Archive for the ‘Brian Wilson’ Category
If Everybody Had An Ocean: The Beach Boys’ 6-CD Box Set “Made in California” Premieres 60 Previously Unreleased Tracks
On my way to sunny California, on my way to spend another sunny day…
The sounds of summer will be in perfect harmony on August 27 when Capitol Records releases the
Beach Boys’ long-awaited, retrospective box set Made in California. Word first came last summer of the 50th anniversary box, as the reunited group of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks were winding down a phenomenally successful world tour. Since then, the Love/Johnston faction of the band has resumed touring, while Wilson, Jardine and Marks have announced a number of live dates to come this summer. A 2-CD chronicle of the 2012 tour has just been released, and last week, Brian Wilson announced his return as a solo artist to Capitol Records for an as-yet-unscheduled album to feature Jardine, Marks, and guests including Jeff Beck.
Though a late 2012 arrival was originally planned, the band intends to prove that good things do come to those who wait with this latest celebratory project. Made in California details the Hawthorne, California band’s history from 1961 to the present day over 6 CDs, with more than 7-1/2 hours of music and 60 previously unreleased tracks (17 of them live). Designed in the style of a high school yearbook, Made in California tells the Beach Boys’ story through all of their hits plus never-before-released songs, alternate takes, demos, rare mixes, and live performances.
Take the plunge and hit the jump for all of the details including the complete track listing! The water’s fine! Read the rest of this entry »
We’re continuing our series of in-depth features dedicated to America’s band, The Beach Boys, and the various projects that have kept the group occupied throughout 2012! Today, as the Boys launch a new series of album reissues and compilation titles, we explore Greatest Hits, 50 Big Ones and more!
It was the headline heard the world (wide web) over: Mike Love Fires Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. Of course, it wasn’t true. No matter, though: suddenly, good, good, good vibrations were nowhere to be seen even as the reunited Beach Boys completed a triumphant 75-date, worldwide fiftieth anniversary tour. It’s in this climate that Capitol Records and EMI have just this week launched a Beach Boys reissue campaign, the band’s first major catalogue overhaul in over a decade.
Truth be known, it always seemed the unlikeliest of possibilities that Brian Wilson and Al Jardine would resume touring with the slimmed-down, Mike Love-led iteration of The Beach Boys. Love and Bruce Johnston (who joined the group in 1965) had been touring for thirteen years under the group name, the license having been granted to the frontman by the Beach Boys’ Brother Records organization. Love had already made his reservations known in a Rolling Stone interview about the grand scale of the reunion tour, in which two of his touring bandmates, John Cowsill and Scott Totten, were joined by a phalanx of Brian Wilson’s own, versatile band members. It seemed inevitable that Love would return to his smaller version of the group to continue his nearly non-stop touring, with the lingering possibility that the reunited, full line-up would tour or record in the future, perhaps as early as 2013. In the meantime, nothing would preclude Brian Wilson from his own solo activities, either. Alas, nothing is ever simple in the world of the Beach Boys.
Mike Love issued a press release in late September that apparently closed the door on future activities with Wilson, Jardine and David Marks. This rather inelegantly-worded statement apparently blindsided both Wilson and Jardine, who issued comments either directly or through press representatives expressing disappointment at Love’s decision. Wilson had, by most accounts, already been contemplating another Beach Boys album, and told CNN, “I’m disappointed and can’t understand why Love doesn’t want to tour with Al, David and me. We are out here having so much fun. After all, we are the real Beach Boys.”
A simple “We look forward to the possibility of touring with Al, David and Cousin Brian in the future” from Love might have been sufficient to deflect the unwanted media attention, which was almost universally negative towards Love. Instead, the singer was forced into spin control mode, which culminated in a rather more eloquent statement he gave the Los Angeles Times. His October 5 editorial affirmed that “I did not fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I cannot fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I am not his employer. I do not have such authority. And even if I did, I would never fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys.” He continued to stress his love for Wilson and his admiration for Jardine, but emphasized, “The plan was always to go back to our respective lives post the 50th anniversary run.” This is true, no doubt – but has damage had already been done in the public eye? Once again, the men with the angelic voices have been revealed as simply human.
