I didn't get into the Beach Boys until 3-4 years ago. Then I downloaded a Smile boot, just to see what all the fuss was about, then got a couple good beach boy Bios (Catch a Wave, The Nearest Far Away Place), and a good discography-- and... then I read what a fantastic gem "Sunflower" is- so I had to hear that, then I did a major check out of Pet Sounds, then started digging into their post-Smile LPs and boots... I was hooked.
If you are someone who can appreciate solo Macca, then you should check out the Beach Boys... 1) Have as many, if not more, unreleased gems as Macca- this song, Soulful Old Man Sunshine from 1969, stayed in the vaults until a 1998 compilation:
2) Have, buried in their post-'67 work, incredible gems. Chris mentioned Sail On Sailor. Check out 'til I Die... from 1971...one of Brian's last BBoys songs until the '76 "comeback" attempt
3) Brian especially has an incredibly eclectic and deep solo discography - after '88 he basically did 2-3 solo albums that went unreleased or only were released in bastardized form. Water Builds Up, from sessions for an early 90s album that he pretty much abandoned...
4) There are, of course, fine examples of fantastic RELEASED recent work from Brian that almost no one has heard - "The Spirit of Rock 'n Roll" (with BOB DYLAN!)
5) And Brian, like Paul, has become an amazing live performer in his mid-to-late 60s (Paul was always amazing, Brian didn't perform live for 20+years)
This concludes your short course on Beach Boys/Brian Wilson appreciation.
Everyone's talkin' 'bout the President
We all chip in for a bag of cement
thanks for posting all that info, jg...i sure wish i could figure out what it is about this band, and their 'sound', that just doesn't click with me...maybe it's preordained or something...but try as i may, i never quite find myself on their wavelength
back in the early '70's, when i was reading alot about the beatles...just after really starting to get into them (there wasn't as much about mccartney the solo artist: stuff about the beatles was all over the place, tho) i had read often that sort of artistic rivalry sentiment, and seen quotes from various beatles (again, more often attributed to paul) about them and the beach boys...and everyone knows about the 'pet sounds'/ 'sgt pepper' anecdotes
at the same moment, i had some relatives who were far deeper into the BB than anybody else, swore allegiance and al that, so, i figured, if it was good enough for paul...good enough for the beatles, and good enough for trusted friends/relatives, then there must be something to it all...
so i gave them a listen...quite a bit of a listen...
but i never could 'get' it...just not my cuppa...
to this day, their style just leaves me feeling on the outside looking in and wondering if or how i might've completely missed the boat on that one: they are one of the few bands considered to be amongst the best, and they are very much considered so, that i just don't enjoy.
i do not dislike them in any way..just don't feel the vibrations, good or otherwise...
having said that, 'barbara ann' is one of my all-time favorite songs by anyone, anywhere...so, no matter what, i have a small soft place in my heart for them. i'm always rooting for 'em, always trying...just never quite climbing that mountain...
i do agree that i wish their first effort this time had been a bit more of a rocker...with their stuff, i tend to like only the more fun and lively bits...
still, i'll be definately looking out for more on this album...and, who knows, it maybe i'll get to feeling all sort of daring...
if, and i'm only saying if, i were to try and take a real stab at one or two albums, which would be the absolute best places to start...i'm guessing 'pet sounds', but, enlighten me, if you will
remember, back in the day, i actually had 'pet sounds' and one other BB album i can't even remember...i traded 'em both off for the lovely 'switched on bach' by w. carlos, an album i still have and play..good trade, that !
i know, i know...i was young and impetuous back then, not the level headed, completely sane dude i am now
lift up your head...and remember what your life is !
Mr. H- I felt the way you did for a LONG time, so I get it...
First, half the fun of the Beach Boys is in the boots/unreleased stuff - in that way they're like Macca and Dylan. There was so much chaos within the band, and with Brian even into the 90s, that there are huge treasure troves of boots/gems/snippets of brilliance to be dug through (more on this later).
I will skip Pet Sounds, as that is required listening for anyone who is a Macca/Beatles fan.
As far as the official catalog- we're lucky because we can now start with an officially released document of the best--
1) SMiLE (1966-67--released 2011) They finally released the official Beach Boys version last year, so if you want to start somewhere - give this a listen all the way through, the way you'd delve into Dark Side of the Moon or Sgt Pepper for the first time. While there, check out "Surf's Up" and tell me its not just about one of the most amazing pieces of pop music you have ever heard (its Beatle equivalent would be "A Day in the Life").
