Category Archives: Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson's Route 66

Brian Wilson is 66 today.

Here’s a link to the Coverville tribute to Pet Sounds.

A link to a guy who has put a bunch of a cappella takes of the Beach Boys’ versions of the songs from Pet Sounds on YouTube.

My second favorite song from Pet Sounds:

Brian from SMiLE:

Brian from a 1967 performance of a song from what would have been SMiLE:

A Neil Young song that namechecks the Beach Boys and a song from Pet Sounds. The studio version (which I can’t find) is even more evocative.

A John Hiatt song which has what I think are lovely harmonies – inspired by the Beach Boys?

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And on another matter, the New York Daily News cover from Wednesday, June 18:


ROG

The Kennedy Center Honors, Part 2

More on the Kennedy Center Honors that took place on December 2 and is airing on CBS on Wednesday, December 26 at 9 pm EST.

I was afraid the Kennedy Center might treat Brian Wilson as some has-been of the 1960s, but it appears not to be so, as they cite his more recent works as well as his classic Beach Boys songs.

It’s odd that I never owned a Beach Boys album until Pet Sounds, which is my favorite . But once I got into the group, I did so in as major way. I’ve probably repurchased more Beach Boys music (vinyl to CD) than any group save for the Beatles. I now own, in one form or another:
Beach Boys Concert (32:03) (r. 19th October 1964)
Christmas Album (27:32) (r. November 1964)
Pet Sounds (35:39) (r. 16th May 1966)
Smiley Smile (27:00) (r. 5th September 1967)
Wild Honey (23:55) (r. 4th December 1967)
Friends (24:57) (c. 6th July 1968)
20/20 (29:33) (c. 1st March 1969)
Sunflower (36:10) (r. 31st August 1970)
Surf’s Up (32:59) (r. August 1971) – my second-favorite album
Carl and The Passions – So Tough (33:47) (r. 14th May 1972)
Holland (35:49+11:57=47:46) (r. 8th January 1973) this I have on vinyl with the story on a separate disc.
15 Big Ones (37:51) (r. June 1976)
Love You (33:40) (r. March 1977)
This doesn’t count a number of compilations, from a pair of double LPs in the early 1970s to the box set in the 1990s. The fifth CD in the box set has a 9-minute, “in process” version of “God Only Knows”, the last three minutes of which begs to be released as a single. The box set was actually a present to a friend, which I got back after she died.

Of Brian’s solo discography, I have:
Brian Wilson, 1988
Imagination, 1998
Gettin’ In Over My Head, 2004
SMiLE, 2004
What I Really Want For Christmas, 2005

The final artist to be honored is Diana Ross, or as the announcer puts it on a box set called The Motown Story, “Miss Diana Ross.”

There were LOTS of Supremes albums at my house when I grew up. Of this list, we had all of them in the 1962-1967 section except the Christmas album. When the group became Diana Ross and the Supremes, I still got a number of the albums; from that section, all except Funny Girl, Cream of the Crop, Greatest Hits 3 and Farewell.

But after her first two solo albums, I was disinclined to buy any more. I think, like many of the Motown artists, I resented how Berry Gordy pushed her to the fore. According to the December 5 Wall Street Journal, the main character in the new movie Juno wants people to know that her name came not from the capital of Alaska but from Zeus’s wife. (“She was supposed to be really beautiful but really mean, like Diana Ross.”)

Not that I was unaware of Miss Ross. Her version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was the backdrop to some Black History Month assembly in 1971. Certainly I heard the hits such as Love Hangover and Upside Down. I heard Endless Love endlessly. I still have a visual of her singing in a thunder storm in Central Park.

But the bulk of her solo work eluded me. So, while I was (allegedly) doing Christmas shopping for others a couple weeks ago, I was compelled to buy The Definitive Collection Somehow, I managed to miss the anthemic “I’m Coming Out” and a number of other songs. As it’s likely my only DR on CD, matching my Supremes CD greatest hits compilation as the lone digital representation in my collection, I’m actually glad to have it.

ROG

The Rules: Part 3 (of 37): Playing Music

As you may know if you know me, or if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I am a compulsive about some things such as filing my recorded music. I’ve likely mentioned that I’m also obsessive about playing music I own. I figure that if I own it, I should play it. If I don’t play it, I should probably get rid of it.

To that end, I play music on a musician’s or classical composer’s birthday week. This week, in honor of their birthdays today, it’s Frank Sinatra and Dionne Warwick. This birthday thing also applies to compilers of compilations, so the guy with the Omnibus coming out is heard in January, while the Eddie-torial pledge dude gets played in November.

There used to be a time when I’d play a given artist two or three times during the course of a year, but with an increasing number of recordings, I’ve had to figure out how to parse some groups.

