After the Smiley Smile sessions, Brian Wilson served as less of a band leader in the studio. Between Surfer Girl and the "Heroes and Villains" single, Brian was credited as producer; thereafter production credits were assigned to "The Beach Boys." "Break Away" was the last release (aside from the single "Cool, Cool Water") on which he was named as producer until 15 Big Ones in 1976.
"Break Away" features Carl Wilson singing verses (with Mike Love) and Al Jardine on the chorus. Initially, the song was planned to be released with Brian Wilson singing the first verse, as included on the 2001 compilation, Hawthorne, CA. Early stereo studio mixes of this title provide verification, but these remixes are illicit.
Brian has said that the Monkees inspired him to write this song.
In Germany the single peaked at the number 29 position. It would be the band's last single to chart in Germany until 1987. In Holland the single peaked at the number 17 position. In New Zealand the single peaked at the number 20 position.
"Break Away" did not appear on a regular Beach Boys LP. It made its album debut in 1975 as part of the Spirit of America compilaton