U.S. Singles Collection - The Capitol Years (1962-1965)

The Beach Boys

Capitol, 2008


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The Beach Boys have produced some brilliant -- and yes, some not so brilliant – albums over the course of their 45 year existence. During the early part of their career, however, they were primarily a singles band. It was their little round vinyl 45 rpm releases for the Capital label, which received massive airplay, which brought The Beach Boys their initial fame and popularity and cemented their musical legacy.

Capital has just issued the massive U.S. Singles Collection -- The Capitol Years (1962-1965). This set houses sixteen separate discs, each of which contains the A and B sides of their first fifteen singles for the Capital label. There are also bonus songs on each disc, which adds up finally to nearly seventy different songs featured here. Each CD is also housed in its own picture sleeve, which replicates how they were issued in the 1960’s. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

One complaint that some will level against this format is the constant need to change discs, owing to the fact that there are sixteen of them in all. I feel that the changing of discs just makes this release all the more authentic. I am a child of the ‘60s and I spent hours hunched over my phonograph playing one 45 after the other; that is the way I originally listened to the Beach Boys, so enjoy the experience.

The second complaint may be that most of the material is available elsewhere. I can’t argue that point, as The Beach Boys have issued numerous Greatest Hits compilations on CD, vinyl, cassette, and probably 8-tracks. However, it is the format that is unique here. All of this means that this set will appeal primarily to the serious Beach Boys collector.

The sound is superb; all of the songs have been re-mastered and cleaned up as much as possible. There are also a number of unreleased Beach Boys tracks. Disc one contains a 1965 live version of “409,” while “She Knows Me Too Well,” “Please Let Me Wonder,” and “California Girls” all make their true stereo debuts. The tenth disc contains the contents of their rare EP release but also includes a stereo mix of the great “Don’t Back Down.” The retrospective ends with “California Girls” but there is a bonus single. Disc sixteen includes mono versions of “All Dressed Up For School” and “I’m So Young” in addition to an alternate mix of “Help Me Rhonda” and a stereo mix of “Graduation Day.”

U.S. Singles Collection -- The Capitol Years (1962-1965) is a spectacular set. It does come with a high price tag, so will not be for everyone, but for true aficionados of the Beach Boys who do purchase this set, they will receive some classic music presented in a unique and creative way.

Rating: A

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© 2008 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.