Summer Heights

July 5th, 2015

Reviewing the Beach Boys albums exactly 50 years after their release gives an additional appreciation of the genius of Brian Wilson and the prolific nature of the band at the height of their commercial success and critical acclaim in 1965. It feels just like yesterday that I reviewed Today and indeed it was just four months ago. Whereas major artists take an average of four years to release their music these days, the Beach Boys released two quality albums in a space of four months.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Summer Days (and Summer Nights!), released the day after USA independence day and featuring only the Wilson brothers and Mike Love on the cover -Al apparently had the ‘flu.  Summer Days can be seen as the Beach Boys classic “pop” album. While t Today was noted for its innovative use of the studio and “confessional” lyrics, Summer Days can be seen as a more up-tempo effort that is best known for the two massive hits, Help Me Rhonda and California Girls. Although much of the first part of the album is fairly lightweight and pop-oriented, this section does include the excellent Beatles pastiche Girls Don’t Tell Me..

The second part of the album does include two further milestones on the route to Pet Sounds, the lush instrumental Summer Means New Love and the ornate and lyrically deep Let Him Run Wild. And Your Dream Comes True is also a beautiful a-capella closer that captures the magic of summer and the mid-60s Beach Boys. If it is a bit of a holding operation- remember we are only two records away from Pet Sounds,  it still shows Brian and the Beach Boys as masters of the pop scene .

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXXVI: When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)

July 2nd, 2015

As we move into the second half of the year, and Brian Wilson’s recent birthday, a song reflecting the passing of time would seem to be very appropriate to feature here.  (When I Grow Up) To Be A Man was, of course, a single A-side and USA top 10 hit, so it’s presence in the Hidden Beauty archive could be questioned. Then again, it hasn’t always been regarded in the top tier of Beach Boys hits, and has only recently had a live revival in both Brian and Mike’s shows. And this is my column, so into the hidden beauties it goes.

For a track recorded in the summer of 1964 , this remains a fantastically progressive song, both musically and lyrically. In an era of hedonism, thinking realistically about the future and the responsibilities of adulthood was a novel concept, and the slightly muted chart performance could well reflect that. Listening to it now, the roll-call of passing years is somewhat poignant, especially with the writer and the band well past those numbers. It may have been something of a hit, but it is also hidden, multi-layered beauty.

23 Songs For Today

June 28th, 2015

1) This Beautiful Day – Brian Wilson

2) Sail Away- Brian Wilson

3) Tell Me Why-Brian Wilson

4) Love And Mercy- Brian Wilson

5) One Kind Of Love- Brian Wilson

6) The Last Song- Brian Wilson

7) You Can Do Magic- America

8) Private Universe- Crowded House

9) I Feel Possessed – Crowded House

10) Blue Velvet- Bobby Vinton

11) Foot Of Pride- Bob Dylan

12) Stay With Me- Bob Dylan

13) Straight To Hell- Clash

14) Ferry Across The Mersey – Gerry And The Pacemakers

15) Peter Lacey- Wayward Song

16) It’s a Hard To Be A Saint In The City- Bruce Springsteen

17) Bleecker Street- Simon And Garfunkel

18) Keep The Customer Satisfied – Simon And Garfunkel

19) I Am A Rock- Simon And Garfunkel

20)  Sandrevan Lullaby/Lifestyles- Rodriguez

21)  Give A Little Love – Pacific Express

22) Let Your Free Flag- Sunchymes

23)  Where Have You Gone- Surf School Dropouts




No Tour No Cry

June 24th, 2015

The big Brian Wilson news today is the cancellation/postponement of  the arena UK tour scheduled for September, which will disappoint those who have made hotel and other arrangements to attend. The reason given was commitments relating to Love And Mercy being successful and requiring extra commitments. However, poor ticket sales and the exertion of an overseas tour have also been suggested as contributing factors.

Further news was that next year will see a Pet Sounds 50th anniversary tour and this will be Brian’s last tour in Europe. The Pet Sounds tour certainly seems to be fitting and appropriate, but even more telling is the last tour announcement – meaning that the retirement talk is not just idle chatter. Of course, this doesn’t mean an end to North American touring or music making, but it certainly indicates some sort of winding down. And who can deny that privilege to a man of 73 who has given so much.

