The Beach Boys
Albums

  • Surfin Safari
  • Surfin USA
  • Surfer Girl
  • Little Deuce Coupe
  • Shut Down Vol Two
  • Concert
  • Christmas Album
  • All Summer Long
  • Beach Boys Today
  • Nights
  • Summer Days Summer
  • Beach Boys Party
  • Pet Sounds
  • Smiley Smile
  • Wild Honey
  • Friends
  • Stack-O-Tracks
  • Live In London
  • 20/20
  • Sunflower
  • Surfs Up
  • Carl And The Passions
  • Holland
  • In Concert
  • 15 Big Ones
  • Love You
  • MIU Album
  • LA Light Album
  • Keepin The Summer Alive
  • Live At Knebworth 1980
  • The Beach Boys
  • Still Cruisin
  • Summer In Paradise
  • Good Vibrations...
  • ...30 Years Of
  • Endless Harmony
  • Hawthorne CA
  • That's Why God Made The Radio


    Beach Boys
    Relations

  • Dennis Wilson,
  • Brian Wilson,
  • Beach Boys Discography
  • Al Jardine,










  • adriandenning.co.uk
    album reviews

    The Beach Boys

    1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th



    Surfin Safari 6 ( 1962 )
    Surfin' Safari / Country Fair / Ten Little Indians / Chug A Lug / Little Girl ( You're My Miss America ) / 409 / Surfin' / Heads You Win, Tails I Lose / Summertime Blues / Cuckoo Clock / Moon Dawg / The Shift

    Apart from Dennis who originally had the idea of writing a song about the sport of surfing, none of the beach boys were actually surfers. Brian was almost afraid of surfing, it was no good to him as a way of meeting girls. He preferred to get on more on a conversation level. Mike Love didn't surf much either although he did however develop into a dynamic front man at the national and local concerts the boys would perform. 'Surfin Safari' was their first long playing album and nearly all of the songs were written or co-composed by Brian Wilson, Mike Love contributed the majority of the lyrics.

    'Surfin Safari' opens the record and is pretty well developed for a song that was only their second single and recorded in 1962. The music is simplistic of course, but the harmonies are present and correct. A great little surf guitar instrumental break, too! 'Country Fair' is a little corny and I don't much care for Mike's lead vocal either. 'Ten Little Indians' was a poor choice for a single - Brian's choice had been 'Chug A Lug' - the record company picked this instead but it charted no higher than #49 on Billboard. It's very childlike, charming in a way but not as developed a sound as they would display on future productions. 'Chug A Lug' has lyrics introducing elements of the characters of each member of the group. Actually, I'm not sure this would have made a great single either, come to think of it. Mike's mention of 'Root Beer' in a deep voice during the chorus is just plain ridiculous. A little carnival keyboard solo, surf guitar, repeat to fade. It does make me smile though, which obviously is a good thing.

    Dennis gets a lead on 'Little Miss America', a quaint doo-wop styled cover and does a fine job with the vocals. You can just imagine the girls swooning over this. Dennis was the heart-throb of the group and earned a fair amount of adulation from their female fans. '409' is the first in a long line of car songs the group performed. Again, the lead vocals could be better, but then again, the group were still almost all in their teens. Carl and Dennis were still in high school! 'Surfin' is a re-recording of their very first single which originally came out on 'Candix' records. This version benefits production wise but loses much of its early charm - the vocal sound very raw here. The record is filled out with the lyrically simplistic 'Heads You Win, Tails I Lose', the faintly ludicrous 'Cuckoo Clock' and a couple of covers. They'd yet to fully assert themselves in the studio, this was a quickly recorded album as was the norm of the times. It's a short record, easy to listen to, but certainly no masterpiece.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Page Comment? | Site Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    4--This album is a product of its time, and it has some corny moments, but it is saved by its youthful energy and fine playing by the young band. The best songs here are the solid gritty surf tunes like the title track, "Surfin'," "409," and "The Shift," all written by Brian and Mike. The other originals, which Brian wrote with neighbor Gary Usher, are not as impressive and are more standard for their time, but they do have good moments (especially the organ work on "Cuckoo Clock," "Chug-a-Lug," and "County Fair"). The singing is fine, and the covers are all decent, especially the awesome take on the surf instrumental "Moon Dawg." Though the album is not incredibly accomplished by today's standards, it is lightweight fun and very interesting.

    Glenn MITCHELL glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    How can you give this album a six 1/2 this album is a marster in a cloack surely songs like cuntry fair which is one of the best beach boys songs in my opinon and sufin its great start to finish and mikes singing is perfect plesae listern again and you will see this albums twice as good as pet sounds and a pluss point brian dosent sing as much as mike who has a much better voice than Brian my verdict 9/10

    Simon Edwards siedwards@hotmail.com
    When I first brought it and did not really care what music was as long as it was sort of fast and exciting, I actually liked this. This is a poor excuse for a debuet album mainly becasue brian was not allowed to show his real ability and his father and Capitol were always in the way. Better things were to come.

    javahead javahead@bigpond.net.au
    I'm 61 - so a diff. perspective. This young vibrant but admitadly 'rough' quickie has to be seen against it's time- it was so fresh and exciting at that time in 1962. Little Richard, Jerry Lee, Buddy Holly and Elvis were all out of the picture for one reason or another and in Australia all the US seemed capable of was wishy washy middle of the road stuff by a succession of guys called Bobbie.We were getting some good stuff from the Brits and then suddenly the 'Beachies', as we called them were on the scene. The only bright spot in the waste land of rock and pop that the once mighty originator of the whole genre , the USA, had become. Do you wonder that I'm fond of them? And ,of course, they got so much better so fast in the couple of years that followed. Anyway 6/10 is probably fair today but at the time 8-9/10 would have been closer to the mark.

    Paul paulphipps@usadatanet.net
    I agree with the old guy! This is a great album! The fact that it was hastily recorded and unpolished is where it's charms really lie - this is the Beach Boys as the garage band they started out as, and like the Beatles "Please Please Me" it's got a feeling of urgency and youthful bravado despite the unhoned chops. There's a sense of humor there too, which I personally love. Songs like County Fair and Chug-A-Lug are some of my favorites of their early days. Brian Wilson created a fantasy world with his music. The Beach Boys albums were the windows into that world, with each song being part of the soundtrack - a TOTAL image - which perhaps wasn't completely truthful, but still nonetheless beautiful and alluring - Brian was a monumental myth builder and a top notch salesman of his "fantasy world." It's an image that came to represent not only California but the USA as well in many people minds. Thank God he was also a brilliant song writer as well! Anyway, th! is album is the first of those windows and as such is perfect - right down to it's cover photo of 5 young guys gazing out towards the open sea, scanning the horizon, hungry to catch that wave.

    Joseph Bromley harlen_maguire@hotmail.com
    6 - Well here we are, embarking on my epic mission to review all 600 of the Beach Boys LP's! :) Well, The Beach Boys are my favourite band, and here's my first review, of, funnily enough, their first studio album, "Surfin' Safari"! "The Pendletones". Could you really see a band named after a shirt conquering the airwaves of the entire world? Apparently a wise Capitol Records executive didn't think so, and decided to rename this new 'concept band', "The Beach Boys". Smart move :)

    The album is short, and very rough around the edges, "let's throw these keen lads into the studio for a couple of days and see what they come up with." - Well, the results, as can be expected... ain't great. Not to say they're bad, as javahead said, the thrill of hearing Denny's opening snare drum on this album, ushering in a new 'wave' of popular music must have been exhilerating... And still is, to an extent. None of the tracks particularly stand out, Mik! e's lead vocals sound like an 8 year old kid, but his bass vocals are top knotch! Infact, it's drummer Dennis who has the best lead vocal on the album with "Little Girl, You're My Miss America". The playing is all competent, Carl and David's guitar playing is actually very good, their muted strums really add some depth to the rythm tracks, Brian holds things together well with his Fender Bass, and Dennis' drummings solid. Organ (presumably played by Brian) makes a nice change of texture in some songs. Alot of the lyrics are rather, trivial, with some embarrasing moments arising in "County Fair" and "Cookoo Clock" in particular. My favourite line is in "Heads You Win, Tails I Lose" - "Why do we have to gamble just to see who's right, why can't we arbitrarily resolve a fight" - That just cracks me up, I don't think 'arbitrarily' has ever been used in another song! 'Moon Dawg' is probably my favourite song, Dennis' drum solo intro is really fanta! stic, and Carl's guitar picking is great! A quaint al! bum, it' s over quickly, and you won't remember it much. But it was the starting point, and the boys were on the way to much greater things...

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    5/10. good, harmless fun. they were just a bunch of kids having a laugh. at least it's a learning curve if nothing else. probably the easiest money nick venet ever made. it's astonishing to think that "kiss me baby" "let him run wild" "and your dreams come true" and "in the back of my mind" were only three (YES THREE!!!) years away. the album's charm factor is it's saving grace. perfectly forgivable, unlike "m.i.u." "15 big ones" and "summer in paradise".

    Matt Newham s4094332@student.uq.edu.au
    This album is definitely rough around the edges, but it shows a few glimmers of the brilliance that would come from the Beach Boys (particularly Brian). The only "must have" song on this album is the title track. The other two mainstays are "409" and "Surfin'", but they were both superseded on the following album by "Shut Down" and "Surfin' USA" respectively. Aside from that the only tracks to take notice of are "Chug-a-Lug" (which would have made a much better single than "10 Little Indians") and the passable rendition of Summertime Blues. The worst song? A dead-heat between "County Fair" and "Heads You Win, Tails I Lose" - the lyrics are particularly painful. My advice? Find the two-fer release with Surfin' USA - it makes the album much more worth the buy.

    Gareth www.keith@blueyonder.com
    I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT SOMEONE HAS GOT THE CHEEK TO SAY MIKE IS A BETTER SINGER THAN BRIAN AND ALSO THE AUDACITY TO SAY THIS ALBUMS BETTER THAN PET SOUNDS. I SUGEST YOU LISTEN TO CAROLINE NO AND THE WARMTH OF THE SUN. BRIANS VOICE SOUND LIKE ITS FROM THE HEAVENS.


    Surfin USA ( 1963, UK pos 17 )
    Surfin' USA / Farmers Daughter / Miserlou / Stoked / Lonely Sea / Shut Down / Noble Surfer / Honkey Tonk / Lana / Surf Jam / Let's Go Trippin' / Finders Keepers

    Whilst the first album had served a purpose and little more, it sold well enough to convince Capitol Records there was money and sense in recording a follow up set. Whilst the label credits for this record read 'Produced by Nik Venet' it was actually produced by Brian, engineer Chuck Britz, with the Wilson's father Murry, also in the control room. The Beach Boys won the right to control their own recorded output prior to the recording of this set, and moved operation to 'Western Studios'. Up until this act of rebellion, all groups signed to the label had recorded in Capitols own studio's with musicians and songs chosen by an appointed record company representative. Thanks to the success of the title song here, nobody at Capitol complained too much.

