Surf's up single

  • US Release: November 1971
  • UK Release: None
  • Chart High: US None
  • Backed With: 
  • Don’t Go Near The Water

Surf's Up Sessions
Early June 1971, Bel air, CA

For years, Brian Wilson has been living in terror of public failure. It was because the 1967 Beach Boys song “Heroes and Villains” had failed to impress Capitol Records (their label at the time) and the critics, and he has withdrawn from the world, adopting the persona of “Brian Wilson, eccentric recluse”. But his desire for public recognition is returning. At the last minute, with The Beach Boys’ new album already in its final stages, he gives the go-ahead to Carl and Jack Rieley to finish his unreleased SMiLE-era recording, “Surf’s Up”.

Rieley will tell BBC Radio-1’s series The Beach Boys Story in 1974: “We always encouraged Brian to go back into the studio more frequently. This culminated one day when I was going to Warner Brothers and I thought I would stop at Brian’s house. I was going to meet [Warner boss] Mo Ostin and I said, “Brian, why don’t you come with me?” Surprisingly he said “Ok, I will. The President of Warner Brothers, I don’t know what I’m going to say to him.” We then drove to Burbank from Bel Air.”

“Suddenly Brian said, “Well OK, if you’re going to force me, I’ll do it.” I asked, “force you to do what Brian?” And he said, “Force me to put “Surf’s Up” on the album.” I had asked him about putting “Surf’s Up” on the next album, which was at that pint tentatively titled Landlocked, the first Beach Boys album with which I was involved. I said to Brian, “Are you really going to do it?” And Brian said “Well, if you’re going to force me.” We got into Warner Brothers and with no coaxing at all, Brian said to Mo, “I’m going to put “Surf’s Up” on the next album.” I think this was a great thing because it did provide a commitment on Brian’s part and he became very active in the studio.”

Pictured: A & B side of the US release.

Promo A Side
Promo Side B