a retro review by Bradley Mason Hamlin

Sometimes a song that you never gave special attention to, but always knew—will suddenly jump out at you—sort of screaming for its turn to really be heard, really listened to as if the song had just come forth, freshly baked with new genius.

I recently had one of those moments, working in the office, randomly listening to a wide mix of music …

I found myself stopping and replaying “All I Want To Do” by The Beach Boys, the flipside single of “I Can Hear Music” off the 20/20 album from 1969.

I was six-years-old when that thing came out …

I first picked up 20/20 sometime in the mid 1970s on cassette tape, then on vinyl, and finally the compact disc combo that included the previous album, Friends. So, I’ve certainly heard “All I Want To Do” plenty of times, but this week … it really struck home to me how important this song is in The Beach Boys catalog.

I have always said The Beach Boys should have added some harder rock tunes to their set. Paul McCartney was inspired by The Who to write “Helter Skelter” and The Beach Boys should have taken notice. Known more for their fantastic harmonies than anything else—it would have been great to see what Brian could have done if totally unrestrained and in the mind frame to rock as hard as he could.

However, younger brother Dennis was never afraid of controversy and with his composition of “All I Want To Do” gave us a true moment of knowing what the band could sound like in a heavier rockin mode. But despite the fact that “All I Want To Do” rocks—it’s also a truly great iconoclastic moment for The Beach Boys.

“All I Want To Do” isn't just suggestive; it's a full-on sex song—including the sounds of people having sex in the fade out! As we used to say in junior high school: They're gettin down!

Aside from all that the aspect I really love about this song is the collaborative effort between Dennis Wilson and Mike Love. I would love to know more about the background, and as to whether or not Dennis wrote it in mind for Mike to sing. The stories of Dennis and Mike not getting along are legendary, so to hear such a great tune constructed by Dennis’s writing and Mike’s singing is, well, good for the collective Beach Boys soul.

"All I Want To Do" by The Beach Boys
(written by: Dennis Wilson, lead vocal: Mike Love)

Dennis Wilson was the coolest Beach Boy and always will be, but damn if Mike didn’t up his street cred with those amazing rocking vocals …

From 1969 to 2008--we're still listening, Mike.

And for this one, you can look upward, and give a big thanks to Mr. Dennis Wilson.

"All I Want To Do" review by Bradley Mason Hamlin. Copyright © 2008 Mystery Island Publications.
Published by Mystery Island: 05.09.08. All rights reserved.