    Ah, take a Chuck Berry melody. Add Brian's unique Piano style. Add surfing lyrics and vocal harmonies over the top.... hey presto, a hit single! This song more than any other put the group on the commercial map. Charting at number 3 on the Billboard singles charts, it also put surf music on the map. This album is the most fully rounded surf album they ever made, actually. After which, they'd perform songs about surfing, but not actual surf music songs. Around half of this record is true surf music - i.e. guitar led instrumentals with 'Farmers Daughter' being one of the few vocal cuts that truly rewards repeated listening. A simple chugging rhythm, but wonderful falsetto vocals from Brian. The other vocal cuts include the title song, the car song 'Shut Down' and the beautifully sophisticated 'Lonely Sea'. 'Lonely Sea' is one of the first Beach Boys songs to really give out emotion to the listener. A heartbreaking vocal and feel, a wonderful song. 'Finders Keepers', 'Noble Surfer' and 'Lana' were the other vocal cuts. None of these are essential, but do add variety to the record.

    The surf tunes? 'Miserlou' was a surprisingly effective version of the Dick Dale classic. 'Stoked' was an original surf composition by the group. 'Honky Tonk' is a little clumsily performed, taken too slowly for my liking. 'Surf Jam' was a Carl Wilson original! A generic surf instrumental perhaps, but the guitar breaks are actually pretty damn good. One aspect missing from The Beach Boys surf tunes was Saxophone, by the way. Mike Love had tried to master Saxophone, but failed to do so to a high enough standard. This track cries out for Saxophone, dammit! Anyways, 'Let's Go Trippin' is another well performed Dick Dale tune. The vocal tune 'Finders Keepers' ends the album opening with good rock n roll piano, good 'Four Seasons' styled vocals on this one, too. They'd already grown a lot as performers in just the short time between this and the previous album. A good album then?. Yeah, it's a bit of a period piece now, but it's always charming and always an entertaining listen.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    I agree with the 7½! Not as bad as people say it is, it has some great songs, and even the 'filler' songs are fun fun fun! My favorite song on the album is 'Lana', because i love Brian's vocals on that one. I also love 'Lonely Sea', and 'Farmers Daughter' for the same reason. 'Shut Down' and 'Noble Surfer' are just really fun rockers! Not to mention the title track, which is the classic, but all of those aforementioned songs i just like a lot more. The rest is mostly instrumentals and stuff, and while inconsequential, still a lot of fun.

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    7--Impressive. This classic album, which launched surf-rock as a national craze, rides high thanks to an incredibly strong first half, including such great tunes as the title track, "Farmer's Daughter," "Shut Down" and the beautiful "Lonely Sea" (which was actually recorded during the Surfin' Safari sessions but was left out by the company because of its melancholy subject matter). The second half of the album isn't quite as strong, but it stays on a consistent level that never hits below average. Carl's instrumental "Surf Jam" is terrific. This is a must-have for surf-rock fans.

    Simon Edwards siedwards@hotmail.com
    I actually like this album. I love the title track and Brian's great vocal on Farmer's Daughter. The instrumentals are alright but nothing can be as great as the wonderful Lonley Sea, and Shut Down. I really love the comedy of Finders Keepers and the Lana is great Beach Boys vocals.

    Joseph Bromley harlen_maguire@hotmail.com
    8 - What a leap! The Beach Boys second LP, issued hot on the heels of their 'Surfin' Safari' album is actually, one of the strongest, most consistent pre-Pet Sounds albums they released. "A whole album of all good stuff". The first thing one notices on listening is the voices, damn! These guys are past puberty now! Mike's lead's are much stronger, the double tracking on the lead and background vocals really beefs up their sound! Great stuff, much stronger with their respective instruments too (which they prove in perhaps, one too many instrumentals). Y'know what, The Beach Boys are a Surf Band! And this proves it! What a great grove, Denny's drumming has improved significantly... and Brian's writing is now, memorable!

    The mixing on the album is very odd, if you listen on "Surf Jam", "Honky Tonk", and "Miserlou" for example you can hear Mike's sax buried way down in the left channel, barely audible... Very strange. The album sounds! alot warmer than Surfin' Safari, Brian must've been having a bit more control in the sessions. It shows. "Lonely Sea", a gorgeous ballad is reason enough for everybody to own this album. A total classic. When people tell me the Beach Boys suck, and I play this song, not one person hasn't liked it... It has that effect on people. Probably Brian's most "immediate" song in his whole catalogue, it hits you first listen... Brilliant. The rest of the songs are all upbeat, solid, early 60's material from an up and coming Surf band. Great, fun album, much more memorable than Surfin Safari, much stronger too. But even better was the album to come, Is there a trend developing here? ;) PS. For a bit of fun, right at the end of "Finders Keepers", listen to Mike's flubbed monologue - "That'll teach him to mess with my board, next tras, uh, time I..." Teheh. Makes me laugh.

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    a major step foward. this is where the genius of brian wilson starts to manifest in his songs/arrangements/production. still a few fillers bopping around, but the overall quality is unmistakable. how could you go wrong with "surfer girl" "in my room" and "surfer moon" ??!! i've always had a soft spot for "south bay surfer" oh come on! everybody is allowed at least one beach boys vice! 8/10.

    Matt Newham s4094332@student.uq.edu.au
    A huge improvement on its predecessor shows that Brian and the boys were definitely maturing. The title track and "Shut Down" definitely improve on "Surfin'" and "409" (making the previous album almost superfluous), but besides that the lesser known songs (including their fillers) are improving in quality as well. There are still one or two lyrical tragedies (most notably "Finders Keepers" - lousy lyrics torch a great tune), but it is made up for by some beautiful pieces, such as "Lonely Sea". As per usual I would suggest finding the two-fer Surfin' Safari/Surfin' USA album, but this one stands up on its own far better than Surfin' Safari.


    Surfer Girl ( 1963, UK pos 13 )
    Surfer Girl / Catch A Wave / The Surfer Moon / South Bay Surfer / The Rockin Surfer / Little Deuce Coupe / In My Room / Hawaii / Surfers Rule / Our Car Club / Your Summer Dream / Boogie Woodie

    The first album to bear the credit 'Produced By Brian Wilson'. Sonically, it's certainly an improvement over either of the first two albums. This was their second album of 1963 and showed the group progressing at an extremely fast rate. The title song was inspired by Jiminy Cricket's 'When You Wish Upon A Star' from the Disney film and comes across as a hymn with everything that came after for The Beach Boys being heard or felt in this simple ballad. Wonderful vocals, one of the finest leads Brian ever did, a classic song. Yeah, it's a song about a 'surfer girl', but the sheer emotion in the vocal performance transcends any lyrical shortcomings - that's if there are any. 'Catch A Wave' is a fantastic song and production and a Beach Boys song you believe must have been a single, but in fact this never was. It's a short song like many of the songs here, but just so much fun. Fun! That's what we want from music! 'Catch A Wave' following on from the emotion filled 'Surfer Girl' gets the record off to a fine start.

    'The Surfer Moon' features Brian's first use of strings, yes, a full three years before 'Pet Sounds'. Obviously, it's like nothing from 'Pet Sounds', but it is another high quality ballad performance. 'South Bay Surfer' and 'The Rockin Surfer' display none of the quality of the first three songs here though. 'South Bay Surfer' features extremely clumsy drums that come in twice as loud as everything else and 'The Rockin Surfer' is a surf instrumental, but the guitar has been mixed very quietly. Organ led, and rather a strange this 'Rockin Surfer' piece. Still, 'Little Deuce Coupe' is better.  Due to the nature of the American singles charts this song reached number 15 even though it was a b-side. A perennial group favourite, it's corny but very happy, and the melody damn catchy. The little harmony parts, the lyrics. An ode to a deuce coupe, a must have car of the age! 'In My Room' is pretty much the most fully developed song here. Pure and simple, a timeless wonder. The lyrics suddenly improve a whole great deal once Brian is directing them. He co-wrote the with pal Gary Usher and sets down a heartbreaking melody and vocal line with  a personal, touching lyric. There's great attention to detail in the production of the backing track, and Brian always did give greater effort to those songs that he felt something about personally. This is certainly one of those times, a stunning vocal harmony performance and perfectly appropriate and haunting melodies. The little falsetto part at the very end breaks my heart every time. 'Your Summer Dream' shares a tenderness with 'In My Room',  a soft lead from Brian. Musically this displays a little Jazzy feel and is unlike anything else here. It's affecting, and another highlight of the record.

    As far as the remainder of the album is concerned, apart from the wonderfully happy 'Hawaii', it rather tails off. 'Surfers Rule' is overdoing the 'Surfer' part just a little and hardly a career highlight in any case. 'Our Car Club' has nice little vocal parts, but lacks either the melody or charm of a 'Little Deuce Coupe'. 'Boogie Woodie' is a rock n roll piano instrumental. Obvious filler, but it does display Brian's love of that particular type of music well. An impressive album, if you can get over the fact that five of the twelve songs mention the word 'Surfer' or 'Surf' in their title! This isn't surf music, on the whole, however. The lyrics were about the Surfing lifestyle but the music is starting to move off in it's own direction. The first album that really sounds like a Beach Boys album, and a good album it is too. There are moments of filler, yes. But there's also songs as utterly beautiful as 'In My Room' and 'Surfer Girl'. There's 'Catch A Wave', and much else besides.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    Now, this one I love a lot! Believe it or not, i like every song (even the dumb 'Surfers Rule'! Well it has that Brian Wilson falsetto i love, therefore, its great! Just ignore the lyrics) This is the start of the classic Beach Boys in my mind. The title track, 'Catch A Wave' (i coulda sworn i heard this song before when i first heard it), 'In My Room' are all classics, and songs like 'Little Deuce Coup', 'Hawaii', and 'The Surfer Moon' (a beautiful song with Brian using an orchestra for the first time) are all classics to me! 'South Bay Surfer' might sound hokey, but theres absolutely nothing wrong with songs like 'Our Car Club' (which is a great, catchy song) or 'Your Summer Dream' (another beautiful ballad). Call the instrumentals filler all you want, too, but i think they are fun! 'Boogie Woodie' has some cool piano work. I give it a high 8.

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    6--This album is a decent one in the Beach Boys catalog, but I find it to be a little bit of a disappointment compared to Surfin' U.S.A. Surfin' U.S.A. stays solid throughout, but here the band has great moments along with some bad moments. Brian Wilson shows increasing maturation here, and beautiful ballads such as the title track, "In My Room," the string-arranged "Surfer Moon," and the acoustic "Your Summer Dream" are his best tunes yet. And "Little Deuce Coupe," "Catch a Wave," and "Hawaii" are all decent rockers. But "South Bay Surfers" and "Surfers Rule" are embarassments. "Our Car Club" has corny lyrics, but it is saved by the great music. The two instrumental covers, however, though well-performed, lack the guitar drive of the Surfin' U.S.A. instrumentals and they end up feeling lifeless. Overall, this is a decent album, but its lowest points were the band's lowest points yet.