Will Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks do it again? Or will the Beach Boys return to their pre-fiftieth status quo, with the perception of heroes (Wilson) and villains (Love), however limiting those tags are? Whether or not the creative visionary and the brash lead singer ever set foot on a stage or in a studio together again, one thing remains: the music. That, of course, brings us to Capitol’s series of twelve remastered original albums recorded between 1963 and 1971, and two newly-assembled greatest hits packages.
We’ll explore them all, right after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Almost simultaneously, reissue campaigns for the singer, actor and former teen idol were launched in the U.S. by Real Gone Music and in the U.K. by Cherry Red’s 7Ts imprint. The former label has already reissued 1974’s Cassidy Live!, 1976’s Gettin’ It in the Street, and 1985’s Romance. 7Ts began its own campaign with a two-fer of Cherish and Rock Me Baby (both from 1972) and is continuing chronologically with four more studio albums on two CDs. The Bell Records release Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes (1973) has been paired with RCA debut The Higher They Climb, The Harder They Fall (1975), while Home is Where the Heart Is and Gettin’ It in the Street (both from 1976, on RCA) are combined on the second two-fer. Perhaps surprisingly for those unfamiliar with Cassidy’s catalogue, all four albums are distinct experiences well worth revisiting, and there are plenty of songs and guest appearances from other notable musicians, including Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Bruce Johnston and Ricky Fataar of the Beach Boys.
Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes was produced by Harry Nilsson collaborator Rick Jarrard, who may have suggested that Cassidy record Nilsson’s “The Puppy Song,” originally written by Nilsson for Mary Hopkin’s Post Card album. (His own rendition can be heard on the Harry LP.) The choice paid off when “The Puppy Song” was one side of a double A-side single with Terry Dempsey’s “Daydreamer,” and the single went to No. 1 in the U.K. Nilsson’s lyric also gave the album its title, and the LP reached the same lofty position as the single. Yet neither the album nor single dented the U.S. charts. No matter, though; Partridge-mania may have been subsiding, but Cassidy was determined to make the kind of music that wouldn’t render him a flash in the pan.
Dreams includes some off-the-beaten path covers. In addition to the vaudevillian-styled “Puppy Song,” Cassidy included a refreshingly straight reading of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific anthem “Bali Ha’i,” a retro take on John Sebastian’s “Daydream” (not to be confused with “Daydreamer,” of course) and a funky R&B makeover for the Little Willie John/Peggy Lee-popularized “Fever.” Of the less familiar material, “Daydreamer” was a strong, sweet ballad (with a slight melodic resemblance to Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You”). Partridge Family stalwart songwriter Tony Romeo provided the likeable “Summer Days” (previously recorded by the Partridges) and “Sing Me,” and Cassidy himself penned a couple of tracks (the wistful “Can’t Go Home Again” and the soulful “Preyin’ on My Mind”) with an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who had accompanied him in concert, by the name of Kim Carnes!
1974 was a quiet year on the studio front for Cassidy, with just one single of two non-LP sides released in the U.K. (“If I Didn’t Care” b/w “Frozen Noses”) and the Cassidy Live LP, now available on Real Gone. The year was also a tragic one when a teenaged fan of Cassidy’s died in a crush of fans at a London concert. He retreated from the spotlight, returning in 1975 with a new RCA contract and an album co-produced with the Beach Boys’ Bruce Johnston.
The Higher They Climb, The Harder They Fall showed an increasing maturity in Cassidy’s vocals and material. He was surrounded by the Hollywood musical elite on both background vocals and in the band, including Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of America, Carl Wilson and Ricky Fataar from the Beach Boys, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (a.k.a. Flo and Eddie), Ned Doheny, Lee Sklar, Jim Gordon, Neil Diamond associates Tom Hensley and King Errisson, and Danny Kortchmar, to name a few. The centerpiece was Johnston’s own “I Write the Songs,” recorded before Barry Manilow’s version, and still the only “I Write the Songs” to have made the U.K. charts. (It reached No. 11.) Cassidy’s version offers a window into what a Beach Boys version might have sounded like, with Carl Wilson in particular offering some stunning vocals that give the song a very different character than Manilow’s well-known recording. Again, the tracks were a blend of covers (The Beach Boys’ “Darlin’”, Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-a-Lula,” a personalized revision of Harry Nilsson’s “This Could Be the Night”) and originals (Cassidy’s own, sprawling multi-part statement “When I’m a Rock N Roll Star,” sleek “Fix of Your Love” and gentle “Love in Bloom,” penned with Buffalo Springfield’s Richie Furay).
