The Beach Boys have been one of my favorite bands as far back as I can remember and after seeing Love & Mercy, the film about Brian Wilson, I’ve been thinking about some of the memories that I have with many of their songs.
California Girls was the first Rock ‘N’ Roll record that I acquired. I was shopping with my mom and my grandmother, and Grandma was nice enough to buy me the record. (She was in visiting from Los Angeles, so yes, Grandma Vee was actually a “California Girl.”)
After I got home that night, I couldn’t find the record. Somehow I had lost it along the way. What a bummer! A couple of days later, my friend and neighbor, Jimmy, told me his older brother Mike found a copy of California Girls in the alley. I said that it had to be mine, explaining how I had lost the record. We went over to his house and I waited in the gangway while Jimmy went in to tell his brother. Mike leaned out his second floor bedroom window and tossed the 45 RPM down to me and I managed to snag it before it hit the ground. I looked at the jacket and the paper had bubbled from some precipitation and there was a tire track on it, indicating that the disc had been run over by a car in the alley. But when I got home, I pulled the disc out of the jacket and it was unscathed and played flawlessly on my portable record player. After that, I spent many happy hours listening to California Girls and the flip side Let Him Run Wild.
While my 45′s have long since been lost (but not forgotten), the photos above are of the same jacket that came with my copy of California Girls. Given the subject matter of the song, it seems rather incongruous that the cover art would have them wearing jackets in what looks to be late fall or early spring in an eastern US city. Maybe the record company wanted to portray them as cosmopolitan rock stars. Whatever the reason, at the time, I thought it was way cool and I was extremely proud to own that record.