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    this album is the firs beach boys albun witch is prodused by BRian Wilosn and he done it vith a lot sucsess indeed. The album stars with the song surfer girl witch the lyric of the song is just so sweet and the melody too I love that song a lot . also the song Chatch a wawe,Surfers rule,Little deuce coupe in my room and hawai is exelent . It`s hard to rate the album but it features a couple of beach boys songs I really enjoy to hear.

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    The first classic Beach Boys album in my opinion, and that's mostly because the gorgeous harmonies make their first real appearance. Plus the songwriting has really improved - a definite step up from Noble Surfer and Finders Keepers if you ask me. There's so many great songs: Surfer Girl is probably my favourite Beach Boys song of all time - the "I will make your dreams come true" line always blows me away. Catch A Wave is extremely catchy with its organ break, Little Deuce Coupe is great, In My Room too. There's some good 'lesser' material here too: especially Hawaii (which I remember hearing on the radio here in Australia as a kid), Surfer's Rule and Your Summer Dream. A classic Beach Boys sun-and-surf album.

    Simon Edwards siedwards@hotmail.com
    Produced by Brian Wilson. That is what it says on the cover and it shows. Brian Wilson really showed his talent here with the first song he ever wrote and the first string arrangement to The Surfer Moon. I think In My Room is one of the best songs in the world. Th vocals on tracks like Hawaii are an improvement from the first two albums and they have managed to stick another beautiful Lonley Sea like song in the form of Your Summer Dream. It is an amazing album.


    Little Deuce Coupe 8 ( 1963 )
    Little Deuce Coupe / Ballad Of Ole Betsy / Be True To Your School / Car Crazie Cutie / Cherry Cherry Coupe / 409 / Shut Down / Spirit Of America / Our Car Club / No Go Showboat / A Young Man Is Gone / Custom Machine

    The groups third studio album of 1963 and released a mere 30 days after 'Surfer Girl', so several of the songs have already been heard on previous albums or singles. 'Little Deuce Coupe' does add in some healthy new material though, and ties it all together into a concept album  celebrating the motor car. A concept album? In 1963? Yeah, that's right! It's a fine listen too, and one of The Beach Boys more consistent LP efforts. After the title song has opened the album, we have the romantic sounding 'Ballad Of Ole Betsy'. Romantic sounding, but at the end of the day it's an ode to an ageing motor. How they manage to make it sound like someone's heart falling apart is some kind of testament to their vocal talents. 'Be True To Your School' was a concert favourite, but it's not one of mine. It's a good tune but these lyrics....maybe I just didn't like school too much! It doesn't fit the concept of the album that well, either - it's not a car song, for a start. 'Car Crazy Cutie' opens with a thrilling arrangement of vocals although the music is pretty much a re-tread of 'Little Deuce Coupe'. The vocal arrangement makes it sound like a whole new song altogether, genuinely so, and that's a special thing to be able to do. 'Cherry Cherry Coupe' is an uplifting melodic moment, not quite as good as 'Car Crazy Cutie' but it helps fill the albums concept. '409' and 'Shut Down' were heard before on the first two albums and fit the concept. Both are short songs, and besides, The Beach Boys can hardly be criticized for giving fans short shrift. This was their third studio album of 1963, after all.

    Rounding off the record we have 'Spirit Of America', another well performed ballad and 'Our Car Club' is repeated from 'Surfer Girl'. 'No Go Showboat' is a slightly Beach Boys by numbers although 'Custom Machine' is certainly inspired. Around 90 seconds long and displaying more musical sophistication in these 90 seconds than many like to give these early Beach Boys credit for. The chords and changes are not typical changes, and more complex than they actually sound. They sound great by the way, but you should know that already. And if not, why not? Go out and get yourself some early Beach Boys! And this 'Little Deuce Coupe' set is as good a place to start as any. Due to certain repetition of previously released songs and some other Beach Boys by numbers type songs, the album isn't quite so inspired as it's immediate predecessor - but it is good listening. 

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    5-- Though this car concept album is one of the more lightweight Beach Boys releases, it is actually pretty fun and entertaining. Of course, this album mixes older tunes with newer ones, and some of the newer ones are pretty solid, especially the beautiful ballad "Spirit of America," the doo-wop tune "Car Crazy Cutie," and "Cherry, Cherry Coupe." "No-Go Showboat" and "Custom Machine" are corny but are saved by great harmonizing. I think the version of "Be True to Your School" here is better in some ways than the singe version, especially with the group harmonies. But the single version has a better beat and chorus execution. The only problem with this album is that there are fewer new, original tunes than the previous albums.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    Not one of my favorites as an album as a whole, but it has one of my all time favorite Beach Boys songs. "Ballad Of Ole' Betsy" is an incredibly gorgeous song, and makes me wanna cry, even though the lyrics are about an aging car. It's like you can hear Brian and the group pour their hearts out on this song like someone just died (even though it's about a car), and you can feel an amazing spirtual energy from it that would foreshadow Brian's future work (same with "Warmth Of The Sun"). Still i really like the lyrics too, and i can imagine it being part of a sad comic strip or story. The rest doesn't compare in my mind, though "Be True To Your School" is a great fuckin' song, don't care what anyone says. The lyrics are straight outta Grease or something, but you can still hear the amazing harmonys and melody all over it. I like the album version better though because it's more a unique production to Brian then the single version, which just comes across as an average Spector-influenced production. The already released car songs are also great, and "No Go Showboat" and "Spirit Of America" also manage to put a smile on my face when they're on. The rest is nothin too special though. Mostly rehashes of past ideas, and just okay rockers. I've said "A Young Man Is Gone" is insignificant before, but i find it quite pretty, and is especially notable that it is their first acapella recording. I'd give this a 7 most likely, and is worthy enough for "Ballad Of Ole' Betsy" and All Summer Long on the 2-fer editions.

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    Well, 4 of the 12 songs here did appear on previous BB albums, but I still like this album very much. All of the new songs are very good. Car Crazy Cutie and Cherry Cherry Coupe are great, among my favourite early album tracks, who cares if they both originated elsewhere? Spirit Of America is a pretty ballad, Ballad Of Ole Betsy slightly inferior, while Custom Machine has interesting 'waa!' background vocals in the chorus. No Go Showboat has a ridiculously high vocal from Brian - it's funny! - and A Young Man Is Gone is kinda boring, but its their first acappella piece and all that. Plus there's a song about being true to your school, aparently left over from their abandoned 'school' concept album.

    Simon Edwards siedwards@hotmail.com
    I really like this album. It is the first album to not use any instrumentals but instead has got one of the greatest vocal performances from any band in "A Young Man Is Gone". The fact that the band have used four songs from previous albums does not do anything tom the album (except perhaps 409 which sounds too dated). I really love songs like Be True TO Your School, Ballad Of 'Ol Betsy, Car Crazy Cutie and the wonderful Spirit Of America.


    Shut Down Vol Two ( 1964 )
    Fun Fun Fun / Don't Worry Baby / In The Parkin Lot / Cassius Love VS Sonny Wilson / The Warmth Of The Sun / This Car Of Mine / Why Do Fools Fall In Love / Pom Pom Play Girl / Keep An Eye On Summer / Shut Down Part Two / Louie Louie / Denny's Drums

    Shut Down Vol Two? Yes, well.... You see, Capitol records released a various artists album called 'Shut Down' which featured only two Beach Boys songs, both of them previously released, by the way. So, here is Vol 2, only this time it's personal! Okay, so it's not personal, just a fully fledged Beach Boys album release. The trouble is, the frantic pace these records were recorded and released - this was their fifth album in around two years - results in 'Shut Down Vol 2'  suffering slightly. 'Little Deuce Coupe' overcame this problem of finding a ton of material at short notice by including previously released songs. Here we have a number of covers, some good, some bad and some downright ugly. More of that later, the album opens with a song everybody knows, 'Fun Fun Fun'. It grates on me a little bit more than some of their other hits. There is little to surprise you in either the melody or the vocal arrangement, although Brian does his customary best with the falsetto part. Really, it's just a good time pop song, and that's all. 'Don't Worry Baby' follows and like their earlier 'In My Room' is a real timeless wonder of a ballad. This is where Brian's heart lay, not 'Fun Fun Fun'. Mike's heart lay with material like 'Fun Fun Fun' because that material was commercial. Brian saw himself against songwriters such as the Brill building guys, pop music as an artform. There is little art in material such as 'Fun Fun Fun', however entertaining it may still be. Anyway, back to 'Don't Worry Baby'. It was written as a follow-up to the classic Phil Spector song 'Be My Baby'. Production wise, Brian replaces the 'wall of sound' with a softer, romantic feel. The drum introduction and rhythm nod in a Phil Spector direction, the lyrics are obscure car lyrics actually - but with enough room given the vocal performance to imagine all sorts of other things - a truly brilliant song. Phil Spector rejected it, by the way. Silly fellow!

    The center of the album includes much filler amongst one or two shining moments in particular. 'In The Parkin Lot' opens and closes with one of the best harmony arrangements they ever did. Sadly, the bulk of the tune is just repeating the type of song they'd done before only with less inspiration all around. 'Cassius Love Vs Sonny Wilson' was designed to give you an indication of what went on 'behind the scenes' during a Beach Boys recording date. Placed slap bang in the center of the record all it does it make you want to skip to the next song. The next song just happens to be 'The Warmth Of The Sun', though. One of the best early ballads they did - a song written in the wake of the John F Kennedy assassination. It's full of feeling and a wonderful piece with beautiful heartfelt vocals. 'This Car Of Mine' features a Dennis vocal full of character, as usual for him, but it's a lack-lustre composition. 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love' is a cover of the Frankie Lymon song given the full Brian being Spector production treatment. This is a stupendous production that manages to better the original in almost every department. The album tails off badly towards the end - 'Pom Pom Play Girl', 'Keep An Eye On Summer', 'Shut Down Part II' and the bizarre cover of 'Louie Louie' hardly help this to be a cohesive listening experience. The pointless instrumental 'Denny's Drums' gave Dennis the spotlight once again, but it was a strange way to close an album.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Joe HJcjh20@aol.com
    I agree with the 6½! 'Fun Fun Fun' and 'Dont Worry Baby' are absolutely classic Beach Boys songs, and i love them very much, but the rest is incredibly flaccid compared to those 2 songs. Sure, 'Warmth Of The Sun', the cover 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love' and the intro to 'In The Parking Lot' have their share of Beach Boys beauty, but the rest is pretty mediocre. 'Louie Louie' is pretty funny though.

    Pamela Franklin Pam.Franklin@btopenworld.com
    Hard to be objective about an album that includes Don't worry Baby and The Warmth of the Sun - simply two of the greatest songs ever. So I'd forgive the album anything and give it 9! Also am I the only person who finds the Cassius Love thing hilarious everytime? 'I'm just showing you that anyone can squeak like a mouse', 'at least I don't sound like my nose is on the critical list' it's just funny & supremely ironic with hindsight as the arguments became real just a couple of years later. The album's a mixed bag alright from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again but with such artistic highs and such fun how can you help but love it? A treasure!

