Little Deuce Coupe

Album: Surfer Girl (1963)
Charted: 15
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  • This is one of the street drag-racing tales that were popular in mid 1960s in Southern California. The lyrics make more sense if you're into cars. The mechanical parts mentioned are all actual automotive parts or technology, including the "flat head mill" (engine) and the "lake pipes" (which are long chromed exhaust pipes that run along the rocker panel). One artistic stretch is the vision of an old Ford Model A reaching 140 mph - the shape has too much air drag to reach that speed, unless you tow it behind a DC-10 jet. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Chris - Thornhurst, PA
  • A "deuce" is a car produced by Ford in 1932 (the "2" in 1932 is the "deuce"). Most of them had big V8 engines and were popular for drag racing. They weren't just coupes - they also came as roadsters and sedans.
  • This was the first song Brian Wilson wrote with Roger Christian, who was a California DJ with an affinity for cars. Wilson was a wizard in the studio and very good with composition, but when it came to writing lyrics that would appeal to the youth of America, he needed some help. Roger Christian, and also Wilson's early writing partner Gary Usher, gave him an insight into the California culture of surfing and cars that helped make the songs authentic. Roger Christian went on to write more car-inspired Beach Boys songs, including "Car Crazy Cutie" and "Cherry, Cherry Coupe," and he also helped write "Dead Man's Curve" for Jan & Dean.
  • Mike Love sang lead on this track.
  • The line at the end of the song, "There's one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy," means that the singer won a race with his Little Deuce Coupe, earning him his opponent's car. The "pink slip" is the vehicle's registration, so "racing for pink slips" means the winner gets the other car.
  • Session drummer Hal Blaine played on this. He played on many hit songs, including The Beach Boys' "Fun Fun Fun" and "Surfin' Safari." It was one of the first songs that Brian Wilson used session musicians on, replacing his brother Dennis on drums. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Neil - raleigh, NC
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Comments: 30

  • Doug from South WestI can see where "Big SLIP daddy" might be a reference for limited slip differential, though I'm not familiar "Big SLIP daddy" ever being used....that's why the "pink slip" reference might make more sense, as in racing for titles/registrations. Here's another one "she blows 'em outta the water like you never seen" At first I thought it might refer to the "water box" where the driver does their initial burnout to get some heat in the tires for better traction, but that wouldn't fit the staging sequence if they were at a drag strip (you don't stage/take the green light in the water box. If these guys are street racing then I guess I'd have to harken back to the slang "blew 'em outta the water" meaning similar to "blew the doors off of 'em" or soundly defeating your opponent? Regardless a "Deuce Coupe" is a '32 Ford without exception. Great tune, good discussion....now on to "Shutdown"!!!
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaHave only seen one of these in person at the Reno Car Museum. And I always thought the lyric was Led Pipe, thanks for setting it straight.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 11th 1963, "Little Deuce Coupe"" by the Beach Boys entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #80; and on September 22nd, 1963 it peaked at #15 {for 1 week} and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...The week it peaked at #15 the record's A-side, "Surfer Girl", was at #11, and a week earlier it had peaked at #7 on the Top 100...The boys had four other songs make the Top 100 in 1963; "Ten Little Indians" {peaked at #49}, "Surfin' U.S.A." {reached #3}, "Shut Down" {at #23}, and "Be True to Your School" {topped out at #6}...R.I.P. Dennis Wilson {1944-1983} and Carl Wilson {1946-1998}.
  • 00spy from Calgary, Ab"Big Slip Daddy” - lol . Classic song about a souped up 32 Ford Model B” and better yet he has the “Pink Slip, Daddy”!
  • Kimo from Kaunakakai Hawaii, Ca"Pink slip" versus "The Big Slip Daddy" - Hate to burst your collective bubbles, but I was a neighborhood friend of Dave Marks in Inglewood, CA and I helped him learn the lyrics to LDC for the single and the album. Sorry, it's "Big Slip Daddy", folks. The song is enumerating hot car equipment of the day in this stanza. A "Big Slip Daddy" is street rod talk for the optional and prized Chevy/Corvette/Mopar limited slip differential rear end on the rear axle. A high performance option that meant a fast street rod capable of an even-tire burnout.

