• US Release: February 1973
  • UK Release: June 1975
  • Chart High: US #79; UK None
  • Backed With: 
  • Only With You

Sail On Sailor Sessions
Fall 1972 , Los Angeles, CA

On October 10th, 1972 The Beach Boys submit the completed master of Holland to executives at Warner/Reprise in Burbank, California, who are expecting something good after their disappointment with Carl & The Passions – “So Tough”. The group feels confident that they have a strong album, and a November 5th release date is tentatively set. But they are aghast when the company rejects the disc. Warner/Reprise wants a hit single but says they cannot hear one, saying they need a strong single in order to promote the album. The group is forced to drop the weakest track, “We Got Love”, from the the album’s line-up and replace it with a song that has hit potential.

Van Dyke Parks once again enters the picture and reminds Brian Wilson of the song they composed (allegedly with Ray Kennedy and Tandyn Almer) around May 15th, 1972. Brian and Parks now re-structure the song, adding a middle-eight that allegedly receives a last-minute lyrical overhaul from Jack Rieley. “Sail On Sailor” is thus reborn and made ready for recording. On November 30th, 1972, the day after recording the backing track, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, and Blondie Chaplin are at Brother Studios is Santa Monica, California taping lead vocal attempts. It is Blondie’s that is heard on the final recording.

“Dennis tried it once,” says Blondie. “But he wanted to go surfing. He gave it one shot and then literally went off with his board and went surfing. Then Carl tried it, and then he looked at me and said,  “I think it sounds pretty good with my voice but why don’t you give it a bash?” So I sang it and everybody thought that was the right timbre for the song. I think I did two takes on it and I was just getting warmed up, because there’s a whole mouthful of words in that song”

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