"I Can Hear Music" was about the last of the old-school style Phil Spector productions to be released before he virtually retired from the music business. Unusually, it's sometimes thought of as a surf music song rather than a Wall of Sound or Brill Building one, because it took a cover version by the Beach Boys to make it into a substantial hit. Originally the song was released by the Ronettes, making a mere number 100 in late 1966. Melodically and lyrically, it was about as strong as some other Phil Spector-produced songs the Ronettes had much bigger hits with, like "Walking in the Rain" and "Do I Love You." The trio of ace Brill Building songwriters Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich devised a typically joyous, buoyant ode to young love; Ronnie Spector gave a characteristically strong catch-in-the-voice performance; and the backing rumbled along with a subdued thunder. The chorus was real catchy, and the metaphor for the girl hearing such a strong swell of music when she was in love that the sounds of the city disappeared was a good one. There was also an odd turnaround sort of bridge in which the tone became more reflective and the vocal harmonies got more in a doo wop frame of mind. So why wasn't it a hit? Maybe this kind of stuff was starting to seem a little passé by late 1966; maybe Spector's accumulated business and distribution problems prevented it from getting the airplay it should have; maybe he didn't pull out quite as many stops as he could have with the production; or maybe it was a combination of all of those factors. So the song was virtually unknown until rescued by the Beach Boys a couple of years later. At that time, the Beach Boys were struggling commercially, in large part because their leader Brian Wilson had withdrawn from the world much as Spector had. So it made sense for them to look for quality outside material and also for them to pick a forgotten, quality Spector production, as Spector and the Ronettes had always been a big influence on the Beach Boys' arrangements. It could be fairly argued that the Beach Boys did a better job with the song than the Ronettes did, putting a little more fresh energy into the arrangement while sticking fairly close to the original. Carl Wilson, an underrated excellent lead vocalist, did a fine high lead vocal; the Beach Boys helped make the song their own with their special brand of vocal harmonies; and they made the turnaround bridge much stronger by doing it in rousing a cappella, semi-call-and-response style. "I Can Hear Music" became a Top 30 hit for the Beach Boys at a time when they really needed one and, in fact, would be their last Top 40 hit for more than five years.