Simon & Garfunkel I play in November, Art’s birthday; I also play my one Garfunkel album. Simon solo I play in October.
I have so many Rolling Stones albums that I play the store-bought ones in July, Mick Jagger’s birthday, and the ones I’ve burned in December, Keith Richards’ birthday.
Led Zeppelin gets played in January, Jimmy Page’s birthday; solo Robert Plant in August.
I play Crosby and CPR in August, Stills in January and Young in November. CSN(&Y) I play in February, Nash’s birthday, since I have no Nash on CD.
The Police get played in July, Stuart Copeland’s birthday, while Sting gets played in October. (Why not Andy Sumner as the Police trigger? Because his birthday came later in the year, in December.)
Don Henley in July; the Eagles in November, Glenn Frey’s birthday.
With so many Beach Boys albums, most of them I play in June, Brian Wilson’s birthday, along with solo Brian Douglas Wilson. However, the box set and the greatest hits I play in December, the birthdays of Dennis Carl Wilson and Carl Dean Wilson. (I didn’t know until yesterday that Dennis’ middle name was Carl; how odd.)
The Beatles are the most convoluted. Solo artists in their respective months, of course. In October, for John, I play the canon, the British albums as they were originally produced, since he was the leader of the group; also the Past Masters, which represent, mostly, the singles. February I play the American albums, since George was the first Beatle to come to the U.S., visiting his sister Louise. June, Paul’s month, gets the other items: the Anthologies, the BBC, the remixes of Yellow Sub and Let It Be, and LOVE. As for July, Ringo gets all the many Beatle cover albums.

Speaking of which, I’m in the midst of moving my tribute albums from their own section to the end of the run of the given artist; there are now so many that I forget.

As for the rest of my music: February gets compilation love albums, compilation soul albums (except Motown, played in November for Berry Gordy’s birthday) and, if the Oscars are in February, soundtracks, which usually takes a couple months in any case. As for the rest of the albums, other compilations, artists with birthdays I don’t know, I play whenever I want. Well, except the Chieftains and Clannad, which I listen to in March, and Christmas albums, which I play between December 1 and Epiphany. Oh, and Halloween albums for guess when?

The requirement to play, say John Lennon in October, doesn’t preclude me from playing it again in March just because I feel like it.
ROG

Underplayed Vinyl: Beach Boys


My first Beach Boys album was Pet Sounds, followed by some of those other late 1960s/early 1970s albums, such as Smiley Smile, Surf’s Up and Holland, plus the pairing of Wild Honey and 20/20. I never owned any of those early beach/surf/cars tunes until I bought those wildly successful double LP compilations, Endless Summer and Spirit of America.

So, when 15 Big Ones came out, complete with the “Brian is back!” mantra, it didn’t have the same meaning to me as it might have for a more faithful BB fan.

1. “Rock And Roll Music” (Chuck Berry) – 2:29
2. “It’s OK” (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 2:12
3. “Had To Phone Ya” (Brian Wilson/Mike Love/Diane Rovell) – 1:43
4. “Chapel Of Love” (Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich/Phil Spector) – 2:34
5. “Everyone’s In Love With You” (Mike Love) – 2:42
6. “Talk To Me” (J. Seneca) – 2:14
7. “That Same Song” (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 2:16
8. “TM Song” (Brian Wilson) – 1:34
9. “Palisades Park” (C. Barris) – 2:27
10. “Susie Cincinnati” (Al Jardine) – 2:57
11. “A Casual Look” (E. Wells) – 2:45
12. “Blueberry Hill” (A. Lewis/L. Stock/V. Rose) – 3:01
13. “Back Home” (Brian Wilson/Bob Norberg) – 2:49
14. “In The Still Of The Night” (F. Parris) – 3:03
15. “Just Once In My Life” (Gerry Goffin/Carole King/Phil Spector) – 3:47

The album begins with the Chuck Berry song. Most critics hate this rendition, even though it went to #5 in the charts. I thought it was OK. More than OK, though was “It’s OK”, which to my ears, was vintage Beach Boys. “Had to Phone Ya” was charming. “That Same Song” I loved, as well as “Back Home”, which apparently Brian had around for over a decade. “Susie Cincinnati”, which had been cut from the Sunflower album, I learned from that album’s CD liner notes, was a fun little song. “Talk to Me” was a strange little tune, with weak vocals, but I sorta liked it anyway.

The rest is rather hit or miss. The remaining covers seldom distinguish themselves from the originals, or are far lesser versions, though I appreciated “Palisades Park” for the near slavish imitation it was.

