In terms of their UK audience, the Beach Boys‘ 20/20 album was the gift that kept on giving. Released in early 1969, it had been introduced the previous summer by ‘Do It Again,’ which married modern production with nostalgic lyrics and, while it peaked at No. 20 in the US, went all the way to No. 1 across the Atlantic.
That was followed by a modest No. 33 success in the UK with the December 1968 release, ‘Bluebirds Over The Mountain,’ but that still outdid its best US position of No. 61. For the third single, the group turned to the catalogue of one of their biggest heroes.
The Beach Boys’ version of ‘I Can Hear Music,’ produced by Carl Wilson and featuring his beautiful lead vocals, was a masterful adaptation of Spector’s co-write with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, ‘I Can Hear Music.’ Inexplicably, the 1966 original by the Ronettes had only reached No. 100 on the US chart, and that as the group’s last appearance there.
The cover version would only reach No. 24 in America itself, but by then it had given the Beach Boys their ninth UK top ten single, making the same grade in Holland, Sweden and Poland. It entered the British chart on 26 February 1969 at No. 47. In April, the single peaked at No. 10, rubbing shoulders with another arrival in the top ten, The Who‘s ‘Pinball Wizard.’
20/20 continued to yield big UK hits that didn’t perform anywhere near as well for the group back home. ‘Break Away,’ which their British fans took to No. 6, stopped at No. 63 in the US, while the No. 5 ‘Cottonfields’ didn’t make the American chart at all.
‘I Can Hear Music’ is on the Beach Boys’ 20/20 album, which can be bought here.