Little Deuce Coupe

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Little Deuce Coupe
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 7, 1963[1]
  • April 19, 1962 ("409")
  • January 5 – September 2, 1963
StudioUnited Western Recorders, Hollywood
GenreHot rod rock[2]
ProducerBrian Wilson
The Beach Boys chronology
Surfer Girl
Little Deuce Coupe
Shut Down Volume 2
The Beach Boys UK chronology
Surfin' U.S.A.
Little Deuce Coupe
Beach Boys' Party!

Little Deuce Coupe is the fourth album by American rock band the Beach Boys, and their third album release in 1963. It reached number four in the United States during a 46-week chart stay, and was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA. It is considered to be one of the earliest examples of a rock concept album.[3]

The album was released three weeks after Surfer Girl. Four of the tracks from Little Deuce Coupe ("Shut Down", "409", "Our Car Club" and "Little Deuce Coupe") had already appeared on previous albums, and discounting an alternate recording of "Be True to Your School", no tracks from the album were issued as an A-sided single.


In the summer of 1963, Capitol Records compiled a "hot rod" compilation album called Shut Down, including the Beach Boys' song of the same name and "409"—without their approval or involvement. Brian Wilson promptly readied several songs he had already been working on (mainly with radio DJ Roger Christian) and the band hastily went through recording sessions to put Little Deuce Coupe on the record shop racks, remarkably, one month after Surfer Girl had come out. Eight of the tracks were new, while "Little Deuce Coupe", "Our Car Club", "Shut Down" and "409" had all come out on one of their previous three albums.


Although Nick Venet was listed as producer for "Shut Down" and Murry Wilson for "409", the official producer's credit for the entire Little Deuce Coupe album cites only Brian Wilson. Despite the rushed nature of the album's sessions, Brian Wilson's song arrangements were notably becoming more complex, specifically songs like "No-Go Showboat" and "Custom Machine". After its recording, Brian Wilson re-recorded "Be True to Your School" for single release on October 28, resulting in another top 10 hit. An original Christmas-themed composition, "Little Saint Nick" was also recorded that month and issued as a Christmas single.[4]

This was the last Beach Boys album to officially include rhythm guitarist David Marks until 2012's That's Why God Made the Radio. Both Marks and original member Al Jardine returned for the album's sessions as well as The Beach Boys' 50th Reunion Tour, though Marks, Jardine, and Brian Wilson were not invited to play with The Beach Boys later in the year.[5]

As with the preceding Surfer Girl album, the date assigned for recording all eight of the new tracks (September 2, 1963) is highly doubtful. However, as no AFM contracts from these sessions are known to exist, the actual dates are currently unknown.[6]

Title and cover art[edit]

The 1932 Ford that appeared on the cover, pictured in 2006

A Deuce Coupe is a 1932 Ford Coupe (deuce being for the year). This was considered by many to be the definitive "hot rod". The Model B had four cylinders and the Model 18 featured the Ford flathead V8 engine when the car was introduced. A pink slip (mentioned in the lyrics) was the title to the car, named for the color of the paper then used in California [7]

The picture featured on the front cover of the album was supplied by Hot Rod magazine, and features the body (with his head cropped in the photo) of hot-rod owner Clarence 'Chili' Catallo and his own customized three-window 1932 Ford Coupe – known to hot rod enthusiasts as "the lil' deuce coupe".[8][9]


Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[2]
Blender3/5 stars[10]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[12]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocal(s)Length
1."Little Deuce Coupe"Mike Love1:38
2."Ballad of Ole' Betsy"
  • Wilson
  • Christian
Brian Wilson2:15
3."Be True to Your School"
  • Wilson
  • Love
4."Car Crazy Cutie"
  • Wilson
  • Christian
B. Wilson2:47
5."Cherry, Cherry Coupe"
  • Wilson
  • Christian
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocal(s)Length
1."Shut Down"
  • Wilson
  • Christian
2."Spirit of America"
  • Wilson
  • Christian
B. Wilson2:23
3."Our Car Club"
  • Wilson
  • Love
  • Love
  • B. Wilson
4."No-Go Showboat"
  • Wilson
  • Christian
  • Wilson
  • Love
5."A Young Man Is Gone"Troupgroup2:15
6."Custom Machine"
  • Wilson
  • Love
1990/2001 CD reissue bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocal(s)Length
13."Be True to Your School" (single version)
  • Wilson
  • Love
14."All Dressed Up for School"B. WilsonCarl Wilson2:24
15."Little Honda" (alternate take)
  • Wilson
  • Love
16."Don't Back Down" (alternate take)
  • Wilson
  • Love
  • Some reissues of the album omit "Car Crazy Cutie" and "Custom Machine".[13]
  • Because "409" was only available in mono, a Duophonic (fake stereo) mix was used on the otherwise true stereo version of the album. Both stereo and mono mixes are available on the 2012 CD.
  • Mike Love was not originally credited for "Be True to Your School", "409", "Don't Back Down", and "Custom Machine". His credits were awarded after a 1994 court case.[13]


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ a b Allmusic review
  3. ^ Springer, Matt (October 7, 2015). "52 Years Ago: The Beach Boys Release a Concept Album About Cars, 'Little Deuce Coupe'". Ultimate Guitar.
  4. ^ Badman, Keith (2004). The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band, on Stage and in the Studio. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-87930-818-6.
  5. ^ "'It kinda feels like getting fired' -- Brian Wilson to Mike Love". Los Angeles Times. 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2020-06-05.
  6. ^ Murphy, James B. (2015-06-08). Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-7365-6.
  7. ^ vehicle ownership certificates.
  8. ^ Roy, Rex (August 27, 2009). "Surfers Met Rodders, and a Genre Was Born". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Wallace, Dave (October 19, 2012). "Little Deuce Coupe". Hot Rod.
  10. ^ Wolk, Douglas (October 2004). "The Beach Boys Little Deuce Coupe/All Summer Long". Blender. Archived from the original on June 30, 2006. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  11. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). London: Oxford University Press. p. 479. ISBN 978-0-19-531373-4.
  12. ^ Brackett, Nathan; with Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York, NY: Fireside/Simon & Schuster. p. 46. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ a b Doe, Andrew G. "Album Archive". Bellagio 10452. Endless Summer Quarterly.
  • Little Deuce Coupe / All Summer Long CD booklet notes, David Leaf, c.1990.
  • The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience, Timothy White, c. 1994.

External links[edit]