February 6 will always be a bittersweet day in Beach Boys history -21 years ago Brian married Melinda, but 18 years ago, we lost Carl. The movie Love And Mercy showcased Brian and Melinda’s relationship, and how she helped him to start the path to his successes and redemption of the past 20 years. But the movie also reminded how important Carl was in allowing Brian to break away from Landy and reunite with his family -and fortunately be able to spend time with Carl and his mother in their last years.
The Pet Sounds 50 tour has just morphed from a few spread-out dates into a 7 month, 60+ tour date extravaganza on four continents. You can see all the dates here. Yes, it’s serious!
A new year should be new beginnings, but this year feels like so many endings already. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey are probably the best known, but it feels like every day I wake up and Facebook is mourning someone. As an actuary, I could probably do the stats and say this is not completely unexpected (especially as January is month with the most deaths in the Northern Hemisphere), but it still feels like far more is ending than beginning.
I was hoping for a Monday morning boost with the news of some Global Globe success for Love And Mercy. The slight disappointment of a no specific success for the two nominations was soon overcome by the much bigger shock- David Bowie was no longer with us.
I remember first hearing some Bowie music and thinking that this might be too arty/impenetrable for me. Then as a teenager, I remember going to a fair where they put the three beautiful songs from Hunky Dory (Changes, Life On Mars, Oh You Pretty Things!) on repeat rotation and I was hooked. Low became a companion in difficult times -with the music representing aching, longing, regret and many other things.
And now he is not with us….but going out, as it seems, as much on his own terms as he could manage. It’s not going to make 2016 an easy year, it seems, but you’ve left us a lot to go on with. Thank you, David Bowie.
As we get into Pet Sounds year, there is still a bit of unfinished business from 2015 and the Love And Mercy movie, namely awards season. Specifically, in just over a day we will know the outcome of the two Golden Globes nominations that the movie received. Shortly after that, we will know the Oscar nominations- sadly it looks like One Kind Of Love won’t be eligible….
Welcome to 2016, and I wish all readers of the blog a peaceful and successful year! It will mean a lot of different things to different people , but for all Brian Wilson and Beach Boys fans, it marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds. Recently voted the best album of all time by Uncut, it deserves far more than a day or month, so for this blog, it will be Pet Sounds year. Expect a lot of posts on the album, especially with a worldwide tour taking place – a few dates are already known but expect more to be added.
As another year ends, one with much to be thankful for, but also with it’s own tribulations and unresolved issues, the Beach Boys classic Don’t Worry Baby would seem to be a very appropriate song to ring out the old and ring in the new. You may well argue that it is a bit of a stretch to include it under the hidden beauties series, but it was originally a B-side, so on that basis, I’ve sneaked in an inclusion.
Don’t Worry Baby is one of those songs where the lyric and melody combine to a perfection that has the made song both a critical and a fan favorite. Ostensibly a car song, the theme is a lot deeper and very pertinent to Brian’s own self-doubts that were no doubt already creeping in during the innocence of the early 60s. The almost spiritual reassurance is combined with an aching melody that soars and returns and remains embedded in the brain, even although it is an extraordinarily difficult song to sing.
It may be not as hidden as many tracks in this series, but is certainly one of the biggest treasures of Brian’s songwriting.
Brian and the Beach Boys have made a significant contribution to original Christmas music, although maybe only Little Saint Nick has really entered the realms of well-known Christmas classics. However, another gem was unearthed last year on the Keep An Eye On Summer archival ITunes release. The romantic Christmas instrumental, capturing the atmosphere of Christmas Eve around the fire is a Christmas staple, and the beautiful Christmas Eve captures this perfectly. It may sound like schmaltz at first, but there is real beauty in the melody.
1) Hello Goodbye - The Beatles
2) Song For Whoever – The Beautiful South
3) World -Bee Gees
4) Throw A Penny -Bee Gees
5) What Ever Happened - Brian Wilson (feat. Al Jardine and David Marks)
6) Touch And Go- The Cars
7) Help Is Coming- Crowded House
8) Homeward Through The Haze – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
9) Changes- David Bowie
10) North- Elvis Costello
11) December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)- Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
12) Hopelessly Devoted To Them- The Housemartins
13) Why I Love Country Music- Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
14) You Set the Scene - Love
15) Of All the Things We’ve Made – Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark
16) The Pound Is Sinking- Paul McCartney
17) The Sound Of Crying- Prefab Sprout
18) Nero The Zero- Prefab Sprout
19) Eternity- Robbie Williams
20) Bouncer See Bouncer- Scott Walker
21) A Hazy Shade Of Winter - Simon & Garfunkel
22) The North- Stars
23) Shed A Tear- Wet Wet Wet
There’s been a bit of seasonal love for Brian Wilson and those involved in his biopic Love And Mercy, namely two Golden Globe award -one for Paul Dano as Best Supporting Actor and one for best original song for One Kind Of Love. In addition, there are six nominations from this year’s San Francisco Film Critics Circle, including “Best Picture.
We’ve also seen the announcement of the 50 year Pet Sounds anniversary concerts featuring Brian and his band, Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. This was promised to the UK after the cancellation of this year’s tour, but only a few USA dates have so far been confirmed -however, many more are expected.
And finally, what better hip credibility for Brian than a mention on The Big Bang Theory. Have a look here.