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Surfer Girl vs. This Boy
30 November 2019
11.34am
LCK
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Has anyone else noticed that the Beach Boys song "Surfer Girl" (released in July of 1963) is similar in some ways to "This Boy ," (released in November of that year)? They're both in 6/8 time, among other things.

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30 November 2019
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Same key of D and Brian and John both have beautiful solo bridges in the middle too. Glad to see I'm not the only one who's wondered about the similarities between these two great songs! ahdn_john_08_gif One of the two biggest Beach Boys fans on the forum speaking here (the other is @sir walter raleigh)! 

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1 December 2019
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Here's an exquisite version from Simon..It's from  Brian Wilson tribute show......Somehow all alone he conjures up Beach Boy harmonies.....

https://youtu.be/sXHsARkfDbw

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1 December 2019
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Oh my @Wigwam that is beautiful a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

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1 December 2019
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Surfer Girl is a better song.

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2 December 2019
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Expert Textpert said
Surfer Girl is a better song.

  

Agreed! john-lennon-salute_gif

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2 December 2019
1.07pm
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So here's a ukulele version of "Surfer Girl," sung by a teenage girl in her room...

2 December 2019
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vonbontee
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Yeah, I have to say I like "Surfer Girl" more as well. I'm only a mild BBs fan, but I suspect Brian Wilson probably had more compositional talent than even Paul (until "Smile" broke his brain)

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GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions, Marvin Gaye. PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty. 

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2 December 2019
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Two great songs, I personally prefer This Boy , but my real hot take is that I prefer Yes It Is to both of them ahdn_paul_02

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3 December 2019
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My thoughts too.......

4 December 2019
10.55pm
forn
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Very similar same sort of doo-wop type of chord progression.  Surfer Girl is a little more complex and a better song, IMO.  

I've always said that when Brian Wilson was young, he had the voice of an angel.  Also one of the few people I regard as a musical genius (along with John and Paul, of course).

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Surfer Girl is a landmark in pop music and pop music production. This Boy is an underrated Beatles B-side. They do have similar vibes. Both are great songs, but This Boy is not even in the same league

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"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

28 January 2020
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Sounds a lot like Yes It Is , too... Especially that bridge section. But both This Boy and Yes It Is are better songs, imo.

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28 January 2020
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Every time this thread comes up I get Surfer Girl stuck in my head (not complaining, it's a nice tune)

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30 January 2020
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Never really compared the two songs. Let's see...

I'm sure I heard Surfer Girl right after it was released. I couldn't afford to buy records in 1963 (I was 9), but my older cousin could. We spent several weeks at the beach that summer and one of the albums he brought along was Surfer Girl. At the time I was dreaming more of cars than love, so the song Little Deuce Coupe made a much larger impression.

e6b5530ff7fd15ca27aa2a16abdbdce7.jpgImage Enlarger

Later when Pet Sounds came out and Brian Wilson received so much acclaim, I was shocked that In My Room was on that old album. I also started to appreciate Surfer Girl and put the ending part right up there with George's I Need You . In the 1980s the Giants baseball team was awful, so to attract fans they started sponsoring Saturday concerts after the game at Candlestick Park. The Beach Boys performed and the crowd made a huge circle around the upper deck and swayed and danced along to the music. Surfer Girl was the highlight and I remember being filled with emotion. It took 20 years, but it became The Beach Boy song I listen to the most.

 

The first time I ever heard This Boy was the instrumental version played during Ringo's lonely walk scene in AHDN . I was very taken with Ringo after seeing that movie and even wrote him my first fan letter. 

640409-ringo-starr-hard-days-night_01.jpgImage Enlarger

 

When I finally heard the Beatle's version of This Boy , I didn't fully make the connection. The song made me feel nostalgic, but I didn't know the reason why. However the part that really got me was John's singing in the bridge; "Oh - and This Boy - would be happy - just to love you". John vocalized in a manner that transcended the song and certainly the genre. 10 year old me was touched by his performance and adult me can still feel the emotion. It is the Beatlemania song I listen to the most and I still gear myself up in anticipation of the bridge every time I hear it. 

I think Surfer Girl may be a better structured song, but the Beatles recording elevates This Boy above and beyond songwriting technique. 

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30 January 2020
11.57pm
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sigh butterfly said
Never really compared the two songs. Let's see...

I'm sure I heard Surfer Girl right after it was released. I couldn't afford to buy records in 1963 (I was 9), but my older cousin could. We spent several weeks at the beach that summer and one of the albums he brought along was Surfer Girl. At the time I was dreaming more of cars than love, so the song Little Deuce Coupe made a much larger impression.

e6b5530ff7fd15ca27aa2a16abdbdce7.jpgImage Enlarger

Later when Pet Sounds came out and Brian Wilson received so much acclaim, I was shocked that In My Room was on that old album. I also started to appreciate Surfer Girl and put the ending part right up there with George's I Need You . In the 1980s the Giants baseball team was awful, so to attract fans they started sponsoring Saturday concerts after the game at Candlestick Park. The Beach Boys performed and the crowd made a huge circle around the upper deck and swayed and danced along to the music. Surfer Girl was the highlight and I remember being filled with emotion. It took 20 years, but it became The Beach Boy song I listen to the most.

