Let Him Run Wild

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"Let Him Run Wild"
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
A-side "California Girls"
Released July 5, 1965 (1965-07-05) (album)
July 12, 1965 (1965-07-12) (single)
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded March 20 (20-03)–May 28, 1965 (1965-05-28), United Western Recorders and CBS Columbia Square, Hollywood
Genre Ballad, soul
Length 2:20
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Brian Wilson, Mike Love
Producer(s) Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Help Me, Rhonda"
"California Girls"
"The Little Girl I Once Knew"
Endless Summer track listing
Music sample

"Let Him Run Wild" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for the American rock band the Beach Boys. It was released on their 1965 album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) and as the B-side to "California Girls". Sibling bandmates Carl and Dennis Wilson later praised the song, calling it the point where they began to take notice of Brian's abilities.[1][2] It was one of the first songs that Brian wrote while under the influence of marijuana.[3]

According to Brian, the song is "about a girl who was dating a guy who didn’t stay close to her. The guy singing wants the girl to let her boyfriend run around and eventually leave her so he can come in and get her. He wants a bad thing to happen so that it’ll turn into a good thing.[3]


A soulful ballad,[4] the song is said to have been inspired by Burt Bacharach[5][6] while also foreshadowing the relatively complex music dynamics of Pet Sounds several months later.[7][8] Author Jim Fusilli explained, "[it] is a gorgeous track, albeit a bit busy at the chorus when compared to what's ahead, with major seventh chords that ring beautifully. The song's subtle horn charts, prominent tremolo bass, the vibraphone, and the sweet, pensive section after the chorus portend the sounds of a forthcoming classic."[9] MOJO wrote: "With key and tempo changes bolder and weirder than anything before, this was Brian's signpost to the psychedelic country up ahead."[10]

With production by Brian Wilson and engineering by Chuck Britz,[11] the instrumental was recorded on March 20, 1965 at United Western Recorders, Hollywood.[12] A few weeks later, vocals were overdubbed at CBS Columbia Square with a final mix occurring on May 28.[11] Brian later reflected that his vocal on the track was too shrill, saying, "I sounded like a little girl,"[13] and "I sounded like a fairy," naming it his least favorite Beach Boys recording.[14]


Sourced from Musician's Union AFM contract sheets and surviving session audio, documented by Craig Slowinski.[11][15]

The Beach Boys
Additional musicians


  • An instrumental version is found on the 1968 Stack-O-Tracks compilation.
  • The 1990–2001 reissue of Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) includes among the bonus tracks a version of the song with alternate backing vocals.[8]
  • The 2007 compilation The Warmth of the Sun featured the first stereo mix of the song.

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Comments by Carl Wilson". The Pet Sounds Sessions (Booklet). The Beach Boys. Capitol Records. 1997. 
  2. ^ Felton, David (November 4, 1976). "The Healing of Brother Brian: The Rolling Stone Interview With the Beach Boys". Rolling Stone. 
  3. ^ a b Wilson, Brian; Greenman, Ben (2016). I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-82307-7. 
  4. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2002). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul. Backbeat Books. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-87930-653-3. 
  5. ^ Kent, Nick; Pop, Iggy (2009-03-01). The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music Updated Edition. Perseus Books Group. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7867-3074-2. 
  6. ^ Hoskyns, Barney (2009). Waiting for the Sun: A Rock 'n' Roll History of Los Angeles. Backbeat Books. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-87930-943-5. 
  7. ^ Greenwalk, Matthew. "Song review". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Leaf, David (1990). Today/Summer Days (CD Liner). The Beach Boys. Capitol Records. 
  9. ^ Fusilli, Jim (2005-02-11). The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-4411-4099-9. 
  10. ^ Mojo Staff (April 24, 2015). "The Beach Boys' 50 Greatest Songs". MOJO. 
  11. ^ a b c Craig Slowinski (2007). "The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today!" (PDF). Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  12. ^ Doe, Andrew G. (2013). "GIG65". Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  13. ^ Carlin, Peter Ames. Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. 
  14. ^ Sharp, Ken (January 2006). "Christmas with Brian Wilson". Record Collector. United Kingdom: 72–76. 
  15. ^ Craig Slowinski (2009). "The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)" (PDF). Retrieved October 27, 2012.