The Beach Boys Today! is the eighth studio album by The Beach Boys, released in 1965.
This album marks a turning point for the band, as it comes right after Brian Wilson's decision to quit touring following a nervous breakdown on a plane in December 1964. Brian began to use marijuana around the same time, and this had a profound impact on his songwriting. While the first side of Today! consists of pop-rock songs not unlike their earlier material, the second half shows off a more mature, sophisticated side of the band, and is generally considered to be a direct precursor to the material on Pet Sounds.
Also notable is the Troubled Production behind the song "Help Me, Ronda". Murry Wilson (the father of Brian and his brothers, and the band's former manager) drunkenly crashed the studio while the vocals for the song were being laid down, and repeatedly interrupted and criticized the band. This pushed Brian over the edge, and he started screaming and confronting his father. Naturally, the entire incident was captured on tape, and is widely bootlegged to this day. Needless to say, the result was a mediocre song, but a few months later it was re-recorded with a different arrangement as "Help Me, Rhonda", and subsequently became a major hit single. That version appears on the group's next album, Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!).
Hits include "Do You Wanna Dance?", "Dance, Dance, Dance", "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)", "Please Let Me Wonder", "Kiss Me Baby" and "In the Back of My Mind".
- "Do You Wanna Dance?" (2:19)
- "Good to My Baby" (2:16)
- "Don't Hurt My Little Sister" (2:07)
- "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)" (2:01)
- "Help Me, Ronda" (3:08)
- "Dance, Dance, Dance" (1:59)
- "Please Let Me Wonder" (2:45)
- "I'm So Young" (2:30)
- "Kiss Me Baby" (2:35)
- "She Knows Me Too Well" (2:27)
- "In The Back of My Mind" (2:07)
- "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'" (2:10)
Bonus Tracks (2001 Reissue):
- "The Little Girl I Once Knew" (2:40)
- "Dance, Dance, Dance (Alternate Take)" (2:02)
- "I'm So Young (Alternate Take)" (2:29)
- "Let Him Run Wild (Alternate Take)" (2:18)
- "Graduation Day" (2:18)
- Al Jardine - guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass
- Mike Love - lead vocals
- Brian Wilson - lead vocals, bass, piano, harpsichord, organ
- Carl Wilson - guitar, vocals, bass
- Dennis Wilson - lead vocals, drums, tambourine, hi-hat
Do You Wanna Trope?
- Age-Progression Song: "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)".
- Album Filler: "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'", quite notoriously. It's a spoken-word track that hasn't exactly aged well.
- Alliterative Title: "Dance, Dance, Dance".
- Book Ends: Dennis sings both the first and last song on the album, not counting "Bull Session".
- Cover Version: "Do You Wanna Dance?" is a Bobby Freeman cover, and "I'm So Young" was originally by The Students.
- Covers Always Lie: The list of songs on the front cover trails off into "...plus three more great new songs written by Brian Wilson". The three unnamed songs are "I'm So Young", "In the Back of My Mind", and "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'". Of these, only "In the Back of My Mind" was written by Brian Wilson. "I'm So Young" is a cover and "Bull Session" is a spoken word track, even though Brian is credited as one of the "songwriters".
- Dancing Is Serious Business: No less than two songs are about dancing on this album: "Do You Wanna Dance?" and "Dance, Dance, Dance".
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Those who are fans of the hit version of "Help Me, Rhonda" would consider "Help Me, Ronda" to be this.
- Excited Show Title!: The Beach Boys Today!
- Face on the Cover: A group shot of the band.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Help Me, Ronda" did this at least three times. Little wonder it was the reworked Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) version which hit #1 rather than this one.
- Gainax Ending: "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'", a completely unrelated Spoken Word quasi-mock interview filler track that features the band eating burgers and talking with photographer Earl Leaf about a concert in Paris that they had. Despite being a mock-interview, only one question is asked towards the end and it's only directed at Carl.
- Hypocrisy Nod: From "She Knows Me Too Well":When I look at other girls
It must kill her inside
But it'd be another story if she looked at the guys
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: From "Don't Hurt My Little Sister":You know she digs you and thinks that you're a real groovy guy
But yet I'm not sure that I feel the same
Well we both know that you've been making her cry
I hope you don't think it's some kind of game
- New Sound Album: This was the first Beach Boys album to fully showcase Brian Wilson's sophisticated production techniques, and Side Two hints at the more mature compositional and lyrical direction that would be taken with Pet Sounds.
- Not What It Looks Like: From "Good to My Baby":They think I'm bad and I treat her so mean
But all they know is from what they've seen
- Punny Name: During "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'", Brian makes reference to a (presumably fictitious) Capitol Records representative named Dick Reising (pronounced rising).
- Questioning Title?: "Do You Wanna Dance?".
- Shout-Out: Brian mentions the then-popular rock and roll variety series Shinding! and Hullabaloo toward the end of "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'".
- Spell My Name with an S: To distinguish the two versions of "Help Me, Ronda" the older version, present on this album, is spelled without an "h" in the name, while the new version most people are familiar with, "Help Me, Rhonda" on Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) is spelled with an "h" in the name. It hasn't stop even the band's official YouTube page from making the mistake on the song's video, though...
- Spiritual Successor: Pet Sounds is this for Side Two of the album.
- Spoken Word in Music: "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'" is an excerpt from a recorded mock interview with the band (except for Al Jardine, who wasn't present).
- Step Up to the Microphone: Al Jardine sings lead vocals on "Help Me, Ronda" and Dennis Wilson sings lead vocals on "Do You Wanna Dance?" and "In the Back of My Mind".
- Time Marches On: The title has dated, which was inevitable of course, since The Beach Boys are no longer "today".