The Beach Boys Today!

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The Beach Boys Today!
Studio album by The Beach Boys
Released March 8, 1965 (1965-03-08)
Recorded June 22–October 9 / December 16, 1964; January 7–19, 1965,
United Western Recorders and Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles
Genre Rock, pop
Length 28:54
Label Capitol
Producer Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys chronology
The Beach Boys' Christmas Album
(1964)
Today!
(1965)
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
(1965)
The Beach Boys UK chronology
Beach Boys' Party!
(1966)
Today!
(1966)
Pet Sounds
(1966)
Singles from Today!
  1. "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"/"She Knows Me Too Well"
    Released: August 24, 1964 (1964-08-24)
  2. "Dance, Dance, Dance"
    Released: October 26, 1964 (1964-10-26)
  3. "Do You Wanna Dance?"/"Please Let Me Wonder"
    Released: February 15, 1965 (1965-02-15)

The Beach Boys Today!, also known simply as Today!,[1][2] is the eighth studio album by the American rock group the Beach Boys, and their first of three 1965 releases. Although few realized the significance of the album at the time, Today! marked a major transition point for the band; notably Brian Wilson's sophisticated, orchestral approach.[3] Wilson later disclosed[where?] that he had begun using marijuana during December 1964 as a stress reliever, but became a regular user after he realized the profound effect it had on the way he perceived music.

The tracks on the first half of Today! feature an electric guitar-rock oriented sound that contrasts the second half consisting of ballads, showing an increased mature lyrical depth that would foreshadow future efforts like Pet Sounds.[4][5][6] The second side marks Wilson's continuing maturation as a recording artist; all the songs (sans comedy filler track "Bull Session") showcase creatively developed vocal & instrumental arrangements, complex Wall of Sound production, and lyrically introspective subject matter.

The Beach Boys Today! is one of the most acclaimed albums of the Beach Boys' career, making multiple 'Best of' lists. In 2012, the album was voted 271st on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[7] In 2005, it was included in the musical reference book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Background[edit]

By the end of a particularly stressful 1964, the Beach Boys had released four albums in 12 months, dismissed the Wilsons' father Murry from his managerial position and recorded the advance hit singles "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)" and "Dance, Dance, Dance."[3] Mid-1964 also saw the divorce of Mike Love from his first wife Frances St. Martin whom he had married in 1961.[8] During the album's recording sessions, Love told Melody Maker that he and the band wanted to look beyond surf rock, wanting to avoid living in the past or resting on the band's laurels.[9]

At this point band leader Brian Wilson became physically and emotionally exhausted to a point he suffered an anxiety attack on December 23, 1964.[10] During the recording sessions of Today! in January 1965, he informed the band that he intended to retire from touring and solely focus his attention on creating and producing music.[3] The band reluctantly agreed, and after a brief period with Glen Campbell touring in Brian's place, Bruce Johnston, former partner with Terry Melcher in The Ripchords, became the Beach Boys' live bassist in April 1965.[4] Correspondingly during this period, Wilson began to rely on noted record producer Phil Spector's group of talented session musicians (informally known as the Wrecking Crew) while arranging and producing the backing tracks for majority of the album. He would continue to use these musicians for the next two years.

The front cover lists nine of the album's tracks, followed by "plus three great new songs written by Brian Wilson." However, the remaining three tracks include a cover, "I'm So Young"; and the interview track "Bull Session with the "Big Daddy"". Only "In the Back of My Mind" was another Brian Wilson composition.

"Help Me, Ronda" would later be re-recorded as "Help Me, Rhonda" to deliver the Beach Boys their second number one hit in May.[11]

Releases and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[12]
Blender 4/5 stars[13]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[14]
The Guardian positive[15]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[16]

Despite being a departure from the Beach Boys sound that pervaded prior efforts, the album was a commercial success; Today! climbed to number four in the US chart during a chart stay of 50 weeks[17] and also reached number six in the British chart during the summer of 1966.[18][19] Singles "Do You Wanna Dance?", "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)" and "Dance, Dance, Dance" had all charted.

