Remember when you were still in high school and all week you couldn’t wait for Friday to roll around? From 8am Monday to 4 o’clock Friday all your thoughts would be about how to survive one more week of mind numbing lectures on the intricacies of how to properly place your polynomial.
Five long days of pondering your pesky polynomial problem leads you to really start hating the place. That is, until 8 o’clock when your Friday night football games starts. Then you become your school’s most ardent defender.
At least that’s how I remember it at my school.
Some twenty years before I paid my polynomial penance things must have been a bit different. A kinder, gentler time perhaps? At least Brian Wilson thought so.
Once more we sail away with The Beach Boys from the shores of Hawthorne High School, where the Wilson brothers and Al Jardine attended, to the beaches of nearby Malibu. “Be True to Your School” was one of the simpler songs Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys wrote and recorded in the early part of their career. Upbeat and fun and certainly not a complex story or idea.
“When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And says his school is great
I tell him right away
“Now what’s the matter buddy
Ain’t you heard of my school
It’s number one in the state”
A bit of braggadocio? Sure. And why not? If you really loved your school its a good thing to stand up for it.
“So be true to your school now
Just like you would to your girl or guy.
Be true to your school now
And let your colors fly
Be true to your school.
Recorded in September 1963, “Be True to Your School” would become a number six hit for the guys and would continue a string of songs that established The Beach Boys as hit makers for Capitol Records. By this time the guys were confident enough to drag some friends into the studio to add a bit of spice to the song.
In the background you can hear surfer girl group The Honeys shouting out a cheer. The cheer, appropriately enough, is from Hawthorne High School. Works pretty well dosen’t it?
“On Friday we’ll be jacked up on the football game
And I’ll be ready to fight
We’re gonna smash ‘em now
My girl will be working on her pom-poms now
And she’ll be yelling tonight.”
I don’t think you could write a verse like that these days. At least without being misinterpreted or laughed at. But in it’s day “Be True to Your School” was almost an oath of loyalty to your school. The lyrics may not hold up all that well and actually sound kind of silly all these years later but the earnest affection and defense of one’s school is not a bad thing at all. And being The Beach Boys, the vocals are wonderful.