All these songs added up to a loose concept album about stardom and the transition from teen idol to adult performer. Cassidy’s ever-confident vocals were enhanced by Johnston’s lush production and killer backing from L.A.’s crème de la crème. Ned Doheny’s “Get It Up for Love” may have been banned by the BBC for its rather on-the-nose lyrics, but the song still managed No. 1 for South Africa, and is irresistible in Cassidy’s urgent recording. There are some self-indulgent moments, for sure, such as the spoken-word interlude “Massacre at Park Bench.” But if you’ve ever wondered what David Cassidy would sound like in Laurel Canyon circa 1975, here’s your answer.
Hit the jump for details on Home is Where the Heart Is/Gettin’ It in the Street, plus full track listings and order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »
Isn’t It Time! Beach Boys Reissues Confirmed For U.S., Two “Greatest Hits” Sets Also Arriving! [UPDATED 9/10]
UPDATE 9/10: It appears that the mono/stereo catalogue remasters for The Beach Boys will now arrive from Capitol/EMI on October 9 in North America, alongside the two greatest hits sets, not the previously announced September 25. As of today’s date, we have not confirmed any change of date for the international releases. Watch this space for any further updates!
BREAKING NEWS 8/8: The Beach Boys have announced plans for the CD and digital release of two new commemorative hits collections by Capitol/EMI on September 24th outside of North America and on October 9th in North America. 12 remastered Beach Boys studio albums will also be released by Capitol/EMI on September 24th outside of North America and on September 25th in North America.
For many years, The Beach Boys have happily embraced the title of “America’s band.” And why not? The group proved the stateside answer to the Beatles, both commercially and artistically, in the band’s heyday of the 1960s, and has rarely stopped since then in spreading the California gospel of “fun, fun, fun” to audiences worldwide. Sure, like any family, The Beach Boys have had more than their share of growing pains and rough patches. But the American spirit is embodied in The Beach Boys’ resilience, tenacity and optimism, so beautifully expressed in the band’s current, headline-making 50th Anniversary reunion tour featuring Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, and on the band’s new album, That’s Why God Made the Radio. Late last year, Capitol Records promised “commemorative catalog releases” among the Beach Boys’ plans for 2012. Now, it has been confirmed that those releases are on the schedule!
The website of EMI Japan first revealed that exciting plans were underway. A group of twelve remastered titles were released in Japan on July 25, and these are the same reissues due in the U.S. on September 25. Ten of these albums contain both mono and stereo versions, which is particularly exciting news because many of The Beach Boys’ most enduring early classics have never before been available in true stereo. The rundown is as follows, now with pre-order links!
- Surfin’ USA (Capitol ST-1890, 1963)
- Surfer Girl (Capitol ST-1981, 1963)
- Little Deuce Coupe (Capitol ST-1998, 1963)
- Shut Down Vol.2 (Capitol ST-2027, 1964)
- All Summer Long (Capitol ST-2110, 1964)
- The Beach Boys Today! (Capitol T-2269, 1965)
- Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) (Capitol T-235, 1965)
- Beach Boys’ Party! (Capitol DMAS-2398, 1965)
- Pet Sounds (Capitol T-2458, 1966)
- Smiley Smile (Brother 9001, 1967)
- Sunflower (Brother/Reprise RS 6382, 1970)
- Surf’s Up (Brother/Reprise RS 6453, 1971)
In addition, two newly-curated compilations will also arrive from America’s Band, both of which are due on October 9 in America. Greatest Hits features 20 of the band’s most popular songs, including “California Girls,” “Good Vibrations,” “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” “Kokomo,” their latest single “That’s Why God Made The Radio,” and many more. (This collection offers ten fewer tracks than 2003′s smash Sounds of Summer.) More enticing is Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones. Taking its title cue from 1976′s 15 Big Ones, this 2-CD deluxe set offers two tracks from 2012 hit album That’s Why God Made the Radio including the title song and the new single version of “Isn’t It Time?” This 2-CD box seems to have been compiled based on the band’s recent concert setlists, including favorites such as “All This is That,” “Add Some Music to Your Day,” “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times,” “Cotton Fields,” and “California Saga” that haven’t frequently appeared on Greatest Hits sets. The inclusion of these tracks makes for a fine souvenir of the record-breaking reunion tour. The lift-top package also includes an expanded booklet with liner notes by Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild and seven postcards. (Oddly, “Be True to Your School” is on the single-disc edition, but not the 2-CD version.)
