As we move into the second half of the year, and Brian Wilson’s recent birthday, a song reflecting the passing of time would seem to be very appropriate to feature here. (When I Grow Up) To Be A Man was, of course, a single A-side and USA top 10 hit, so it’s presence in the Hidden Beauty archive could be questioned. Then again, it hasn’t always been regarded in the top tier of Beach Boys hits, and has only recently had a live revival in both Brian and Mike’s shows. And this is my column, so into the hidden beauties it goes.
For a track recorded in the summer of 1964 , this remains a fantastically progressive song, both musically and lyrically. In an era of hedonism, thinking realistically about the future and the responsibilities of adulthood was a novel concept, and the slightly muted chart performance could well reflect that. Listening to it now, the roll-call of passing years is somewhat poignant, especially with the writer and the band well past those numbers. It may have been something of a hit, but it is also hidden, multi-layered beauty.