Don't Worry Baby

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"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
Format Vinyl
Recorded January 7, 1964, United Western Recorders, Hollywood
Genre California Sound[1]
Length 2:47
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Brian Wilson, Roger Christian
Producer(s) Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Fun, Fun, Fun"
"I Get Around"
"When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"
Shut Down Volume 2 track listing
Endless Summer track listing
Music sample

"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.[2] 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".[3]


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.

David Howard wrote that "Don't Worry Baby" was a "subtle harbinger for the growing dichotomy within the California Sound. While 'I Get Around' symbolized the sunshine ideal in all its carefree splendor, 'Don't Worry Baby' suggested something entirely more pensive and even slightly dark underneath its pristine facade."[1]

Recording and production[edit]

Recording took place on January 7, 1964 at United Western Recorders' Studio 3, Hollywood.[4][5] Vocals and guitars were overdubbed one or two days later. Take 12 was used for the master.[4] Brian Wilson cited the song as his attempt to capture the essence of his all-time favorite record, "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes. At one time, Wilson listened to his 45 record of the song he "could never do" up to 100 times a day.[citation needed]


Track details courtesy of session archivist Craig Slowinski.[4]

The Beach Boys
Production staff
  • Brian Wilson – producer
  • Chuck Britz – audio engineer


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.[citation needed]

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.[6]

Live versions[edit]

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, including Al Jardine and Matthew Jardine. 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.[citation needed]


The production of "Don't Worry Baby" formed the basis of the Byrds' recording of "Mr. Tambourine Man".[7] Garbage's 1998 single, "Push It", contains an interpolation of its chorus, and Wilson/Christian were given songwriting credits.[8]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b Howard 2004, p. 57.
  2. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  4. ^ a b c Craig, Slowinski (2014). Keep an Eye On Summer 1964 (Digital Liner). Mirror. Capitol Records. 
  5. ^ Doe, Andrew Grayham. "GIGS64". Endless Summer Quarterly. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  6. ^ Whitburn 2013, p. 37.
  7. ^ Howard 2004, pp. 61–62.
  8. ^ Eden, Dawn (1998-05-01). Short Takes; Garbage Version 2.0. Record Collector. pp. 136, 137. 


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