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“Well she got her daddy’s car
And she cruised through the hamburger stand now
Seems she forgot all about the library
Like she told her old man now
And with the radio blasting
Goes cruising just as fast as she can now.

And she’ll have fun, fun, fun
Till her daddy takes the T-bird away.”
– Brian Wilson and Mike Love, “Fun, Fun, Fun”, Capitol Records, 1964

Ah, what a classic song from 1964 by The Beach Boys. I should be feeling the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair. It reminds me of a happier, more carefree time. Ahhh…

But, what is the story behind the song? Who was the girl caught using her dad’s T-bird to cruise?

Conflicting Accounts

Well, it’s hard to say. The song was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys, and Love has said that there was no particular girl as the inspiration for the song. According to him, it was simply based on a generic teenager who just got their driver’s license, and the temptation to go cruisin’, as opposed to the library, is just too great.

However, there are a couple of accounts that differ from Love’s story, and both have some merit. If either is true, then the young lady who went cruising in her daddy’s T-bird is real.

In the first account, Dennis Wilson, The Beach Boys drummer, was seeing a girl from a wealthy family in Palos Verdes, Los Angeles. She used her father’s Ford Thunderbird to go to the library, or so she said. Instead, she used the car to go to Wilson’s apartment. Based on Wilson’s history, this story certainly could be real.

In the other account, the girl’s name is Shirley Johnson England, from Salt Lake City, Utah. She claims to have used the car to go to the drive-in (or a hamburger stand, as some accounts relate), instead of the library. So, how did The Beach Boys hear of Shirley England. Well, her father owned radio station KNAK in Salt Lake City, and she worked there as a teenager. The day after her father took the car away, she was complaining about it to the other employees. The Beach Boys were there for a promotional appearance and heard her complaints. They wrote the song about her, and the rest is history.

Relax and Enjoy

In any case, turn up the volume and enjoy the feel of the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair…

“And she’ll have fun, fun, fun
Till her daddy takes the T-bird away.”

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Fun, Fun, Fun – the story behind the classic song

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