I'm a fan of "SoCal Songbook," Geoff Boucher's occasional feature in the Sunday LA Times Calendar Section. In it, Boucher writes about the history of a popular song written in or about Southern California.
Today's "Songbook" discusses one of the quintessential California beach anthems, the Beach Boys' "California Girls." Although the song itself is saturated with sunlight and joy, Boucher describes the dark history of its composition. Brian Wilson composed the melody one horrible night, after he dropped acid for the first time and started experiencing the symptoms of schizophrenia. One lighter note: Wilson's inspiration for the song's melody was cowboy-movie music -- hence the irresistable hook that runs through the song: "bum-badeeda bum-badeeda." Think "Happy Trails."