Shut Down Volume 2 is the fifth studio album by The Beach Boys, and the first of four they would release in 1964. The album's "Volume 2" refers to it being a follow-up to the 1963 hot rod compilation Shut Down, released by the band's label, Capitol Records, which included "409" and "Shut Down" but was not a Beach Boys album.
Shut Down Volume 2 hit No. 13 in the US charts during a chart stay of 38 weeks.
Recorded just as "Beatlemania" was beginning to reach American shores (and would soon profoundly affect leader Brian Wilson's writing and career goals for The Beach Boys) Shut Down Volume 2 was meant to cement the band's position as the biggest band in America. Instead, The Beatles' invasion was so overpowering that the album peaked outside the US top 10 -- number 11 Record World, number 12 Cash Box, though it was listed by Cash Box as fourth-biggest selling rock album that year and eventually went gold. It didn't enter the Billboard albums chart until six weeks after release and stayed a shorter time in the chart (nine months) than their other albums of the time. By midyear 1964, The Beach Boys' career had recovered its self-generating momentum.
Part of the blame for the album's initial blunted impact—apart from the overwhelming favoritism shown to The Beatles in Capitol promotion—was due to possibly the weakest ending to any Beach Boys album, with the last three tracks being considered, by common consent, filler. And although humorous, the addition of ""Cassius" Love vs. "Sonny" Wilson" (a mock-fight between Brian and Mike, referencing Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston which took place just days before release of the album) served to illustrate the need to fill up the album.
However, the high points of Shut Down Volume 2 are arguably among the strongest moments in The Beach Boys' saga thus far: "Fun, Fun, Fun", "Don't Worry Baby" (Brian's response to Phil Spector's "Be My Baby"), "The Warmth of the Sun" (written just hours after JFK's assassination) and a cover of Frankie Lymon's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love". "Pom Pom Play Girl" also features Carl Wilson's first official lead vocal on a Beach Boys song.
Shut Down Volume 2 was marketed as a "hot rod" collection after predecessor Little Deuce Coupe had performed so successfully, but The Beach Boys were not able to maintain the theme as consistently this time around, signalling that prime songwriter Brian Wilson was already running out of car songs and would need to shift gears, subject-wise, soon.
Capitol released a 7-inch 33 1/3 "mini-LP" for jukeboxes with only six tracks. The album cover was the same, but the back side was blank. Four jukebox strips were included. Side 1: "Keep an Eye on Summer" / "Fun, Fun, Fun" / "The Warmth of the Sun". Side 2: "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" / "In the Parkin' Lot" / "Don't Worry Baby".
The multi-tracks for Shut Down Volume 2 went missing shortly after the album's release. In 2009, three reels of session out takes were unexpectedly retrieved with the help of biographer Jon Stebbins. New stereophonic mixes were created by producers Mark Linett and Alan Boyd for the compilation Summer Love Songs, which includes an alternate version of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" featuring a never-before-heard unused intro section as well as a new stereo mix of "Don't Worry Baby".
The front sleeve photograph, taken by Capitol staff photographer George Jerman, shows the band (now with Al Jardine making his cover debut) posing next to a selection of cool cars - notably, a blue Corvette Sting Ray owned by Dennis and Pontiac Grand Prix owned by Carl.
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