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    6-- This album is something of a disappointment compared to Surfin' U.S.A. and Surfer Girl. Though this album has a handful of great tunes, such as "Fun, Fun, Fun," and the wonderful ballads "Don't Worry Baby," "The Warmth of the Sun," and "Keep an Eye on Summer," it also features the band's worst filler yet, such as the mock-fight "Cassius Love vs. Sonny Wilson" and the bad cover of "Louie, Louie." Tunes like "In the Parking Lot," "This Car of Mine," and "Pom Pom Play Girl" are all rather mediocre and are only somewhat redeemed by fine singing. The cover of "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" is great, however, and both instrumentals are interesting, especially "Denny's Drums."

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    A few quick fillers mar this one, but there's still heaps to be positive about. Fun, Fun, Fun is a perfect rocker that everyone knows and loves, while Don't Worry Baby is an exceptionally gorgeous ballad. Actually, I don't find The Warmth To Sun to be much worse - its another one of my favourite Beach Boys ballads. Why Do Fools Fall In Love is a great cover. I guess Brian was starting to run out of ideas for his 'filler' tracks: In The Parkin Lot, for example, has very similar verses to Fun Fun Fun with a bit of Surfer's Rule in the chrous. Still, its a likeable track. More than I can say for Denny Drums (?)

    Mr. Vega-Table phencat@hotmail.com
    This COULD have been a great album, but too many weak tracks keep that from being the case. As far as filler goes, this album is one of the biggest offenders in the BB's catalogue. Again, Brian reaching for another themed/conceptual album, he'd done surf, then cars - now it was school! Seriously, the best songs on here would be perfect for an album dedicated to high school - they should have included Be True To Your School and In My Room on this one because they would have fit perfectly with that theme as well.


    Concert ( 1964 )
    Fun, Fun, Fun / Little Old Lady from Pasadena / Little Deuce Coupe / Long Tall Texan / In My Room / Monster Mash / Let's Go Trippin' / Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow / The Wanderer / Hawaii / Graduation Day / I Get Around / Johnny B. Goode

    The fabulous Beach Boys! In Concert!! What everybody wanted to know was could they re-produce the sound of those wonderful harmonies live in person? As the first song 'Fun Fun Fun' kicks in and sounds not just as good as the recorded version but actually a whole lot more rockin' the question is answered. The crowd screams heard on this album were in response to The Beatles invasion of the US. Suddenly crowds at rock concerts were almost expected to scream. When Dennis sings 'The Wanderer' they scream even louder! A lot of covers here, though. They make them all sound like Beach Boys songs in the event, especially 'Little Old Lady From Padadena'. I don't know the origins of the song, but there is great harmony work on display. 'Little Deuce Coupe' features an extended Mike Love introduction and allows each member to showcase themselves with a short solo spot. Instrument is added to instrument playing the opening riff and section of 'Little Deuce Coupe'. Mike gets a lot of flak, but this works. 'Long Tall Texan' doesn't quite suit them at all, but even this gets Beach Boys harmonies to back it up. When the opening notes of 'In My Room' kick in you are reminded of just how good that song really is. Again, a note-perfect live performance.

    Two many covers for my liking on the second side of this in particular. 'I Get Around' and surprisingly 'Hawaii' do get played however. Unfortunately, the cover of 'Monster Mash' let's the side down especially. As does the tired sounding, far too obvious selection of 'Johnny B Goode'. I imagine this was a typical Beach Boys live set of the day, it's worth a listen for fans. Especially to hear Brian performing live. Guess who sings 'Monster Mash' by the way? Mike Love of course! That man really was unafraid. He sings it in a stupid dumb voice and you've got to give him credit for the way he holds the crowd together in-between songs. Any live album recorded in the early sixties in unlikely to be essential listening though in the twenty first century. We've got to accept that. The sound quality is pretty good on the re-issued version I have, however. And, it's a whole load of fun. It may open a few eyes too. These guys really were good live performers.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Paul Roos poroos@aol.com
    Little Ol' Lady From Pasadena was a cover of a hit single by Jan & Dean, a couple of guys I went to school with in West L.A. Jan Berry and Dean Torrance. Jan was almost killed in a road accident in the 60s but has recovered enough that he and Dean have been playing limited concerts, mostly at county fairs and the like, for the past ten years or so. Their surf/car music didn't survive The Beatles either...but they are still together today.

    Hapman cabinessence@freemail.hu
    Well, I'm sure the guys could re-produce the wonderful harmonies live, but there's a little cheating here - Fun, Fun, Fun and I Get Around are not live recordings, they were re-recorded in the studio, with the screaming girls overdubbed! The other songs are recorded live, though. Quite a pleasant album, but they became much better on stage by the late 60s/early 70s.

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    i agree with george. yet another underrated beach boys album. it's fair to say that i'm not mike's biggest fan, but on stage, he is a top notch showman, and his charisma really adds to the songs. ricky and blondie never get the credit they deserve. i love the version of "funky pretty" it rocks as hard as the studio versions of "it's about time" "all i want to do" and "marcella", who said the beach boys were a pop group eh.....? it's a real pain in the ass to think that nothing from this brilliant album is on the boxset. i think the definitive version of "the trader" can be found here. i'm not so sure if the jazzy lounge lizard version of "caroline no" is a 100% success, but it was a noble effort. i'd give this album an 8 at the very least.......

    Michael Geoffreys ardleigh@anglianet.co.uk
    I read somewhere that a lot of the beach boys concert was overdubbed with Studio recordings so I listened to it very carefully with this in mind and you can hear where the studio work cuts in and out and I noticed also that a lot of the screaming soundtrack was used over and over again.This has not diminished my love of the fabulous Beach Boys music nor the genius of Brian Wilson. I saw Brian live at a "Smile" concert and I was emotionly drained at the end of it, the best concert I have ever been to.


    Beach Boys Christmas Album 8 ( 1964 )
    Little Saint Nick / The Man With All the Toys / Santa's Beard / Merry Christmas, Baby / Christmas Day / Frosty the Snowman / We Three Kings of Orient Are / Blue Christmas / Santa Claus Is Coming to Town / White Christmas / I'll Be Home for Christmas / Auld Lang Syne

    It's been fourteen years since I last bought a new Beach Boys album. Why? Well, quite simple, I bought them all in 1993. Bought them all apart from 'Beach Boys Christmas Album', which ridiculously for my favourite group, i'd always resisted. I'd always been intrigued by it and listening to Brian Wilsons Christmas album last year was the final straw. I had to have this Beach Boys Christmas album that's so well regarded. You know, Brian was going head to head with Phil Spector's classic Christmas album. Phil's album was noisy and angry, Brian's is loving and happy. Simple as that, really. Reaching a peak of number 6 on Billboard in the festive season of 1964, the album went gold, selling well every year. Five originals join seven traditional tunes. Brian sings lead on four tunes, Brian and Mike share lead on other songs and Al Jardine gets his first ever Beach Boys lead vocal on 'Christmas Day'. An acapelle 'Auld Lang Syne', complete with spoken Christmas message from Dennis in the middle utterly breaks my heart, stupendously beautiful singing from the guys. Two hits open the LP, the by now Christmas standard 'Little Saint Nick', which really is 'Little Deuce Coupe' with sleighbells and the best original song here, 'The Man With All The Toys'. 'Santa's Beard' is a hilarious tale of a six year old boy discovering that the local Santa was wearing a false beard and isn't really Santa at all. 'Merry Christmas Baby' is a fun little tune with handclaps and 'Christmas Day' proves that Al could do a great Brian impersonation even as early as 1964.

    As far as the traditional material is concerned, we've got a slightly old fashioned approach from the guys. Swing jazz strings, jazzy bass lines and those Beach Boys vocals. It's a delight because they didn't really do stuff like this on their regular albums. Stunning vocals are a feature of 'We Three Kings Of Orient Are' which they really transform into something soulful and serious before it goes off with this glorious and magical string section. We remember 'Blue Christmas' primarily from the Elvis version, don't we? Well, The Beach Boys turn it into a proper Disney-esque festive ballad with a very clear and lovely Brian lead vocal. 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' is good, apart from Mike's lead vocal section sounding to my ears to be terribly out of tune. Brian singing 'White Christmas'? Beautiful, of course. 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' is another Christmas by the fire heart-warmer, just leaving the glorious burst of harmony vocals that is their short version of 'Auld Lang Syne'. Look, you can get this album for about £6, so there's no excuse. Every home needs a christmas album and this has to be better than the latest 'Now That's What I Call Christmas' groaning under the weight of Slade and Wizzard.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?


    All Summer Long 9 ( 1964)
    I Get Around / All Summer Long / Hushabye / Little Honda / We'll Run Away / Carls Big Chance / Wendy / Do You Remember? / Girls On The Beach / Drive In / Our Favourite Recording Sessions / Don't Back Down

    'I Get Around' was a one number single, a massive hit and one of their all time most perfect songs. The musical backing rolls along but what really makes it is the attention to percussive detail and especially the singing and vocal arrangements. The vocals make this song what it is! Nobody else could touch singing and harmony arrangements of this complexity other than The Beach Boys. Nobody. Brian's falsetto part in the chorus, too! 'All Summer Long' the title song follows with wonderfully evocative lyrics. These lyrics really put images in your mind. The sound of summer! In many ways this is the quintessential early Beach Boys album, and the good songs just flow and flow. 'Hushabye' benefits from the peerless harmony vocals. 'We'll Run Away' is another soft romantic song that really reaches out to you. It's not a great song as such in terms of writing, but the performance is so convincing and otherworldly that it really doesn't seem to matter at all. 'Carls Big Chance' is a surf instrumental, the last one they'd ever do. 'Wendy' has a strange rhythm to it and is hard to pin down exactly, if still being extremely enjoyable. 'Little Honda' is a great underrated Beach Boys song - turn it up loud! Wonderful guitar, a short song perfectly structured and designed and structured to make you smile. I love the little 'honda honda faster faster' vocal parts, too.

