
Brian Wilson's home studio, Los Angeles
Genre Baroque pop
Length 2:07 (single)
2:31 (album)
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Dennis Wilson
Producer(s) Bruce Johnston, Carl Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Do It Again"
"Bluebirds over the Mountain"
"I Can Hear Music"
20/20 track listing

"Never Learn Not to Love" is a song recorded by the Beach Boys. It was released as a B-side to their 1968 single "Bluebirds over the Mountain" and subsequently appeared on their 1969 album 20/20.[1] On the Beach Boys album, the song is credited solely to Dennis Wilson despite being a reworking of a song by Charles Manson entitled "Cease to Exist".


Before the album commenced recording, Dennis had befriended a musician named Charles Manson, prior to Manson's role in the Helter Skelter murders, and decided to help him in the music industry by recording his "Cease to Exist" which was reportedly written by Manson for the group.[2] The song was reworked by Dennis Wilson for the Beach Boys, some of the lyrics were changed, and the music and melody was rewritten with less of a blues influence.[2] Part of the lyrical revisions included changing the opening lyric from, "Cease to exist" to "Cease to resist", which resulted in the title being changed to "Never Learn Not to Love".[3] Manson explicitly told Wilson that the words were not to be altered, though he could do what he liked with the music (in any event, the basic melody was largely unchanged). When "Never Learn Not to Love" was first released by the Beach Boys as a B-side in late 1968, and credited solely to Dennis Wilson—with altered lyrics and a new bridge—Manson threatened Wilson with murder.[4] According to Brian's collaborator Van Dyke Parks, when Manson once showed up to make good on his threat, Dennis beat him up. The Manson incident gave everyone a scare in the Beach Boys' camp—especially after his well-known crimes came to light.


On September 11 and 17, 1968 "Never Learn Not to Love" was recorded at Brian Wilson's home studio in Bel Air, California[5] with Dennis and Carl Wilson overseeing the production. The song was mixed in monaural for its single release, with no backwards cymbal intro found on the album version of the song.


The Beach Boys
Additional production staff

Cover versions[edit]

  • English dream pop band The Telescopes covered "Never Learn Not to Love" in 1990 for the b-side to their single Everso.


  1. ^ Badman, Keith. The Beach Boys. The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band: On Stage and in the Studio Backbeat Books, San Francisco, California, 2004. ISBN 0-87930-818-4 p. 29
  2. ^ a b Carlin A., Peter. Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. Rodale Inc, 2006, ISBN 1-59486-320-2 p. 138
  3. ^ McKinney, Devin (2003). Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream and History. UK: Harvard University Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-0674012028. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ Barlass, Tyler (July 16, 2008). "Song Stories - "Never Learn Not To Love" (1968)". 
  5. ^ Doe, Andrew G. (2012). "GIGS68". Retrieved October 26, 2012.