The Warmth of the Sun

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"The Warmth of the Sun"
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Shut Down Volume 2
A-side"Dance, Dance, Dance"
ReleasedOctober 26, 1964
RecordedJanuary 1 and 8, 1964
StudioWestern Studios, Hollywood
LabelCapitol Records
Songwriter(s)Brian Wilson, Mike Love
Producer(s)Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"
"The Warmth of the Sun"
"The Man with All the Toys"
Endless Summer track listing

"The Warmth of the Sun" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for the American rock band The Beach Boys. It was released on their 1964 album Shut Down Volume 2 and as the B-side of the "Dance, Dance, Dance" single, which charted at number eight in the United States and number twenty-four in the United Kingdom. Brian Wilson produced the song, and the rest of the album.


Wilson and Love began composing the song on November 22, 1963, the day of the assassination of John F. Kennedy,[1] although the two co-authors give different accounts of the timing and whether it was begun before or after the killing. The subsequent recording of the song was informed by the emotional shock felt by its authors in the wake of Kennedy's death.

"The Warmth of the Sun" was started in the early morning hours of the same morning that President Kennedy was killed in Dallas. The melody was so haunting, sad, melancholy, that the only thing that I could think of lyrically was the loss of love, when interest slips and feelings aren't reciprocated…though I wanted to have a silver lining on that cumulus nimbus cloud so I wrote the lyrics from the perspective of, "Yes, things have changed and love is no longer there, but the memory of it lingers like the warmth of the sun." I think it's really impactful and memorable…one of my favorite songs from an emotional and personal point of view.

— Mike Love, 2007[2]

In the 2016 autobiography I Am Brian Wilson, Wilson recalled that the song was written the day of the assassination, in response to it:

When the shooting happened, everyone knew instantly. It was all over the TV and on every kind of news. I called Mike and he asked me if I wanted to write a song about it. I said sure. It seemed like something we had to think about, and songs were the way I thought about things. We drove over to my office and in a half hour we had "The Warmth of the Sun." We didn't think of it as a big song. It was a personal response. But it got bigger over time because of the history linked to it.[3]

Reviewing the song for AllMusic, Donald A. Guarisco stated, "The sublime balance of lush vocals and sensitive songwriting made 'The Warmth of the Sun' one of the Beach Boys' finest and most moving ballads."[4] Brian Wilson pioneered the use of adventurous chord changes in pop—"The Warmth of the Sun"'s transitions from C to A-minor to E-flat, were unheard of in 1964.[5]

Among the session musicians who played on the recording were Hal Blaine and Ray Pohlman.[6]


Credits from Craig Slowinski.[7]

The Beach Boys

Additional musicians


It was featured on the soundtrack of Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) along with "I Get Around" and "Don't Worry, Baby."

Willie Nelson performed lead vocals on a version of the song on the album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1.

Other versions[edit]

The song was recorded by Murry Wilson—father of Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson—on his one and only album, The Many Moods of Murry Wilson, which was released in 1967 on Capitol Records.

Vince Gill performed another version at "An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson (2001)" concert.

In 2006, Matthew Sweet and Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs recorded the song for their collaboration, Under the Covers, Vol. 1.

In 2006, Matt Thiessen of Relient K released a version of the song for his solo piano project Matt Thiessen & The Earthquakes via the compilation album My Other Band, Vol 1.[8]

In 2010, Rumer recorded a version on the B-side of her single "Aretha".

Shelby Flint and Tim Weston, "Wouldn't It Be Nice, A Jazz Portrait of Brian Wilson."

Friends of Dean Martinez recorded a version on their album "Under the Waves."


  1. ^ Love, Mike (November 21, 2013). "JFK and the Story Behind 'The Warmth of the Sun'". The Huffington Post.
  2. ^ "The Warmth of the Sun". The Warmth of the Sun Podcast Series. Episode 8. 26 June 2007.
  3. ^ Wilson, Brian; Greenman, Ben (2016). I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir. Da Capo Press. p. 5 9. ISBN 9780306823060.
  4. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "'The Warmth of the Sun' Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  5. ^ Panfile, Greg. "Mind of Brian". Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Phonograph Recording Contract" (PDF). American Federation of Musicians. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  7. ^ Black, Frank (2014-12-03). "FRIDAY NIGHT BOYS: The Beach Boys 1964: Keep an Eye on Summer - new copyright extension release". FRIDAY NIGHT BOYS. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  8. ^ "My Other Band, Vol 1. on iTunes". iTunes. June 27, 2006. Retrieved June 15, 2018.

External links[edit]