In late 1964, Brian Wilson quit touring with The Beach Boys so that he could focus on composing and arranging their records. His replacement for the first few months, covering his bass and falsetto, was the talented Glen Campbell, then a member of the studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, and yet to find success as a solo artist.
As a reward for helping out with The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson gave a rejected song to Glen Campbell to add lead vocals to. ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ was recorded for The Beach Boys Today!, released in 1965, but other group members refused to sing on it. This is mind-boggling given that it’s a superb piece that would have fitted beautifully into the album’s second side of ballads, and that the last spot on the second side was taken up by interviews; ‘Bull Session with Big Daddy’ features enlightening lines like “Of all of Europe the only thing that stuck out in my mind is the bread.”
In any case ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ is both a great lost Beach Boys track and a great lost Campbell track. It’s been largely forgotten by Campbell fans as it predates his fame and it’s clearly a Brian Wilson production that’s distinct from the country flavour of Campbell’s later hits – he hit the big time with ‘Gentle on My Mind’ and ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ in 1967. Campbell does a great job with the ornate vocal melody, while the backing track is Wilson during his period of his greatness – the second side of Today!, Pet Sounds, and the unfinished Smile are his masterpieces – with its dense, Phil Spector inspired sound.
‘Guess I’m Dumb’ has been covered by a few different artists. Japanese city pop artist Tatsuro Yamashita is clearly a Brian Wilson aficionado, and released his own cover of ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ on 1984’s Big Wave.