In My Room
|"In My Room"|
|Single by The Beach Boys|
|from the album Surfer Girl|
|A-side||"Be True to Your School"|
|Released||October 28, 1963 |
|Recorded||July 16, 1963|
|The Beach Boys singles chronology|
"In My Room" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher for the American rock band The Beach Boys. It was released on their 1963 album Surfer Girl. It was also released as the B-side of the "Be True to Your School" single. The single peaked at number 23 in the U.S. (the A-side peaked at number 6, for a two-sided top-40) and was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. "In My Room" was ranked number 212 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Writing the song
Gary Usher explained that
"'In My Room' found us taking our craft a little more seriously. Brian and I came back to the house one night after playing 'over-the-line' (a baseball game). I played bass and Brian was on organ. The song was written in an hour... Brian's melody all the way. The sensitivity... the concept meant a lot to him. When we finished, it was late, after our midnight curfew. In fact, Murry [the Wilson brothers' father] came in a couple of times and wanted me to leave. Anyway, we got Audree [the Wilson brothers' mother], who was putting her hair up before bed, and we played it for her. She said, 'That's the most beautiful song you've ever written.' Murry said, 'Not bad, Usher, not bad,' which was the nicest thing he ever said to me."
Gary Usher (who co-wrote the lyrics with Brian Wilson) further describes that "Brian was always saying that his room was his whole world." Brian seconds this opinion: "I had a room, and I thought of it as my kingdom. And I wrote that song, very definitely, that you're not afraid when you're in your room. It's absolutely true."
In 1990, Brian wrote,
"I also enjoyed producing 'In My Room'. There is a story behind this song. When Dennis, Carl and I lived in Hawthorne as kids, we all slept in the same room. One night I sang the song 'Ivory Tower' to them and they liked it. Then a couple of weeks later, I proceeded to teach them both how to sing the harmony parts to it. It took them a little while, but they finally learned it. We then sang this song night after night. It brought peace to us. When we recorded 'In My Room', there was just Dennis, Carl and me on the first verse...and we sounded just like we did in our bedroom all those nights. This story has more meaning than ever since Dennis' death."
Demo version and final release
The 1993 CD box set, Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys, contains an early version of "In My Room" with a number of differences from the eventual official release. It is unclear if this fully developed demo was recorded the same day as the final version on July 16, 1963. The tune features six Beach Boys: both Al Jardine (on vocals) and David Marks (whose strumming guitar backs up Carl Wilson's picked solo notes) are present. This was the last of eight charting songs to include Marks until nearly 50 years later, performing on 2012's That's Why God Made the Radio.
The demo begins with an intro that was later scrapped, and launches into the first verse with full group vocals, unlike the finished recording. There, as previously mentioned, the single brings in Brian Wilson's voice first, then his brother Carl Wilson and finally Dennis Wilson. Then the final version adds, in the title/hook, Al Jardine, and Mike Love's bass voicing which both join in to complete the vocal mix.
The Beach Boys also recorded a German version of the song under the title Ganz allein, with lyrics written by a former German girlfriend of Mike Love's. The German version was first released on the 1983 album Rarities, and later as a bonus track on the 2001 CD re-release of the Surfer Girl album.
"In My Room" remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks, peaking at #23 in 1963. In the UPI (United Press International) weekly survey it was #17 nationally, upheld by its widespread success across the country wherever it was treated as an A-side:
- 1 in Boston and Seattle
- 2 San Francisco;
- Top 10 Washington DC, Houston, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Columbus.
Recognition and cover versions
- David Crosby of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young) admitted to being an admirer of the song, quoting "'In My Room' was the defining point for me. When I heard it, I thought 'I give up—I can't do that—I'll never be able to do that.'" He sang a trio cover version with Jimmy Webb and Carly Simon on "An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson (2001)." The song was among John Cale's selections for Desert Island Discs.
- A remake by Gary Usher's own band, Sagittarius, peaked at #86 in 1969.
- Wilson Phillips included a cover of the song as the closing track to their 2004 studio album California. This version includes vocals by Brian Wilson.
- A recording by E.G. Daily & the Sydney Children's Choir appears in the 2006 computer-animated film Happy Feet.
- A cover of "In My Room" by Grant Lee Buffalo appears on the soundtrack to the Friends television series. The song was used in a Season Two episode entitled "The List".
- A cover of "In My Room" was recorded by Best Coast on their Make You Mine EP.
- The lyrics of "In My Room" were part of the inspiration for the song "Brian Wilson" by Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies ("Lying in bed/just like Brian Wilson did"). Written by Steven Page, "Brian Wilson" tells the story of a man whose life parallels that of Brian Wilson, particularly during his time spent with psychologist Eugene Landy after he was diagnosed with mental illness.
- Version played on Jimmy Buffett's "Live in Anguilla" CD (2007) Jimmy Buffett and Jake Shimabukuro sing duet "In my Room" on Disc 2, cut 6
- Pianist Larry Goldings arranged "In My Room" in E major for his 2011 CD of the same name.
- Jann Arden did a cover of "In My Room" on her album Uncover Me 2 in 2011.
- Danny Gatton recorded an instrumental version of "In My Room" on his album 88 Elmira St.
- Brian Wilson: Lead Vocals, Bass
- Mike Love: Backing Vocals
- Carl Wilson: Backing Vocals, Guitar
- Dennis Wilson: Backing Vocals, Drums
- Al Jardine: Backing Vocals
- David Marks: Guitar
- Maureen Love: Harp
- Hal Blaine: Percussion
- 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. p. 42
- "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
- Badman, Keith- The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band on Stage and in the Studio- Pg. 39- 2004- Backstreet Books- San Francisco- ISBN 0-87930-818-4.
- Stebbins, Jon (2007). The Lost Beach Boy. London: Virgin Books Ltd. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-85227-391-0.
- Lambert, Philip (2007). Inside the Music of Brian Wilson. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-8264-1877-7.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2006 ISBN 0-89820-172-1 and ISBN 978-0-89820-172-7