Don’t Worry Baby – The Beach Boys | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#24); 1964

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Time shifts history: elevating the reputation of some songs or artists while dooming others to oblivion. Take Don’t Worry Baby, for instance. In 1963 the Beach Boys were red hot and Capitol Records wanted product: the more, the better.

The California guys had released the Surfer Girl album in September of 1963, followed just 30 days later by the Little Deuce Coupe LP. Shut Down, Volume 2 and All Summer Long appeared in March and July of 1964 respectively.

In July the Beach Boys also racked up their first #1 single, I Get Around, from All Summer Long. Relegated to the flip side was Don’t Worry Baby. Brian Wilson’s achingly beautiful lead vocal, coupled with gorgeous harmonies from the other Beach Boys, lifted the rather mundane tale of an upcoming car race to transcendent heights.

Over the years, B-side Don’t Worry Baby became more popular than some of the Boys bigger hits. Its opening rhythm also inspired the arrangement to another great 1960’s track: Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Brian Wilson

Lyrics Written by:

  • Brian Wilson
  • Roger Christian