Category: the beach boys

On this day in music history: July 12, 1965 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1965 – “California Girls” by The Beach Boys is released. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, it is the fourteenth single release by the legendary pop/rock band from Hawthorne, CA. Following his retirement from The Beach Boys grueling touring schedule, Brian Wilson uses the time to explore and expand his creative genius, moving into one of the most prolific periods of his life. After taking LSD for the first time in early 1965, Wilson comes up with a chromatic run of chords while sitting at the piano, drawing inspiration from classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Quickly coming up with a melody, it evolves into what comes “California Girls”. Brian’s cousin and band mate Mike Love helps him complete the lyrics. The basic track featuring members of The Wrecking Crew including Hal Blaine (drums), Al de Lory (organ), Leon Russell (piano) and Billy Strange (tambourine), is recorded at United Western Recorders in Hollywood, CA on April 6, 1965. The songs orchestral prelude, initially discouraged by Brian’s father Murry as being “excessively complex” becomes one the most distinctive and most instantly recognizable parts of the composition. Another stand out feature of “California Girls” is its bass line, played by musician Carol Kaye on the session. The rest of The Beach Boys overdub their vocals on to the finished track, two months later on June 4, 1965 at CBS Columbia Square. Released in the mid-Summer of 1965, the song is an immediate smash, entering the Hot 100 at #72 on July 24, 1965, and peaking at #3 on August 28, 1965. “California Girls” breaks new musical ground for The Beach Boys. It becomes one of their best loved and popular songs, as well as becoming an early marker for Brian Wilson’s work on the landmark albums “Pet Sounds”, “Smile” and the single masterpiece “Good Vibrations”. Nearly twenty years after the original recording, a cover version by Van Halen front man David Lee Roth (also featuring Carl Wilson on backing vocals), matches the peak position of The Beach Boys original, peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on March 2, 1985. The Beach Boys recording of “California Girls” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2010.

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On this day in music history: July 4, 1964 – &…

On this day in music history: July 4, 1964 – “I Get Around” by The Beach Boys hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, it is the first chart topping single for the rock/pop band from Hawthorne, CA. The instrumental track is recorded at United/Western Recorders on April 2, 1964, with the vocals being recorded eight days later on April 10, 1964. It is during the second session that Brian argues with his father (and band manager) Murry Wilson. Part of their argument is captured on the original session tape, with the squabble leading to Murry’s ouster as the Beach Boys manager. Issued as the bands seventh single on Capitol Records on May 11, 1964, it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #76 on May 23, 1964, it shoots to the top of the chart six weeks later. “Don’t Worry Baby”, the B-side of “I Get Around” also charts, peaking at #24 on the same date. When the single is originally released, it only carries a writing credit for Brian Wilson. Mike Love has to sue Irving/Almo Music (the song’s copyright holder) and Brian Wilson (his cousin) in order to receive a co-writing credit and royalties for having co-written the lyrics. The suit is settled with Love receiving credit and future royalties on the song. Regarded as one of The Beach Boys’ signature songs, “I Get Around is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2017. "I Get Around” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: June 20, 1942 – Songwriter, …

Born on this day: June 20, 1942 – Songwriter, producer, vocalist and musician Brian Wilson (born Brian Douglas Wilson in Inglewood, CA). Happy 77th Birthday, Brian!!!

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On this day in music history: May 29, 1965 – &…

On this day in music history: May 29, 1965 – “Help Me, Rhonda” by The Beach Boys hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Brian Wilson, it is the second chart topping single for the surf rock/pop band from Hawthorne, CA. Suffering from nervous exhaustion, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson stops touring with the band in December of 1964, to concentrate on writing and producing new material. Now free from the stress of non stop touring, Wilson returns to the recording studio, where he is most comfortable and relaxed. The first product of these sessions is the song “Help Me, Rhonda”, whose narrative is about a man whose affection for a woman he desires goes unrequited, and turns to another woman to help him get over her. The first version of the song, is erroneously titled “Help Me Ronda”. The basic track is recorded at Western Recorders on January 8, 1965 featuring members of The Wrecking Crew (with Carl Wilson on guitar), with the vocals being recorded eleven days later on January 19, 1965. Guitarist Al Jardine handles the lead vocal duties on “Ronda” rather than Mike Love or Brian Wilson. The original session tape captures an argument between Brian and his father (and band manager) Murry Wilson, which ends with Murry abruptly leaving the studio. The first version is featured on The Beach Boys eighth studio album “The Beach Boys Today!” released in March of 1965. Before that album is released, Brian decides that the original take can be improved upon, and it is recorded again for single release. The second “hit single” version of “Help Me, Rhonda” is also cut with The Wrecking Crew (with several other members of the studio collective) at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, CA on February 24, 1965. Released on April 5, 1965, the single is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on April 17, 1965, it leaps to the top of the chart six weeks later. The correct hit version of “Help Me, Rhonda” is released on the next Beach Boys album “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)” in July of 1965, only four months after their previous album.