In the early 1980s, as part of Capitol Records' repackage series of their Beach Boys albums, Today! was retitled Dance Dance Dance and had two tracks deleted: "In the Back of My Mind" and "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'". This was one of several Beach Boys releases not to be issued in true stereophonic sound. Originally, Capitol issued the album in mono, as well as "duophonic". In 2012, a complete stereo mix of Today! was finally released for the first time.[20]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Guardian United Kingdom 1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die[21] 2007 *
Rolling Stone United States The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[7] 2012 271
Robert Dimery United States 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[22] 2005 *

(*) denotes an unordered list

Live performances[edit]

All but two of the songs from the album (not including the non-hit version of "Help Me, Ronda") have been played live by either The Beach Boys or Brian Wilson.[23] "Do You Wanna Dance?" and "Dance, Dance, Dance" have been semi-regular staples in the Beach Boys live set.[23] Other songs that have been played live include "Good to My Baby", "I'm So Young", "She Knows Me Too Well", "Kiss Me, Baby", "Please Let Me Wonder" "When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)", and "In the Back of My Mind".[24]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Do You Wanna Dance?" (Bobby Freeman) Dennis Wilson 2:19
2. "Good to My Baby"   B. Wilson with Love 2:16
3. "Don't Hurt My Little Sister"   Love with B. Wilson 2:07
4. "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"   Love with B. Wilson 2:01
5. "Help Me, Ronda"   Al Jardine 3:08
6. "Dance, Dance, Dance" (B. Wilson/Carl Wilson/Love) Love with B. Wilson 1:59
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Please Let Me Wonder"   B. Wilson with Love 2:45
2. "I'm So Young" (William H. "Prez" Tyus, Jr.) B. Wilson 2:30
3. "Kiss Me, Baby"   Love with B. Wilson 2:35
4. "She Knows Me Too Well"   B. Wilson 2:27
5. "In the Back of My Mind"   D. Wilson 2:07
6. "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'" (The Beach Boys) none (spoken word) 2:10

Personnel[edit]

The Beach Boys in 1965

Sourced from Musician's Union AFM contract sheets and surviving session audio, documented by Craig Slowinski.[25]

The Beach Boys
Additional musicians and production staff

Sales chart positions[edit]

Albums
Year Chart Position
1965 German Albums Chart[26] 14
1965 US Billboard 200 Albums Chart[17] 4
1965 UK Top 40 Album Chart[27] 6
Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1964 "Dance, Dance, Dance" US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart 8
1964 "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)" US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart 9
1965 "Do You Wanna Dance?" US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart 12
1965 "Please Let Me Wonder" US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart 52

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Today!". Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "Richie Unterberger review of Today!". Allmusic. 
  3. ^ a b c Leaf, David (1990).Today!/Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) (1990 CD liner notes)
  4. ^ a b http://www.allmusic.com[1]
  5. ^ "Dance, Dance, Dance". Allmusic. 
  6. ^ "Sessionography". In Today! [CD booklet]. Los Angeles: Capitol Records
  7. ^ a b "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: The Beach Boys, 'The Beach Boys Today'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  8. ^ http://esquarterly.com/bellagio/1964.html
  9. ^ Welch, C 1964, 'Beach Boys Brought their own vegetables - so audiences beware!, Melody Maker, 14 November, p.10
  10. ^ White, Timothy (1994). "The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience"
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002) "Top Pop Singles 1955-2001"
  12. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Today! - The Beach Boys : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  13. ^ Blender review
  14. ^ The Virgin Encyclopedia Of Popular Music, Concise (4th Edition), Virgin Books (UK), 2002, ed. Larkin, Colin.
  15. ^ Today! - The Beach Boys: The Guardian review, Saturday 17 November 2007
  16. ^ The Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd Edition) Random House (US), 1992, ed. Anthony DeCurtis ISBN 0-679-73729-4
  17. ^ a b "Today! - The Beach Boys: Awards". AllMusic. 
  18. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Beach Boys Today by The Beach Boys Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013. 
  19. ^ Brown, Tony (2000). "The Complete Book of the British Charts"
  20. ^ "Review: The Beach Boys Remasters, Part Two: The Album-by-Album Guide « The Second Disc". Theseconddisc.com. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  21. ^ 1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die, The Guardian, Saturday 17 November 2007
  22. ^ Dimery, Robert (February 7, 2005). "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.". Universe. New York, NY (ISBN 0-7893-1371-5). p. 910. 
  23. ^ a b "The Beach Boys Tour Statistics". setlist.fm. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "The Beach Boys Tour Statistics". setlist.fm. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Craig Slowinski (2007). "The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today!". Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Album Search: The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys Today!" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  27. ^ "UK Top 40 Hit Database". EveryHit. 

External links[edit]