Friday, May 11, 2007


Are The Beach Boys Underrated?

As far as their seventies work goes, they definitely are. It's hard for anyone - even the Beach Boys - to live up to their sixties music. But, if you take the seventies on it's own terms, there is some great work there and it is vastly underrated. The proof is that the seventies songs stand up very well to the sixties ones on the upcoming "The Warmth Of The Sun" compilation due this month.

It shows, that while Brian was clearly "THE guy," Carl, Dennis, Al, Mike and Bruce were very talented and capable guys who were all strong writers and singers. What other group can you say that about? It's nice to see that not only are there hits on this CD, but also incredibly strong album cuts that have stood the test of time.

There were a lot of things I learned about these songs when I talked with Brian, Mike, Al and Bruce for the podcast series. For instance, Brian told me that he was actually on "Feel Flows" which I would have bet he wasn't on. You'll hear him talk about it in one of the episodes.

Brian had real nice things to say about tracks not associated with him, including Bruces' "Disney Girls." He reminded me that Bruce wrote "I Write The Songs" and told me it was a classic - even if Bruce said it wasn't! Brian said he loved "California Saga" and said it's a great song when you want to get in a good mood. He also proudly said that he came up with the first few lines of the song ("On my way to sunny Cal-i-forn-i-a, On my way to spend another sunny day") and sung them. He told me he loves Dennis' "Forever," and he played it in concert for awhile, but he stopped because it made him feel too sad. He really had a lot of emotion when he talked about Dennis and Carl.

Interestingly, both Brian and Mike said that while they liked "Sail On Sailor" very much, they both don't like the lyrics at all - they called them too "weird." Brian loved the tag at the end of "Don't Go Near The Water," and while it sounds just like something Brian would do, he didn't. Interestingly, a lot of the arrangements not done by Brian, were created as if they were. For instance, when I told Bruce how much I loved the harmonies on "I Can Hear Music," he told me that he arrranged them "as Brian would have." He wouldn't even take the complement because he said he was just "doing Brian Wilson."

So, while Brian was not the main creative force he was in the sixties, his influence was all over the place and he raised the level of the other guys to make the best music they could. And, of course, they did.

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