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1963 Fan Letter

By summer 1963, with “Surfin’ U.S.A.” scorching the charts, the Beach Boys

began receiving more fan letters than Audree Wilson could handle.  She asked David McClellan, who Murry Wilson had appointed the Beach Boys’ first director of publicity in June 1962, to respond to some of the letters.  The letter was written by a sassy fifteen-year-old girl from St. Louis, Missouri. It was postmarked August 14, 1963. When I spoke with David for the book he kindly shared one such letter he still had in his files.  I had hoped to include an image of it in the book, but it didn’t make the cut.

The letter was written by a sassy fifteen-year-old girl from St. Louis, Missouri.  It was postmarked August 14, 1963, and received five days later.  It was addressed to The “Beach Boys,” Hawthorne, California, c/o Murray Wilson.  It bore a handwritten note along the bottom of the envelope that read “Postmaster of Haw:  Please have this letter delivered because it is very important to me!  Thank you very, very much.

It’s a fascinating glimpse of the impact the Beach Boys were beginning to have on teenage America in summer 1963 just as their career was taking off.

Here’s a transcript of the letter.  Spelling and punctuation appear just as they do in the original letter.

Hi ya, Beach Boys,
I guess this is a fan letter, I don’t know ’cause I don’t go for the movie star bit.
I’m a fifteen year old girl who knows what she likes and your music I like, I like.  I have both your albums + I even bought the last one myself.  I didn’t wait until someone bought it for me+ when I’ll lay down my cash for something it’s got to be sharp, I mean really tuff!
I don’t know what you’re like personally, for all I know you’re a bunch of crumes (although I doubt it) but I know that you all lay down the meanest beat that I’ve ever heard.  I don’t know anything about surfin’ but I hope it’ll stay around for a long time if it’ll continue to inspire music like yours, I mean it, its tops.  In fact it was a little to good sometimes ’cause once I was driving with some guys (they all think you’re music is whipped cream too) + they started playing Surfin’ U.S.A. on the radio and Joe said to turn it up cause it was everyone’s favorite so Greg turns it on full blast which wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t three in the morning.  So we got taken in for disturbing the peace and since it was way past curfew you can imagine how cute that was!  I was grounded for 2 weeks (+ Mike was grounded for a month!) but we’d all do it again if you’d put out another sharp surfin’ record.  I’d pay any price for a beat like that.  Even two weeks of boredom!
The song “Farmers Daughter” in general doesn’t really send me but the beat is just to to much.
You’re music is the greatest.  I don’t know it’s just so human!
Oh, well, we love you as people do all over the country, unless maybe a little bit more.  So keep swingin’ cause we love it!
If you do a midwest tour please don’t forget ole St. Louie!?
Could you tell me of someone who knows the words to all your songs??  See, we’re going to have this big wing ding just before school starts + it’s going to have a surfin’ theme.  We’re going to wear our shifts, go bear foot + most of the guys are going to bleach their hair with lemons so we, in our crude way, can make an attempt at least at looking the part.  We’re makin’ posters with the words of yours songs on them as part of the atmosphere.  We got most of the words but some we just plain “no comprendemos”.  So you see if we had some place to send the words + someone could fill in the rest it would be simply cream pie!  I know you all are much to busy to do it, but if you (one of you) would please take the time to tell me where we could find someone who does know + does have the time it would be just to marvelous!  I mean it would be like WOW.  So please write to [name and address redacted] and tell us.  Please!
You’re the greatest ever!
(signed)
We’ll be thankful for always + forever if you will!  And man, you can be sure we’ll keep buyin’ your records.  BYE

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A companion animal veterinarian in Washington, DC, with a life-long affinity and love for the music of the Beach Boys.

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