The Beach Boys have produced some brilliant, and yes some not so brilliant, albums over the course of their 46 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 Capitol label, which received massive airplay and brought the band their initial fame and popularity and cemented their musical legacy.
Capitol has just issued the massive The Beach Boys-U.S. Singles Collection – The Capitol Years (1962-1965). This set houses 16 separate CDs. Each contains the A and B sides of their first 15 singles for the label. There are also bonus songs on each disc. A previous review on Blogcritics listed the contents of each CD, so I will not repeat that process here. It does, however, add up to 68 different songs. Each CD is housed in its own picture sleeve which replicates how they were issued in the 1960s.
One complaint that some will level against this format is the constant need to change discs as there are 16 of them. I feel that this just makes this release all the more authentic. I am a child of the 60s and I spent hours hunched over my record player playing one 45 after the other. That is the way I originally listened to the Beach Boys and I 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 as all the songs have been re-mastered and cleaned up as much as possible. There are also a number of unreleased Beach Boys tracks. Disc 1 contains a 1965 live version of “409.” “She Knows Me Too Well,” “Please Let Me Wonder” and “California Girls” all make their true stereo debuts. Disc number 10 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 the "California Girls"
There is a bonus single. Disc 16 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.”
The Beach Boys: 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.