The Beach Boys in mono, stereo... and something else entirely
   The early part of the Beach Boys career coincided with the period when albums - if not yet singles - were beginning to be widely issued in both mono and stereo formats. It almost goes without saying that, in common with the rest of their career, the question of these early tracks being available in mono, stereo, both or something else altogether is more than a little complex. However, two facts are irrefutable: Wild Honey was the last album never issued in stereo, and "Cotton Fields" was the final mono single A side: in fact, the situation regarding the singles is fairlystraightforward - up to and including "Bluebirds..." all BB 45s were released in mono only, as was "Cotton Fields". All the rest are in stereo. That's the simple bit; from hereon in, the ride gets a bit bumpy.
 
   From 1961 to 1967, Beach Boys albums were released in three formats - mono, stereo and what can best be charitably described as 'fake' stereo . This was a process applied by Capitol to a mono master tape in order to make it sound like stereo… in theory. In practise, it usually sounded like shit. Just to complicate things further, Capitol used two versions of fake stereo. The first one, used from Today ! up to and including Pet Sounds, was called Duophonic, and consisted of two mono signals with an almost imperceptible time delay (measured in milliseconds) between them. The result was not unlike listening to the mono album in an empty swimming pool (Smile would have sounded like this as well). For Smiley Smile and Wild Honey, a system called electronic rechanneling was used; this was basically Duophonic with knobs on, in that the time delay was augmented by having different frequencies emphasised on each channel, usually bass on one side, treble on the other. This sounded like listening to a mono album at the bottom of a deep well with a bucket over your head (just to confuse things further, the album prefix for these two - ST - indicated that they were released in true stereo. Capitol's prefix system was T (mono); DT (Duophonic); and ST (stereo). This mileage could, however, vary - the electronically rechanneled Stack O' Tracks carried a DT prefix). The reason Capitol was forced to adopt such subterfuge was simple - from 1965 to 1967, Brian insisted on handing the company a mono album master. Prior to this, the stereo mixes handed in were the work of Chuck Britz, not Brian (who apparently tolerated the practise). The first Beach Boys album with an 'authorised' stereo mix was Friends (courtesy of Steve Desper), and it says much for the speed of technological development within the industry that two years later, the band were releasing quadraphonic albums (OK, not exactly quadraphonic... but that's another story).
 
   So, up until the 1990 Capitol 2fer reissues, the picture was quite clear: with the exception of the Surfin' Safari, Today !, Summer Days (and Summer Nights !!), PartyPet Sounds, Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Stack O' Tracks albums, and a handful of odd tracks - "Be True To Your School" (45 version), "Little Saint Nick" (45 mix), "The Lord's Prayer", "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", "I Get Around" (studio version), "All Summer Long", "Our Favorite Recording Sessions", "The Little Girl I Once Knew", "Do It Again" & "Cotton Fields" (45 version) - the entire Beach Boys canon was available in stereo of one form or another. The advent of archival reissues muddied the waters considerably: compilation producers began returning to the original multitracks and concocting new stereo remixes from them, thankfully with the approval, and watching brief of the band The high point of this process of reconstruction was the landmark 4CD box The Pet Sounds Sessions, an awesome feat of musical archaeology fully endorsed by Brian himself.
 
  In 2012, the scene was both further muddied and made clearer with the release of several remasters of the sixties albums. Once again using the 2fer format, the following albums were reissued as noted:
 
Surfin' U.S.A - original mono and stereo mixes
Surfer Girl - original mono and stereo mixes
Little Deuce Coupe - original mono and stereo mixes except "409" and "A Young Man Is Gone" (extraction mixes - see below)
Shut Down Volume 2 - original mono and stereo mixes except "Denny's Drums" (mono only)
All Summer Long - original mono and stereo mixes except "I Get Around" (extraction mix) and "Our Favorite Recording Sessions" (mono only)
The Beach Boys Today ! - original mono mix and 2012 stereo remix, except "She Knows Me Too Well" (2008 stereo remix/extraction mix) and "Do You Wanna Dance" (extraction mix - however the 2012 stereo remix included in 50 Big Ones is not noted as an extraction mix)
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) - original mono mix and 2012 stereo remix, except "Girl Don't Tell Me" and "Help me, Rhonda" (extraction mixes)
Beach Boys Party - original mono mix and 2012 stereo remix
Smiley Smile - original mono mix and 2012 stereo remix, except "Good Vibrations" (extraction mix)
 
  An 'extraction mix' is a mix that combines the original multitracks with otherwise unavailable elements digitally extracted from the released (mono) versions. In the case of "Good Vibrations", this is the stereo vocals: for the other extraction mixes, the elements added during mixdown. Strictly speaking, these are not, of course, true stereo versions... but they're as close as we're likely to get. Therefore, excluding such extraction mixes, the following titles are only currently available in mono on CD: the entire Surfin' Safari and Wild Honey albums (except "Let The Wind Blow", "Wild Honey", "Country Air" & "Darlin'" on the latter), and a handful of odd tracks - "Be True To Your School" (45 version), "A Young Man Is Gone", "Denny's Drums", "I Get Around" (studio version), "Our Favorite Recording Sessions", "She Knows Me Too Well", "Do You Wanna Dance", "The Little Girl I Once Knew" & "Good Vibrations".
 
