Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice

When I graduated in 1985, The Beach Boys were on my tape deck in my car. Although the music was 20 years old I could identify with them more than the music I was hearing on top 40 radio.

This was the leadoff track to The Beach Boys’ legendary Pet Sounds album. While the “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows” singles sold very well, the album had very disappointing sales when it was first released in America. The UK appreciated it much more along with Paul McCartney and John Lennon. America wanted more surf songs but Brian Wilson had moved into a different place.

I was very surprised to read that as of 2021, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is the Beach Boys’ most streamed song on Spotify. I would have thought Good Vibrations or one of their early surf songs.

Brian Wilson wrote the song with contributions from vocalist Mike Love and lyricist Tony Asher. Asher wrote all of the lyrics except for the “Good night, my baby, sleep tight, my baby” lines at the end of the song, which was Love’s contribution.

Pet Sounds peaked at #10 in the Billboard Album Charts, #2 in the UK. Wouldn’t It Be Nice peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, #12 in New Zealand, and #58 in the UK in 1966.

Mike Love has said that Brian Wilson made him do his part over 30 times. He started to call Wilson “Dog Ears” because he could hear something that no one else could.

Mike Love: “Brian must have been part canine because he was reaching for something intangible, imperceptible to most, and all but impossible to execute,”

Nick Kent journalist: “This time [he] was out to eclipse these previous sonic soap operas, to transform the subject’s sappy sentiments with a God-like grace so that the song would become a veritable pocket symphony.”

Tony Asher (Lyricist) “It was a great joy making music with him but that any other relationship with Brian was a great chore. I found Brian’s lifestyle so damn repugnant. I mean, for say, every four hours we’d spend writing songs, there’d be about 48 hours of these dopey conversations about some dumb book he’d just read. Or else he’d just go on and on about girls… his feelings about this girl or that girl… it was just embarrassing.”

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long?
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong?

You know it’s gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new?
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through?

Happy times together we’ve been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray
It might come true (run run ooo)
Baby, then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be married (we could be married)
And then we’d be happy (and then we’d be happy)
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?

You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But let’s talk about it
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?

Good night, oh baby
Sleep tight, oh baby
Good night, oh baby
Sleep tight, oh baby

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

43 thoughts on “Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

    1. I credit the UK for seeing the beauty in Pet Sounds before the US did. People got it over there…maybe because of a more sophisticated London at the time?
      I can’t believe it wasn’t an A side though.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Thank GOD there are Brian Wilsons in the music world who are only satisfied when it is just right. I do love this song and God Only Knows. They are polished purity which is a paradox, but they are.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. wasnt’ there at one time not too long ago a “Mike Love’s Beach Boys” and a “wilson’s Beach Boys” touring? Heard ‘God Only Knows’ on radio today… it really was a pretty close to perfect song

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I always call it a perfect pop song…it’s like the song equivalent to an egg.

        Like

      3. Heh. I’m suddenly reminded of David Allen Coe & the perfect Country & Western song. “Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison…” 😆

        Sorry…just the way my brain works.

        Geez…a lot of back-biting in group.

        Regarding Wilson, I get that canine thing, too, in music. I’m a pattern recognizer and, in music, if something is off, it makes me nuts…case in point, the X-Files theme. The pattern changed, with no explanation and it still bugs me.

        That being said, I preferred the surf music to the crooning. Just sayin’…

        Liked by 2 people

      4. lol
        God Only Knows…it’s just a pop song…a wonderful great pop song…melody and all.

        Mike Love sucks…I don’t like the guy.

        Like

  2. Brian might have a brain that few other than he can make sense of, but that Boy can write. The band couldn’t just keep playing beach songs like ‘Surfin’ USA ‘ and ‘Help Me Rhonda’ (is there a less romantic girls name outside of Rhonda than Hulga?) and this was streets ahead of most other bands sweet maudlin simple dittys of the time.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m probably in the minority here when I say that while there’s nothing wrong with “Pet Sounds”, I never quite understood the fuzz so many people make about this album. I guess I just don’t get it!

    To me, the most significant aspect of “Pet Sounds” is that it inspired my favorite Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “God Only Knows” or “Sloop John B” are fine tunes but, I’m sorry, are no comparison to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “A Day in the Life” or Sgt. Pepper’s title track!

    Last but not least, I’m also surprised that “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is the most streamed Beach Boys song on Spotify. I guess my favorite Beach Boys tune is “Good Vibrations.” If I had to pick one from “Pet Sounds”, I’d go with “God Only Knows.” I can’t deny it’s a great pop song!

    BTW, to be clear, I dig a good number of songs by The Beach Boys, mostly because of their amazing harmony singing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you have to place it in the time it was released. Compare Surfin USA to this…it’s not the same. It was so far out there compared to what they were doing 6 months before.

      God Only Knows…is a perfect song…maybe the most perfect pop song. Don’t get me wrong….I like Sgt Peppers more….but I’m a Beatles fan lol.

      Oh…love the post on Dave’s site about J Geils!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a very good point, Max. There really is no comparison between “Surfin’ USA” and their other early surf songs (as much as I admittedly like them!) and the complex production of “Pet Sounds”.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I agree with you totally Christian – “God Only Knows” is definitely one of the best pop songs of that decade, and ‘Good Vibrations’, ‘Sloop John B’ and ‘Wouldn’t it Be Nice?’ are all really good tracks that are head and shoulders and chest and waist above their earlier stuff… but as an album, to me, it’s good but far from historically great let alone rivalling ‘Sgt Pepper’. But there’s no doubt that competitiveness drove both bands to greater work.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Brian Wilson had the gift of making The Beach Boys much more musically interesting than their expected usual pop songs about surfing, cars and girls played on commercial radio

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That was really cool…he was sad through that part of his life…or most of that part of his life.

      Like

  5. My son gave me a pristine copy of Pet Sounds many years ago; he found it at an estate sale for a few bucks. My original was long lost, or borrowed and never returned, like when you loan a friend a good book that comes home. When I first listened to the disc in 65, I thought, “this is not the Beach Boys I know,” and yes, they, or mainly Brian had moved on to another level. The cover sleeve with the goats was a bit weird, but a great record awaited inside.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: