CATCH A WAVE
“loop De Loop”
Capitol released the Beach Boys' “Surfin' U.S.A.” and “Shut Down” (the latter with lyrics by Roger Christian) in March 1963. Both songs charted, and “Surfin' U.S.A.” became the group's first song to crack the top ten. Capitol rushed them into the studio to record their second album, Surfin' U.S.A., which included five instrumental tracks to fill the space between singles. As with Surfin' Safari, Nick Venet produced the album, but this time he allowed Brian more freedom over the production process. For the next single, “Surfer Girl,” he even let Brian record at Western Studios instead of Capitol's in-house facility. The song, Brian's first as producer, was an instant hit. So was its flip-side, “Little Deuce Coupe,” and Capitol demanded another album to capitalize on the singles' success. Surfer Girl was released less than a month after Surfin' U.S.A., and it revealed Brian's growing skill as a producer, songwriter, and composer. Surfer Girl stayed on the charts for nearly a year, topping at number seven.
The Beach Boys were on a roll, and the shortsighted Capitol wanted them to record as much material as possible before the surf craze died out. Yet another album, Little Deuce Coupe, was released in November 1963. “There was no rest,” Brian wrote in his 1991 autobiography. “It was always more, more, more.' Still, he was moving the group away from their reliance on surf songs and was learning the sophisticated studio techniques that would soon make him famous.
Did You Know?
Chuck Berry is listed as cowriter of the Beach Boys' first top-ten hit, “Surfin' U.S.A.” Berry's music publishers, Arc Music, claimed in a lawsuit that the song used the melody from his “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and Capitol Records settled the case out of court by giving Berry a writer's credit on Brian and Mike's song. Brian claims that the similarity was unintentional.
Meanwhile, Murry Wilson signed the group to the William Morris Agency for their second United States tour. The band was a huge attraction wherever they played, but Brian hated touring more than ever. “The truth was I simply couldn't write on the road … If I didn't write, I didn't function properly. I was wracked with worry and anxiety.” He began missing dates and showing up late for performances, and he started drinking to calm his jangled nerves. Murry was forced to rehire Al Jardine for the remainder of the tour to make up for Brian's unreliability. The recently married Al, whose studies hadn't gone well, also began recording with the band again, and Murry took the opportunity to fire the boisterous David Marks.