   The list below seeks to indicate where various versions of the albums - and odd songs - of the band are available in the various formats outlined above (although why anyone in their right mind would want to listen to a Duophonic version of Pet Sounds is totally beyond me). Further archival releases will doubtless alter the picture again. As ever, the pioneering work of Brad Elliott is gratefully acknowledged. This is of course a very basic and oversimplified attempt at a complex topic, and corrections & additions are gratefully welcomed, at the usual address. Thanks in advance. 
 
General note #1 - the 1993 box set contains the mono mixes of all the Capitol single A & B sides included.
 
General note #2 - the 2008 release The Beach Boys: U.S. Singles Collection - The Capitol Years (1962-1965)  contains the mono mixes of the 15 single A & B sides from "Surfin' Safari" to "California Girls" inclusive.
 
Surfin' Safari - originally released in mono and Duophonic. The mono mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers: the Duophonic version has never been released on CD (to avoid repetition, this is also true of all Duophonic and rechanneled Beach Boys albums).
 
Surfin' U.S.A. - originally released in mono and a Chuck Britz stereo mix (hereafter referred to as CB stereo). The stereo mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers; the mono mix is available on the 2102 remaster. Additionally "Surfin' USA" & "Shut Down" are available in mono on Good Vibrations - 30 Years Of The Beach Boys (hereafter referred to as the 1993 Box Set) and also on 20 Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits ("Surfin' USA" is also in mono on Made In U.S.A). A new stereo remix of "Shut Down" appears on the Sounds Of Summer compilation.
 
Surfer Girl - originally released in mono and CB stereo. The stereo mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers; the mono mix is available on the 2102 remaster. Additionally , "Surfer Girl", "Little Deuce Coupe" & "Catch A Wave" are available in mono on 20 Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits and "In My Room" on 20 More Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits Volume 2 and the 1993 Box Set, as is "The Surfer Moon. "Surfer Girl" is also in mono on Made In U.S.A
 
Little Deuce Coupe  -  originally released in mono and CB stereo (except for "409"). The stereo mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers;  the mono mix is available on the 2102 remaster. Additionally "Spirit Of America" is available in mono on the 1993 Box Set .
 
Shut Down, Volume 2 - originally released in mono and CB stereo. The stereo mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers; the mono mix is available on the 2102 remaster. Additionally "Don't Worry, Baby" & "The Warmth Of The Sun" are available in mono on 20 More Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits Volume 2, and the 1993 Box Set, as are "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" & "Fun, Fun, Fun" (the latter also in mono as a bonus track on the Surfer Girl/Shut Down Volume 2 2fer and on 20 Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits). The 2009 Summer Love Songs compilation includes a stereo remix of "Why Do Fools..." and a new stereo mix of "Don't Worry, Baby". "Fun, Fun, Fun" and "Don't Worry, Baby" also in mono on Made In U.S.A
 
All Summer Long - originally released in mono and CB stereo (except for "I Get Around", "All Summer Long" & "Our Favorite Recording Sessions"). The stereo mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers; the mono mix is available on the 2102 remaster. Additionally "Little Honda",& "Wendy" are available on 20 More Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits Volume 2,  and with "Don't Back Down" are also available in mono on the 1993 Box Set. The 2007 compilation The Warmth Of The Sun contines a stereo remix of "All Summer Long" while the 2009 Summer Love Songs compilation features a new stereo mix of "Hushabye".
 
The Beach Boys Christmas Album  - Frankly, this is a mess. Originally released in mono and CB stereo, the mono mix is available on the 1991 single CD reissue... sort of - and partly. The album version of "Little St. Nick" is in stereo, but the rest of the new material is mono, while the orchestrated covers are in stereo, as is "Auld Lang Syne" with Denny's message. Still with me ? Now, three of the four bonus cuts - the 45 mix of "LSN", the alternate version of same (sung to the melody of "Drive-In") and "ALS" minus Dennis - are in mono, while "The Lord's Prayer" is in glorious stereo. The release of Ultimate Christmas did nothing to tidy up the mess: the new material was now all in stereo (and the stereo "Merry Christmas, Baby" is longer than the mono version due to the repetition of the final verse). It gets better: the stereo remix of the 45 version of "LSN" on  the album is a new remix, and not the same as a 1992 remix only ever released on the Legends Of Christmas Past compilation. Further, the version of "Auld Lang Syne" sans Dennis and the alternate "LSN" are now stereo remixes. So, currently no mono mixes of the traditional songs on the original album are available on CD. A (different ?) stereo remix of "The Lord's Prayer" is also available on Hawthorne, CA, and the mono 45 mix of "Little St. Nick" shows up on the 1993 Box Set.
 
