When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)

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"When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"
Beach Boys - When I Grow Up (to be a man).jpg
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Today!
B-side "She Knows Me Too Well"
Released August 24, 1964
Format Vinyl
Recorded August 5–10, 1964, United Western Recorders, Los Angeles
Length 2:01
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Brian Wilson, Mike Love
Producer(s) Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"I Get Around"
"When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"
"Dance, Dance, Dance"
Music sample

"When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)" is a song written and composed by Brian Wilson with additional lyrics by Mike Love for the American rock band The Beach Boys.[1] It was released on their 1965 album The Beach Boys Today! and as a single the previous year hit number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, number seven in Cash Box, number five in Variety and number three in the Associated Press/Gilbert Youth chart. It spent two weeks at number one in Canada's national RPM chart.[2] The B-side of the single was "She Knows Me Too Well" and stopped one place under the Hot 100.


The song was written by Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Mike Love. The song's lyric raises questions about adulthood, something Brian would further explore in later compositions such as "Child Is Father of the Man". According to future collaborator Van Dyke Parks, Brian at the time displayed a "fervent desire to reinvent himself as an individual, not as a boy."[3]


The song, produced and arranged by Brian, was recorded over two sessions in 1964 at United Western Recorders. The instrumental track was most likely recorded on August 5 with the vocals being overdubbed five days later on August 10. The lead vocal is shared by Brian and Mike Love.[citation needed] Brian expressed disappointment with his vocal, saying that the group were trying to sound like the Four Freshmen, but his voice was too "whiney".[4]


The song was first released in monaural in 1965 on the band's Today! album. When Capitol reissued the album (minus two tracks) on vinyl under the title Dance Dance Dance in the early 1980s, the complete album was in mono at Brian Wilson's request, as was the case with its 2001 CD release with all the original tracks re-instated.[citation needed]

The first stereophonic mix of the song was released on the 1993 compilation The Beach Boys...Summer Dreams!.[citation needed]

An alternate mix was released on the 1993 box set Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys, featuring the instrumental recording on one channel and the vocal recording on the other channel, allowing the listener to hear the complexity of both the instrumental and vocal track.[citation needed]

Live performances[edit]

During the band's first British tour in 1964, they performed this song as well as "I Get Around" on their first television appearance in Britain on Ready Steady Go.[5]


Surviving sessions audio and AFM musician contracts sheets, documented by Craig Slowinski have enabled this personnel list to be compiled.[1]

The Beach Boys
Session musicians and production staff


Chart (1964) Peak
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[6] 1
UK Singles Chart[7] 27
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[8] 9

In popular culture[edit]

The song was used during the opening credits of American comedy-drama Men of a Certain Age. It was also utilised in the 1989 romantic comedy film Look Who's Talking during a montage. "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)" was used in "Gordo's Bar Mitzvah" which was the final Season 1 episode of Lizzie McGuire.


  1. ^ a b Craig Slowinski (2007). "The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today!" (PDF). Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  3. ^ Priore, Domenic (2005). Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece. London: Sanctuary. ISBN 1860746276. 
  4. ^ Benci, Jacopo (January 1995). "Brian Wilson interview". Record Collector. UK (185). 
  5. ^ Live on Ready Steady Go! 1964 on YouTube
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  7. ^ "Beach Boys". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Beach Boys awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 

External links[edit]