This was conceived as a followup to the Ronettes' #2 hit "Be My Baby
." When he heard the Ronettes' song on the radio, Brian Wilson wondered aloud if he could match it. Wilson's wife Marilyn reassured him, saying, "Don't worry, baby." Wilson remembered it when it came time to write songs with his DJ friend Roger Christian.
Brian Wilson told Goldmine in 2011 regarding this track: "I wrote that with Roger Christian and it took me two days to write it. I started out with the verse idea and then wrote the chorus. It was a very simple and beautiful song. It's a really heart and soul song, I really did feel that in my heart. Some say it's about a car and others say it's about a girl, who's right? It's both. It's about a car and a woman."
Philip Lambert, author of Inside The Music of Brian Wilson, said of the similarities between this song and "Be My Baby": "They're in the same key - E Major - and they start the same. The phrase structure is the same, the chord progressions are almost the same, the melodies are almost the same." Lambert points out that the key change in this song is an unexpected touch that helps make the song memorable. The drums at the beginning are the same rhythm as "Be My Baby."
This song was recorded in two 8-hour sessions. Brian Wilson often used the famous Los Angeles session musicians on his songs, but this one was mostly in the family: Brian played piano and bass, Carl Wilson played guitar, and Dennis Wilson played the drums.
The Beach Boys used as the B-side of their hit, "I Get Around."
B.J. Thomas covered this in 1977. His version hit #17 in the US.
This song was used in the Drew Barrymore film Never Been Kissed. It also appeared in Good Morning Vietnam.
Billy Joel sang this at the "Tribute to Brian Wilson" concert that aired on July 4, 2001. (thanks, Jim - Melbourne, FL)
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo covered this in 1993. Fifteen years later he included his version on his solo Alone II album. He told Billboard magazine that this song was immensely influential on his songwriting. Cuomo explained: "I discovered the Beach Boys around that time in 1992-93, and to help me learn how to write those kinds of melodies and harmonies and chord progressions, I would learn their songs and record my own versions of them more like Weezer-style, with distorted guitars."
Cuomo added: "I love Brian Wilson's melody when he's saying, 'Well, it's been building up inside of me for oh, I don't know how long.' I love the lyrical innocence. It's just like a straightforward pop song, singing about a girl as opposed to something like the Pixies, where the lyrics were pretty abstract. And I love the big harmonies in the chorus -- actually five-part vocal harmonies -- and I carefully transcribed them in my bedroom on my tape player. But then I added the element of the modern crunchy guitar sound. And that's what really helped me figure out what I wanted to do as a songwriter and a performer in Weezer."
Al Jardine told Mojo magazine June 2012 that this was his favorite Beach Boys recording session. He recalled: "(Engineer) Chuck Britz got such a great sound on that song; the drums, the singing, the clicky sound on the Fender Precision bass. There's something about the way the track sat. Just about everything about it was an era-change for us."