Let's Go Away for Awhile

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"Let's Go Away for Awhile"
Instrumental by The Beach Boys
from the album Pet Sounds
Released May 16, 1966
Recorded January 18–19, 1966
Studio United Western Recorders, Hollywood
Genre Progressive pop[1]
Length 2:25
Label Capitol
Composer(s) Brian Wilson
Producer(s) Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Wouldn't It Be Nice"
(1966) Wouldn't It Be Nice1966
"Good Vibrations"
(1966) String Module Error: Match not found1966
"Then I Kissed Her"
(1967) Then I Kissed Her1967
Audio sample

"Let's Go Away for Awhile" [sic] is an instrumental composed and produced by Brian Wilson for the American rock band the Beach Boys, although nobody from the group played on its recording. It was released as the sixth track on their 1966 album Pet Sounds, and is the first of two instrumentals that appear on the album, the other being its title track.[2]

The piece was intended to have a vocal, but Wilson ultimately decided that it did not need one. He later called it his favorite instrumental that he ever wrote,[3] and commented that it was possibly influenced by Burt Bacharach's music. Several months after the album's release, the track was issued as the B-side to the band's single "Good Vibrations".


The track was composed and produced by Brian Wilson and was originally titled "The Old Man and The Baby".[2] An early full working title was "Let's Go Away for Awhile (And Then We'll Have World Peace)"—the parenthetical being a reference to Del Close and John Brent's comedy album How to Speak Hip.[4] Tony Asher explained:

There was an album out called How to Speak Hip [...] a lampooning of the language instruction albums. I played it for Brian, and it destroyed him, killed him. Brian picked up a couple of references on the album. One of them was this hip character that said if everyone were 'laid back and cool, then we'd have world peace.' So Brian started going around saying, 'Hey, would somebody get me a candy bar, and then we'll have world peace.' [Brian] even made an acetate disc with a label on it with the title.[2]

Wilson speculated that he may have subconsciously based the chord progression similar to the way Burt Bacharach would construct his compositions, believing that Bacharach "had such a profound thing" which made Wilson go in a particular direction with his music.[5] Author Serene Dominic compared the piece to Bacharach's "Are You There (With Another Girl)", recorded by Dionne Warwick.[6]


The bulk of "Let's Go Away for Awhile" was recorded on January 18, 1966 at United Western Recorders. String and flute overdubs were recorded the next day.[7][2] Wilson stated: "We used dynamics like Beethoven. You know, Beethoven, the dynamic music maker."[5] In 1966, Wilson considered the track to be "the finest piece of art" he had made up to that point, and that every component of its production "worked perfectly".[8] A year later he expounded,

I applied a certain set of dynamics through the arrangement and the mixing and got a full musical extension of what I'd planned during the earliest stages of the theme. I think the chord changes are very special. I used a lot of musicians on the track; twelve violins, piano, four saxes, oboe, vibes, a guitar with a Coke bottle on the strings for a semi-steel guitar effect. Also, I used two basses and percussion. The total effect is 'Let's Go Away For Awhile', which is something everyone in the world must have said at some time or another. Nice thought; most of us don't go away, but it's still a nice thought. The track was supposed to be the backing for a vocal, but I decided to leave it alone. It stands up well alone.[4]

In 1995, it emerged that the final Pet Sounds session was originally intended to add vocals to "Let's Go Away for Awhile", but Capitol insisted that the session date be the only one used for the album's entire mixing.[9]

Other releases[edit]


Per Alan Boyd and Craig Slowinski.[7]

Session musicians

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ Dunsbee, Tony (2015). Gathered from Coincidence: A Singular History of Sixties' Pop. M-Y Books Ltd. p. 432. ISBN 978-1-909908-33-8.
  2. ^ a b c d Elliott, Brad (August 31, 1999). "Pet Sounds Track Notes". beachboysfanclub.com. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  3. ^ "Brian Answer's Fans' Questions In Live Q&A". January 29, 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b Linett, Mark (2001). "Track-by-Track Notes". In Pet Sounds (p. 19) [CD booklet]. Hollywood: Capitol Records, Inc.
  5. ^ a b The Pet Sounds Sessions: "The Making Of Pet Sounds" booklet (1996)
  6. ^ Dominic, Serene (2003). Burt Bacharach, Song by Song: The Ultimate Burt Bacharach Reference for Fans, Serious Record Collectors, and Music Critics. Music Sales Group. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-8256-7280-4.
  7. ^ a b Boyd, Alan; Slowinski, Craig (2016). "Pet Sounds Sessionography". Pet Sounds (CD Liner). The Beach Boys. Capitol Records.
  8. ^ "Brian Pop Genius!". Melody Maker. May 21, 1966.
  9. ^ Doe, Andrew; Tobler, John (2009). "The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – May 1966". In Charlesworth, Chris. 25 Albums that Rocked the World. Omnibus Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-85712-044-1.