Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) is the ninth studio album by American rock band The Beach Boys, released on July 5, 1965 on Capitol. The release was their second in 1965. Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) peaked at number 2 in the US during a chart stay of 33 weeks. It reached number 4 in the UK in the summer of 1966.
After the dramatic and highly sophisticated shift in style on Side 2 of Today!, leader Brian Wilson reportedly was questioned by Capitol Records as to what his musical intentions were, and encouraged to make more "Beach Boys-type music" for the next release. It was clear that the band was, at this point, stereotyped as a happy "fun in the sun" band that sang about the beach, girls and good times. While on the surface Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) appeared to be a throwback to the carefree ideals of All Summer Long, Brian Wilson had carefully woven intricate music tracks beneath the lighthearted words of "Amusement Parks USA" and "Salt Lake City". He also devised an instrumental with strings ("Summer Means New Love") and even composed a symphonic intro to their US number three charting single "California Girls" (that intro being Brian's personal favorite of his entire songwriting career). In hindsight, it's clear that Wilson was building towards what would become Pet Sounds the following year.
The opening track, "The Girl from New York City" was a response to "The Boy from New York City", a hit by The Ad Libs earlier that year, and "Then I Kissed Her" was Brian's attempt to beat his hero Phil Spector at his own game. An unlikely Top 5 UK hit in 1967, it was Al Jardine's second lead vocal on the album; the first being a re-recording of Today! track Help Me, Ronda which underwent a minor title revision to become "Help Me, Rhonda". Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, it would rise on the Billboard Top 40 charts to become the Beach Boys' second US number one charting single. "Girl Don't Tell Me", featured Carl's second lead vocal on a Beach Boys album. Besides "California Girls", the other major progression on Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) was "Let Him Run Wild", a Burt Bacharach-style track.
The tongue-in-cheek track "I'm Bugged at My Ol' Man" was written as a none-too-subtle poke at the Wilsons' father Murry, who had been fired from his post as manager the previous year, though he did still occasionally show up to either support, or badger, Brian in the studio.
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) also includes Bruce Johnston's first appearance on a Beach Boys album. As Brian's stage replacement, he was not an "official" member prior, but Brian Wilson appreciated Johnston's skills enough to have him contribute vocally and instrumentally on the album. Bruce would often accompany the group on photo shoots, but he was prohibited from having those pictures published on album covers due to a preexisting contract with Columbia Records. His face would not grace the cover of a Beach Boys' album until Friends in 1968. (Along with Johnston, Al Jardine is also missing from the Summer Days cover photo depicting the group on a sailboat; he had to miss the shoot due to illness.)
In the early 1980s, as part of Capitol Records' reissue series of their Beach Boys albums, Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) was retitled California Girls and had two tracks removed: "Amusement Parks, USA" and "I'm Bugged at My Ol' Man".
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