Beach Boys' Party!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Beach Boys' Party!
Studio album by The Beach Boys
Released November 8, 1965
Recorded September 8–27, 1965
Studio United Western Recorders, Hollywood
Length 31:10
Label Capitol
Producer Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys chronology
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
Beach Boys' Party!
Pet Sounds
The Beach Boys UK chronology
Little Deuce Coupe
Beach Boys' Party
Singles from Beach Boys' Party!
  1. "Barbara Ann"
    Released: November 8, 1965

Beach Boys' Party! is the tenth studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, and their third in 1965. Composed of mostly cover songs played with acoustic instruments, the album reached number 6 in the US and number 3 in the UK. It spawned one single, a cover of the Regents' "Barbara Ann", which reached number 2 in the US. In the UK, it became the Beach Boys' highest performing single yet, reaching number 3 in early 1966.

The album was created to buy time for Brian Wilson to produce Pet Sounds (1966), their next studio album.[2] The original release of Party! included a sheet of photographs which misleadingly depicted the band at a party.[3] The album was actually recorded in a music studio, presented as an impromptu live recording of a party with informal chatter by friends and family overdubbed later.[4] Because of its stripped-down approach, Party! is considered the first "unplugged" album.[5]

In 2015, Capitol issued Beach Boys' Party! Uncovered and Unplugged, an 81-track expansion and remix of Party!.

Background and recording[edit]

In August, after the release of Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), the Beach Boys' leader Brian Wilson was contemplating his next studio effort, which would turn out to be Pet Sounds. Capitol Records requested a new album for the holiday season. Since The Beach Boys' Christmas Album had been released the previous year, as had a live performance via Beach Boys Concert, the "live party" idea was selected to reflect the togetherness of the holiday spirit. Sporadically during September, the band and their friends rehearsed current and older hits (including revisiting the Rivingtons' "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow"). Although presented as a live recording, the individual songs were recorded carefully, and laughter and background chatter was mixed in during post-production.[3]

The album included versions of the Beatles' "Tell Me Why", "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "I Should Have Known Better"; "Devoted to You" by the Everly Brothers; the Phil Spector produced "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" and a send-up of their own "I Get Around" and "Little Deuce Coupe".[3] David Leaf noted: "In an era when rock stars were beginning to take themselves more seriously, the Beach Boys showed how natural it was to make fun of themselves."[3]

Author Geoffrey Himes wrote that the party theme was created to justify the casual arrangements.[6] Music theorist Daniel Harrison writes: "Party was an exercise in minimalistic production ... The performances seem unrehearsed, the instrumental support is minimal (acoustical guitar, bongo drums, tambourine), and fooling around (laughing, affected singing, background conversation) pervades every track."[7] It was Wilson's first exploration in "party tracks", a form of music which includes the sounds of people shouting and making noises as if at a party.[nb 1] He would later continue this approach with Smiley Smile in 1967.[8]

Several other songs were also recorded, but not put on the album. This included renditions of the Drifters' "Ruby Baby",[nb 2] the Beatles' song "Ticket to Ride", the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind", the Robins' "Riot In Cell Block #9",[nb 3] and several other songs,[ambiguous] all of which were released in its 2015 expanded remix.[citation needed]


In order to promote the album, Capitol distributed to dealers a million bags of potato chips which bore the album's cover art. The label also coordinated a motion floor merchandiser containing five Beach Boys LPs, full-color streamers for window displays, and full-scale radio and newspaper advertising.[9]


Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]

Billboard evaluated that Party! would have strong sales potential: "The boys have a ball performing in this intimate, ad-lib program of hot material. ... [an] exciting, discotheque package."[10]

In November 1965, the Beach Boys released the non-album single "The Little Girl I Once Knew" which repeatedly used a measure of silence in the arrangement and was reportedly disliked by radio programmers owing to their avoidance of having "dead air",[11] this has been cited as being partially responsible for the single stalling at US number 20. Still wanting to play new material by the band, radio disc jockeys around the United States began starting to play the last track of Party! straight off the LP, a cover of The Regents' "Barbara Ann". After receiving good listener's response, "Barbara Ann" was promptly issued as a single by Capitol when they started hearing from radio programmers, and became a number 2 hit in early 1966.[3]

