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Little Deuce Coupe
Studio album by The Beach Boys
Released 21 October 1963
Recorded 2 September 1963
Except "409": April 1962,
"Shut Down" 31 January 1963
"Little Deuce Coupe" 12 June 1963 & "Our Car Club" 16 July 1963
Genre Surf rock
Length 25:25
Label Capitol
Producer Brian Wilson
Professional reviews
The Beach Boys chronology
Surfer Girl
(1963)
Little Deuce Coupe
(1963)
Shut Down Volume 2
(1964)

Little Deuce Coupe is The Beach Boys' fourth album, and third overall LP release in 1963. Almost unintentionally, the album was rush-recorded and compiled when leader Brian Wilson sought to protect his band from exploitation from Capitol Records.

Little Deuce Coupe hit #4 in the US during a 46-week chart stay. Little Deuce Coupe (Capitol (S) T 1998) is now paired on CD with All Summer Long, with bonus tracks from that period.

Contents

Production

In the summer of 1963, Capitol Records compiled a "hot rod" compilation album called Shut Down, including The Beach Boys' "Shut Down" itself and "409" - without their approval or involvement. Brian Wilson promptly readied several songs he had already been working on (mainly with radio DJ Roger Christian) and the band zipped through recording sessions to put Little Deuce Coupe on the record shop racks, remarkably, one month after Surfer Girl had come out. Eight of the tracks were new, while "Little Deuce Coupe", "Our Car Club", "Shut Down" and "409" had all come out on their last three albums.

Although it was a gamble putting so much vinyl out at once, Little Deuce Coupe became a big hit, reaching #4 in the US, and eventually going platinum. Because it mostly deals with cars as a subject matter (save "Be True to Your School", although even that has a mention of cruising), some observers have retroactively called Little Deuce Coupe an early rock example of what would become known as the concept album.

Although Nick Venet was listed as producer for "409" and "Shut Down", the official producer's credit for the entire Little Deuce Coupe album cites only Brian Wilson.

For an album recorded so quickly, the quality was amazingly high. In particular, Brian Wilson's songs and their arrangements were becoming more and more dazzling and complex, specifically "No-Go Showboat" and "Custom Machine".

After its recording, Brian Wilson re-recorded "Be True to Your School" for single release, resulting in another Top 10 hit. An original Christmas single, "Little Saint Nick" was also prepared.

This is the last Beach Boys album with which rhythm guitarist David Marks was involved. Original member Al Jardine made his permanent return preceding this album's sessions, and Marks departed shortly thereafter.

A 'Deuce Coupe' is a 1932 Ford Model B Coupe (deuce being for the year). This was the definitive hot-rod and featured an optional Ford flathead V8 engine when the car was introduced. A pink slip was the title to the car, named for the color of the paper used in Californian titles.

Front cover photo of the hot rod, and the story behind the vehicle

The picture featured on the front cover of the album was supplied by Hot Rod magazine, and features the body (with his head cropped in the photo) of hod-rod owner Clarence 'Chili' Catallo and his own customized four-window 1932 Ford Coupe - known forevermore amongst hot rod enthusiasts as "the lil' deuce coupe". A full shot of Catallo and his car from the same photo shoot appeared on the front cover of the July 1961 edition of Hot Rod magazine, and whilst Catallo himself died in 1998 the car still tours the showrooms and exhibitions to this day.

Catallo bought the vehicle in 1956 for 75 dollars in Michigan when he was 15 years old. Catallo replaced the original stock Ford engine (unlike The Beach Boys song lyrics, which mention "a flathead mill") with a newer Olsmobile V-8, as well as lowering the height of the coupe by six inches. Much of the original customizing work, including the stacked headlights, side trim, and front grille was done by an auto shop owned by Mike and Larry Alexander in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.

After Catallo moved to Southern California, additional work, including the 'chopping' or lowering of the roof, was done in 1960-61 at 'Kustom City', George Barris' noted North Hollywood auto customizing shop. This led to the magazine cover and two years later, the shot was featured as the cover for The Beach Boys' fourth album.

Catallo sold the coupe a few years later, but at the urging of his son Curt was able to buy it back in the late 90s for forty thousand dollars. The coupe had since been additionally modified but was restored by Curt Catallo with many of the original parts the coupe had in the early 1960s, so that it now is again virtually identical to the famous photo. In 2000, the hot rod won the 'People's Choice' award at the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance.

For a link to a New York Times article with additional details, including a photo gallery, see the 'External Links' section.

Track listing

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Side one

  1. "Little Deuce Coupe" (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) – 1:38
    • Features Mike Love on lead vocals
  2. "Ballad of Ole' Betsy" (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) – 2:15
    • Features Brian Wilson on lead vocals
  3. "Be True to Your School" (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 2:06
    • Features Mike Love on lead vocals
  4. "Car Crazy Cutie" (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) – 2:47
    • Features Brian Wilson on lead vocals
  5. "Cherry, Cherry Coupe" (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) – 1:47
    • Features Mike Love on lead vocals
  6. "409" (Brian Wilson/Mike Love/Gary Usher) – 1:58
    • Features Mike Love on lead vocals

Side two

  1. "Shut Down" (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) – 1:48
    • Features Mike Love on lead vocals
  2. "Spirit Of America" (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) – 2:23
    • Features Brian Wilson on lead vocals
  3. "Our Car Club" (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 2:21
    • Features Brian Wilson and Mike Love on lead vocals
  4. "No-Go Showboat" (Brian Wilson/Roger Christian) – 1:54
    • Features Brian Wilson and Mike Love on lead vocals
  5. "A Young Man is Gone" (Bobby Troup/Mike Love) – 2:15
    • Features Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine on lead vocals
  6. "Custom Machine" (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 1:38
    • Features Mike Love on lead vocals

Musicians

  • Mike Love - Lead Vocals
  • Brian Wilson - Bass Guitar, Vocals
  • David Marks - Guitar, Vocals
  • Carl Wilson - Guitar, Vocals
  • Dennis Wilson - Drums

References

  • Little Deuce Coupe / All Summer Long CD booklet notes, David Leaf, c.1990.
  • The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience, Timothy White, c. 1994.
  • Wouldn't It Be Nice - My Own Story, Brian Wilson and Todd Gold, c. 1991.
  • Top Pop Singles 1955-2001, Joel Whitburn, c. 2002.
  • Top Pop Albums 1955-2001, Joel Whitburn, c. 2002.
  • Allmusic.com

External links


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