 

The first time I ever heard This Boy was the instrumental version played during Ringo's lonely walk scene in AHDN . I was very taken with Ringo after seeing that movie and even wrote him my first fan letter. 

640409-ringo-starr-hard-days-night_01.jpgImage Enlarger

 

When I finally heard the Beatle's version of This Boy , I didn't fully make the connection. The song made me feel nostalgic, but I didn't know the reason why. However the part that really got me was John's singing in the bridge; "Oh - and This Boy - would be happy - just to love you". John vocalized in a manner that transcended the song and certainly the genre. 10 year old me was touched by his performance and adult me can still feel the emotion. It is the Beatlemania song I listen to the most and I still gear myself up in anticipation of the bridge every time I hear it. 

I think Surfer Girl may be a better structured song, but the Beatles recording elevates This Boy above and beyond songwriting technique. 

  

Thank you for sharing your story, Sigh butterfly. It's always nice to hear from the people who actually experienced Beatlemania and the 60's. 

Yes, John's vocal performance during the bridge is more emotional and powerful than the one in Surfer Girl. But the Beatle motto was always to "take a sad song and make it better".

Come to think of it as well... Surfer Girl is quite similar to Spector's To Know Her Is To Love Her. Beatles covered that one in their Decca session.

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31 January 2020
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sir walter raleigh said
Surfer Girl is a landmark in pop music and pop music production [...]

  

Wow, really? it sounds like a typical 50's dowoop song to me, both in production (maybe a bit more guitar oriented and a bit more of reverb) and in harmony.

I really don't see a connection between those two songs, other than the 6/8 and the rythm guitar pattern. I find them really different in style and i think This Boy is far better than Surfer Girl. a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

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31 January 2020
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Shamrock Womlbs said

sir walter raleigh said

Surfer Girl is a landmark in pop music and pop music production [...]

  

Wow, really? it sounds like a typical 50's dowoop song to me, both in production (maybe a bit more guitar oriented and a bit more of reverb) and in harmony.

I really don't see a connection between those two songs, other than the 6/8 and the rythm guitar pattern. I find them really different in style and i think This Boy is far better than Surfer Girl. a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

  

My reasoning is that this song opens the first Beach Boys album that Brian Wilson produced himself. His fingerprints are all over the album of course as it is filled with legendary songs, but the mix and and blending of the harmonies and the instruments creates an atmosphere unlike any other that captivates listeners to this day. I agree with @sigh butterfly that This Boy is a special song. The bridge is fantastic, but there are several aspects of Surfer Girl that take it to the next level, including production, as well as the soaring melody and simple feel good lyrical set written by Brian himself. 

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-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

31 January 2020
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It's all of that, but what stands out to me is the vocal harmony arrangement, so ingenious and warm as sun.

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31 January 2020
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I really like hearing all the passion expressed for this music. It's kind of amazing to think that the Beach Boys even broke through on a national basis. This is the US Billboard Top 10 singles for 1963:

? Title Artist(s)
1 "Surfin' U.S.A." The Beach Boys
2 "The End of the World" Skeeter Davis
3 "Rhythm of the Rain " The Cascades
4 "He's So Fine" The Chiffons
5 "Blue Velvet" Bobby Vinton
6 "Hey Paula" Paul & Paula
7 "Fingertips" Little Stevie Wonder
8 "Can't Get Used to Losing You" Andy Williams
9 "My Boyfriend's Back" The Angels
10 "Sukiyaki" Kyu Sakamoto

There wasn't even another band represented, rock & roll or otherwise. I will say Stevie was on to something though. It especially astounds me because at the time I thought of the Beach Boys as a local band. I lived near Santa Cruz and my dad was from Los Angeles, so we frequented lots of the beaches mentioned in Surfin' USA. Also the Beach Boy albums were always like $0.50 cheaper that most of the others (usual LP price was $2.99) and Beatle albums were a whopping $3.49 beatlemaniacs_02_gif. I think if I had been a little older, Surfer Girl would have made more of an initial impact. When I bought the Help Me Rhonda single a few years later I was really blown away by the B side Kiss Me Babyheart(Similar to the feeling I had when I discovered Yes It Is on the B side of Ticket To Ride . That was exciting - what a bargain!!). Sorry for going so far off topic, I'm thinking of other Beach Boy stuff but better move on to a different wave. 

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