Time to Get Alone

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"Time to Get Alone"
Song by The Beach Boys from the album 20/20
Released February 10, 1969 (1969-02-10)
Recorded October 12, 1967 (1967-10-12)–November 21, 1968 (1968-11-21),
Wally Heider Studios and Brian Wilson's home studio, Los Angeles
Genre Baroque pop
Length 2:40
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Brian Wilson
Producer(s) Carl Wilson
Indian release of the song, as the B-side to "Cotton Fields"

"Time to Get Alone" is a song written by Brian Wilson for the American rock band the Beach Boys. It was released on their 1969 album 20/20 and produced by Carl Wilson.[1] It is a waltz in the style of baroque pop.[2] Brian originally wrote and produced the song for the band Redwood, which would later become known as Three Dog Night.[3]

PopMatters calls the song "a dream, right on down the line from Carl’s feathery lead vocal—and the way it contrasts with the up-and-down crunch of the waltz backdrop—to the sumptuously layered arrangement of the chorus to the immaculate production job to the unadorned coda (which is from the extended version)."[2]


Brian Wilson originally planned to give the song (along with "Darlin'") to Redwood. The group began recording on October 12, 1967 while in the midst of sessions for the Beach Boys' Wild Honey (1967). Strings and horns overdubs were added on October 14 with drums and percussion on October 15.[4] Danny Hutton recounted:

That’s the only time I really got involved, musically. If you listen to the track, what’s going on is, every time you hit a bop, bop, bop, bop, it’s a different type of keyboard. It’s piano, harpsichord, upright grand, organ. So it has this lopey sound, but I don’t think it was a comfortable sound. And then there’s something that sounds like this big, distorted, smooth guitar sound, and it’s just a little piano played through a blown speaker that I had at my house.

Then I remember Brian calling in the string section. [Brian's sister-in-law] Diane Rovell called them in at the last minute, and some of them still had their tuxedos on. Brian was thoroughly in control of those guys. He said, “I’m gonna make you guys feel better. I think some of you guys might have colds.” Then he had everybody open their mouths and Diane or Marilyn [Wilson] sprayed some kind of a cough medicine. I looked at these guys and I thought, “The power! I could never have the power to do that.” And then he was sitting there, talking to me, while they were doing a take, and he stops and says, “Hold it, Danny. Hey, viola! The second chair … you’re flat on that C.’ He not only heard a bad note; he knew which guy did it. Amazing sense.’[3]

After one vocal session, Brian exited the booth and called up his astrologer, who told him that he was on a "down cycle". Brian, who had an aversion to Los Angeles smog, fled the studio and returned the next day with an oxygen tank and mask, taking hits from the tank and sprinting in the alley behind the studio.[5]

According to Chuck Negron, due to the commercial failure of Smiley Smile and Brian's waning commitment to his band, "the other Beach Boys wanted Brian's immense songwriting and producing talents used strictly to enhance their own careers".[3] Negron then noted that he would have done the same thing if in the Beach Boys' position.[3]

The song was finished by the Beach Boys around a year later in 1968 on October 2, October 4, and November 21 at Brian Wilson's home studio with the October 4 session being captured on film. Portions of the footage was later used for an "I Can Hear Music" promotional video.[6]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "20/20 Credits". Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. 
  2. ^ a b Lenser, Barry (May 15, 2014). "The Beach Boys - "Time to Get Alone"". Popmatters. 
  3. ^ a b c d Priore, Domenic (2007). Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece. pp. 127–129. 
  4. ^ Doe, Andrew G. "GIGS67". Bellagio 10452. Endless Summer Quarterly. 
  5. ^ Dillon, Mark (2012). Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys: The Songs That Tell Their Story. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-77090-198-8. 
  6. ^ Doe, Andrew G. "GIGS68". Bellagio 10452. Endless Summer Quarterly.