    This being an early Beach Boys record, not all the songs are of such high standards, of course. 'Drive In' and 'Our Favourite Recording Sessions' are obvious pieces of filler, although really only the latter of those two is forgettable. 'Do You Remember' could be seen as filler but it's so well played and performed, you really don't mind too much if the composition is relatively straightforward. The song still raises a smile and keeps you entertained. In addition to all of this, in addition to 'I Get Around', 'Little Honda' and the rest, we have the closing 'Don' Back Down'. Like 'Little Honda' this is one of those Beach Boys songs sometimes overlooked - it was never a single and rarely played on the radio. But, it's 90 seconds of perfection for me. It's so hard to explain, the track builds up in on itself, the singing is as wonderful as usual. It's just so happy and guaranteed to cure anybodies depression. A good end to a fantastic album that should be in everybody’s collection, Beach Boys fan or not.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    9-- This is a fantastic album that shows the Beach Boys taking surf-rock to its limits. The first side is excellent throughout, especially with such tunes as "I Get Around," the title track, "Little Honda," and the beaufitul "We'll Run Away." The second side features two great ballads with "Wendy" and the exquisite "Girls on the Beach." "Drive-In" features incredibly innovative music for its time, especially with the unconventional chord changes and the pause in the middle. The subject matter is teenage, but the song has Mike's best cocky moment ever with the Smokey the Bear imitation "And remember, only you can prevent forest fires." Hilarious. "Do You Remember?" is a filler track, and it's pretty fun, but its opening line is its biggest mistake, as it erroneously credits Little Richard with inventing rock and roll (it was Bill Haley who did that) and Dick Clark with first promoting (it was Alan Freed who did that), proving that not even the Beach Boys remember "the guys who gave us rock and roll." The reel of outtakes titled "Our Favorite Recording Sessions" is also filler, but it has some funny moments and a nice lead into the closer, "Don't Back Down," which is simply surf-rock excellence.

    Joe HJcjh20@aol.com
    This is the Beach Boys' best album yet, by far. If it was 1964 and this just came out, i'd be likely to give this a 10. Not many albums as good as this that i've heard in 63 or 64, though Hard Days Night is also up there of course. Unfortunatly, they've improved and this could only be called a transitional record. All these songs are really great anyway though! Not a bad song on the album, though "Do You Remember", "Drive In" and "Little Honda" are certainly less than stellar tracks on the surface, but things like awesome grooves ("Do You Remember"), unusual for it's time chord progressions ("Drive In"), and rockin' energy ("Little Honda") make them special songs in their own-right. "I Get Around" was obviously also a big hit, and the bands first number one, and what an amazing song. The vocals and the energy is amazing. Songs like "Hushabye" and "Wendy" show the harmonys getting more elaborate and more experimentation goin' on from Brian's part, and both songs are incredible. "Carl's Big Chance" is the last of those early surf instrumentals, and this one sounds a lot more elaborately arranged then just 1 year ago! "We'll Run Away" is essentially an average early 60's tune on the surface (like "Surfer Girl" or "Ballad Of Ole' Betsy", both amazing songs), but again, Brian's emotional vocals and melody make this a beautiful one. Whoever says it's corny has no soul. "Girls On The Beach" is essentially a "Surfer Girl" rewrite, but the harmonys are a lot more developed and they sound very gorgeous. "Don't Back Down" is also a swell surf style song with great falsettos. People usually complain about "Our Favorite Recording Sessions", but as a Beach Boys fan, i enjoy it. I usually skip it, but i think it's a funny track detailing the guys fucking around in the studio which is the sorta thing i'd wanna hear on bootlegs anyway. I give this a high 9.

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    Yeah, the Beach Boys are starting produce these 'hit-quality' songs on a more consistent basis. There's nothing wrong with the first four songs on this record, for example (although the xylophone in All Summer Long sometimes bugs me - still, it show some diversity). I Get Around is, of course, one of the very best Beach Boys rockers - their definitive song just about. Hushabye is fucking lovely. Little Honda isn't one of my favourites but is full of energy. The remainder is possibly a bit less consistent, but I still find plenty of great stuff. Wendy is the best thing on side two, and the organ played on this and We'll Run Away add to the variety that Brian was starting to incorporate in his productions. Girls On The Beach may rewrite part of Surfer Girl, but contains such blissful harmonizing. Drive In and Do You Remember are lighthearted fun (with bells highlighting the former track), as is the novelty track Our Favourite Recording Sessions. I guess my only disappointment ! is with the closing track Don't Back Down. I find it just an average surf-rock type of song, and I actually prefer the alternate take on the 2fer edition - with some hilarious background vocals!

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    on this album Brian starts to produce more advanced and sofisticated music notable songs: Get around,All summer long,Wendy,Girls on the beach , etc... great album hard to rank therefor I prefer to don`t do that. but thoug a great album


    Beach Boys Today 9 ( 1965, UK pos 6 )
    Do You Wanna Dance / Good To My Baby / Don't Hurt My Little Sister / When I Grow Up (To Be A Man) / Help Me, Rhonda / Dance, Dance, Dance / Please Let Me Wonder / I'm So Young / Kiss Me Baby / She Knows Me Too Well / In The Back Of My Mind / Bull Session With 'Big Daddy'

    With Brian now full time in the studio having quit touring due to a nervous breakdown, he went to work on some of the best produced backing tracks The Beach Boys ever had the pleasure to sing over in their lives. 'Do You Wanna Dance' and 'Dance Dance Dance' for example, are not great songs. But they are SO WELL produced that they sound like great songs anyway! 'Good To My Baby' and 'Don't Hurt My Little Sister' are hugely underrated up-tempo Beach Boys songs and very very catchy. Although this album has secured it's real reputation due to the ballads on the second side, the first half contains some of the best Beach Boys recordings they ever did. 'When I Grow Up' was a two minute perfect pop masterpiece, the vocals improved even beyond the great singing displayed on previous Beach Boys albums. These improved vocals are especially noticeable on the second side of the album, by the way.  Kicking off with 'Please Let Me Wonder' - the bass playing echoes the sound of hearts beating. Supremely melodic, rising and rising before falling, only to rise again. The lead vocals are tender and sweet. 'I'm So Young' is a doo-wop influenced number, the echo on the instruments and the bass in particular make this more than it might have been otherwise. It really does sound otherworldly, helped of course by yet more great singing. 'Kiss Me Baby' is quite simply one of the most romantic sounding songs ever written by anyone. The vocals are again heartbreaking and the backing harmonies extremely sophisticated. It really does reward repeated listening too, in order to pick out all the beautiful musical parts underneath a supreme vocal display.

    'She Knows Me Too Well' and the Dennis sung 'In The Back Of My Mind' end the record and these songs are not so far behind the much more appreciated 'Pet Sounds' as legend would have us believe. This album pointed the way towards 'Pet Sounds' and showed The Beach Boys musical progression continuing apace. A wonderful listen all round, and recommended to those who know 'Pet Sounds' or maybe just the hits, and don't know where else to turn. Turn here. Any fears the rest of the group had that Brian's decision to quit touring would interrupt their momentum were quelled by the sheer quality of these recordings.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    10--This album is simply magnificent, and it is a clear leap beyond All Summer Long (though the latter is great as well). Every single song on Today! is absolutely first-rate. The tunes on the first half are all excellent and the wonderfully orchestrated ballads on the second half are nothing less than phenomenal. This album clearly hints at Pet Sounds in both style and consistency. The two-minute interview segment at the end does nothing to harm the quality of the album.

    Joe HJcjh20@aol.com
    Amazing stuff. One of my top 4 favorite Beach Boys albums. I especially love the ballads, which were far ahead of their time (and even some of the pop songs on side one, too, like "When I Grow Up") and shows Brian totally branching out in his arranging skills and arranging a bunch of different instruments besides just the normal rock instruments. "Kiss Me Baby" is probably my favorite overall, and i also think the "Help Me Ronda" on here is every bit as good as the single version, if not better. "In The Back Of My Mind" is also incredible, and the lyrics are some of the best Brian ever wrote. Dennis kinda struggles, but still gives an emotional vocal. I give it a high high 9. "Big Daddy" is pointless as hell, though doesn't ruin the album. I wish Brian included another song, like "Guess I'm Dumb" or something equally as great! Ohh, and also, i can't stress it enough, they need to remaster this in stereo! The mono mix sounds crappy and deserves a more advanced mixing like the version of "Kiss Me Baby" on the Endless Harmony soundtrack. A whole album of mixes like that would make this very close to Pet Sounds in showcasing Brian's brilliance.

    Glenn MITCHELL glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    Well,well i thought about my last view on the 'Sufin safari' and i say that brian is an equal singer to mike/ today is the best after sufer album i think its just so consitant so brilliant i love brian on this album very much alou the first track slightly misleads the album in somthing of witch you may think KID music but denni does a great job. Best songs : She knows me to well/When i grow up. you WERE spot on whith this album good man i would give it a (9) to as always this site is the best review site on the net but you made a mistake on surfin surfari

    george molina natalee.888@netzero.net
    the warmth of the sun is my favorite beach boys song and she knows me too well is a close second.love most of the songs on this album.not as great as pet sounds but close.9/10

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    This album I will higly reccomend for all music fans over the world . It features a lot of lovely incredible song witch you surely will love for the rest of your life then you listen to them. This album feature some of the most adwansed music Brian Wilson ever maded and also some of the most personal lyric he wrote . all the song of this album is great it isn`t a only filler song here at all all song are essensial . The only bad things about the album is the last track who is a intervju not a song that`s to bad it should be a song of the last track instead of an intervju i Think .

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    Side one contains six classic Beach Boy rockers, about half of which are regarded as 'greatest hits' (When I Grow Up, Dance Dance Dance), and half of which should be. Side two is all ballads and interviews, and the only cover on this side, I'm So Young, sounds weak in comparison to Brian's fantastic originals. There's Please Let Me Wonder, my favourite Beach Boys song (um, 2nd favourite, maybe): I absolutely adore the lead vocal on that one, particularly the "...if I've been the one you love" line. In The Back of My Mind has one of Brian's best 'orchestral' productions in my opinion (competing with most Pet Sounds tracks), and i think the song would've really suited the Dennis of 69-70, his voice just wasn't quite ready yet I guess. And hey, I like the Bull Sessions track, if only for this bit: Dennis: First show, I only made three mistakes Brian: I have not made a mistake yet, in my whole career Mike: Brian, we keep waiting for you to make a mistake!

    Hapman cabinessence@freemail.hu
    An almost perfect album. If only they had left out that dumb bull session crap! Brian wrote and recorded a song called Guess I'm Dumb sometime in late 64, a beautiful, orchestrated and very emotional track which could have been a perfect album closer. It ended up as an obscure '65 Glen Campbell single. A pity.

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    i have to agree with hapman. the inclusion of "guess i'm dumb" would have brought this album to within a hairs breath of artistic perfection. as things stand however, it's STILL a true classic. 9/10.

    Matt Newham s4094332@student.uq.edu.au
    This album rates as the band's best with the exception of Pet Sounds. Brian's brilliant sense of musical perception is showcased here on an album that combines intelligent music with fun. The album, in my opinion, contains no filler, and every song is worth at least a couple of listens. The best song - "When I Grow Up (to be a Man)" is one of the songs that is closest to Pet Sounds, with great harmonies and magnificent orchestration (in particular the harpsichord). The worst songs - "Bull Session with 'Big Daddy'" is entirely unnecessary, but not detrimental, and "Help Me Ronda" (note the spelling difference to the single version Adrian) is still a good song, but vastly inferior to its successor. Capitol has paired this album with "Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!)" - of the entire two-fer catalogue, this is the best album to get. It also contains some great outtakes from the sessions.

