Time To Play B-Sides: Beach Boys, “Shut Down”

I’ve mentioned before that a few of my father’s 45s migrated over to my collection in the 76-78 period, soon after I started buying my own. The reasons for which ones got picked are certainly lost to me now, but they included “Come and Get It,” “Spirit in the Sky,” and “Surfin’ U.S.A.” (with its awesome orange-and-yellow Capitol label).

The flip to that Beach Boys single is “Shut Down,” a not-quite-complete story about a drag race between a “fuel-injected Stingray” (a Corvette) and a “413” (a Dodge Dart, according to Wikipedia—the # refers to the size of the engine, in cubic inches). While it’s plenty slight and the lyrics are full of inside references to cars and racing, it’s also a darn catchy little number, one I played and sang along to on my little turntable many a time. I was pleased and a little surprised to hear it as part of “The Beach Boys Medley” that made it to #12 around this time of year in 81. It took a long time for me to realize I’d been holding a double-sided hit in my hands (“Shut Down” reached #23 on the 6/22/63 Hot 100).

There probably isn’t another 45 from the 60s whose two sides I know better than this one (though I’m not finding it amongst my stacks of singles at the moment). I’ll be saying more about the song on the A side in a couple of days.

The song ends before the race is over; the Dodge is ahead but the Stingray is gaining. I know very little about cars in general, much less those of the early 60s, but the commenters in the video below are pretty much exclusively saying the Dodge would win.

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