The instrumental has been cited as one forerunner to the type of arrangements Brian Wilson would later experiment with on Pet Sounds the following year. It has since been covered by several artists with new, original lyrics – including by Wilson himself.
"Summer Means New Love" was recorded over three dates, all produced, arranged and conducted by Brian Wilson. The primary instrumental track was recorded on May 12, at Capitol Records Studio with the piano and guitar were overdubbed at sessions on May 15 and June 1, respectively at CBS Columbia Square.
The track was first released in 1965 in mono on the band's album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) . On August 29, 2006, Capitol released the 40th Anniversary version of Pet Sounds with a 5.1 mix of Summer Means New Love being assembled for the first time. In 2012, the first stereo mix of the track was released on a reissue of Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)