Beach Boys – In My Room

As a teenager, I could relate to this song. Now in this world, we live in now… I can relate to this song even more. I love the harmonies in this song.

Brian Wilson suffered from severe agoraphobia and refused to leave his bedroom for a significant amount of time. He wrote this song to give people an idea of how he felt. The song, like many Beach Boys songs, has beautiful harmonizing. The song was written by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher.

This song was the B side to Be True To Your School released in 1963. The song peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100 in 1963.

Brian Wilson: “When Dennis, Carl and I lived in Hawthorne as kids, we all slept in the same room. One night I sang the song ‘Ivory Tower’ to them and they liked it. Then a couple of weeks later, I proceeded to teach them both how to sing the harmony parts to it. It took them a little while, but they finally learned it. We then sang this song night after night. It brought peace to us. When we recorded ‘In My Room,’ there was just Dennis, Carl and me on the first verse… and we sounded just like we did in our bedroom all those nights. This story has more meaning than ever since Dennis’ death.”

From Songfacts

In the 1998 documentary Endless Harmony, Brian Wilson described this song as about being “somewhere where you could lock out the world, go to a secret little place, think, be, do whatever you have to do.”

Charles Manson, who was convicted of orchestrating the murders of six people in 1969, made repeated claims that The Beach Boys stole this song from him. In Manson’s view, he wrote a song called “In My Cell” which was about how he feels peace with himself in his jail cell. Manson did have a connection to The Beach Boys – he knew their drummer Dennis Wilson – and did write and record some songs. His claims have little basis in fact – something that is true of most of his proclamations.

Bill Medley from The Righteous Brothers recorded this with Phil Everly and Brian Wilson for his album Damn Near Righteous, his first new album since the untimely 2003 death of his partner Bobby Hatfield. 

Interesting food for thought: Brian Wilson just might have inadvertently inspired one of the greatest jazz fusion bands, Blood Sweat & Tears, albeit indirectly. Al Kooper relates in Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards that he was sitting in Brian Wilson’s living room while he showed off the Pet Sounds album. He was just leaving The Blues Project and wandering around California in an existential haze wondering what to do next, when while visiting with Brian Wilson, “Deep in the back of my mind was a band that could put dents in your shirt if you got within fifteen rows of the stage…” He explains his idea of having a band with a horn section in it, more than R&B bands but less than Count Basie’s or Buddy Rich’s. “Somewhere in the middle was a mixture of soul, jazz, and rock that was my little fantasy.”

This was released as the B-side of “Be True To Your School.”

Linda Ronstadt and Tammy Wynette both covered this song.

One of the many who found solace in this song is Steve Perry of Journey fame, who told Rolling Stone: “This was an anthem to my teenage isolation. I just wanted to be left alone in my room, where I could find peace of mind and play music.”

In My Room

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
I won’t be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room