Name: “Endless Summer”
Artist: The Beach Boys
Release date: 1974
Favorite track: “California Girls”
Hearing this record instantly elicits memories of my elementary school gym class. My P.E. teacher played the same Beach Boys album every time she made us jump rope.
She made it a competition, in which we would jump rope consecutively as long as we could, then she rewarded us with memberships to the five-minute jump rope club, 10-minute club and so on. I was a member of the mysterious, exclusive I-don’t-care club, mostly because my feet preferred stepping on the rope more than jumping over it.
I loathed P.E. — every second of it — but I didn’t mind the music. Even at that age and without having ever seen the ocean, I understood the allure of The Beach Boys’ peppy, beach-y tunes. I think it instilled in me a desire to go to the ocean in search of whatever it was these guys had clearly already found.
I was also born in California, so, at my core, I’m a California girl. Now that I live near the beach — which, believe me, I never thought would happen — this music feels even more relevant to my life.
Based on the songs my teacher played, I’m inclined to think it was one of the band’s early 1960s albums or a compilation album like this record, “Endless Summer.” Despite being overplayed on commercials and the radio, I still sincerely appreciate some of the band’s greatest pop-rock hits.
If the title didn’t already clue you in, this record is the ultimate summer playlist.
“Surfer Girl,” “Catch a Wave,” “All Summer Long,” “Girls on the Beach” — nearly every song has a water or summer theme. But, two less summery songs catch my attention, “California Girls” and “I Get Around.”
“California Girls” is a classic. The Beach Boys give kudos to girls in every region of the U.S. I have experiences in California, the Midwest (Oklahoma) and the South, so I feel as if this song applies extra to me.
The Mid-West farmer’s daughters really make you feel alright
And the Northern girls with the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night
— “California Girls”
This song and “I Get Around” are both beach-y versions of 1950s music. I’ve always been drawn to the cooing and punchy lyrics in “I Get Around.”
None of the guys go steady ‘cause it wouldn’t be right
To leave their best girl home now on Saturday night
— “I Get Around”
All the tracks are from the group’s 1960s albums
As expected, this album art is charming and vibrant.
The album cover features The Beach Boys' faces hidden among greenery and flowers. Keith McConnell designed the cover of this album, along with the artwork for later albums, “Spirit of America” and “Sunshine Dream.”
One of the most interesting facets of “Endless Summer” is it’s a double album, which means there are two records in a gatefold sleeve. One LP features sides one and four, and the other LP features sides two and three.
The artwork on the inside of the gatefold is kitschy and imaginative. It looks like an ocean carnival with giant balloons and an abandoned lifeguard boat.
The back of the album continues the beach theme with a surfboard, seagull, plane and a pair of legs extended out as if sunbathing. Every side of the album features an illustration of an ocean wave.
Every season is summer when you're listening to The Beach Boys.
Hey, I'm Savannah. I collect records, and they collect dust. Like my preferred media form, I strive to not become obsolete. I created Off the Record as a way to turn my mind inside out, into something visual and tangible. One is the loneliest number, so I asked my friends to join.