The Capitol Years was a Beach Boys box set released in England in 1980. This box set was available as an import only in the United States and carried a price tag of $99.99. Not many people were dumb enough to plunk down $100 for this set, except, of course, for me. While this purchase did not land me in divorce court, I do remember some couch time was involved.
This was advertised as a six-LP set containing 106 songs. The Capitol Years was released on the World label which was a subsidiary of EMI, the parent company of Capitol. The 109 songs include every 1960s hit by the Beach Boys plus most of their other, better songs. Each disc is centered on a theme and the songs are presented in chronological order.
The production is crystal clear even by today’s standards. I am guessing that virgin vinyl was used as opposed to United States releases that use recycled vinyl. Each LP is contained in its own sleeve and a booklet gives a history of all the songs.
In many ways this LP box set, even though among the rarest of Beach Boys releases, is obsolete today. A huge CD box set and any number of greatest hits releases have relegated this set to the collector’s bin.
So why have I included it in my Beach Boys retrospective?
There was a seventh unadvertised disc included in the set. This disc contained the 17 non-Beach Boys songs that Brian Wilson produced for the Capitol label. It included both sides of eight single releases plus one more song. While this material has been issued in various forms and places over the years it is difficult to find them all gathered together.
There are eight sides by the all-girl surf group the Honeys. The Honeys were comprised of Brian Wilson’s wife Marilyn Rovell, her sister Diane Rovell, and their cousin Ginger Blake. Six of the songs were released in 1963. The best are “Shoot The Curl” with good girl harmonies and the superb “Pray For Surf" with a sax line running throughout and stunning Beach Boy-like harmonies.