    Factual and short & sweet. At your assistance.

    PS: "Pink slip, Daddy" makes no sense at this point in the lyrics, Daddy.
  • Stewart from Staten Island , NyA car with 3 two barrel carbs was a six pack here in New York.
  • Wayne from Midvale, UtAs for the duece not being able to reach 140 mph.....consider the person who made the comment. He calls the car a model A, so obviously he knows nothing. A duece is a model B. As to opinions that a deuce is anything other than a '32 Ford, sorry but these people know nothing about car culture.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaThe track features a "boogie" styled piano thing that Brian played me one time, "bare boned" in his office...I asked him to play Little Saint Nick...but he started playing Little Duece Coupe at first...the piano parts are similar...
  • George from Belleville, NjAnother solid hit single.This song has that familiar distinct signature Beach Boys sound.Brian Wilson was putting out one single after another like a hit songwriting machine.
  • Bob from Berkeley, CaFolks, this song is actually kind of witty. After listing all the competition modifications ("ported and relieved" and "stroked and bored") and auto parts ("four on the floor" and "Lakes pipes"), the singer delivers the line, "There's one more thing--I got the pink slip, daddy!" Well, if you were a Californian back then, you got the joke.
  • Marcus from Castro Valley, CaSome of these comments are off the wall.Someone said a 32 Ford cant reach 140?! What?! Heres some SCTA Records for you to gaze at http://www.scta-bni.org/Bonneville/BNIrecs_cat_b2.htm
    A Deuce Coupe is a 63 Nova? Did you bump your head or are you just clueless? A Deuce Coupe is in fact a 1932 Ford 3 or 5 Window Coupe.I know the Owner of the Deuce Coupe on the Album Cover, that belongs to the Catallo family.Featured on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in 1963, some of the photo shoot was used for the Album.Dont know of a Beach Boy who owned a Deuce, Dennis had Vettes.None of the Beach Boys knew much about Rodding, they relied on Gary usher and Roger Christian for lyrics.They were in Bands like the Super Stock and were Real Rodders in the scene..Anymore questions?
  • Rob from Chicago, IlCoupe - 2 passenger closed automobile, with or without rumble seat.
    Little - small; not large
    Deuce - colloquial expression for the number 2.

    But put these words together in the right order and you describe only two vehicles on the face of the earth.