Hit the jump for more details on these upcoming reissues including full track listings for both compilations! Plus: a new Blu-Ray/DVD documentary is also on the way! And please join us for a special survey! Read the rest of this entry »
2012 has been a big year for The Beach Boys, and the fun, fun, fun shows little sign of abating any time soon. While we still wait for more details on the possible U.S. arrival of a series of reissued original albums, Sony Music Japan is celebrating with a unique tribute to America’s band. Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook is a 25-track compilation drawn mostly, but not exclusively, from the Sony family of labels including Columbia, RCA Victor, Arista, Buddah and Bang, and offers a number of lesser-known tracks from many familiar artists. All of the songs chosen just prove the depth of the Beach Boys’ catalogue.
There have been plenty of Beach Boys tribute compilations over the years, from Risky Business Records’ 1995 Got You Covered! Songs of the Beach Boys (with Glen Campbell, Pat Boone and The Surfaris on its roster) to Sanctuary’s 2002 Brit-centric Guess I’m Dumb: Songs of the Beach Boys (featuring P.P. Arnold, The Ivy League and Tony Rivers & The Castaways). The new Good Vibrations shares tracks with both of those, actually, but also offers some rarely-anthologized tracks from a wide range of artists including The Cowsills, Paul Davis, Melissa Manchester, Nick DeCaro, California Music, Petula Clark and more!
The emphasis, naturally, is on the songs of Brian Wilson; he’s the man responsible for writing each of the songs on Good Vibrations with the exception of two renditions of Bruce Johnston’s “Disney Girls.” The nostalgic song first appeared on The Beach Boys’ 1971 Surf’s Up as “Disney Girls (1957).” It’s heard from both Johnston himself, dating to his 1977 solo album Going Public, and from “Mama” Cass Elliot on her 1972 self-titled LP. Johnston makes a number of appearances on the new compilation. He and Carl Wilson both joined Elliot on her “Disney Girls,” and as one-half of the duo Bruce and Terry (with Terry Melcher), he appears on “Hawaii” and “Help Me, Rhonda.” Johnston and Melcher were also key voices in the Rip Chords, and that group is represented with three of the Beach Boys’ best “car songs,” “409,” “Shut Down” and “Little Deuce Coupe.” Johnston and Melcher also produced California Music’s 1974 “Don’t Worry, Baby” for their Equinox label. Certain songs are heard in multiple versions; “409,” “Shut Down” and “Don’t Worry, Baby” are all also heard in The Tokens’ recordings.
We have more details after the jump, including track listing with discography and a pre-order link!
In Part One of our special two-part series, we recalled the ups and downs of The Beach Boys and the band’s chief musical architect, Brian Wilson. Today, in Part Two, we turn the spotlight over to That’s Why God Made the Radio, the new album in stores today from America’s Band!
Brian Wilson is still a cork on the ocean floating over the raging sea. But is that a whiff of contentment I hear running through The Beach Boys’ “reunion” album, That’s Why God Made the Radio? Despite the ups and downs survived by Wilson and The Beach Boys over the years, the emphasis in the band’s 50th anniversary year is on the ups. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. This all-new collection of songs has been produced by Brian Wilson, recorded by Joe Thomas and executive-produced by Mike Love, for those keeping score of such credits. And Wilson’s stamp is all over the new album, with rock’s ultimate survivor doing what he does best: writing and singing with The Beach Boys. At its peak moments, That’s Why God Made the Radio surpasses all expectations, building on the legacy of a group for whom many felt history had closed the book.
“Old friends have gone, they’ve gone their separate ways,” Brian Wilson matter-of-factly sings in the album closer, “Summer’s Gone.” But it’s a valedictory moment when he confirms that “dreams hold on for those who still have more to say.” The greatest gift of That’s Why God Made the Radio is the knowledge that Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, along with longtime cohorts Bruce Johnston and David Marks, still have plenty to say. (While longtime Beach Boy Johnston is prominent on vocals, the recently-returned Marks offers strong guitar throughout.) This won’t be a complete surprise to those who have followed Brian Wilson’s solo career.