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On this day in music history: May 16, 1966 – &…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1966 – “Pet Sounds”, the eleventh studio album by The Beach Boys is released. Produced by Brian Wilson, it is recorded at United/Western Recorders, Gold Star and Sunset Sound Recorders from July 12, 1965, November 1, 1965 – April 13, 1966. Following his retirement from the road, Brian Wilson begins crafting an album more musically and lyrically sophisticated than anything the band has previously attempted. Working with members of The Wrecking Crew on the instrumental tracks and mostly with lyricist Tony Asher, Wilson spends much of the next nine months working on the album. The instrumental tracks are recorded on either a three or four track tape machine, with the master takes being mixed down to one track of an eight track multi-track tape. After this pre-mixdown, the remaining seven open tracks used for overdubbing vocals. From there, they are mixed down to a single track (mono). In spite of it spinning off a total of four hits including “Sloop John B” (#3 Pop), “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (#8 Pop), and “God Only Knows” (#39 Pop), public response to the album in the US is lukewarm. In the UK, it receives major critical acclaim, becoming a huge commercial success there. Paul McCartney states that “Pet Sounds” was the inspiration for The Beatles to make the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. Over time, “Pet Sounds” grows in stature to become one of the most influential and highly regarded albums ever made. Initially released in mono and “Duophonic” re-channelled stereo in 1966, “Pet Sounds” receives its first true stereo mix in 1997 when an extensive four CD box set of the recording sessions is released. Reissue producer Mark Linett along with Brian Wilson, go through the painstaking task of remixing the album into true stereo. The process involves locating all of the original three and four track instrumental multi-tracks, and eight track composite reels, then syncing the instrumental and vocal tracks to digital multi-track for the final mixdown to stereo on analog tape. In the cases of the new mixes of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “God Only Knows” and “You Still Believe In Me” are missing alternate vocals that only exist on the original mono mix, and could not be located on any other tapes. The album is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998. “Pet Sounds” peaks at number ten on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the UK album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 15, 1972 – &…

On this day in music history: May 15, 1972 – “Carl & The Passions – So Tough”, the eighteenth studio album by The Beach Boys is released. Produced by The Beach Boys, it is recorded at Brother Studios in Los Angeles, CA from December 4, 1971 – April 13, 1972. The album is recorded during a period of transition with the band in flux. During this time frame, Carl Wilson takes over the duties of leading the band, with older brother Brian Wilson struggling with various personal issues, his musical contributions are minimal to the project. Brother Dennis Wilson, sidelined with a hand injury is unable to play drums at the time of the sessions, primarily contributing keyboards and vocals. In spite of being sidelined from playing his main instrument, Dennis’ previously untapped talents as a songwriter are brought to the fore on the two tracks “Cuddle Up” and “Make It Good”, both co-written by him and keyboardist Daryl Dragon (later of The Captain & Tennille). Early in the sessions, bassist Bruce Johnston abruptly quits after an argument with the band’s manager. Carl recruit guitarists Blondie Chaplin and drummer Ricky Fataar to fill in the vacant spots in the band. Originally issued as a double LP set with the second disc being a reissue of their 1966 masterpiece “Pet Sounds”, fan and critical response to the album is largely indifferent and it sells poorly. Over time the album has become a cult classic and a favorite among hardcore Beach Boys fans. “Carl & The Passions – So Tough” peaks at number fifty on the Billboard Top 200, and number twenty five on the UK album chart.

