Tuesday, 16 December 2014

7 inch singles collection: The Beach Boys - Fun, Fun, Fun

Surf's Up Dudes...


A-Side: Fun, Fun, Fun
B-Side: Why Do Fools Fall In Love?

(Capitol 1964)

Ahh, The Beach Boys, one of those bands that I am really rather fond of, throughout their various shifts in style over the years - so my thoughts on this record are probably not going to be unbiased.

I think that the popular image of The Beach Boys is that of a bit of a party band - perpetually churning out fast, upbeat tunes about surfing, dancing, cars and girls. This image is probably justified for their early hits and what cemented their reputation. As many of us are aware though they've gone through troubled times and a number of styles, and maybe their more interesting work is miles away from those early party days - however that's a thought for another record, at another time.

Fun, Fun, Fun is fun, doubtless you are already aware of the song anyway. The bright, treble-y, guitars, the playful harmonies, and the organ break all give the song a verve and energy that sweeps you along. The cheeky lyric of a young woman who's adept at driving her sports car around and turning heads is enough to make you smile, but as ever with The Beach Boys the hint of teenage rebellion is never played out to violence and destruction. In this case the sensible adult has stepped in and "Daddy took her T-Bird away". For the narrator this is a good thing because now she's got no car to worry about they can have "Fun, Fun, Fun" all by themselves, making their own amusement. (They're probably going to play chess or something.) I do like this song very much but in the whole genre of Surf Music about women who are unexpectedly exceptionally good at driving hot rods* this only manages to come in second to Jan and Dean's Little Old Lady (from Pasadena).

Another familiar song is on the flip-side of this platter. Why Do Fools Fall In Love? has been covered many times since Frankie Lymon took it to the top of the hit parade in the late 50's, and to be honest this is just another version to add to the list. It's nothing special - the harmonies that carry the song are very much the Beach Boys stock-in-trade - the instrumentation is low in the mix, with only the drums making a notable presence. Interestingly they feel a bit ragged and ramshackle - whether this is experimentation or just a bit slapdash I don't know, and with Beach Boys it could equally be either. 

*a bit of niche genre, I know.

Next time more summery pop from a generation later...

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