In the years following 1998’s Imagination, produced with Joe Thomas, Wilson teamed with a group of young musicians who could brilliantly recreate the sound of the mid-1960s Wrecking Crew productions with a modern energy. That vital aggregation had much to do with Wilson’s autobiographical concept album That Lucky Old Sun, which prefigures some of the more personal songs on That’s Why God Made the Radio. For the new album and current tour, many of those same members of The Brian Wilson Band are present: Scott Bennett, Probyn Gregory, Darian Sahanaja, Nick Walusko, Nelson Bragg, Paul Mertens, and especially Jeffrey Foskett, whose prominent falsetto colors many of the group’s harmonies. They have marshaled their forces with Joe Thomas and the Mike Love/Bruce Johnston Beach Boys group including guitarist Scott Totten and drummer John Cowsill. The album’s production bears Thomas’ influence; it isn’t as explicitly pastiche-oriented as Lucky Old Sun, but it’s not merely a slick, glossy update, either. Brian Wilson’s favorite instruments are all accounted for: flute, tack piano, accordion, trombone, saxophone, vibes and harpischord are just a few of the tools in Wilson’s arsenal. The polished production brings all of these “pet sounds” to the fore.
A gentle tropical breeze wafts through many of these songs, but purists shouldn’t forget that sun, surf and sand have been an integral part of the band’s DNA since the very beginning. The acknowledgment of those nostalgic themes doesn’t take anything away from the “coming of age” of Pet Sounds and the avant-garde beauty of SMiLE, nor the stripped-down rock of the early 1970s or even the lo-fi, off-kilter pop of Beach Boys Love You. All of these are colors of “America’s band,” and indeed the new album is filled with allusions to the band’s past and present.
Grab some good vibrations after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Tomorrow sees the release of That’s Why God Made the Radio, the long-awaited studio album from Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks: The Beach Boys. As the favorite sons of Hawthorne, California continue their enormously successful 50th Anniversary Tour and with the promise of catalogue projects to come later in 2012, we’re looking at this new album and the legacy of these musical giants in a special two-part series beginning right now!
Where did our long hair go? Like the eponymous girl of 1966’s “Caroline No,” our collective innocence is long gone. And so it might be difficult at first blush to accept five men, their ages hovering around 70, singing of spring vacations and beaches in mind. Yes, The Beach Boys are back and celebrating their 50th anniversary with a world tour and a new album. They have just delivered That’s Why God Made the Radio, their first album since 1996, their first of all-original material since 1992 and their first of all-original material with Brian Wilson since 1985. (Whew!) Somehow, it feels not only inevitable, but altogether right.
Summer 1967 was just around the corner when Brian Wilson collapsed under the weight of ambitions – both his own and that of others – and shelved SMiLE. That album remained a legendary what-if until it was “completed,” first in 2004 by Wilson himself and in 2011 by The Beach Boys. It would have followed a string of records that brought melodic and harmonic sophistication to pop, and then the intensely personal statement of 1966’s Pet Sounds. Though Mike Love is said to have provided the title, the pet sounds were Brian’s, building on the foundation he had laid with songs as early as “Surfer Girl,” the very first he ever wrote. Pet Sounds, though, left behind cars and surfboards (though not girls!) as it lyrically explored the themes that resonated for the young man, and his audience of contemporaries: the angst of adolescence, the promise of adulthood. Brian Wilson’s idol Phil Spector was let down when the record-buying public roundly ignored his magnum opus, “River Deep – Mountain High,” and it was no different for Wilson when Pet Sounds became The Beach Boys’ first album in three years not to go gold. Capitol Records undercut any traction it may have been gaining by rush-releasing a golden-oldies compilation to stores. It seems hard to believe today, but “God Only Knows” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” just sounded too foreign to a public thrilling to “I Get Around” and “Surfin’ USA.”
But Brian Wilson didn’t give up. In those heavy, heady days of ’67, he had an unquenchable thirst to push the limits of what popular music could do. An intensely competitive perfectionist, he intended for SMiLE to outdo not only his past achievements but those of The Beatles. John, Paul, George and Ringo were also redefining the scope of the new “rock,” which had, after all replaced the “rock and roll” once played by both The Beatles and The Beach Boys. SMiLE was pure sonic experimentation, a jagged “teenage symphony to God” that was artful and ramshackle, beautiful and impenetrable. It should have built on the success of “Good Vibrations,” the Beach Boys’ single which had merged the avant-garde and the commercial into a thrilling and completely new whole. But it wasn’t meant to be, and despite some fine albums to follow, the band could never fully step out from the shadow of SMiLE as vibrant, vital hitmakers.
