beach boys studio

BETTY AND VERONICA’S INFINITE PLAYLIST → a series of songs for betty, for veronica, and for each other.

001. you can be you // saint motel | 002. wouldn’t it be nice // the beach boys | 003. jenny // studio killers | 004. boyfriend // tegan and sara | 005. girls/girls/boys // panic! at the disco | 006. girl // jukebox the ghost |  007. betty // the pom poms | 008. untouched // the veronicas | 009. the real of it // said the whale | 010. cupid // the big moon | 011. poster girl for kindness // kiss me stupid! | 012. foxes mate for life // born ruffians | 013. a better son/daughter // rilo kiley | 014. i love you always forever // betty who | 015. let me in // grouplove | 016. all i want // kodaline 

{ spotify | 8tracks }


On this day in music history: May 29, 1965 - “Help Me, Rhonda” by The Beach Boys hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Brian Wilson, it is the second chart topping single for the surf rock/pop band from Hawthorne, CA. Suffering from nervous exhaustion, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson will stop touring with the band in December of 1964, to concentrate on writing and producing new material. Now free from the stress of non stop touring, Wilson returns to the recording studio, where he is most comfortable and relaxed. The first product of these sessions is the song “Help Me, Rhonda”, whose narrative is about a man whose affection for a woman he desires goes unrequited, and turns to another woman to help him get over her. The first version of the song, erroneously titled “Help Me Ronda”, the basic track is recorded at Western Recorders on January 8, 1965 featuring members of The Wrecking Crew (with Carl Wilson on guitar), with the vocals being recorded eleven days later on January 19, 1965. Guitarist Al Jardine handles the lead vocal duties on “Ronda” rather than Mike Love or Brian Wilson. The original session tape captures an argument between Brian and his father (and band manager) Murry Wilson, which ends with Murry abruptly leaving the studio. The first version is featured on The Beach Boys eighth studio album “The Beach Boys Today!” released in March of 1965. Before that album is released, Brian decides that the original take can be improved upon, and it is recorded again for single release. The second “hit single” version of “Help Me, Rhonda” is also cut with The Wrecking Crew (with several other members of the studio collective) at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, CA on February 24, 1965. Released on April 5, 1965, the single is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on April 17, 1965, it leaps to the top of the chart six weeks later. The correct hit version of “Help Me, Rhonda” is released on the next Beach Boys album “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)” in July of 1965, only four months after their previous album.


United Western Recorders was originally known as Radio Center and United Recorders Corp. Arguably the greatest recording studio in pop music history, it was the sight of countless hits. So much was recorded here! The Mamas and the Papas hits Monday, Monday and California Dreaming. Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco. Jan & Dean’s Surf City. Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction. Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds. Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country Music. Dean Martin’s Houston.

But wait, there’s more.

Live for Today by The Grass Roots. Feelin Groovy by Harper’s Bizarre. Up, Up and Away by the 5th Dimension. Boots are Made for Walkin by Nancy Sinatra. Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers. MacArthur Park by Richard Harris. Frank Sinatra’s My Way, Lady is a Tramp, Somethin’ Stupid and That’s Life. Almost everything by The Monkees. So much Beach Boys from California Girls to Surfin USA to Good Vibrations to the aborted Smile. All kinds of stuff produced by Phil Spector and Lou Adler and Kim Fowley and Sonny Bono.

The Righteous Brothers. The Association. The Turtles. Spanky and Our Gang. Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Mel Carter. Sam Cooke. Petula Clark. Walter Wanderly. Cal Tjader. Roy Ayers. Johnny Pate. Herbie Hancock. Art Pepper. John Coltrane. Randy Newman. Elvis. Lee Hazlewood. It was ground central for Hollywood’s most famous studio musicians, The Wrecking Crew.

It was also used for television and film. The theme songs for The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres and The Partridge Family were done here as were the television underscores for Gunsmoke, Hawaii 5-0, He & She and the failed late 60s Blondie sitcom. Les Baxter did many of his scores for American International here. Voice over sessions for the cartoon Roger Ramjet, Joey Bishop’s country and western LP, Lalo Schifrin’s soundtrack for Bullitt, Captain Beefheart’s Lick My Decals Off Baby (produced by Frank Zappa). That’s some of the famous stuff, and then there are the obscure tracks lost to time (like Voices Green and Purple by The Bees).

Quite amazing considering this place is about the size of a shoebox. It still stands, an icon of music history.