    A "Deuce Coupe" is a 1932 Ford coupe (3 window or 5 window). This term was common starting in the late '40s, when Brian and I were just 8 years old. To apply it to a bowtie car is sacrilegious!
  • Justin from Fulton, NyFirst this song is about a 32 ford with a flathead V8 engine. 1932 was the first year for fords v8. among hot rodders the car is known as a deuce. most of the coupes and roadsters were not 2 seaters, open the trunk and gess what you see. its called a rumble seat. the car is not a model "a" henry changed his car and started calling it the V8, or model "b" for the 4 cyl cars. If you are saying that a 32 ford cant go 140 mph you realy need to take a trip to bonneville salt flats. cars are going over 230 mph. the deuce is not refered to carburators, if you put 3 two barrel carbs on a 55 studebaker it isnt considered a deuce coupe. it dosent mean the car is a nova look at the album cover. its a 32 ford. and if you think its a nova then answer this, whos putting a flathead ford engine (built from 32-53) in a 63 chevy nova?
  • Charles from Nashville, TnTim must have grown up in the '70s in my neighborhood, because we always called Chevy IIs Duece Coupes too. I guess that's not what the song was about though. OOOPS
  • Rollyn from Endicott, Ny I am building a house decorated in a 50's-60's theme. The den-livingroom will be the beach boys. Half surfing[tiki bar]half little deuce coupe[nosalgia hot rods].ronzy,endicott,ny
  • Mike from Big Sandy, TnA deuce coupe is a 1932 Ford Coupe. 1932 was the year that Ford changed from the Model A to the Model B. If someone says they've got a deuce coupe, its a 1932 Ford. Any hard core hot rodder willl tell you this. And whoever said a 1932 Ford isn't capable of going 140 because of aerodynamics needs to check the NHRA record books. In the Gas and Altered classes they reached speeds in excess of 200 mph. in the 1/4 mile.
  • Thomas from Forth, AustraliaI'm from Australia and I don't know alot about American cars but I do admire them. I was surprised when I saw the '32 Ford. I thought the Little Deuce Coupe would be more modern. The 63 Nova looks pretty tame for something that will "walk a Thunderbird like she's standing still".
  • Bob from Mableton , Gai hate to disagree but i think the deuce in deuce coupe refers to something other than the year model of the car. i think the deuce refers to the fact that many of these hot rods were equipped with three 2 barrel carburetors (deuces). look at the album cover . they are clearly visible.
  • Nathaniel from Cleveland, OhThe pink slip was carried around in case someone wanted to race for each others car.
  • Bobpape from Austin, TxIn the parlance of the 60's, a duece coupe was a hotrod made from a 1932 Ford Coupe. Usually, it was NOT a Chevy, although the engine (usually a flat-eight) could be from anything. One of the Wilson brothers (I forget which one)owned a Duece Coupe.
  • Darrell from EugeneI had a "Little Deuce Coupe" at one time, but it was a 1932 Studebaker Dictator with a Rambler 327 and a pushbutton automatic. I built it out of junk parts, and I sold it in 1968 when I needed money. I regret it, but it was better than pawning my circa-1936 Bosch tabletop radio (replete with Nazi insignia and worth over $8,000)
  • Moss from Idaho Falls, IdThis is definitely about a tricked out, souped-up, bitchen, '32 Hot Rod Ford, which is one of my all time favorite cars (not - lol - a Nova). I went to school with the Boys at Hawthorne in the late 50s and early 60s. Carl and I were good friends until they busted loose on the music scene in the early 60s and the '32 deuce was a prize to get back then.
  • Ariana from E, Md"Little Deuce Coupe" does in fact refer to 1932 car, probably a Ford. Look at the album cover! I do not claim to be an expert on antique cars by any means, but that is clearly a very old car, not a 1960's two-seater.
  • Don from B G, KyI believe "little deuce coupe" means a two seater car. It does not have a backseat. I do not think it means a 1932 model car. Go figure.
  • Kevin Witt from Haymarket, VaTom Cruise played an absentee dad in the movie War of the Worlds. Not knowing a single nursery ryme, this is the only song that he could come up with to comfort his little girl (Dakota Fanning) upon the aliens landing.
  • Gary from Auckland, New ZealandI think it was Timothy White's book that said Hal Blaine's drumming was laid over Dennis's -- probably for a gruntier or fatter sound. Brian was in the studio and the other Beach Boys on tour at the time 'Little Deuce Coupe' was recorded -- Al Jardine had come back and was substituting for Brian on bass. It's like Glen Campbell, then a popular LA session musician also, said -- that he filled in at the group's convenience for recordings and that the Beach Boys were as good as any other musicians in LA. I believe it was Dennis on 'Surfin' Safari' and all other tracks until the 'Surfer Girl' album -- because all the recordings were done in Capitol's studio until then and Brian (or Murry as manager) would have had to pay to have additional musicians at a session, apart from Capitol being fussy about letting outsiders in. That's partly why Brian and the group went independent from Capitol in 1963.
  • Mark from Philadelphia, PaSorry Tim, but this song is not about a 63 Chevy Nova. I know this purely based on the line "Just a little deuce coupe with a flathead mill". Note "flathead mill" No Chevy Nova ever came with a Flathead engine, and by 1963 there were far better engines to drop in them such as the 283, 327 and even the 409 if you had the cash. By the way, Mopar or no car.
  • Tim from West Chester, Pagreat song. you all have it wrong though . the song is not about a 1932 ford . it is about a 1963 chevy nova
  • Marty from El Prado, NmI grew up in Southern California during the 50's and 60's. One line in the song may be unique to California..."There's one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy." The "pink slip" was the proof from the state that you own the car.
  • Gavin from Hampden, MaThis is a great song. They preformed it live with the beatles while in india with maherishi. I have heard the song with the beatles, and it is even better than the origonal, if that's possible.
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