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The Beach Boys Shape Up & ‘Shut Down’

The group were climbing the charts with ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ as the LP it opened, ‘Shut Down Volume 2,’ was released on 2 March 1964.

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Shut Down Vol 2 Beach Boys

The Beach Boys‘ spectacular 1963 in America included three top ten US singles and three top ten albums. The nation’s top pop vocal group were already climbing the charts again with ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ as the LP it opened, Shut Down Volume 2, was released on 2 March 1964.

Listen to Shut Down Volume 2 right now.

Shut Down Vol 1The answer to the question of whatever happened to Volume 1 is that Capitol had released the multi-artist Shut Down album the previous summer. That was in response to the success of the Beach Boys’ song of that name, issued as the b-side of ‘Surfin’ USA’ and a top 30 American hit in its own right.

That first volume also contains the connection between the Beach Boys and actor Robert Mitchum. Shut Down featured the group’s title song and another of their early hot rod numbers, ‘409,’ along with tracks by the Cheers, the Piltdown Men, the Super Stocks and others. But it also featured Mitchum’s ‘The Ballad of Thunder Road,’ the “death on the highway” number that he co-wrote and sang for the 1958 movie Thunder Road.

Fun Fun Fun Beach BoysWhen Shut Down Volume 2 came out, the title applied this time to the Beach Boys and no one else. ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ was en route to a No. 5 peak on the Hot 100, their second-highest showing to date after the No. 3 success of ‘Surfin’ USA.’ The group’s next single, the brilliant ‘I Get Around,’ wasn’t on the LP, but its b-side, the gorgeous ‘Don’t Worry Baby,’ was, and again made the top 30 on its own strength.

The album also contained such whimsies as ‘In The Parkin’ Lot,’ ‘Pom, Pom Play Girl’ and the jokey, spoken word ”Cassius’ Love vs. ‘Sonny’ Wilson.’ As often in their early days, it also had the Beach Boys remaking rock ‘n’ roll hits, with versions of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers’ 1956 staple ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’ and Richard Berry’s 1955 original ‘Louie Louie,’ a hit for the Kingsmen even as the boys were laying down their interpretation.

Fun Fun Fun Beach Boys

The UK EP of ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’

Also of great note on the album is ‘Keep An Eye On Summer,’ a charming Brian Wilson/Mike Love number that also carried a writing credit for Capitol engineer Bob Norberg. Wilson remade the song in fine style for his 1998 solo album Imagination.

Perhaps because the audience’s attention — indeed, the attention of everyone in America — was distracted by the newly all-conquering Beatles, Shut Down Volume 2 took some six weeks to make the American charts. It climbed to No. 13, a modest performance by their recent standards, but had a 38-week run and was certified gold at the end of 1966.

Shut Down Volume 2 can be bought here.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Mick DeLeon

    March 3, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Also of note, regarding Shut Down Vol. 2, is that Brian Wilson was unhappy with the title of the album, because the band had obviously evolved past the title tune. Dave Marks most likely played on some of the album, and “Pom-Pom Playgirl” is Carl’s first lead vocal.

    Over the past couple of decades, as Mike & Bruce have toured as The Beach Boys, “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” has been a regular song in their playlist, with the inimitable Brian Wilson vocal arrangements that made their version one of the best covers they ever did.

  2. Jay Snipes

    March 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    This is the first BB album I bought, and it was “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” that pulled me in to their vocals. Absolutely beautiful. I saw the BB in concert last summer and they sang “Fools” with Jeff Foskett on lead. It was great, after 50+ years.

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