Yet, as I recall, I played the album. Played it a lot, actually. It had enough songs that I liked that I largely ignored the ones I didn’t. I barely remembered the uninspired, but short, “TM Song”, e.g. And it wasn’t that I hated the rest; it was more that it wasn’t as good as it might have been.

15 Big Ones is now available on CD, paired with Love You, the follow-up Beach Boys album, that received far better reviews, at least that I’ve read. I own it, but don’t remember it nearly that well. 15 Big Ones sold better, fueled by that Top 10 single, getting to #8 and going gold, while Love You peaked at #53.

Guess I know what Underplayed Vinyl will be next year. Brian Wilson turns 65 today; who woulda thunk it?
ROG

Summer of Love

It’s not even summer yet and I’ve already begun to tire of mention of the term “Summer of Love”. The early adopters of the counterculture movement seemed to have decided that the folks that invaded Haight-Asbury, in the words of the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir on CBS News, “just didn’t get it.”

But I’ll admit that there’s one thing that largely endured: the music. Here’s a list of all the bands that played at the Monterey Pop Festival, which opened four decades ago tomorrow, withe the approximate number of LPs of theirs I own, suggesting their impact on me then; and the number of CDs I own of theirs I own, suggesting their impact on me more recently.

Friday, June 16
* The Association – 1 greatest hits LP. Hey, they tried to be “relevant” on the smothers Brothers Show when the sang Requiem for the Masses.
* The Paupers – nope
* Lou Rawls – 1 CD
* Beverly – who?
* Johnny Rivers – 1 greatest hits CD
* The Animals – at least one LP that includes the song “Monterey”, 1 greatest hits CD
* Simon and Garfunkel – at least six LPs, plus at least four solo Simon LPs, and one Garfunkel LP. S&G box set, Paul Simon box set, plus other CDs of each
Saturday, June 17
* Canned Heat – maybe one LP
* Big Brother & The Holding Company -one LP, plus three other Janis Joplin LPs and three Janis CDs
* Country Joe and The Fish – one LP, plus their appearance on the Woodstock LP
* Al Kooper – the Super Sessions with Mike Bloomfield and Steve Stills LP; the first Blood, Sweat and Tears LP
* The Butterfield Blues Band – one LP, one CD
* Quicksilver Messenger Service – one LP
* Steve Miller Band – two CDs
* The Electric Flag – one LP
* Moby Grape – one LP
* Hugh Masekela – alas, none
* The Byrds – one LP, two CDs
* Laura Nyro -two LPs
* Jefferson Airplane – at least six LPs, a two-disc greatest hits CD
* Booker T and The MG’s – no, though well-represented in the two Stax-Volt CD box sets I have
* Otis Redding – ditto
Sunday, June 18
* Ravi Shankar – one LP; I also have CDs of two of his daughters
* The Blues Project -one LP
* Big Brother & The Holding Company – see above
* The Group With No Name – don’t know
* Buffalo Springfield – 1 LP, 1 greatest hits CDs, plus four CSN(Y) LPs, two CSNY CDs, two solo Stills CDs (once owned on LP but lost or stolen), eight Neil Young LPs, at least seven Neil Young CDs
* The Who – seven LPs, three CDs, four Pete Townshend LPs, three Townshend CDs
* Grateful Dead – four LPs, one greatest hits CD
* The Jimi Hendrix Experience – four LPs, three CDs
* Scott McKenzie – nope
* The Mamas & The Papas – five LPs, a three-disc greatest hits CD

Meanwhile, Brian Wilson is playing Monterey this month, 40 years after the Beach Boys declined for a variety of reasons. I have a LOT of Brian Wilson (at least 4 CD), and Beach Boys albums (a boatload of LPs and CDs, some duplicative).
ROG

25 things

Tosy has got me sussed.

1. I’ve come to realize that my last kiss… was probably done perfunctorily.

2. I am listening to… a lot of Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and the B groups they used to be in.

3. I talk…more often than not with a filter of appropriateness.

4. I want…a couple more hours per day to read and play. I need to play.

5. My best friend(s)…with a few exceptions, don’t live around here, so I see them rarely.

7. The weather is… wet, but pleasantly so.

8. I hate it when people…are inconsiderate. My current pet peeve involves the bus kiosks around two of our hospitals, St. Peter’s and Albany Med. The hospital employees use the kiosks to smoke their cigarettes during their breaks, then go back work.

9. Love is… as strong as death. That’s a lyric in a church anthem, from the Song of Solomon, and it always gets to me.

10. Marriage is… not for the meek.

11. Somewhere, someone is thinking… someone stole my invention. In all likelihood, it didn’t happen.

12. I’ll always… remember the things I should have done more than the things I did do.

13. I have a secret crush on… oh, golly, any number of people. However, I haven’t watched a program because a person was on it since I watched Sisters for Sela Ward.

