Long Promised Road


  • US Release: October 11th 1971
  • UK Release: June 1971
  • Chart High: US #89; UK None
  • Backed With: 
  • ‘Till I Die (US)
  • Dierdre (UK)

Long Promised Road & 'TILL I DIE Sessions
Early 1971 , Bel Air, CA

During these months the group works on their next studio album at Brian Wilson’s home studio in Bel Air, California. Beach Boys manager Jack Rieley tells Scott Keller in 1974: “Carl and I began to write. “Long Promised Road” was created, then came “Feel Flows” and “A Day In The Life Of A Tree”. Recordings made during this time include: “Don’t Go Near The Water”, “Long Promised Road”, “Take A Load Off Your Feet”, “Student Demonstration Time” (based on Leiber & Stroller’s “Riot In Cell Block #9), “Feel Flows”, “Lookin’ At Tomorrow”, “4th Of July”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Live Again”, “A Day In The Life Of A Tree”, “Till I Die” and “Disney Girls (1957)”.

Brian Wilson will say in later press material that “Till I Die” had it’s origins in a late-night visit to the beach. “One night, I drove to the beach, parked the car, and walked out onto the deserted sand. Lately, I’d been depressed and preoccupied with death. I’d ordered the gardener to dig a grave in the backyard and threatened to drive my Rolls Royce off the Santa Monica Pier. Looking out toward the ocean, my mind, as it did almost every hour of every day, worked to explain the inconsistencies that dominated my life: the pain, torment, and confusion and the beautiful music I was able to make. I lost myself in the balance of darkness that stretched beyond the breaking waves to the other side of the earth. The Ocean was so incredibly vast, the universe so large, and suddenly I saw  myself in proportion to that. Like a jellyfish floating on top of the water; travelling with the current I felt dwarfed, temporary.”

“The next day I began writing “Till I Die”, perhaps the most personal song I ever wrote for The Beach Boys. In doing so, I wanted to re-create the swell of emotions that I’d felt at the beach the previous night. For several weeks, I struggled at the piano, experimenting with rhythms and chord changes, trying to emulate the sound in the ocean’s shifting tides and moods as well as it’s sheer enormity. I wanted the music to sound as if it was disappearing into the hugeness of the universe. “Till I Die was my postcard to the outside world. The song summed up everything I had to say at the time.”

Pictured: French variant (Top) Dutch variant (Bottom)