Learn about The Beach Boys' 'Summer Days' album cover

Not all the right Beach Boys were on hand for the photo shoot for the “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)” album cover. Here are the photos, too!
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The final cover of "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)" Photo (c) Capitol Records, LLC

The final cover of "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)" Photo (c) Capitol Records, LLC

The alternate group cover that includes Bruce Johnston. Photo (c) Capitol Records, LLC

The alternate group cover that includes Bruce Johnston. Photo (c) Capitol Records, LLC

By David Beard

When Beach Boy Bruce Johnston joined the group in 1965, he was not contractually free from his obligations at Columbia Records as a part of Bruce & Terry (Melcher) and The Rip Chords. He was, however, on hand for the photo shoot for the “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)” album cover.

As a result, he did end up in a few photos taken on the boat.

Johnston remembers, “I couldn’t be on any Beach Boys album covers… I was the new kid on the block on the ‘Summer Days’ album, and I went to the boat, and I was standing next to the cameraman [Ken Veeder] while they were taking shots for that. I was invited to come to the vocal sessions that were the start of ‘Summer Days.’ I wound up singing on the whole album. Brian loved to add textures, so I was considered another texture in his palette. The first sounds out of my mouth were the answers to the second lead on ‘California Girls’.”

Released on June 28, 1965, the cover for “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)” was unique in that the cover only featured four Beach Boys — Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson — instead of five.

Where was guitarist Al Jardine? The back of the album, however, included a brief note from each band member.

Jardine’s statement said it all: “Sorry I missed the boat on this album cover. That very day the pictures were taken I had to spend in bed with a flu bug instead of on a yacht with the photographer [Ken Veeder]. You know, recording sessions are a lot of fun. A lot of fun, that is, unless you’ve just come in off the road from a three-week tour of 10 states into the arms of our leader Brian. He sets up camp for us in Studio B and we have at it. Now, I’m not saying it’s hard work or anything, but it is. I was once told a musician expends as much energy in half an hour as a lumberjack does in eight hours. Well, my muscles don’t feel too sore at the end of the day, but if you look close at any one of the guys you’ll see the strain of our work. Don’t expect to see an immaculate Carl or Dennis, but look for someone who seems to need a first-aid kit. Pull the hair out of their eyes, and you can bet it’s them.”

Related story: "Relive those ‘Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)’ with Al Jardine"

To order the album "Summer Days ... " click here.

David M. Beard is the editor and publisher of Endless Summer Quarterly. In addition to his 17-year tenure with ESQ, he has served as consultant for VH1’s “Jan & Dean — Behind The Music,” “Glen Campbell — Behind The Music” and A&E’s “Jan & Dean — The Other Beach Boys”; and co-written liner notes for the Dennis Wilson “Pacific Ocean Blue — Legacy Edition” and “Jan & Dean — The Complete Liberty Singles.”

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