That's Not Me

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For the 2014 song, see Skepta.

"That's Not Me"
Song by The Beach Boys from the album Pet Sounds
Released May 16, 1966
Recorded February 15, 1966; March(?) 1966
Western Studios[1]
Genre Psychedelic rock, art rock
Length 2:28
Label Capitol
Composer Wilson/Asher
Producer Brian Wilson
Pet Sounds track listing
Music sample

"That's Not Me" is a song by the American rock band the Beach Boys, the third track from their 1966 album Pet Sounds. The song was composed and produced by Brian Wilson with lyrics written by Tony Asher. It is a conventional rocker influenced by psychedelic drugs that inspired Brian Wilson to turn his attention inward and probe his deep-seated self-doubts.[2][3]


Tony Asher has expressed dissatisfaction with the lyrics for the song, describing them as "labored", and that he had "missed the mark".[4] In 1976, Brian stated, "I think That's Not Me reveals a lot about myself, just the idea that you're going to look at yourself and say, 'Hey, now look, that's not me, kind of square off with yourself and say 'this is me, that's not me'."[1] Brian stated in 1996, "This showcased Mike Love's voice. Listen for the twelve-string guitar right after the lyric 'I'm a little bit scared 'cause I haven't been home in a long time'."[citation needed] In 1996, Wilson also said that the song was "He just really nailed it, real powerful voice, very souped-up kind of a sound. Tony and I actually didn't even really realize who we were writing it for. We didn't really write for anybody; we just wrote the songs. So we had full carte blanche to create these songs."[5]


The basic track was recorded on February 15, 1966, with the additional instrumental track being recorded in either February or March.[1] The song consists of a strong buzzing organ presence, especially at the start; a characteristic prominent in psychedelic rock.[6] The minimalist arrangements and harmonic structures are in contrast with the rest of the album, but are equally revolutionary.[7] The arrangements are almost an avant-garde piece of rock music, given the structures are very subversive[8]

Brian had occasionally used session musicians in notable quantities since The Beach Boys Today! and though musical contributions by the band were not very consistent for Pet Sounds, "That's Not Me" features many of the Beach Boys playing the instruments. Brian Wilson plays organ, Carl Wilson plays guitar, and Dennis Wilson plays drums. Al Jardine has also been credited as playing tambourine, while Mike Love sings the lead vocal with the whole band singing background vocals. The whole band is featured on this one track as the liner notes imply:

The AFM contract for this date lists Brian, Carl, Dennis, Al and Bruce as having played on this track. However, on the surviving session tape, only Brian, Carl and Dennis are clearly audible on the basic track, which includes just drums, organ, one guitar, and tambourine. As Brian was on the studio floor. Bruce was in the control booth, helping Chuck Britz direct the session. The tambourine apparently was played by Al Jardine or an uncredited Terry Melcher; Brian has named the latter on at least one occasion.

Though Dennis Wilson has been reported as playing the drums, some sources suggest that Hal Blaine plays them.[9] Although it is unclear who is playing the tambourine, highlights from the session imply that it could be Al Jardine who is playing the tambourine with them. An overdub session came later with three instrumental parts.

The lead vocal was sung by Mike Love with Brian Wilson during February and March 1966 at Western Studios.


The Beach Boys
Additional musicians
  • A ^ It is possible the temple blocks could be played by Hal Blaine.
  • B ^ It is uncertain if Al Jardine or Terry Melcher plays the tambourine on this track.
  • C ^ It is uncertain if Dennis Wilson or Hal Blaine plays the drums on this track.
  • D ^ It is uncertain on the specific type or version of organ Brian Wilson plays.


  1. ^ a b c Elliott, Brad (August 31, 1999). "Pet Sounds Track Notes". Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  2. ^ J. DeRogatis, Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (Milwaukie, Michigan: Hal Leonard, 2003), ISBN 0-634-05548-8, p. 34.
  3. ^ "Stewart Mason review". Allmusic. 
  4. ^ Charles L. Granata, Wouldn't It Be Nice: Brian Wilson and the making of the Beach Boys' Pet sounds (Chicago Review Press), ISBN 1-55652-507-9, p. 93.
  5. ^ The Pet Sounds Sessions: "The Making Of Pet Sounds" booklet (1996)
  6. ^ D. W. Marshall, Mass Market Medieval: Essays on the Middle Ages in Popular Culture (Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2007), ISBN 0-7864-2922-4, p. 32.
  7. ^ Jim Fusilli, Pet Sounds,(Continuum International Publishing Group 2005), ISBN 0-8264-1670-5, p.55.
  8. ^ Jim Fusilli, Pet Sounds,(Continuum International Publishing Group 2005), ISBN 0-8264-1670-5, p.56.
  9. ^ Jim Fusilli, Pet Sounds,(Continuum International Publishing Group 2005), ISBN 0-8264-1670-5, p.55-56.

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