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On this day in music history: March 25, 1963 -…

On this day in music history: March 25, 1963 – “Surfin’ USA”, the second album by The Beach Boys is released. Produced by Nick Venet, it is recorded at the Capitol Tower and Western Recorders in Hollywood, CA from June 13, 1962, January 5 – February 12, 1963. Issued as the follow up to their debut “Surfin’ Surfari”, it demonstrates Brian Wilson becoming a considerable force creatively as he writes or co-writes eight of the albums twelve songs. He is also responsible for most of the actual production on the album, though the credit is given to the band’s A&R man Nick Venet. It spins off two singles including “Shut Down” (#23 Pop) and the title track (#3 Pop). The title track is the subject of a lawsuit between Brian Wilson’s publisher Sea Of Tunes and Arc Music, the publisher of Chuck Berry’s song “Sweet Little Sixteen”. The suit claims that The Beach Boys song plagiarizes Berry’s song almost note for note. The matter is settled with Berry receiving a writing credit and royalties for the song. Originally issued on CD in 1989 (stereo only), it is remastered and reissued in 2001. The mono version of the album, out of print since the late 60’s, is remastered and issued on CD for the first time (along with the stereo mix) with HDCD encoding in 2012. In 2014, Analogue Productions reissues the classic title as a hybrid SACD with the mono and stereo mixes. AP also releases 180 gram vinyl pressings of the stereo and mono versions (separately). “Surfin’ USA” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 8, 1965 – …

On this day in music history: March 8, 1965 – “Beach Boys Today!”, the eighth album by The Beach Boys is released. Produced by Brian Wilson, it is recorded at Western Recorders and Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, CA from June 1964 – January 1965. The Beach Boys eighth full length release in only two and a half years, it comes after the band releases four albums in 1964 alone. Compounded by non-stop touring the stress becomes too much for Brian Wilson who retires from the road to concentrate on writing and producing. The album marks a significant turning point in Brian Wilson’s evolution as a songwriter and producer. With more time to focus on writing and arranging, The Beach Boys music begins to grow in sophistication and complexity, taking major leaps forward in the next two years. “Today!” spins off four singles including “Help Me Rhonda” (#1 Pop) (listed on the LP with the alternate spelling “Help Me Ronda”),  "When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)“ (#9 Pop), "Dance, Dance, Dance” (#8 Pop) and “Do You Wanna Dance” (#12 Pop), though a different take of “Rhonda” is released as a mono single in April of 1965. The album is originally released on CD in 1989 using the mono mix, and is reissued in 1994 along with the vinyl LP. It is remastered in 2008 on CD, and as a 180 gram LP following in 2009. The title is reissued by Analogue Productions in 2015 as a hybrid SACD and as a limited edition 200 gram LP in 2016. “Beach Boys Today!” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: March 7, 1966 – …

On this day in music history: March 7, 1966 – “Caroline, No”, by Brian Wilson is released. Written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, it is the first solo single by the leader of The Beach Boys. The song is originally written as “Carol, I Know”, but the title is changed after Wilson mistakenly hears it as “Caroline, No”, preferring the latter.The track is recorded on January 31, 1966 at United/Western Recorders in Hollywood, CA with members of The Wrecking Crew. Though it is a released as a solo single, the song is also included on The Beach Boys next album “Pet Sounds” which is being recorded at the same time. “Caroline, No” peaks at #32 on the Hot 100 on April 30, 1966.

On this day in music history: January 1, 1964 …

On this day in music history: January 1, 1964 – The Beach Boys record the single “Fun, Fun, Fun” at Western Recorders in Hollywood, CA. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, it is the seventh single release for the pop/rock band from Hawthorne, CA.  The song is written about a girl named Shirley Johnson, the daughter of Howard D. Johnson, the owner of radio station KNAK in Salt Lake City, UT. While The Beach Boys are making a visit to the station, the teenager is overheard by Wilson and Love complaining to station staff about her father taking away the keys to his Ford Thunderbird after he lets her borrow the car to go to library, but then finds out she went out cruising with her friends, and then to the drive-in instead. The bands’ manager and the Wilson brothers father Murry Wilson doesn’t like the song calling it “immoral” and tries to dissuade them from recording it, but they ignore him. After the basic tracks are recorded at Western Recorders Studio 3 in Hollywood, CA on New Years Day, the vocals and other overdubs are recorded on January 8 – 9, 1964. Backed with a cover of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers’ doo wop classic “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”, it is released as a single on February 3, 1964. “Fun, Fun, Fun” enters the Hot 100 at #69 on February 15, 1964, peaking at #5 five weeks later on March 21, 1964. Initially released as a stand alone single, the song is included on The Beach Boys’ fifth album “Shut Down Volume 2”, a month later on March 2, 1964. Mixed in both mono and stereo, “Fun” is given a new stereo remix in 2001 for the compilation “Hawthorne, CA”, more closely resembling the original mono 45 mix.