A Greek Birthday

June 22nd, 2015

With Love And Mercy expanding to more theaters and having another good weekend, now grossing over $ 7 million, the main focus moved to Brian’s shows, and especially what seems to have been a great homecoming at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles,  where his birthday was celebrated in style. All reports seem to indicate it was a great show, and a successful tour so far.

73 Reasons To Celebrate Brian At 73

June 20th, 2015

Happy Birthday Brian Wilson!

1) Lonely Sea

2) Surfer Girl

3)In My Room

4) Your Summer Dream

5) Surfer Moon

6) I Do

7) Don’t Worry Baby

8) The Warmth Of The Sun

9) Fun Fun Fun

10) Keep An Eye On Summer

11) All Summer Long

12) The Girls On The Beach

13) Wendy

14) I Get Around

15) Guess I’m Dumb

16) (When I Grow Up) To Be A Man

17) Please Let Me Wonder

18) Kiss Me Baby

19) She Knows Me Too Well

20) In The Back Of My Mind

21) California Girls

22) Help Me Rhonda

23) Summer Means New Love

24) Let Him Run Wild

25) Wouldn’t It Be Nice

26) You Still Believe In Me

27) That’s Not Me

28) (Don’t Talk) Put Your Head On My Shoulder

29) I’m Waiting For The Day

30) Let’s Go Away For Awhile

31) God Only Knows

32) I Know There’s An Answer

33) I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times

34) Pet Sounds

35) Caroline No

36) Our Prayer

37) Heroes And Villains

38) Roll Plymouth Rock

39) Cabin Essence

40) Wonderful

41) Child Is The Father Of The Man

42) Surf’s Up

43) I Love To Say Da Da /In Blue Hawaii

44) Good Vibrations

45) Darlin’

46) Wild Honey

47) Let The Wind Blow

48) Aren’t You Glad

49) Friends

50) I Went To Sleep

51) Time To Get Alone

52) Do It Again

53) Break Away

54) This Whole World

55) ‘Til I Die

56) Sail On Sailor

57) The Night Was So Young

58) Good Timin’

59) Still I Dream Of It

60) Love And Mercy

61) Melt Away

62) Your Imagination

63) Don’t Let Her Know She’s An Angel

64) Midnight’s Another Day

65) Good Kind Of Love

66) Southern California

67) The Like In I Love You

68) From There To Back Again

69) Pacific Ocean Highway

70) Summer’s Gone

71) The Right Time

72) Sail Away

73) The Last Song

School Still In

June 18th, 2015

imagen foto School may be breaking up in the Northern Hemisphere, but one school is continuing and making a lot of people very happy in the process.  The School is a band close to the heart of this blog and their latest release is an EP called All I Want From You Is Everything.

The fact that this is an EP release may suggest that this band is steeped in the glorious pop past, and a quick listen to it will confirm this. Of course, this is no bad thing, with covers of Baby Don’t Hold Your Breath For Me and an aching Crying In The Rain, but the real meat are the original songs, the title track and I Will See You Soon, which will be both be on their upcoming album. Both are slabs of original pop gorgeousness and will certainly make this a summer that everyone should be staying on at school for. You can order it here.

Almost Time To Tour

June 17th, 2015

Another part of the summer of Brian is about to start tomorrow- the tour, including most of the North American leg with Rodriguez. I’ve written a bit before about the similarities between the two, but  here is an article contrasting the two.

Mercy Update 3

June 14th, 2015

Full size image Love And Mercy goes into it’s second week, in slightly more theaters than the opening week, and keeping a place in the top 10 despite the opening of Jurassic World. It’s also doing very well in terms of revenue per theater. A look at the Amazon top #100 is also encouraging, with three albums being fixtures in the top 100, namely Pet Sounds, The Sounds Of Summer and No Pier Pressure. A nice mixture of the classic, the hits and the new.

Finally, good news for me-looks like Love And Mercy is opening in South Africa on August 14. That’s still two months, but I can wait.

Mercy Update 2

June 8th, 2015

Full size image A visit to Box Office Mojo  will reveal the decent first week performance of Love And Mercy, which made #11 on the USA movie charts for the week, but had a good performance for a limited release movie. The top 100 for all-time limited release movies also looks quite impressive. Let’s hope it only gets bigger!