    GAZZA garyhess44@hotmail.com
    side 2 is just glorious, and ssssh i love that sequence more than "pet sounds" It conjures up images of american teenagers at high school snogging in cars and falling in and out of love . The emotional immaturity which blighted a lot of pet sounds for me is a bit more charming here . By 65 the world was changing radically , the beach boys were still dreaming about america in the 50s. Here its kinda touching , a longing for that endless paradise that must have been california through the eyes of its young . The settings are orchestral in places doo wop in others like a blueprint for the more famous record that followed . Side a is crackin too "help me rhonda " and "do you wanna dance" always make me smile , no matter how low i feel . Sometimes we all need a little of the beach boys euphoric melancholy in our lives .


    Summer Days Summer Nights 8 ( 1965, UK pos 4 )
    The Girl From New York City / Amusement Parks U.S.A / Then I Kissed Her / Salt Lake City / Girl Don't Tell Me / Help Me, Rhonda / California Girls / Let Him Run Wild / You're So Good To Me / Summer Means New Love / I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man / And Your Dreams Come True

    Here we have a rather mixed album containing moments that are a throwback in terms of subject matter to The Beach Boys earlier material and a few other numbers that continue to point the way towards 'Pet Sounds' and 'Good Vibrations'. Opening the set is  'Amusement Parks U.S.A.' which production detail aside, echoes 'Country Fair' from way back when in terms of concept, if not melodically. 'The Girl From New York City' sounds great, but it's very short and doesn't amount to a whole great deal. 'Then I Kissed Her' performed by Al is a Phil Spector cover - great little percussive effects sprinkled over this but it's not an all time Beach Boys moment. At this point you are wondering if you should bother at all listening to the rest of the album. Thankfully, it gets better. 'Salt Lake City' is dubious lyrically but musically is simply a brilliant Rock n Roll song. The production is out of this world, a huge wall of noise in the middle section managing to outshine a Spector. 'Girl Don't Tell Me', Carl's first ever vocal on a Beach Boys record unbelievably,  is structured in a similar way to The Beatles 'Ticket To Ride'. It may not be original, but it's a very good song still and Carl certainly doesn't let himself down with his first ever lead.  Another British sounding song is 'You're So Good To Me', a straight 4-4 beat which was unusual for a Beach Boys record of the time. What makes it for me is the 'la la la' vocal parts, so uplifting and happy sounding! 'California Girls' may annoy some people for it's lyrical content but musically it's simply stupendous, pure gold. The orchestral introduction really is beautiful. 'Help Me Rhonda' is immeasurably improved over it's 'Today' version, this is the performance that went to number one - shorter, louder, catchier, and harder hitting.  Great 'bow bow bow' vocals! As a song, it goes round and round, that's all it does. The production and vocals make it what it is, unbelievable production and vocals. Brian was growing and growing in the studio. 'Let Him Run Wild' is further evidence of this growth. It sounds very 'Pet Sounds' to me which is a good thing, obviously! Brian's falsetto part is unbelievably high.

    The record closes in disappointing fashion unfortunately preventing this collection from reaching the heights of the 'Today' album. 'Summer Means New Love' is a semi-interesting instrumental, little more. It does show signs of Brian's continuing studio experimentation, but ultimately isn't substantial enough.  'And Your Dreams Come True' is a vocal workout, with 'I'm Bugged At My Ol Man' being embarrassing listening with lyrics far too close to Brian's home life. Brian's relationship with his father Murry is 'explained' by the lyrics but i'm not sure we should really be hearing this. Can't even begin to imagine what Murry thought of it all! Still, 'Summer Days And Summer Nights' despite its unfortunate title, is certainly a good album overall. The middle section of the record is simply so very good, it drags the rest up a notch or two. Another quality Beach Boys album and another hit record!

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    8--This album is something of a disappointment when compared to Today! With this album, Brian Wilson had a more relaxed feel of his orchestrated music (which was an important step) but, on the whole, the material here is noticeably weaker than Today! Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) suffers from a relatively weak first half, with such brainless tunes as "Amusement Parks U.S.A." and "Salt Lake City," though both songs have fine music. "Girl Don't Tell Me" is pretty good, but the sound comes a little too close to the Beatles. The covers are fine, and the "Help Me Rhonda" version here is more perfected than the Today! version (though I prefer the Today! version because it has more momentum). The second half picks up considerably, with the classic "California Girls," the brilliant tune "Let Him Run Wild," and the fantastic instrumental "Summer Means New Love." "I'm Bugged at My Old Man" was dangerously dark humor for its time, but the laughs manage to come through.

    Joe HJcjh20@aol.com
    About an 8 and a half. Not as good as Today because of stuff like "Girl From NYC", "Then I Kissed Her", which are inferior to anything on aforementioned album. The rest are great though! Some stuff may be a step backward, like "Amusement Parks USA", "Salt Lake City", and "You're So Good To Me", but all the songs definately have improved arrangements, and are all catchy and fun as hell anyway! There's also "I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man" which is just hilarious. Sounds a lot like the Smiley Smile stuff, weirdly enough. Oh and "Girl Don't Tell Me", which could of easily been on Help!. Carl does a great lead too. "California Girls" and "Summer Means New Love" are mostly the masterpieces on here, with incredibly lush, beautiful production and arrangements. I'd kill for a stereo remix of the latter, as it is pure Pet Sounds quality to me, and a little similar to the brilliant instrumentals on that album. "Let Him Run Wild" comes close, the single version of "Help Me Rhonda" is nice and "And Your Dream Comes True" is more acapella beauty. Good album! No complaints here!

    george molina natalee.888@netzero.net
    let him run wild and girl don't tell me are two of the greatest beach boys songs ever.not as good as today but close.8/10

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    this album isn`t that good as the today album . this album dosen`t have the same soul as today really the music isn`t that advansed mostly the music . the music on this album consist of a lot of great songs it today wasn`t relased before this album I would had consider this album to be the best of beach boys ever but today had come before and then I would say that this album dosn`t surpass today. but otherwise this album is exelent really almost every track is essensial and music here is very warm and lovenly . you wouldnt get disappointed if you give this record a try

    Georgi george@geoffreytew.co.uk
    This album, for me is when Brian's songwriting really started to blow me away. 'Let him run wild' is certainly in my top 3 Beach Boys songs ever. I admit the first half of Summer Days LP is a tad weak, but the flipside seems to play like a greatest hits album! I still love 'Help me Rhonda', and 'California Girls' is still timeless. 'You're so good to me' sounds as fresh as the day i first heard it. I love the vocal sound Brian gets on that track, it's so dreamy. 'Girl don't tell me' does seem to be similary structured to 'Ticket to Ride', but it's still an awesome track. The Summer Days album is when Brian really started to seriosly compete with The Beatles. If anyone has got this on CD they'll know that 'The little Girl i once knew' is on there as a bonus track. Another timeless track.

    Matt Newham s4094332@student.uq.edu.au
    This album is definitely not Today, but is still strong musically. In his liner notes on the Today/Summer Days two-fer, David Leaf says that Brian deigned to produce an album more likely to churn out popular hits - a successful plan, but one which the music world can be glad that he ultimately abandoned. Brian and the boys' genius shows through again with songs like "Help Me Rhonda" (with thanks to Al Jardine for having the improved single on an album) and "California Girls" - a popular song with a very classical opening. The best song - "Help Me Rhonda can't be beaten. The worst song - I really don't like "Amusement Parks USA" - it makes me think of "County Fair" (NOT Country Fair, Adrian), but with the spoken parts replaced with something that sounds more at home in the Rocky Horror Picture Show (which, as an aside, I don't like either). At the end of the day, a great album, although not scaling the heights of either Today or Pet Sounds. Find the two-fer release - it! is a brilliant buy.

    GAZZA garyhess44@hotmail.com
    After the hints at maturity and growth on today its a bit dissapointing that its follow up reverts to a more conservative approach , i expect commercial reasons were to blame . I mean no record with the single version of "help me rhonda" and "california girls" can be bad and "summer means new love" and "then i kissed her " show off brians skills as a producer but only "let him run wild" is strong enough to have featured on todays glorious 2nd side or pet sounds for that matter . The rest is eminently forgettable , a couple of beatle apeing tracks which are listenable but shamefaced in their mimicry - and "amusement parks usa ??? How old were these guys ? The beatles and dylan were the same age but were finding new ways to write about love in a modern, original style not banging on about amusement parks . And "im bugged at my old man" is just plain embarrassing . It gets 5.5 from me and comparing it to rubber soul for example shows you how much work brian had to singleh! andedly with pet sounds to get the beach boys even close to the beatles ..

    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Forever in the shadow of "Today", and that's obviously where this album loses out. But it shouldn't been seen a huge setback, after all, if you can somehow get rid of the fucking dreadful "Amusement Parks U.S.A." (What was Brian thinking, or was he even thinking at all...?!), this one can be judged as as good lead in to "Pet Sounds". Definitely inferior to "Today", but only slightly. 8/10.

    Jude Bolton Australia
    I can't read a Beach Boys biography without developing an immense hatred of Michael Love. I may be wrong, but this smacks of the first of ten zillions that he told Brian to not fuck with the formula, and Brian followed him. How old were the Beach Boys when they wrote Amusement Parks USA? About fifteen years younger than when they, I mean Mike, wrote Skatetown USA, an unreleased song from who-cares-when! I haven't said so yet, but I really, really do like this album.


    Beach Boys Party 7 ( 1965, UK pos 3 )
    Hully Gully / I Should Have Known Better / Tell Me Why / Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow / Mountain Of Love / You've Got To Hide Your Love Away / Devoted To You / Alley Oop / There's No Other (Like My Baby) / I Get Around/Little Deuce Coup / The Times They Are A-Changin' / Barbara Ann

    The record company as usual, wanted a new Beach Boys album. Brian was unwilling to produce another album, all his attentions were turned towards the writing process of the 'Pet Sounds' album. A solution was to fake a real Beach Boys 'party' and record the results. The music is semi-acoustic in nature and unlike anything else they ever did. That doesn't mean it's always good, byt you know.... The songs are all covers apart from their own 'I Get Around' and 'Little Deuce Coupe', both recorded in very throwaway fashion, basically torn apart amid laughter and bad playing. It certainly shows they didn't hold their own material as sacred, I suppose. After the energetic 'Hully Gully' has opened proceedings we have a couple of Beatles songs. 'I Should Have Known Better' is always a good song and the bongos are especially charming on this version of it. Pretty straight versions actually, and strangely effective. Of course, it's all acoustic guitars and strummed bass and yet more bongos! 'Tell Me Why' replicates The Beatles harmonies rather than insert Beach Boys styles over the top, 'Pap-Oom-Mow-Mow' allows for some ridiculous vocals and Beach Boys 'di di dit' parts. 'Mountain Of Love' sports effective harmonica and there is good harmonies and singing all over 'Devoted To You' and the Phil Spector song 'There's No Other...'

    'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away', another Beatles song is a highlight here with a tender and effective Dennis lead vocal. Shouted out 'Hey' parts, which bring a smile to my face. I wonder what The Beatles made of it all? The album continues much in the same acoustic guitar / bass / bongo fashion throughout. The sound of laughter etc in the background is less intrusive that you might think, although this record is obviously no work of high pop-art. Funnily enough, it is a good listen all the same. It has it's own peculiar character and charm. American audiences especially loved this album, it coincided with the wide-spread arrival of home-taping and sounded very real and lacking in pretence. It was very easy to imagine it really was recorded at Mike Love's house and a real Beach Boys party! The illusion was perfect. The version of Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are A Changin' performed by Folk fan Al Jardine shows just how unafraid they were of tackling any kind of song. 

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    the performances of al and dennis, are the only bona fide highlights. it's reasonable i suppose, but certainly not essential. 6.5/10.

    brian, coatbridge,scotland michelle236@btinternet.com
    as an off the cuff album this is inspired. More groups should follow the beach boys lead and record in this informal (sounding) manner

    Glenn Aylett Whitehaven England
    Not bad, but it featured Barbara Ann, which was the Beach Boys first UK top five hit, and really led to their invasion of our pop charts. However, I wouldn't rate Party as a great album in the way Pet Sounds and Smile was as it was filler.


    Pet Sounds 10 ( 1966, UK pos 2 ) more best albums...
    Wouldn't It Be Nice / You Still Believe In Me / That's Not Me / Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) / I'm Waiting For The Day / Let's Go Away For Awhile / Sloop John B / God Only Knows / I Know There's An Answer / Here Today / I Just Wasn't Made For These Times / Pet Sounds / Caroline No

    This is a record that embraces adult themes of love and spirit. It embraces you the listener – inviting you into its world of love, beating hearts, lost relationships and resting a head upon the shoulder of a loved one. Its an album with impeccable state of the art production. Well, by twenty first century standards the production is no longer state of the art, but given the studios in which Brian, Mike, Al, Carl, Bruce and Dennis worked with – this is the state of the art, unsurpassed even today. Brian didn’t use studio trickery in so much as he simply knew how to use the studio. He knew where to place a microphone and which microphone to use. Well, all good record engineers do know these things of course. Brian wasn’t unusual in that respect. What was unusual is how all of his choices were just ‘right’. And, bear in mind, Brian wasn’t really a producer or an engineer. He’d not taken any college courses in sound re-production or record production. Everything was learnt cutting those simple early Beach Boys records, watching trusted lieutenant Chuck Britz in the control room and beating off the overbearing advances and attempted domineering of his father.

    I should talk about the actual record.... I’ll get round to it in a second. The impact of ‘Pet Sounds’ deserves some discussion first. Upon release, people within the music industry – the actual musicians, producers etc recognized Brian had put his heart and soul into ‘Pet Sounds’ and that it was indeed something special. They fell in love with the record and people such as Glen Campbell, producer Terry Melcher even John Cale of The Velvet Underground are responsible partly for ‘Pet Sounds’ never being forgotten. The fans of ‘Pet Sounds’ spread the word, spread the message. Capitol Records famously were lukewarm about the whole thing and quickly released the first of many greatest hits packages and generally treated ‘Pet Sounds’ without any respect whatsoever. Hence it ‘only’ charted top ten in the US, ‘only’ spawned two top ten singles – although it was a huge hit in England where Brian and The Beach Boys still have a very loyal and loving fan-base right through to today.

    Personally, I’ve had troubled relationships ( haven’t we all? ), I’ve had doubts about religion and also periods of discovery concerning spirit and religion. This isn’t a religious record as such but Brian and Carl reputedly held prayer sessions concerning the success of the album and one song, 'God Only Knows' in particular. Before all of that however we have 'Wouldn’t It Be Nice'. Two and a half minutes in length, the lyrics written by advertising man Tony Asher and directed by Brian are a step away from previous Beach Boys material. Basically ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ if we were older, if we were in love, if we were married. It’s a fantasy and the fantasy is supported by those wonderful Beach Boys harmonies of course. Musically the most notable aspect of the song is the section where it slows down, the track is stripped back and the singing just soars upwards to the heavens. After that, the song pretty much just ends. It hardly matters as you are still awestruck by what’s just happened. Everything in the right place – an up-tempo, impossibly sophisticated pop song. The next three songs are something of a sandwich. We have 'That’s Not Me' a simple song on the face of it that is transformed purely by the playing and production, the sound of the bass guitar like a heart beat. Together with the drums it’s a sound used especially well on 'Don’t Talk…' Its actually used to follow a particular lyric and reinforces the idea of ‘Pet Sounds’ as a loving emotional album able to present the emotion of love out to the listener, rather than just stories and songs about love. 'You Still Believe In Me' was reworked from an earlier song called 'In My Childhood'. Its all double lead vocals from Brian ( on the mono version of the album at least ) and he showcases his heartbreaking falsetto very well.

    You may be thinking at this point, ‘this Pet Sounds’ doesn’t sound very, um, Rock n Roll!’. You’d be right. This is hardly Rock and Roll, this isn’t early Beach Boys influence Chuck Berry. Brian’s Idol Phil Spector, now, you can hear his influence. The same musicians that Phil recorded with were used during the ‘Pet Sounds’ sessions after all. The nearest we do get to rock music as such is 'I’m Waiting For The Day' and 'Sloop John B'. Sloop features exciting piano, rock rhythms and impossibly simple sounding yet complicated melodies that send me giddy. 'I’m Waiting For The Day' again is a fairly simply song, but simple isn’t bad. Its only actually simple in sound. The melody and chord changes, the production and mixing are far from simple. Every effort was made to get the right sounds, Brian’s ‘Pet Sounds’ – hence the albums title.

    'God Only Knows' is of course one of the most beautiful records ever made. Oh, but of course! Well, I say that myself and I believe that myself. Many other people believe it to be true and Brian has been playing the entire ‘Pet Sounds’ album during recent solo concerts. 'God Only Knows' was sung by Carl, chosen by Brian after he rejected himself for the lead and deciding something wasn’t quite perfect. Remarkably, it was only brother Carls second ever lead on a Beach Boys record. He’d provide many important and great lead vocals the years after 1966, but never really would match that first ( well, second ) love of his 'God Only Knows' vocal work. 'I Know There’s An Answer' has lyrics that were re-written by Mike after he expressed doubts concerning Brian’s original ‘Ego’ lyrics. The importance of the musical tracks on ‘Pet Sounds’ – the fact that they turn a great record into a masterpiece genius record is emphasised by 'I Know There’s An Answer'. The new lyrics are slightly clumsy, slightly corny. Fortunately the musical backing is one of the most exotic on the entire record, full of strange noises and held together by wonderfully melodic bass-playing.

    I’m going to finish this review now. I haven’t even mentioned 'I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times', the two instrumentals and the beautiful solo Brian 'Caroline No'. The instrumentals provide variety. The title track is ridiculously joyously silly and really should raise a smile – 'Let’s Go Away For Awhile' matches its title in its musical description of places to achieve a state of joy and relaxation. 'Caroline No' fades out with the sounds of a train going past behind dogs barking. Pet Sounds, indeed. We are all fortunate Brian shared these sounds with us all. One of the greatest albums ever made, as simple as that. No, it’s not rock and roll….not really. It renders categorization difficult, actually. Just forget everything I’ve said. As the song goes, ‘listen, listen, listen….’

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Joe HJcjh20@aol.com
    Well, of course its a 10! It's absolutely one of my favorite albums of all time. Strikingly beautiful melodys, beautiful vocals, beautiful orchestration, beautiful everything! Brian described it as an album that makes the listener feel loved, and as an album describing emotions and he really succeeded. He always wanted to compete with The Beatles in making the first sophisticated production of an album and he really succeeded with that too. Nothin' the Beatles have made yet was as sophisticated as this!! They'd do that next year with Sgt. Pepper. All i have to say is, if you dont have this get this now! Or at least download or find 'God Only Knows', 'Sloop John B' or 'Wouldnt It Be Nice' from somewhere.

    Alan Brooks albrookscentury21@yahoo.com
    Yes, a 10 for sure. This is the kind of disc that grows on you. Pop, but with touches of more subtlety than one might imagine-- especially for a so-called 'Surfing' group!

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    10-- Pet Sounds is simply amazing. Brilliant from beginning to end. Every track is an absolute masterpiece. This is the most important album ever made because it turned popular music into a real art form, and did so with artistic and technical mastery. Also get the Pet Sounds Sessions because it allows you to more clearly hear every beautiful note of this album.

    Jerome jewuda@gmx.de
    This is my favourite album of all times. I love every song from this record, even the instrumentals. First I liked it, but didn't love it. But it grows with every listen. The lyrics are really great. The line "sometimes I feel very sad" touches my heart every time. "Caroline, No" is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. But "You still believe in me" is full of hope and love. This album makes me happy, sad, laugh and cry. And all at the same time, if someone knows what I mean

    greg gorlen greg@jarofflies.com
    Adrian, amazing site you have there. I'm working on some reviews of my own i might submit. anyway, here's my comment in regards to "pet sounds": How can you rate a masterpiece album like Pet Sounds a mere 1.5 points higher than Korn albums?!?! Either Korn should be 1, or Pet Sounds should be 20.

    Robert Smith RustWillNeverSleep@webtv.net
    10-This is an incredibly moving album. Without a doubt, this is the most brilliant creation ever bestowed upon popular music. "God Only Knows" is the perfect pop song. Brian Wilson was a master at crafting pop symphonies. He was a very misunderstood genius, having to put up with band members who just couldn't grasp what we was trying to do. Every song on here is a classic, and even though the mood is very similar throughout, the only exception being the out of place but still terrific "Sloop John B.", it adds cohesion to what is essentially pop music's biggest, brightest, most beautiful creation.

    Els Heldens cijs.heldens@wanadoo.nl
    Sure this album is a 10, in my opinion it's the best album ever made! I bought it 5 times on vinyl, that's how much I played the album between '66 and '86.

    aleksander aleksnander1983@hotmail.com
    hello this album is just gorgous . I cosider it to be one of the greatest album of all time . It features more dame gorgous songs than you can imagine . The songs on this album is so complex and so sofisticated that you can`t imagine if you haven` listend. Brian use a symphony orchester on this album and it that makes the songs more joyable than ever since. notable songs on this album I can`t just pick out notable songs on this album it is to many I have just one peace of advise go an get this album so quick as you can.

    Kake kmisra77@hotmail.com
    Well, gimme a lot of flak for this, but this is one boring album(seriously, have dropped off to sleep a couple of times while listening to it). I really don't get the beauty of Don't Talk (put your hand on my shoulder or Caroline No. They seriously seem to be attempting to be melodic rather then making a buzz up there. The one really good melody, though, is there on Sloop John B. Of course, even then, its no Penny Lane or Wild Horses, but enjoyable still. i'd give it a high 6, but nothing more. I know VH1 rated this top 3 of the greatest albums of the XXth century, but I just don't get it. Sorry!!

    matt byrd matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
    Wow, Pet Sounds is excellent. I find it hard for me to put any album above it. Excellent, one of the top three albums of all time. Born To Run, Blonde On Blonde, Pet Sounds, these three albums have layers upon layers of excellence!

