RAMBLIN ‘ROUND: Feel Flows: The Beach Boys’ Majestic New Box Set | Local News
Who is one of the most underrated bands of the 1970s? My list should include the Beach Boys.
Their new box set, “Feel Flows”, covers a time when they were first ignored by the musical world as a whole, before launching one of the greatest comebacks in music history.
What? Aren’t The Beach Boys and band songwriter / producer Brian Wilson some of America’s most revered bands, still touring today as two separate bands to enthusiastic crowds and packed venues, not only in the United States, but also in Great Britain, Europe and Japan?
That’s right, but ask your typical music fans to name a few of the band’s many highlights and they’ll generally focus on the band’s production in the 1960s and why not? In addition to their fun surf and hot rod songs, as well as odes to “Surfer Girls” and “California Girls,” this decade’s Beach Boys records featured what many critics and fans consider to be one of the greatest albums of all time with “Pet Sounds” and one of the greatest rock singles of all time with the majestic “Good Vibrations”.
As for their repertoire, classic songs such as “Fun Fun Fun”, “Surfin ‘USA”, “Little Deuce Coup” and “Help Me Rhonda” could fill a set list any night and leave many spectators happy in the night. their wake.
The Beach Boys were the first American group to reach number one on the charts after the British invasion when bands such as The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Gerry and Pacemakers and others reigned supreme. on the American charts.
Fittingly, the Beach Boys hit their first number with “I Get Around” on July 4, 1964 – a good day for American bands to make a comeback against the domination of the US charts by British bands. Many fans love the “B” side of the “Don’t Worry Baby” record as much – if not more – than the “A” side.
So it’s understandable that the Beach Boys’ run is tied to the 1960s in the minds of many music fans. They were about to ride another wave in the 1970s, but they faced challenges regarding the popular perception of many music fans at the time.
When the world of rock music started to change with the advent of musical artists such as Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, The Doors and various Californian bands, the Beach Boys, with their matching striped Pendleton shirts, then their suits in assorted white polyester, began to be regarded by some self-proclaimed hipsters as tragically unhip.
With distorted 20 minute guitar solos becoming the norm, these Beach Boys songs about surfing, girls and hot rods have been called by some – along with the band – relics from another era.
Never mind that Paul McCartney himself said that “Pet Sounds” was the major influence of the Beatles ‘”Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” and cited The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” as his favorite song of all. time.
Unfortunately, around this time, Brian Wilson started to suffer from mental health issues, which led him to put away his ambitious album “Smile”, which was almost finished.
In August 1970, the group reunited to begin the next decade by giving all of the Beach Boys a chance to shine on their album “Sunflower”.
The album opens with rocker “Slip on Through” by drummer Dennis Wilson, followed by one of Brian’s best songs, “This Whole World,” with his brother Carl Wilson on vocals. It’s followed by “Add Music to Your Day,” which features all of the Beach Boys.
Dennis Wilson has contributed to two other songs, “Got to Know the Woman” and his most famous song, the resplendent ballad “Forever”. Written by Dennisand Greg Jakobson, the always gracious Brian Wilson described it as “the most harmonically beautiful thing I have ever heard” and a rock ‘n’ roll prayer. While he’s also become a fan favorite, I’ll never understand why he didn’t become one of the Beach Boys’ biggest hits.
Other highlights included a rare collaboration with Brian and Mike Johnston, as co-authors and singers of “Deirde,” with one of those beautiful melodies that Brian seemed to conjure up out of thin air. It features a shimmering arrangement, with a lazy trombone solo and a cascading flute trio.
The Beach Boys worked from a timeless location, without any influence from the contemporary music standards of the time. With raging guitars and thumping drums among the dominant musical sounds, “Sunflower” stalled at No. 151 on the charts in the US, but reached No. 29 in the UK. While many critics loved it, America’s record-buying public didn’t care.
Even though the Beach Boys’ record sales had tumbled, many of their fellow musicians recognized them as the revolutionary artists that they were. While the Beach Boys of 1970 were seen as tragically out of touch by record-buying audiences, one of the most hip bands on the planet was poised to help them change that perception.
In April 1971, the Grateful Dead were playing a five-night residency at the Fillmore East in New York City. After the slam dunk versions of “Playing in the Band” and “Dire Wolf” a member of the band surprised audiences by saying that it was “Another Famous California Group” and the Beach Boys Carl Wilson, Mike Love , Al Jardine and Bruce. Johnston took the stage.
The no doubt stunned audiences watched and listened to the bands joining forces on the Coasters song “Searchin ‘”, followed by “Riot in Cell Block # 9” by the Robins. The Grateful Dead members then left the stage, leaving the Beach Boys to perform their masterpiece “Good Vibrations”, followed by a playful “I Get Around”.
Saying “If we start another song, maybe they’ll come back and join us,” the Dead joined the Beach Boys for “Help Me Rhonda” and yes, “Okie From Muskogee” by Merle Haggard. (Although Mike Love hammered out an ironic version of the song, the Grateful Dead were serious Merle fans and often included “Mama Tried” and “Sing Me Back Home” in their sets).
They closed with “Johnny B. Goode”, the Chuck Berry classic recorded by the two groups.
Just like that, as word of the band’s stage performance with the Grateful Dead spread, the Beach Boys were suddenly seen as cool – although their most loyal fans knew it from the start.
Their next album was called “Surf’s Up” – but it had nothing to do with surfing. I always thought it was a musical poem by Brian Wilson, associated with the surreal lyrics of Van Dyke Parks, with “Surf’s Up” in this case a state of mind.
“Surf’s Up” gave all of the Bech Boys a chance to shine again, and it’s one of my favorite albums. Songs such as “Don’t Go Near the Water” with Mike Love and Al Jardine, and “A Day in the Life of a Tree” address ecological issues, while Jardine’s “Lookin ‘at Tomorrow” addresses social issues. with the memorable verse “I was lying on my back, like a freight train out of the way, trying to find a job suitable for my trade.”
Bruce Johnston contributed to his greatest song, “Disney Girls (1957)”.
Love has created new lyrics to the music of “Riot in Cell Block # 9”, now titled “Student Demonstration Time”, a Beach Boys ending rocker singing “Stay away if there’s a riot goin ‘on”.
Carl Wilson was involved in the writing and vocals of two of the album’s best songs, “Long Promised Road” and “Feel Flows” – which is the title of the Beach Boys’ new box set spanning the era.
And although Brian had a reduced roll, it could never be counted, closing the album with the bittersweet “Til I Die” and “Surf’s Up”.
The album reached # 29 in the US and # 15 in the UK. With songs from the album becoming an integral part of the Beach Boys Live set, the Beach Boys were back!
With additional brass and keyboards increasing the regular group, Rolling Stone magazine named Beach Boys Band of the Year in 1974, the same year their compilation “Endless Summer” reached number one on the charts.
The Beach Boys were back and they never really left. They have their own musical space, regardless of the fashions of different eras.
The “Feel Flows” box set revisits this era, with a box set of five discs. I’ll opt for the two-disc set, which features remasters of the full “Sunflower” “Surf’s Up” albums, as well as 32 bonus tracks, all for under $ 20 at Mosy stores.
“Surf is up! “
Contact James Beaty at [email protected]