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“don't Worry Baby”

Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), the Beach Boys' next album, was Bruce's first as a full-fledged member of the band. Released in summer 1965, it reached number two on the album charts—the Beatles' Beatles VI was at the top—and included the number-three single “California Girls.” With its gentle symphonic opening and use of overdubbing, the song revealed just how experimental Brian's music was becoming thanks to his newfound freedom in the studio.

This shift was also due in part to his friendship with Loren Schwartz, an assistant at the William Morris Agency he'd met earlier that year. Loren was in tune with the growing countercultural movement in Los Angeles, and introduced Brian to a hipper crowd than he was used to. Unfortunately, marijuana and LSD were a part of the lifestyle that came with that crowd. Eager to escape the pressures of rock and roll stardom and the anxiety he had felt since childhood, Brian indulged in both drugs. Despite the disapproval of Marilyn and the rest of the Beach Boys (except for Dennis, who was developing a drug habit of his own), Brian would abuse substances for years to come.

Brian and Marilyn bought their first home together later that summer. Set in the hills overlooking Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, the house on Laurel Way became an eccentric haven for Brian, his family, and their revolving group of friends and hangers-on. It came with a pool in which Brian began conducting his business meetings. The couple later installed a full-sized tent in the living room and a playground in the front entry that visitors had to climb through in order to get inside the house.

The festive atmosphere at Laurel Way found its way onto the Beach Boys' next album. Pressured by Capitol to release another live disc, Brian proposed that he and the band, along with a few friends and additional musicians, throw a party at Western Studios and record that instead. The label went for the idea, and The Beach Boys Party! was born. The sounds of people talking and laughing can be heard throughout the album, which included rousing versions of pop standards like “Alley Oop” and “Barbara Ann” (which became an unexpected number-two hit), as well as a couple of Beatles tunes. Mike also met his second wife, Suzanne, at the session. She'd been invited to a party but had no idea that it would be in the Beach Boys' studio.

While the project was a lot of fun to produce and participate in, The Beach Boys Party! was merely a way for Brian to stall the record company. His real interest was in the upcoming album he'd been planning ever since he stopped touring.

Fun Fact!

Brian's house on Laurel Way featured a huge sandbox surrounding the piano in the music room. Brian claimed that it made him “feel like a little kid” and got his creative juices flowing. It was finally removed when several inches of sand were later discovered inside the piano.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesThe Beach BoysGOOD VIBRATIONS - Turbulent Times, Bruce Johnston: “i Write The Song”, “don't Worry Baby”, Spiritual Music