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, for it comes right after Brian Wilson's decision to quit touring with the band following a nervous breakdown on a plane in December 1964. He began to use marijuana, and this had a profound impact on Wilson's creativity and song-writing. While the first half of the album consists of rock/pop songs not unlike their earlier material, the second half shows 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". The Wilson's drunken father and former manager Murry Wilson walked in during recording, and subsequently interrupted and criticised the band. This led to Brian being pushed over the edge, and he started screaming and confronting his father. The whole incident was recorded, and is widely bootlegged to this day. Needless to say, the result was a mediocre song, but a few months later the song was re-recorded as "Help Me, Rhonda", and became a major hit for the band. That version appears on Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!).
Hits and fan favourites 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". Rolling Stone named it the #271 greatest album of all time.
- "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 Sessions 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 Sessions With The 'Big Daddy'", quite notoriously. It is a spoken-word comedy track that hasn't exactly aged well.
- Alliterative Title: "Dance, Dance, Dance".
- 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 cover trails off into "...plus three more great songs written by Brian Wilson". The songs thus omitted are "I'm So Young", "In the Back of My Mind" and "Bull Sessions with the 'Big Daddy'". Of these three, only "In the Back of My Mind" was written by Brian Wilson. "I'm So Young" is a cover and "Bull Sessions" 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 Sessions with the 'Big Daddy'", a completely unrelated Spoken Word quasi-mock interview filler track that features the band eating burgers and talking 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.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: "Don't Hurt My Little Sister".You know she digs you and thinks 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 band's first album to feature Brian Wilson's advanced production techniques, particularly featured on Side Two of the album, and side two of the album hinted at the more mature direction of Pet Sounds.
- Questioning Title?: "Do You Wanna Dance?".
- Refrain from Assuming: The song "Help Me, Ronda" is not the same as the later superior re-recording "Help Me, Rhonda" that would appear on Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
- 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.
- 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 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".