Music Friday Flashback: Tony Burrows Asks His 'Beach Baby' to Wear His Ring in 1974's Summertime Classic

Welcome to our Music Friday Flashback when we revisit fabulous oldies with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today's featured song is "Beach Baby," a popular 1974 singalong from the British one-hit wonder called The First Class.

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Lead singer Tony Burrows — in his best American accent — channels Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys in this song about a summer romance on the beaches of Southern California. He sings, "We couldn't wait for graduation day (oh oh, no) / We took the car and drove to San Jose (oh oh oh) / That's where you told me that you'd wear my ring / I guess you don't remember anything."

What's interesting about "Beach Baby" is that is was written and performed by UK natives. John Carter and his wife, Gillian (Jill) Shakespeare, composed the song in their home in East Sheen, South West London. Despite being 5,400 miles from "old L.A., when everybody drove a Chevrolet," the writing team perfectly captured the vibe of the surf music popularized by The Beach Boys 10 years earlier.

The First Class was the studio creation of Carter and Shakespeare. Once they had their song completed, they hired session singers Burrows and Chas Mills to record the track as The First Class. While the band may suffer from the tag of "one-hit wonder," Burrows has an impressive resume. He was the voice behind a number of other hits, including Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" and Brotherhood of Man's "United We Stand."

Often mistaken as a Beach Boys standard, "Beach Baby" became a summertime favorite on both sides of the pond. In 1974, it zoomed to #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, settled at #13 on the U.K. charts and ascended all the way to #1 in Canada.

Before we officially say goodbye to summer, let's turn up the volume on "Beach Baby." The video, below, features a live performance by The First Class, with Burrows singing lead vocals. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Beach Baby"
Written by Gillian Shakespeare and John Carter. Performed by The First Class.

You remember back in old L.A. (oh oh oh)
When everybody drove a Chevrolet (oh oh oh)
Whatever happened to the boy next door
The sun-tanned crew-cut all-American male

Remember dancing at the high school hop (oh oh oh)
The dress I ruined with the soda pop (oh oh oh)
I didn't recognize the girl next-door
The beat up sneakers and the pony tail

Beach baby, beach baby, give me your hand
Give me something that I can remember
Just like before, we can walk by the shore in the moonlight
Beach baby, beach baby, there on the sand
From July to the end of September
Surfin' was fun, we'd be out in the sun every day

Mmm, I never thought that it would end (ooh ooh)
Mmm, and I was everybody's friend (ooh ooh)
Long hot days
Blue sea haze
Jukebox plays
But now it's fading away

We couldn't wait for graduation day (oh oh, no)
We took the car and drove to San Jose (oh oh oh)
That's where you told me that you'd wear my ring
I guess you don't remember anything

Beach baby, beach baby, give me your hand (give me your hand)
Give me somethin' that I can remember (give me something to remember)
Just like before we can walk by the shore in the moonlight
Beach baby, beach baby, there on the sand (there on the sand)
From July to the end of September (from July to September)
Surfin' was fun, we'd be out in the sun every day

Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do

Credit: Image screen capture via YouTube.com.