Ballad Of Ole Betsy

Album: Little Deuce Coupe (1963)

Songfacts®:

  • Many early Beach Boys songs are about girls and surfing, but they often touched on car culture as well. In this song, "Ole Betsy" is a 1932 automobile (presumably a Ford) that has seen better days. Like many aging Hot Rods that lost all practical value a long time ago, Betsy has great sentimental value to her owner. The lyrics conjure up an image of a beat-up, rusty two-door sedan with fancy mag wheels and white-letter tires that has been very well loved.
  • The lyrics were written by Roger Christian, whom Mike Love explained to Mojo magazine June 2012, "was a gearhead who did all the words for our car songs." Christian also wrote words for "Dead Man's Curve" by Jan & Dean and the most famous car song by The Beach Boys: "Little Deuce Coupe."
  • Mike Love's favorite Roger Christian lyric is in this song. He told Mojo: "It's like a metaphor in a sense. When you come to that part where he's saying, 'She may be rusted iron, but to me she's solid gold. I just can't hold the tears back, 'cos Betty's growing old…' it just gets me. It's so descriptive and so beautiful."

Comments: 1

  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaOne of my favorite Beach Boys songs, cause of the harmony at the end. I told Brian this in October of 1968... he laughed.
    Another reason I like it, is that Chuck Britz punches in on the tape after the word "back"
    so the boys can perfect the harmony there. You can hear the click... fascinating.
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