(Note - most of the great Smile songs were spread out on the BB's 1967-1971 albums, hence Surf's Ups first real appearance on the 1971 album of the same name-- start with Smile]. See also: Pet Sounds.
2) Sunflower (1970) Really the epitome of post-Smile era Beach Boys, where Brian was really not contributing much to the band. Its just a solid record all the way through.
See also: Surf's Up (1971), 20/20 (1969), very good records with some real gems (especially on Surf's Up).
3) The Beach Boys Love You (1977) Brian's "comeback" album, where the band let him have total control for the last time (and the first time really since the then unreleased Smile). If you like Ram, you'll like the Beach Boys, and the stuff on here is so musically brilliant and lyrically goofy, Monkberry Moon Delight wouldn't seem out of place.
See also: 15 Big Ones, the failed 1976 comeback attempt - think of it as the Beach Boys Wild Life.
4) Brian Wilson (1988) Brian's solo album, some brilliant stuff, its a shame Mike Love's ego prevented Brian from bringing these songs to the boys.
See also: Imagination (1998), Gettin' In Over My Head (2002), Brian's other completed solo records (Paul guests on the latter).
5) Boots LANDLOCKED (1969) Rejected by the Beach Boys new label, features several songs that either sat unreleased (Soulful Old Man Sunshine), were bastardized and added to later Beach Boys albums (Good Time), or have only been available on bootleg. Looking back, this is as good as Sunflower.
SWEET INSANITY or LANDYLOCKED (early 1990s) Brian's abandoned follow-up to his 1988 solo album. Features a number of brilliant songs undone by his mental state at the time-- half the songs on Imagination and Over My Head originated here.
ADULT CHILD (1977) The follow-up to the Beach Boys Love You, out there enough the BBs pretty much told Brian to take a hike and went to Iowa(!) without him to make their worst album (MIU).
Come on - you can't make this stuff up.
THE SMILE SESSIONS (1966) As voluminous and confusing as Dylan's Basement Tapes or the Beatles Twickenham recordings. But fascinating.
Bonus Tracks: Don't miss these Beach Boys songs-- Sail On Sailor (from Holland, 1973) Feel Flows (from Surf's Up, 1971) Do It Again (from 20/20, 1968) Wake the World(from Friends, 1968) Breakaway (single, 1969) That Same Song (15 Big Ones, 1976) Back Home (15 Big Ones, 1976 - like One After 909, originally written in 1963) Desert Drive (Gettin in Over My Head, 2002 -- written w/Gary Asher- Brian's early 60s lyricist) Angel Come Home (L.A. The Light Album, 1979) City Blues (... Head, 2002) A Friend Like You (...head, 2002 - duet with Paul)
Everyone's talkin' 'bout the President
We all chip in for a bag of cement
I like the Beach Boys. Saw them in concert many a year on The Mall in Washington, DC every July 4th until some jerk decided they were not family entertainment and stopped it. Never went back. I like Surfer Girl, In My Room, and one other the title escapes my memory right now. But I like The Beatles and especially Macca much, much more. I have one BB album - Endless Summer. I have all Beatles and all Macca. When I say all Beatles I mean the ones that were albums and put out by record companies and the same goes for Macca, although I do have a few bootlegs of Macca.
But I don't think they are the be all and end all.
So weird to see this conversation today, as, just in the last week, I've discovered SMiLE. It has affected me more than any album probably since OK Computer when I heard it the first time in 1998. It is a stunning work of genius, every bit as weird, beautiful, and haunting as anything in popular music. I'm in love...
The Beachboys harmonies are probably th best ever in pop music. Brian Wilsons genius as a composer and arranger are at its best at leads equal to the Beatles. Pet sounds of course, Smile yeah but som much more both before and after Pet sounds. With that said I have very mixed feelings about the ongoing reunion. It s a question of money and I am not sure that Brian Wilson really has his heart in this. He has a very fragile mental condition and just a year ago he said that he really didn t want with Mike Love again. Guess someone is pulling the strings as always with Brian. Butthe harmonizes are still there and Brian Wilson still has a gift for the unusual chord but I will stick to the old Beachboys and some of Brians newer stuff