Little Deuce Coupe
Little Deuce Coupe is The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The group was initially composed of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, The Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962...

' fourth album, and third overall LP release in 1963. Almost unintentionally, the album was rush-recorded and compiled when leader Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson
Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, best known as the leader and chief songwriter of the group The Beach Boys. Within the band, Wilson played bass and keyboards, also providing part-time lead vocals and, more often, backing vocals, harmonizing in falsetto with the group...

 sought to protect his band from exploitation from Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...


Little Deuce Coupe hit #4 in the US during a 46-week chart stay. Little Deuce Coupe (Capitol (S) T 1998) is now paired on CD with All Summer Long
All Summer Long
All Summer Long is the sixth studio album by The Beach Boys and their second in 1964. Recorded in the aftermath of the British Invasion, spearheaded by The Beatles, the album marked a major turning point in The Beach Boys' career, and in leader/prime songwriter Brian Wilson as an artist.All Summer...

, with bonus tracks from that period.


In the summer of 1963, Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...

 compiled a "hot rod
Hot rod
Hot rods are typically American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. The origin of the term "hot rod" is unclear. One explanation is that the term is a contraction of "hot roadster," meaning a roadster that was modified for speed. Another possible origin includes modifications to or...

" compilation album called Shut Down, including The Beach Boys' "Shut Down" itself and "409" - without their approval or involvement. Brian Wilson promptly readied several songs he had already been working on (mainly with radio DJ Roger Christian) and the band zipped through recording sessions to put Little Deuce Coupe on the record shop racks, remarkably, one month after Surfer Girl
Surfer Girl
Surfer Girl is the third studio album by The Beach Boys and their second longplayer in 1963. This was the first album by The Beach Boys for which Brian Wilson was given full production credit, a position Wilson would maintain until the end of the The Smile Sessions in 1967...

had come out. Eight of the tracks were new, while "Little Deuce Coupe", "Our Car Club", "Shut Down" and "409" had all come out on their last three albums.

Although it was a gamble putting so much vinyl out at once, Little Deuce Coupe became a big hit, reaching #4 in the US, and eventually going platinum. Because it mostly deals with cars as a subject matter (save "Be True to Your School", although even that has a mention of cruising), some observers have retroactively called Little Deuce Coupe an early rock example of what would become known as the concept album
Concept album
In music, a concept album is an album that is "unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical." Commonly, concept albums tend to incorporate preconceived musical or lyrical ideas rather than being improvised or composed in the studio, with all songs contributing...


Although Nick Venet
Nick Venet
Nick Venet was an American record producer who began his career at age 19 with World Pacific Jazz...

 was listed as producer for and "Shut Down" and Murry Wilson
Murry Wilson
Murry Gage Wilson was an American musician and record producer, best remembered as the father of The Beach Boys members Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, and Carl Wilson, uncle of bandmate Mike Love, and the husband of Audree Wilson...

 for 409, the official producer's credit for the entire Little Deuce Coupe album cites only Brian Wilson.

For an album recorded so quickly, the quality was amazingly high. In particular, Brian Wilson's songs and their arrangements were becoming more and more dazzling and complex, specifically "No-Go Showboat" and "Custom Machine".

After its recording, Brian Wilson re-recorded "Be True to Your School" for single release, resulting in another Top 10 hit. An original Christmas single, "Little Saint Nick
Little Saint Nick
"Little Saint Nick" is a Christmas song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love and originally performed by their group The Beach Boys. It was first released as a single in December 1963, reaching number three on the Billboard Christmas charts and peaking at #69 on the regular weekly sales chart...

" was also prepared.

This is the last Beach Boys album with which rhythm guitarist David Marks
David Marks (musician)
David Marks is an American songwriter and musician. He is best known as being a member of The Beach Boys from February 1962 to October 1963. Marks was part of the Beach Boys line-up, at age 13, when they signed with Capitol Records on July 16, 1962...

 was involved. Original member Al Jardine
Al Jardine
Alan Charles "Al" Jardine is a founding member of top-selling American music group The Beach Boys, a guitarist and occasional lead vocalist. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.-Early life:...

 made his permanent return preceding this album's sessions, and Marks departed shortly thereafter.

A 'Deuce Coupe
Ford Model B (1932)
The Model B was a Ford automobile with production starting with model year 1932 and ending with 1934. It was a much updated version of the Model A and was replaced by the 1935 Ford Model 48...

' is a 1932 Ford Model B Coupe
A coupé or coupe is a closed car body style , the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time...

 (deuce being for the year). This was considered by many to be the definitive "hot rod" and featured an optional Ford flathead V8 engine
Ford Flathead engine
The Ford flathead V8 was a V8 engine of the flathead type, designed by the Ford Motor Company and built by Ford and various licensees...

 when the car was introduced. A pink slip (mentioned in the lyrics) was the title
Vehicle title
In the United States, the certificate of title for a vehicle is a legal form, establishing a person or business as the legal owner of a vehicle. Vehicle titles in the U.S...

 to the car, named for the color of the paper then used in California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 vehicle ownership certificates.

Cover art

The picture featured on the front cover of the album was supplied by Hot Rod magazine
Hot Rod Magazine
Hot Rod is an American monthly magazine devoted to hot rodding, —modifying automobiles for performance and appearance.-History:Hot Rod is the oldest magazine devoted to hot rodding having been published since 1948. Robert E. Petersen founded the magazine and his Petersen Publishing Company...

, and features the body (with his head cropped in the photo) of hod-rod owner Clarence 'Chili' Catallo and his own customized three-window 1932 Ford Coupe - known forevermore amongst hot rod enthusiasts as "the lil' deuce coupe". A full shot of Catallo and his car from the same photo shoot appeared on the front cover of the July 1961 edition of Hot Rod magazine, and whilst Catallo himself died in 1998 the car still tours the showrooms and exhibitions to this day.

Catallo bought the vehicle in 1956 for 75 dollars in Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 when he was 15 years old. Catallo replaced the original stock Ford engine (unlike The Beach Boys song lyrics, which mention "a flathead mill") with a newer Oldsmobile V-8, as well as lowering the height of the coupe by six inches. Much of the original customizing work, including the stacked headlights, side trim, and front grille was done by an auto shop owned by Mike and Larry Alexander in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.

After Catallo moved to Southern California, additional work, including the 'chopping' or lowering of the roof, was done in 1960-61 at 'Kustom City', George Barris' noted North Hollywood auto customizing shop. This led to the magazine cover and two years later, the shot was featured as the cover for The Beach Boys' fourth album.

Catallo sold the coupe a few years later, but at the urging of his son Curt was able to buy it back in the late 90s for forty thousand dollars. The coupe had since been additionally modified but was restored by Curt Catallo with many of the original parts the coupe had in the early 1960s, so that it now is again virtually identical to the famous photo. In 2000, the hot rod won the 'People's Choice' award at the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance.

For a link to a New York Times article with additional details, including a photo gallery, see the 'External Links' section.

Track listing


  • Mike Love - Lead Vocals
  • Brian Wilson - Bass Guitar, Vocals
  • David Marks - Guitar
  • Carl Wilson - Guitar, Vocals
  • Dennis Wilson - Drums, Vocals
  • Alan Jardine - Bass, Vocals (on the newly recorded tracks)

External links

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