Shut Down (Beach Boys song)

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"Shut Down"
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Surfin' U.S.A. and Little Deuce Coupe
A-side"Surfin' U.S.A."
ReleasedMarch 4, 1963
RecordedJanuary 5, 1963
GenreHot rod rock, car song[1]
LabelCapitol Records
Songwriter(s)Brian Wilson, Roger Christian
Producer(s)Nik Venet (or Murry Wilson[2])
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Ten Little Indians"
"Shut Down"
"Surfer Girl"
Endless Summer track listing

"Shut Down" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian for the American rock band the Beach Boys. The primary melody is a twelve-bar blues.[3] It was released on their 1963 album Surfin' U.S.A. and was also released on their 1963 album Little Deuce Coupe. It was also released as the B-side of the "Surfin' U.S.A." single. The single peaked at number 23 in the US on the 'Billboard' Hot 100 chart (number seven on the United Press International chart published in newspapers), and number 34 in the UK


The song details a drag race between a Super-Stock 413 cu. in.-powered 1962 Dodge Dart and a fuel-injected 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray and is derived from a longer poem by Christian. The song is sung from the perspective of the driver of the Sting Ray who brags that he will "shut down" the 413. (In hot rod racing slang, to "shut down" someone means to beat that person in a race.) While the implication is that the Sting Ray will win the race, the song ends before the end of the race with the 413 still in the lead, with the Sting Ray closing the gap. Although the race is often interpreted as having an inconclusive outcome, the lyrics in the outro refrain do state, "Shut it off, shut it off/Buddy now I shut you down", clearly indicating that the narrator, in his Corvette Stingray, has in fact won the race, as he tells the Dodge 413's driver to "shut off" the car's engine and accept the fact that he has just been "shut down". (It must be said however that many classic car enthusiasts and experienced muscle car drag racers have suggested over the years, that in actuality, all things being equal (ie. drivers of equal skill), an early 1960s SS Dodge Dart (most likely the 1962 Max Wedge variant) with its 413 cu. in. engine with twin 4-barrel carburetors ("dual quads") and ram-air induction, producing 410–420 horsepower, 460–470 torque, would have most likely easily beat an early '60s Chevy Corvette Stingray with its fuel injected 327 cu. in. engine producing roughly 350–360 horsepower, 352 torque. Also, the fact that the narrator even says that his "slicks" (tires) are starting to spin (lose traction) near the start of the race, and that the Dodge is "really digging in" with good traction, further suggests that it is highly unlikely that the singer's Stingray would have been able to catch up and overtake the superior powered and tractional Dodge Dart 413 in a ¼ mile drag race, even if he did power shift and ride the clutch enough to burn the pressure plates.)

The song was recorded and released by Jan & Dean on their 1982 album, One Summer Night/Live.



A live version was released on Hawthorne, CA and the song is also part of a live medley on Endless Harmony. A 2003 stereo remix of the song appeared on the Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys compilation. It also plays in the Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "The Great BMX Race", and is the basis for "Go, Putt-Putt" in Putt-Putt Enters the Race.


  1. ^ Hoffmann, Frank W.; Bailey, William G. (1990). Arts & Entertainment Fads, Volume 1. Binghampton: Haworth Press. pp. 61–62. ISBN 9780866568814.
  2. ^,23023.msg607875.html#msg607875
  3. ^ Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: The Songs, Sounds and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius, Lambert, Phillip, p.128

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