Love to Say Dada

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"Love to Say Dada"
Song by The Beach Boys
from the album The Smile Sessions
ReleasedNovember 1, 2011 (2011-11-01)
RecordedMay–October 1967, Gold Star Studios and Brian Wilson's home studio
Composer(s)Brian Wilson
Producer(s)Brian Wilson
"In Blue Hawaii"
Song by Brian Wilson
from the album Brian Wilson Presents Smile
ReleasedSeptember 24, 2004 (2004-09-24)
RecordedApril 2004, Sunset Sound Recorders
Songwriter(s)Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks
Producer(s)Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson singles chronology
Good Vibrations
Our Prayer (Freeform Reform)

"Love to Say Dada" (also published as "I Love to Say Da Da") is an unfinished musical piece written and produced by Brian Wilson for American rock band the Beach Boys. When Wilson was completing his solo album, Brian Wilson Presents Smile, he enlisted Van Dyke Parks to include lyrics and complete it as a song. Abandoning the child theme first envisioned in 1967, the track was renamed "In Blue Hawaii" in 2004 and became the water component of the album's elemental suite.


The track originated from the Smile sessions, and was, for the most part, the last track recorded for the ill-fated album. Marilyn Wilson has recounted that the song was originally written about a baby, with Brian asking her for a bottle of chocolate milk to drink while he wrote and played the song on a piano with its strings taped.[1] According to Brian,

I had just moved into a new house on Bellagio Road in Bel Air, in March of 1967, and the first day I moved in, there was a piano there, and I went to the piano and wrote [the song]. I sat and wrote the gist of it.[2]

The song's title could be abbreviated to 'LSD' as a reference to the drug. This was a titling trend used during the psychedelic era, with other examples being the song "Love Seems Doomed" by the Blues Magoos and The Trip, which had a subheading that read: "A Lovely Sort of Death".[3][better source needed]


A near-complete backing track entitled "Love to Say Dada" was recorded in mostly instrumental form in between sessions for "Vega-Tables" throughout May 15–18, 1967 at Gold Star Studios. A session was also scheduled on May 19, but ended up being cancelled.[4] Wilson would later overdub a jazz scat "wah wah hoo wah" lead vocal recorded in varispeed before abandoning these complicated instrumental tracks entirely. During these May sessions, there is a take in which the sessions musicians close the track with a section of "Child Is Father of the Man". This section does not appear in any completed version of track, although Wilson does later revisit the section during a later piano rehearsal recorded at his home studio in the following months.[1]

In favor of the more sparse arranging style shown in Smiley Smile and Wild Honey (both 1967), Wilson revisited working on "Love to Say Dada" a couple of times throughout 1967, relying more on the Beach Boys' vocals as instrumental accompaniment rather than the Wall of Sound arranging style he had familiarized himself in. Some of this work was later released on the Smile portion of Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993), a boxed set which included much of the unreleased Smile material. Much of these 1967 sessions would also appear on Smile bootlegs and the official 2011 release of Smile Sessions box set.[1]

Several months later, the Beach Boys recorded a minute-long piece featuring heavily layered vocals that may or may not be heard as "water, water, water…". This piece was later incorporated three years later for the newly re-titled and re-recorded "Cool, Cool Water" found in the later Beach Boys album Sunflower (1970).[1] By the time Brian Wilson returned to the Smile project for his 2004 completed version of the album, he enlisted lyricist Parks to complete the song he would now call "In Blue Hawaii", bringing it back to its original arrangement, and includes the "water" chant as an intro to the rest of the track.


The Beach Boys


  1. ^ a b c d The Smile Sessions, 2011 liner notes and session tracks.
  2. ^ White, Timothy (2000). Sunflower/Surf's Up (Media notes). The Beach Boys. California: Capitol Records. 72435-27945-2-2.
  3. ^ Tobelman, Bill. "....the ZEN interpretation.. I Love To Say Dada." The Good Humor SMiLE Site!. p. 17.
  4. ^ Doe, Andrew G. "GIGS67". Retrieved 27 July 2013.

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