Hear Beach Boys' Rare, Somber 'Surfer Girl' From First Sessions - Rolling Stone
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Hear Beach Boys’ Rare, Somber ‘Surfer Girl’ From First Sessions

Track will appear on upcoming demo collection ‘Becoming the Beach Boys’

Hear, Beach Boys, Surfer Girl, DemoHear, Beach Boys, Surfer Girl, Demo

Hear the Beach Boys' rare demo of "Surfer Girl" from an upcoming collection of their early-Sixties demos.

Photo Courtesy of Brother Records, Inc.

This fall will mark the 55th anniversary of the Beach Boys‘ first-ever recordings together, and in honor of the occasion, Omnivore Recordings will release a new two-disc set collecting their early demos. The set, Becoming the Beach Boys: The Complete Hite & Dorinda Morgan Sessions, due out August 26th, contains every take of every song the group – which was originally known as the Pendletones – recorded between September 1961 and March of the following year with producer Hite Morgan.

One of the songs, “Surfer Girl,” sounded notably different in its original form. The original first take of the tune, premiering here, is in a different key than the version that became a hit. It’s more down-tempo than the single, and it explores vocal harmonies that were more emblematic of Fifties vocal groups than the Beach Boys’ signature array of voices.

Noticeably, it lacks the hit version’s strong backbeat and skips its bright intro, and, because it’s a demo take, it ends abruptly with someone saying, “Stop the whole thing.” The track is represented on the collection in six different takes, as well as a master version and the overdub, which include studio banter and provide a rare look into the group’s creative process.

In addition to “Surfer Girl,” Becoming the Beach Boys collects alternate takes, overdubs, rehearsals and other versions of “Surfin’,” “Luau,” “Lavender,” “Surfin’ Safari,” “Judy” and “Beach Boy Stomp” (a.k.a. “Karate”), as well as two tracks credited to Kenny and the Cadets, “Barbie” and “What Is a Young Girl Made Of.” In total, it contains 62 tracks, 40 of which are previously unreleased. Beach Boys biographer Jim Murphy, who wrote Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961 – 1963, wrote the liner notes, which also include photos of the original releases and tape boxes from the sessions.

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