14. The last time I cried was… watching Flashpoint last week. It was a CBS News special about reporter Kimberly Dozier’s near death experience in Iraq from an IED. Her soundman and cameraman died, as did a soldier and his translator.

15. My cell phone is… missing.

16. When I wake up in the morning… I start ruminating about what needs to be done. Then I end up doing a list of things not on the list at all.

17. Before I go to bed… I often play Internet backgammon.

18. Right now I am thinking about… caffeine.

19. Babies are… statements of optimism in a sometimes miserable world.

20. I go on MySpace… almost never, even though I have a page.

21. Today I… answer a bunch of question about a blog I helped initiate last week.

22. Tonight I… hope to watch one of those episodes from six weeks of Scrubs, Earl or the office. That was on my list LAST week; saw one Earl.

23. Tomorrow I… go play racquetball in the morning, if the three-year old and I get out of the house in time.

24. I really want to… get a massage.

25. Someone who will most likely repost this? I haven’t a clue; Eddie could.
***
Don’t steal beer in Montana
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“I know I don’t know most celebs in real life, and therefore shouldn’t go throwing haterade at them left and right … but man, I cannot stand Paris Hilton.” – Jen Hubley, About.Com. Haterade – I like that.

ROG

The twins

“In the 1960’s, there were two groups on Capitol Records – one American, the other British – whose name began with the letters ‘B-E-A-.’ Each of these groups featured a bass playing songwriter born in June of 1942, and each group made records that have withstood the test of time to become classics of popular culture.”

I started delivering the Press, the Binghamton evening and Sunday morning newspaper, back in the days when there were actually evening newspapers, in 1964 or early 1965. (The M-Sa morning paper was the Sun-Bulletin; the two papers subsequently merged into a seven-morning Press & Sun-Bulletin.)

So, I had money of my own. Naturally, because I wanted to get all of the Beatles albums (I had some singles), I joined the Capitol Record club in 1965. My first album was Beatles VI, and I worked backward and forward from there, including this weird mostly talk album called The Beatles Story. I got Something New relatively early in the process. I distinctly remember getting Meet the Beatles in STEREO, which was a problem, because I only had a MONO player! There were directives about not playing a stereo record with a mono needle, lest you wreck the album. I didn’t play Meet the Beatles for weeks, then I did, and it SEEMED OK…

I also got Daydream by the Lovin’ Spoonful, Herman’s Hermits’ Greatest Hits, the Hollyridge Strings performing Beatles tunes, some instrumentalist named Billy Strange, and, of course, BIG HITS FROM ENGLAND AND USA. One side had two songs each from BEATLES (England), BEACH BOYS (USA), and PETER & GORDON (England), the “kids” side; the Peter & Gordon cuts, not so incidentally, were by Lennon & McCartney. The other side contained 2 tunes by NAT KING COLE(USA) and CILLA BLACK (England), plus “Tears and Roses” by AL MARTINO (USA), the “adults” side. I probably still have it upstairs in the attic.

Thus, my very first album I owned that featured the Beach Boys was on an album that also featured the Beatles. “I Get Around” was a great song that I had heard on the radio. But it was the other song, “Don’t Worry Baby”, a lovely ballad with exquisite harmonies that I don’t think I had been familiar with, which really intrigued me. I’d heard many of the beach/girls/cars songs on the radio, but this was something special.

So when it became available, I bought the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. As Paul McCartney noted, “Pet Sounds was my inspiration for making Sgt. Pepper’s…the big influence. That was the big thing for me (in 1966). I just thought, ‘Oh, dear me. This is the album of all-time. What are we going to do?'” Eventually, Paul gave a copy of Pet Sounds to all of his children. At the end of 1966, a year-end poll in one of England’s music papers found The Beach Boys topping The Beatles as the #1 vocal group in the world.

And, of course, the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, one of my next record club purchases, inspired the Beach Boys’ would-be legendary SMiLE, the album with a 37-year gestation period, finally released last year by the primary songwriter.

So, here’s to Paul McCartney, whose 63rd birthday was two days ago, and Brian Wilson, whose 63rd natal day celebration is today. Twins separated only by 48 hours and 6000 miles.

***
And speaking of vintage music, the 25th Annual Old Songs Festival is this weekend at the Altamont Fairgrounds near Albany. There was a stretch when I used to go every year, but that pattern has been altered. We PLAN to attend this year, and I hope to meet up with a friend (SKA) I haven’t seen in about three years.

Of course, yesterday, for Father’s Day, we PLANNED to go out miniature golfing, but then Lydia fell asleep on her mother’s lap for two hours, then she was hungry, then she needed changing, etc., etc. Was it Bobby Burns who said something about plans and rodents and people?