The abandonment of SMiLE was the first sign of fracture in the California group. But destiny had played a cosmic joke on the golden boys of sun and surf; darkness had bubbled under the surface since the very beginning. Just listen to the stark loneliness of “In My Room.” In later years, though, that darkness manifested itself as something more frightening than adolescent melancholy, from an association with a notorious killer to mental health issues. All of those matters have been chronicled innumerable times and won’t be elaborated upon by me. Yet a contingent of fans (the largest contingent, one might add) has “kept the summer alive” as the Beach Boys envisioned it between, say, 1962 and 1966. “Surfin’ USA” and “I Get Around” transport these fans to a simpler, perhaps happier time. Then there’s a smaller, though still vocal, group of younger fans weaned on Pet Sounds and snippets of SMiLE rather than, say, “Little Honda.” These fans have allowed Brian Wilson, the “George Gershwin of pop” (he wouldn’t accept the Mozart tag, ever modest), to reconnect with the muse that produced his most deeply personal, often experimental work in those lysergic days of 1966 and 1967.
There’s much more after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
The Beach Boys are finally, officially ready to “Do It Again.” America’s Band kicks off its 50th Anniversary Tour on Tuesday evening in Tucson, Arizona, and a new single, “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” should hit the airwaves imminently, with a promotional video already having been leaked to the public. With the band’s as-yet-untitled new album currently listed on numerous retail sites for a June 5 release but as yet unconfirmed by Capitol Records, news is here about the first music release to tie in with the reunion tour. May 1 is the date for The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Commemorative ‘ZinePak, a CD/magazine hybrid to be available exclusively at Wal-Mart. Tantalizingly, the ‘ZinePak will include the group’s recent re-recording of its 1968 hit “Do It Again,” for the first time on CD as part of the set’s 11-track compilation disc.
‘ZinePak was founded just last year by Kim Kaupe, 26, and Brittany Hodak, 28, of New York. The upstart company has already thrived with the successful release of over one dozen ‘ZinePaks including sets featuring Selena Gomez, Scotty McCreery and Rascal Flatts. The Academy of Country Music Awards’ ‘Zinepak actually debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, No. 4 on Top Compilation Albums and No. 19 on Top Independent Albums. The Beach Boys edition, co-produced with Capitol Records, might be the highest –profile project yet for the young company and its first major entrée into the classic rock marketplace. (The collectible CD/magazine concept isn’t unique to ‘Zinepak, however. We spotlighted the WHSmith-exclusive “Bookazine” for Matt Monro last October.)
Hit the jump for more on what to expect from this 50th anniversary tribute set including the complete track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »
Dennis Wilson did it in 1977. Carl Wilson did it in 1981. So did Mike Love. Brian Wilson waited until 1988. But it wasn’t until 2010 that Al Jardine released his first solo studio album. Entitled A Postcard from California, Jardine had to content himself with a limited release via Amazon’s MOD (Made on Demand) system. Now, with the surviving Beach Boys reuniting for a hotly-anticipated 50th anniversary tour beginning later this month and gearing up for the band’s first studio album since 1996, Jardine has finally gotten a wide release for Postcard via Robo Records and Fontana Distribution. The pressed CD version of Postcard has been expanded by three additional tracks, and arrived in stores this past Tuesday, April 2.
Jardine’s Postcard was signed by many of California rock’s greatest statesmen. Filled with nostalgic lyrics (including some cheeky Ringo Starr-esque references to past hits!) and goodtime rock-and-roll riffs, the album includes both original songs and Beach Boys favorites. Glen Campbell appears on the title song, while three-quarters of CSNY – Neil Young, David Crosby and Stephen Stills – lend their voices to a reworking of Jardine’s “California Saga,” first recorded on The Beach Boys’ 1973 album Holland. Steve Miller and The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea joins Jardine on a new “Help Me, Rhonda” while Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of America are heard on two Jardine originals, “San Simeon” and “Drivin’.” But where would an Al Jardine solo album be without the participation of his fellow Beach Boys?
