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Welcome to Music Friday Flashback when we revisit our favorite oldies with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today’s featured song is “Beach Baby,” a popular 1974 singalong by the British one-hit wonder called The First Class.
Lead singer Tony Burrows channels Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys in this song about summer romance and a promise ring on the beaches of California.
He sings, “We couldn’t wait for graduation day (oh oh, no) / We took the car and drove to San Jose (oh oh oh) / That’s where you told me that you’d wear my ring / I guess you don’t remember anything.”
What’s fascinating about “Beach Baby” is that is was written and performed by UK natives. John Carter and his wife, Gillian (Jill) Shakespeare, composed the song in their home in East Sheen, South West London. Despite being 5,400 miles from “old L.A., when everybody drove a Chevrolet,” the writing team perfectly captured the vibe of the surf music popularized by The Beach Boys 10 years earlier.
Once they had their song completed, husband-and-wife team hired session singers Burrows and Chas Mills to record the track as The First Class.
While the band may still suffer from the tag of “one-hit wonder,” Burrows amassed an impressive resume. He was the voice behind a number of other hits, including Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” and Brotherhood of Man’s “United We Stand.” Burrows is still performing at the age of 81.
Often mistaken as a Beach Boys standard, “Beach Baby” became a summertime favorite on both sides of the pond. In 1974, it zoomed to #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100, settled at #13 on the UK charts and ascended all the way to #1 in Canada.
With summer just around the corner, let’s turn up the volume on “Beach Baby.” The video, below, features a live performance by The First Class, with Burrows singing lead vocals. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…
“Beach Baby”Written by Gillian Shakespeare and John Carter. Performed by The First Class.
Do you remember back in old L.A.? (oh oh oh)When everybody drove a Chevrolet (oh oh oh)Whatever happened to the boy next doorThe sun-tanned crew-cut all-American male?
Remember dancing at the high school hop? (oh oh oh)The dress I ruined with the soda pop (oh oh oh)I didn’t recognize the girl next-doorThe beat up sneakers and the pony tail
Beach baby, beach baby, give me your handGive me something that I can rememberJust like before, we can walk by the shore in the moonlight
Beach baby, beach baby, there on the sandFrom July to the end of SeptemberSurfin’ was fun, we’d be out in the sun every day
Mmm, I never thought that it would end (ooh ooh)Mmm, and I was everybody’s friend (ooh ooh)Long, hot daysBlue sea hazeJukebox playsBut now it’s fading away
We couldn’t wait for graduation day (oh oh, no)We took the car and drove to San Jose (oh oh oh)That’s where you told me that you’d wear my ringI guess you don’t remember anything
Beach baby, beach baby, give me your hand (give me your hand)Give me somethin’ that I can remember (give me something to remember)Just like before we can walk by the shore in the moonlight
Beach baby, beach baby, there on the sand (there on the sand)From July to the end of September (from July to September)Surfin’ was fun, we’d be out in the sun every day
Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.