Marcella (song)

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Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"
B-side "Hold On Dear Brother"
Released June 26, 1972 (1972-06-26)
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded February 17, 1972 (1972-02-17)
Genre Rock
Length 3:54
Label Brother/Reprise
Producer(s) The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone"
"Sail On, Sailor"
Music sample

"Marcella" is a song written by Brian Wilson, Tandyn Almer and Jack Rieley for the American rock band The Beach Boys about a massage therapist.[1] It was released on their 1972 album Carl and the Passions – "So Tough". It is the last song to feature Bruce Johnston during his original tenure in the band.


The song branched from an earlier track entitled "I Just Got My Pay" (recorded during sessions for Sunflower) and an even earlier outtake recording called "All Dressed Up for School" from the Little Deuce Coupe sessions in 1963. These early versions appear on the box set Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys and the 2001 remastered edition of Little Deuce Coupe/All Summer Long, respectively.

According to Brian Wilson, "It represents one of the first times we tried to emulate The Rolling Stones. In my mind, it was dedicated to the Stones, but I never told them that. It's one of the rockingest songs I ever wrote."[2] According to Jack Rieley, the tune was named for a woman who was working as Brian's masseuse at the time. He explains:

...About that time Brian began talking in detail about a massage parlour in West Hollywood and one of the girls who worked there. At first he spoke only of going there for massages. Some days later he began going on and on about the masseuse who he said was turning him on.…The only thing I could think of to quell Brian's fixation was to channel it. Thus it was I who suggested Marcella as the title for a tune Brian had been working on. With my promise to write the Marcella lyric, he jumped into the project with immense enthusiasm. Brian, Carl, Desper and I worked hard on that record. Dennis helped too. The zither was a cool idea but it was mixed poorly. My lyric was minor... efficient at best.[3]

The vocal arrangement is characteristic for a Brian Wilson song, featuring various syncopated lines following each other, reminiscent of a post-processed tape delay effect.


"Marcella" was recorded on February 17, 1972 during the same session for "Out in The Country" and "Body Talk" at Brian Wilson's home studio.[4]


The Beach Boys
Additional musicians


  1. ^ Guy, Timothy (August 26, 2014). "FANTASY SPRINGS: Brian Wilson, Al Jardine bring 'Good Vibrations'". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Brian (2002). Classics Selected by Brian Wilson (CD Liner). The Beach Boys. Capitol Records. 
  3. ^ Jack Rieley's comments & Surf's Up
  4. ^ Doe, Andrew G. "GIGS72". Bellagio 10452. Endless Summer Quarterly.