Brian Wilson adds harmonies both to “Drivin’” and a revival of “Honkin’ Down the Highway” from 1977’s Beach Boys Love You. Founding Beach Boy David Marks adds a guitar solo to “Drivin’.” But most notably, Brian Wilson joined Al, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and even the late Carl Wilson on “Don’t Fight the Sea,” the centerpiece track on Postcard. Co-written by Jardine and Terry Jacks (the vocalist of “Seasons in the Sun”), the song marked the first full-fledged Beach Boys reunion prior to the current 50th anniversary activities, and is a worthy addition to the group’s canon. The Brian Wilson/Steve Kalinich “California Feelin’” is covered here, as well, and Kalinich contributes a poem, “Tidepool Interlude,” recited by Alec Baldwin over Scott Slaughter’s musical setting.
Hit the jump for details on the bonus tracks and more, plus the full track listing and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »
By the time of 1964’s Muscle Beach Party, Philadelphia-born Frankie Avalon had already racked up some 31 hits on the U.S. Billboard charts, including two at Number One, “Why” and “Venus.” On the urging of his Chancellor Records mentor Bob Marcucci, Avalon had welcomed the 1960s by diversifying his talents into film, appearing opposite John Wayne in The Alamo and Walter Pidgeon in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. 1963’s Beach Party, however, was something else altogether. Directed by William Asher, later the creative force behind television’s Bewitched, the low-budget American-International picture spawned a virtual cottage industry. Audiences flocked to see well-scrubbed Frankie and all-American Annette Funicello frolicking on the sun-kissed beaches of Southern California. The teenage twosome would star in seven beach party movies together in less than three years, plus beach party movies of their own (in which the other half of the duo would cameo!) Yes, Frankie Avalon had found a way to extend his teen idol years straight through the British Invasion, which brings us to Real Gone Music’s first-ever CD reissue of Avalon’s 1964 album for United Artists, Muscle Beach Party and Other Movie Songs, handily repackaged and expanded as Muscle Beach Party: The United Artists Sessions (RGM-0035, 2012). This 20-track time capsule includes Avalon’s complete recordings for the UA label.
The musical history of the beach party films is far more complicated than any of the movies’ plots! Due to Avalon and Funicello recording for different labels, both artists recorded their own renditions of the movie’s songs, and true soundtracks weren’t issued for most of the films. (When La-La Land Records issued a soundtrack to Beach Blanket Bingo in 2010, it spotlighted Les Baxter’s score and the music-only tracks for the songs. Frankie and Annette’s actual film vocals still couldn’t be released!) “Competing” with Annette’s Buena Vista Records Muscle Beach Party was Avalon’s own United Artists LP. The first side was dedicated to four of the Muscle Beach tunes and two reprises from the series’ first film Beach Party, while the second featured adult standards in supper-club arrangements. Real Gone’s reissue proves that the first side, however, has aged better than the latter, and this is in no small part due to the contributions of one musical iconoclast by the name of Brian Wilson.
Roger Christian (“Don’t Worry Baby”) and Gary Usher (“In My Room”) co-wrote the score to 1963’s Beach Party and enlisted their pal, the erstwhile Beach Boys leader, to join them for the Muscle Beach Party song score. Wilson, Usher and Christian wrote six songs for the film, three of which are heard here as performed by Avalon: the title song, “Surfer’s Holiday” and “Runnin’ Wild.” (Dick Dale actually sang “Muscle Beach Party” in the movie, and Dale also performed “Surfin’ Woodie” and “My First Love.” He joined Donna Loren for the onscreen “Muscle Bustle.”)
Wilson’s compositional stamp is evident. “Surfer’s Holiday” is a bit reminiscent of “Sidewalk Surfin’” (coincidentally recorded by Funicello) which shares its melody with The Beach Boys’ “Catch a Wave.” The rapid-fire “Running Wild” also recalls Wilson’s infectious, early Beach Boys work with the de facto guitar break. “A Boy Needs a Girl” wasn’t written by the Wilson/Christian/Usher triumvirate but rather by Guy Hemric and Jerry Styner, but it fits in well and even recalls Wilson in his dreamy romantic mode (think “The Surfer Moon”). After this enjoyable compendium of Beach Party tunes, Avalon turns to a brace of film-related songs aimed at adult listeners.
Join Frankie after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »