Plays Well With Others

A Syncopated Dad Gone Mad…

Sounds Of Summer - The Very Best Of The Beach Boys

January 8, 1965: The Beach Boys enter the studio to record what will become their second number one hit, Help Me Rhonda. Well into the session, a drunken Murry Wilson (Brian, Carl and Dennis’ Dad) arrives and proceeds to commandeer the session with psychodrama, scat singing and weepy, abusive melodrama. The session tape captured it all, and versions of these tapes have been floating around bootlegs for years. The fact that the tapes survived is itself surprising—you can hear Brian and Murry fighting over the tape recorder controls at the 35:30 mark of the full version, Murry wanting to stop the recording, with Brian ultimately keeping the tape rolling. And it’s a good thing that Brian won out, because this audio verifies many of the Murry Wilson horror stories described in the Steven Gaines book, Heroes and Villains: The True Story of the Beach Boys.

Not only an interesting look at how the song was created but the behind the scenes drama that accompanied it. Brian comes out sounding level-headed compared to his drunken father, who abused him for years. In one scene, Brian reminds his father that he’s deaf in one ear because of a blow to the head. Towards the end of the tape you can hear the “fight” over the controls. It’s a long session, about 45 minutes, but interesting nonetheless.

Now loosen up, move a little closer and listen to the syncopated version below…


Murray Wilson

2 Responses to 'A Syncopated Dad Gone Mad…'

  1. personal avatar
    Brent | 30 August 2006

    WOW! What I love is the raw sound of “the boys”. Brian was such an amazing singer. I wasn’t so much captivated by the exchange between father and sons as I was by the music. Yes, Brian was damaged by his father, but he knew what he wanted in the music. It’s so sad he lost it.

  2. personal avatar
    Greg | 30 August 2006

    Yeah, I found the raw music very interesting also. I’ve had that one part of the song going through my head all day.

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