In a retrospective review, Richie Unterberger wrote: "In recent years, this album has gone up a few notches in critical esteem, praised for its loose, casual feel and insight into the group's influences. Realistically, though, its present-day appeal lies mostly with dedicated fans of the group, as fun and engaging as it is. Others will find the material shopworn in places, and the presentation too corny."[2] Writer Jim Fusilli said: "This Beach Boys Party! really blows. ... They mock 'I Get Around' and 'Little Deuce Coupe.' Imagine doing that–mocking your own work, music some people cherish."[12]


  • In 1997, the Canadian Indie Rock group Sloan, released an EP entitled Recorded Live at a Sloan Party! (a.k.a. The Party Album) as a bonus disc to the US release of One Chord To Another in homage to the Beach Boys' Party! LP. Like the Beach Boys' Party! album, Recorded Live At A Sloan Party! mixes acoustic versions of old classics and songs originally written and recorded by other artists, and presents a supposed gathering that was actually constructed in the studio.[citation needed]
  • Rivers Cuomo revealed that the Beach Boys' Party! album inspired Weezer's 2008 "Hootenanny Tour," in which fans would be invited to bring their own instruments to play along with the band. Cuomo also named it as his favorite all-time Summer album in a July 2008 issue of Entertainment Weekly.[13]
  • In 2003, Netherlands pop-punk band The Travoltas released Party! in homage to the Beach Boys' Party! which includes acoustic covers of Beach Boys and other surf-rock tracks. Like the original Beach Boys' Party! album and subsequent tribute albums (e.g. Live at a Sloan Party!), the album includes the ambient sounds of a party, spontaneous-sounding singalongs, glasses clanking, etc.[citation needed]
  • In 2013 indie-rock band Hellogoodbye released a live album entitled Did It Kill You? (reference to their album Would It Kill You?. The album was recorded live, acoustic, referenced Beach Boys' Party! and contained a cover of "Barbara Ann".[citation needed]

Alternate releases[edit]

In 1990, Beach Boys' Party! was paired on CD with Stack-O-Tracks with bonus instrumental tracks. The bonus instrumental tracks include "Help Me, Rhonda", "California Girls", and "Our Car Club".[3] In 2012, the first stereo mix of Beach Boys' Party! was released.[14]

On November 20, 2015, Capitol issued an 81-track expanded remix, Beach Boys' Party! Uncovered and Unplugged, containing the original album without overdubs followed by a selection of outtakes culled from the album's original five recording sessions.[14]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocal(s) Length
1. "Hully Gully" (The Olympics) Fred Smith/Cliff Goldsmith Mike Love 2:22
2. "I Should Have Known Better" (The Beatles) John Lennon/Paul McCartney Carl Wilson/Al Jardine 1:40
3. "Tell Me Why" (The Beatles) Lennon–McCartney Jardine/C. Wilson 1:46
4. "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" (The Rivingtons) Carl White/Al Frazier/Sonny Harris/Turner Wilson Jr. Brian Wilson/Love 2:18
5. "Mountain of Love" (Harold Dorman) Harold Dorman Love 2:51
6. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" (The Beatles) Lennon–McCartney Dennis Wilson 2:56
7. "Devoted to You" (The Everly Brothers) Boudleaux Bryant Love/B. Wilson 2:13
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocal(s) Length
1. "Alley Oop" (The Hollywood Argyles) Dallas Frazier Love 2:56
2. "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" (The Crystals) Phil Spector/Leroy Bates B. Wilson 3:05
3. "Medley: "I Get Around" / "Little Deuce Coupe"   Brian Wilson/Mike Love/Roger Christian Love 3:12
4. "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (Bob Dylan) Bob Dylan Jardine 2:23
5. "Barbara Ann" (The Regents) Fred Fassert B. Wilson/Dean Torrence 3:23


The Beach Boys
Additional musicians


Year Chart Position
1965 German Albums Chart[15] 4
1966 UK Top 40 Album Chart 3
1966 US Billboard 200 Albums Chart 6
Year Single Chart Position
1966 "Barbara Ann" US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart 2
1966 "Barbara Ann" UK Top 40 Single Chart 3

Chart information courtesy of Allmusic and other music databases.[16][not in citation given]


  1. ^ The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" and Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women ♯12 & 35" (1966) were similar examples of party tracks.[8]
  2. ^ First released on Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993).[citation needed]
  3. ^ Later be played live in the early 1970s, and subsequently reworked as "Student Demonstration Time" for the Beach Boys' Surf's Up album.[citation needed]