“Caroline, No”

“Caroline, No,” by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, well deserves to be the first entry in this New American Songbook. It was written in 1966 and released as a single under Wilson’s name; it later appeared on the Beach Boys’ classic album Pet Sounds. Wilson later said that the song “was my favorite on the album, the prettiest ballad I’ve ever sung. Awfully pretty song. The melody and the chords were like Glenn Miller … a Glenn Miller-type bridge. The fade-out was like a 1944 kind of record…Listen for the flutes in the fadeout.”

I have to admit I don’t quite see the Miller connection but the song is haunting and my favorite ballad on Pet Sounds as well, even better than “God Only Knows.” (I’d rank “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” just as high, but it’s a different sort of song.”)

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