From their 1972 release, Carl and The Passions, here’s the Beach Boys, with “Marcella”.
There are two things in particular I love about this song. (Besides the song itself, that is.)
First, it was written based on a massage therapist Brian Wilson was kind of fixated on at the time. No, really.
“Marcella” was written about a real woman that Wilson knew. Music journalist Nick Kent explains that she “worked at a parlour just off the strip called Circus Maximus” and had allowed Wilson to “stay and talk to her even though she was aware most of what he said was crazy bullshit.” According to Jack Rieley:
About that time Brian began talking in detail about a massage parlour in West Hollywood and one of the girls who worked there. At first he spoke only of going there for massages. Some days later he began going on and on about the masseuse who he said was turning him on.… The only thing I could think of to quell Brian’s fixation was to channel it. Thus it was I who suggested Marcella as the title for a tune Brian had been working on. With my promise to write the Marcella lyric, he jumped into the project with immense enthusiasm. Brian, Carl, Desper and I worked hard on that record. Dennis helped too. The zither was a cool idea but it was mixed poorly. My lyric was minor… efficient at best.
Second, the musical influences!
Wilson later said that one of the lead guitar parts was inspired by George Harrison‘s playing, namely, Harrison’s solo on “Let It Be” (1970). On another occasion, Wilson said that the song “represents one of the first times we tried to emulate The Rolling Stones. In my mind, it was dedicated to the Stones, but I never told them that. It’s one of the rockingest songs I ever wrote.”
I admit you can hear Harrison on the guitar break, but the Stones? C’mon, Brian!