The Beach Boys’ Party, released in 1965, has not been hailed by music historians the way 1966’s Pet Sounds is, or as Smile (which was not released until decades later) is. It was not an album that Brian Wilson spent days and months obsessively fussing over in the studio, trying to top the Beatles at their own game.
Rather, it was he and the boys letting loose by playing early-’60s classics like the Rivingtons’ “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and the Regents’ “Barbara Ann” and Harold Dorman’s “Mountain of Love” (and of course a few from the Fab Four) with party sounds overdubbed in the mix.
The underappreciated set has just been reissued on its 50th anniversary in an expanded version titled Beach Boys Party! Uncovered and Unplugged. It includes the original album along with a second disc of outtakes that include rehearsals, studio talk, and even more covers, among them the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and Dion’s “Ruby Baby”. Nobody is worrying if they are recording an important work of art that will be forever cemented in rock’s canon, but simply having a blast.
The same goes for anyone who listens. Uncovered and Unplugged is a perfect companion to your favorite Beach Boys greatest hits collection.