Beach Boys Concert  -  originally released in mono and CB stereo. The stereo mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers; the mono mix is currently unavailable on CD.
 
The Beach Boys Today ! - originally released in mono and Duophonic. The mono mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers. A stereo remix of the entire album appears on the 2012 remasters. A stereo remix of "Kiss Me, Baby" appears on Endless Harmony, and a similar remix of "Dance, Dance, Dance" appears on Hawthorne, CA. The 2007 compilation The Warmth Of The Sun contines a stereo remix of "Please Let Me Wonder". The 2008 16-CD limited edition box set The Beach Boys: U.S. Singles Collection - The Capitol Years (1962-1965) contains new stereo remixes of "When I Grow Up..." & "She Knows Me Too Well" and the stereo instrumental track for "Do You Wanna Dance". In 2009 the Summer Love Songs: Girls On The Beach compilation featured stereo remixes of "Good To My Baby" and "I'm So Young".
 
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) - originally released in mono and Duophonic. The mono mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers. A stereo remix of the entire album appears on the 2012 remasters. A stereo remix of "California Girls" appears on Endless Harmony, and a similar remix of "Salt Lake City" appears on Hawthorne, CA, which also includes a partial remix of "And Your Dream Comes True". A stereo remix of "Summer Means New Love" appears as a bonus trackon the 2003 DVD-A release of Pet Sounds. The 2007 compilation The Warmth Of The Sun contines stereo remixs of "Then I Kissed Her", "You're So Good To Me" and "Let Him Run Wild".
 
Beach Boys Party - originally released in mono and Duophonic. The mono mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers. A stereo remix of the entire album appears on the 2012 remasters. Hawthorne, CA contains a session excerpt of "Barbara Ann" that isn't exactly stereo, but is something more than mono. The mono single edit is found on Made In U.S.A, the 1993 box set, 20 Good Vibrations and Sounds of Summer.
 
Pet Sounds - originally released in mono and Duophonic. The mono mix is available on the 1990 reissue and The Pet Sounds Sessions, which also includes a complete stereo remix of the whole album. Both mixes are also currently available on a 2001 2fer. A 5.1 surround sound mix is available on a DVD-A of the album. The mono single version - without the dog/train tag - is found on Made In U.S.A, the 1993 box set and 20 Good Vibrations.
 
Smiley Smile - originally released in mono and Duophonic. The mono mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers. A stereo remix of the entire album appears on the 2012 remasters. A stereo remix of "Heroes & Villains" and an extended stereo remix of "Vegetables" appears on Hawthorne, CA.
 
Wild Honey - originally released in mono and Duophonic. The mono mix is available on the 1990 & 2000 2fers. A stereo remix of "Let The Wind Blow" appears on Hawthorne, CA. 50 Big Ones features stereo remixes of the title track and "Darlin'". A stereo remix of "Country Air" is available on the 2013 Made In California 6CD box set.
 
Friends - although only released in stereo in the US, a mono version was issued in the UK. However, it wasn't a genuine mono mix, but rather the stereo mix collapsed into mono.  The mono mix - a true mono mix, not collapsed stereo - of the "Friends" single is available on 20 More Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits Volume 2.
 
Stack O' Tracks  - originally released in mono and Duophonic. When the album was reissued in mono on the 1990 2fers, the following tracks had been remixed in stereo: "Salt Lake City", "Sloop John B", "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "God Only Knows", "Little Honda", "Here Today", "You're So Good To Me" & "Let Him Run Wild". In addition, the bonus track "California Girls" was also a stereo remix.
 
20/20 - although only released in stereo in the US (with the exception of "Do It Again" in rechanneled mono), a mono version was issued in the UK. However, as with Friends, it wasn't a mono mix per se, but rather the stereo mix collapsed into mono. The mono mix of "Do It Again" is available on Made In U.S.A., the 1993 box set, 20 More Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits Volume 2 and Sounds Of Summer in its single form, i.e. without the 'woodshop' tag. The mono  45 mix of "Bluebirds Over The Mountain" is also on 20 More Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits Volume 2. A stereo remix of "Do It Again" is available on the 2013 Made In California 6CD box set.
 
Sunflower - the UK version included a rechanneled version of the mono 45 of "Cotton Fields". A stereo remix appears on Hawthorne, CA, while the original mono mix is available on the 1993 Box Set and 20 More Good Vibrations - The Greatest Hits Volume 2.