The story behind the Beach Boys’ Little Deuce Coupe
“I’m not braggin babe so don’t put me down, but I’ve got the fastest set of wheels in town.” With that sentence, Brian Wilson and Roger Christian kicked off one of the most popular car songs of all time. Little Deuce Coupe was actually a B-Side, released on the flip of Surfer Girl in July of 1963, three months before WKMH became WKNR. Along with the album of the same name, Little Deuce Coupe cemented the Beach Boys’ reputation as THE hot rod band of the 60s. But none of this would have happened if Capitol Records had not tweaked Brian Wilson’s ire. That same summer, the Beach Boys’ label released a car compilation entitled “Shut Down” that featured the Boys’ single of the same name along with 409 and a host of other non-Beach Boy material. It happend without Brian Wilson’s involvement or approval and he immediately decided that the band should fire back with a hot rod album of their own. Brian, along with DJ Christian, polished the lyrics of a half dozen new car songs and the band rushed into the studio in September, recording 8 new automotive tinged tracks, tacking on the previously released Deuce Coupe, Our Car Club and Shut Down and topping off the production with Be True To Your School. The album was released in October, only 12 weeks after the Surfer Girl collection (with Little Deuce Coupe on board) hit the record stores. The single peaked nationally at number 4. Little Deuce Coupe, the LP, eventually went platinum and is still available today on CD, coupled with All Summer Long. The album is also notable as the last time we hear David Marks’ rhythm guitar. Al Jardine had returned during the Deuce Coupe sessions becoming Marks’ permanent replacement. It’s one of those Keener anomalies that while the Beach Boys charted 21 times on the station, “Be True To Your School” was the only tune from Deuce Coupe that made it to the WKNR Music Guide. There’s a Detroit connection to the iconic blue and white Deuce Coupe that’s featured on the album cover. Read Susan Whitall’s fascinating story for the details.