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Beach Boys Do It Again With Some Surfing Nostalgia

Bruce Johnston called it a “time-trick,” but ‘Do It Again’ went all the way to No. 1 in the UK.

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Beach Boys Do It Again Dutch sleeve

The long chart career of the Beach Boys has included several singles that weren’t hits at home, but became big successes with their huge and loyal audience in Great Britain. 1967’s ‘Then I Kissed Her,’ ‘Cottonfields’ (1970) and 1979’s ‘Lady Lynda’ were all substantial top ten singles in the UK that missed the US countdown altogether.

Several other Beach Boys singles were much better liked by British fans than by their American counterparts. On 27 July 1968, the group entered the US chart at No. 88 with ‘Do It Again,’ a new single from the hit album they’d released earlier that year, 20/20. It made reasonable progress throughout August, but maybe it was the slightly more progressive, throbbing beat of the Brian Wilson-Mike Love composition that hampered its progress somewhat in America.

Nevertheless, ‘Do It Again’ had the familiar soaring harmonies that had long been the group’s trademark, not to mention a lyric with a nostalgic nod to their original inspirations. “Well I’ve been thinking ’bout all the places we’ve surfed and danced and all the faces we’ve missed,” sang Love, “so let’s get back together and do it again.” Their British admirers loved it.

Beach Boys Do It Again

So it was that while ‘Do It Again’ stopped at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September, by then it had done something only ‘Good Vibrations’ had done before it for the Beach Boys, spending a week as the UK’s No. 1 single. It was a remarkable new success, especially as Bruce Johnston told the NME’s end-of-year annual edition that the song didn’t represent the Beach Boys’ musical direction of the time at all.

“It was really just a time-trick!” he laughed. “Everyone else was going back to the basics at that time. The Stones were playing in their old style with ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and The Beatles came up with a kind of mock-rock, ‘Lady Madonna.’ We decided to follow the general pattern with some pseudo surfing. It wasn’t really serious and [was] never intended to indicate our present musical development.”

‘Do It Again’ is on the Beach Boys’ 20/20 album, which can be bought here.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Brian

    July 27, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    The 20/20 album was released in February 1969, many months after “Do It Again” had been issued. The lone studio album The Beach Boys released in 1968 was Friends, that June. “Do It Again” had been recorded too late to be included on that album (though when it finally saw issue in the UK that September, “Do It Again” – having just hit #1 there – was slotted in at the start of the album for commercial reasons). It was then included on 20/20 – a collection of new and unreleased songs – months later.

  2. Terry

    July 28, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Do It Again w2as the opening song when the Beach Boys performed in Brisbane in the late 60s. Excellent start to a fun show!

  3. Terence

    August 1, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Just witnessed the Greatest Concert of my 69 years at the Iwireless in Moline, Ill on the 29th of July 2015. The last time I witnessed such magnificence was at the Roof Garden in Okoboji, Iowa in the 60’s. Perhaps I am dreaming, perhaps not, we had a dance hall every thirty miles back then and I loved dancing

    • Jackie Ainslie

      July 29, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Yes, weekend dances were such a big part of my teenage years… So glad I was a teenager in the 50’s!

  4. Tricia

    July 30, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Come to beautiful Haida Gwaii BC Canada!!! Pretty Please!!!! 🙂
    You will Love the Islands and hopefully will inspire another song. .?

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