JUNE 11, 2015 ENDLESS SUMMER–WHY THE BEACH BOYS AND CARS ARE INSEPARABLE

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I remember the first time I heard the term Endless Summer.

 

It was the name of a compilation album released by the Beach Boys in 1974 and it marked their rebirth as a retro act for a younger audience who wanted to experience their party sound.

 

They likely borrowed the name from a 60s surf documentary, but the Endless Summer name will always be synonymous with the Beach Boys for me.

 

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The idea of a summer without end is near and dear to those of us who live in an area where summer is a beautiful but brief fling-gone long before we get to know each other.

 

The car culture has always embraced the summery sound of the Beach Boys because few people put snow tires on their little deuce coupe.

 

The Beach Boys and hot cars have always gone hand in hand for over 50 years because warm weather brings out the best in both of them.

 

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Songwriters like Paul McCartney will point to the legendary Pet Sounds album as the best Beach Boys album-and one of the best ever created by any songwriter- and they would be right about this iconic Brian Wilson masterpiece.

 

But Pet Sounds was a huge departure from the early Beach Boys songs about women, surfing, cars, cruising, racing and more women.

 

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The essence of the surf sound was hot summer fun and the Beach Boys songs became the anthem of the warmest season in the calendar year. Old car guys were young car guys when the Beach Boys first hit the charts in the early 60s.

 

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The original Beach Boy fans were street racers and quarter mile kings who built their own deuce coupes and brought out the ultimate potential in a Ford flattie.

 

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They were young drivers making payments on muscled-out Dodges and looking for adventure on the street and at the drive-in.

 

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Cars were their identity and their early introduction to independence as young adults when the Beach Boys were kings of 60s Top 40 radio on the AM band in their rides.

 

The songs were innocent enough: boy meets car, boy races car, boy meets girl, all done in various lovelorn forms that placed both car and girl in high esteem.

 

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The Beach Boys taught us about legendary engines like the 409 big block found in early 60s Chevys. The Beach Boys probably sold more muscled-out Chevys with this song than 100 of the best GM salesmen in the business combined after the song debuted in 1962.

 

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Deuce coupes were very popular before the Beach Boys and became wildly popular after their hit song in 1963. Nothing says cool like a deuce coupe on a hot summer day-then or now for that matter.

 

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T-Birds probably got a big sales boost when the Beach Boys linked them with fun-fun-fun in 1964. Fun was the point in every Beach Boys song back in the day-as long as it was done in the summer and in cars.

 

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The carefree summer vibes of the Beach Boys have earned their place in the car hobby.

 

The vintage rides and Beach Boys songs are philosophically joined at the hip as both continue to search for that elusive endless summer.

 

Jim Sutherland

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