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    "i just don't get it" mmm.... sounds like john heard taking the piss out of tom hanks in "big". the first time i heard this album i was so completely underwhelmed, i almost cried, a few weeks later, i was crying from the adrenalin high. the title track is the kind of piece reserved for the ressurection of a big screen hero, we all thought had been eliminated. i actually visualise colonel steve austin in one of his rare moments of running at high speed, without being stifled by the ubiquitous slow motion film (i think it only happened in 4 episodes, correct me if i'm wrong.....) except lee majors face is replaced by mine....! a review of "pet sounds"and i'm deviating with "the six million dollar man" nevermind. the 2 instumentals are what really stand out, and "that's not me" is mike love at his best.on hearing this, i actually want to hug him. that's how good it is. stands alongside "blood on the tracks" and "revolver" as the all time greatest album.

    Paul Wilde _Picnic@yahoo.com
    Nothing The Beatles did comes close to the beauty of this album - as for Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles copied Brian Wilson's ideas (including probably those from 'Smile', which was incomplete at the time). Sergeant Pepper isn't even a proper concept album- The Beatles admitted most of the ongs on it could have been put on other albums instead. Pepper didn't match Rubber Soul, Revolver or Abbey Road.

    Matt Newham s4094332@student.uq.edu.au
    Calling this album the greatest rock/pop album of all time is a BIG call, but it is certainly one of the best, ranking with names like Revolver, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Dark Side of the Moon and (in terms of musical influence) The Velvet Underground and Nico. The reasons are many. Firstly, Brian Wilson's arrangements. Their are few other songs, let alone entire albums, with the beauty, emotion, and general musical feeling generated by Pet Sounds. Secondly, the lyrics - Mike Love's influence is not as strong on this album, so there is less emphasis on hit-making description and more on emotion-communicating imagery. My suggestion to everyone is - for those of you who have both money and an interest in the details of music, find The Pet Sounds Sessions, which contains far more material concerning the making of the album. For those of you who would just like the album (and I don't criticise you for that - a lot of tracks on the box set would be seen! as needless excess) make sure you find the version containing the original album in mono and stereo, as well as the bonus track, "Hang On to Your Ego" - "I Know There's an Answer" as intended without Mike Love's altered lyrics. It also has brilliant liner notes supplied by David Leaf. (There are still copies of just the mono album with reduced liner notes available - this is just Capitol flogging off remaining product - DON'T SETTLE FOR LESS THAN THE ALBUM IN MONO AND STEREO.) A final note - I always comment about the Beach Boys two-fer series from Capitol - Pet Sounds was not released as a two-fer, but instead as the mono/stereo release. All the other major albums up to Keepin' the Summer Alive/The Beach Boys(except for Ultimate Christmas and Endless Harmony) are now available as two-fers.

    Dale J bobafunk@comcast.net
    I think if Mozart had somehow been able to make a pop album in th twentieth century, it would have sounded something like Pet Sounds. Pure genius. Pure masterpiece. I dont think Brian Wilson gave a damn if he ever made a nickel off Pet Sounds. He just had to get the sounds out of his head.

    Gazza
    the beach boys surfing a spectoresque wave of emotion on this timeless record . It requires suspension of belief a little , putting aside all your adult cynicisms about love because this record is the soundtrack to those awkward moments of growing up and changing and feelings being developed and thwarted . I could live without "sloop john b" but its better than its equivalent "yellow submarine" - but it still doesnt belong here all the same . best tracks "lets go away for a while" "dont talk" "caroline no" and the still perfect "god only knows".

    Chris chris@wintertijd.org
    It has always amazed me, these "Favourite" and "utterly best" albums of all time. Granted, sometimes there's a point like with Van's Astral Weeks or Radiohead's OK Computer and even Sly Stone's There's a Riot going on. Even if the music and or production values are sometimes not my cup of tea, I will understand and like the album well enough to rate it highly, a good example of which is "Riot". I tend to think people like Johnny Guitar Watson, Parliament and Brown have made significantly better funk, it still works well enough to get a 7.5 from me. Now the quintessential exception to this is "Pet Sounds". I bought the record for 99 Swedish Kronor in the record shop "Pet Sounds" on Södermalm because they were making such a bloody fuss about the thing that I had to hear it. I took it home, listened to it and couldn't believe my ears. I then took it to the car, listened to it, and had to think of a Steely Dan quote: "I decline To walk the! line They tell me that I'm lazy Worldly wise I realize That everybody's crazy" To cut a long story short: I abhor the album. It's just not fit for human consumption. The production is god-awful, the tunes are cliches at best and the singing is wretched. I literally paid a buddy of mine to get it out of my record collection (I gave 'm the record and two pints for consolation). So the record store "Pet Sounds" lost me as a customer, because anyone foolish enough to name their record store after such an album shouldn't be kept in business in my world. You may think I write too harshly, but given all the hype surrounding this album, at least someone has to get the opportunity to voice an alternative opinion.


    Smiley Smile ( 1967, UK pos 9 )
    Heroes And Villains / Vegetables / Fall Breaks And Back To Winter (Woody Woodpecker Symphony) / She's Goin' Bald / Little Pad / Good Vibrations / With Me Tonight / Wind Chimes / Gettin' Hungry / Wonderful / Whistle In

    The album that replaced 'Smile'. 'Smile' was to have been an impossibly brilliant triumph, the album that would have been the perfect pop/rock album and also the record that would have ended the career of the likes of The Beatles. Of course, it was never completed or released. The reasons are numerous and too complex to go into in the space of this review. Much of it was probably hype but now we'll never know in any case. 'Heroes And Villains' opens things, and even in this imperfect form is still very very special. The lyrics are fast paced, beautiful and meaningless fun. 'Vegetables' is a little silly thing but does contain wonderful vocal parts. 'She's Goin Bald' is just downright stupid. At this point you are probably wondering what the hell is going on. Perseverance reaps it's own rewards. 'Little Pad' features possibly the most beautiful harmonic humming you are ever likely to hear. 'Good Vibrations' is, well, it's 'Good Vibrations'! Little needs to be said about this particular perfect masterpiece that hasn't already been said. 'With Me Tonight' is the best of the songs not originally scheduled to appear on 'Smile'. It sounds like it was recorded in a church and Carl sings so well it will make you shiver and cry. That's a promise, by the way. 'Wind Chimes' is a spooky different version of a 'Smile' song, 'Gettin' Hungry' a bit too simplistic -  very raw production wise. In fact, it's a bit out of place here altogether. 'Wonderful' is a superb heartbreaking ballad and 'Whistle In' a short little coda to what's gone before.

    'Smiley Smile' is in-fact a highly regarded and influential album in it's own right. Some of the vocal parts sound truly otherworldly and are unlikely to ever be surpassed. This otherworldliness may in part be due to all the strange things the guys were smoking at the time, but still! No, this isn't 'Smile', but we should be thankful the group continued and gave us music as good as this to remember them by.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Joe HJcjh20@aol.com
    I love it, as some songs are beautiful despite their weirdness. 'Good Vibrations' and 'Heroes And Villians' of course, are classics!! A whole album with these 2 songs would certainly be better then Pet Sounds, i think. What an amazing song 'Good Vibrations' is especially. I also really like 'Wind Chimes', 'Vegetables', 'Little Pad' (i agree, some verrrrry beautiful humming in this, but the intro kinda turns you off a bit), and especially 'Wonderful'. Definately a disappointment after Pet Sounds, and it makes you so sad to hear these Smile song versions on here and the Smile outtakes and it just blows your mind how good Smile could of been! Brian could of put some more Smile outtakes on here, especially 'Cabinessence' and 'Surfs Up'! Those are wonderful songs!! I guess at least they released em at all later on, though.

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    8-- This is a rather strange album, and it is not the masterpiece that the original Smile was intended to be, but these quickly recorded fragments of Smile hint at the insane, musically-brilliant waltzes that Brian Wilson almost fully achieved. Most of the lyrics here are fairly lightweight, but the sounds are amazing and out of this world.

    Glenn MITCHELL glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    I’m sorry I really slaughtered this album in the ‘surfin safari’ comment but I was in a funny mood the other day and guess what by funny I mean weird so I stuck on smiley smile and my word it really fit my mood and I loved it except for the poo tech instrumental song that drags but apparently most of the songs were put together from scraps of ‘smile’ that’s what I read or herd but ‘she’s gone bald’ is great and the ‘getting hungry ‘ is one of the best on this album as is the beautiful wind chimes yeh this album is an 8 ½ maybe pushing nine.

    Ralph Creamer ralphcreamer@yahoo.com
    You've got a great site! I love your reviews! I just wanted to add that H&V is one of my all-time favorite songs; it's absolutely brillaint. I think the lyrics hint at where Brian was at the time, but I can see where one might think their meaningless fun...... I love Smiley Smile, too!

    David Coram david@glassathome.com
    Now we've finally got SMiLE, you'll find that when you've exhausted it and yourself you can put this on and it'll push a 9 or 10. It's a totally different beast when approached downwards from The Big One rather than upwards from your expectations of the next thing after Pet Sounds. It's totally charming, relaxed and the ultimate music for Brian to chill to. Buy one today. Take my car.

    james c voxpop2020@hotmail.com
    this is Brians masterpiece,the sessions that exist show him in total control unlike the acid burn out myths that have developed over time,here brian took the best of SMILE and recreated it in totally unique style,ignoring accepted pop traditions and moving further from commercialism than even Zappa at the time,Brian ripped up the canvass and moved into a new,freer realm of expressionistic art,gone were the 12 bar tightly compacted classics and in their stead lay the musical equivalants of Beowolf,this wasn't a step forward it was a totally new language,punctuated with chants,breaths and laughter,Tune X became Little Pad,Do you like worms became whistle in,he gives speeches became shes going bald whilst mrs o learys cow became fall breaks[which incorporated the horn line from Surfs Up,]wonderful/wind chimes/with me tonight/vegetables were radically different to their original versions and in most cases vast improvements in the pushing the envelope dept,the mid 8 of wonderful ! is actually the bycicle rider theme played on piano with a few of the mama and vega-table chants looped erratically over the top,[granted bowlderised and re cut]the only original track[in terms of newness] was gettin hungry but even that was a fantastic guide to the homestead style faux r'n'b of Wild Honey which followed in weeks,the album is a shining example of the bb's vocal prowess and the genius of brian wilson, the fact that a true visionary created this milestone of 20th century art is plain to see,only a genius could have created something as avant garde as Wind Chimes ,whereas the Smile version was a light,airy pop tune the Smiley Smile version has no foundation anywhere,it truly remains Brians first revolutionary idea,Good Vibes may have been modular but Wind Chimes is just unique,Pete Townsend based Scoop on these masters,L Buckingham bemoaned the lack of Smiley Smile style compositions on subsequent BB lps,Morrison[george]loved it and loved the humour found there! in,remove yourself from the overblown myths of Smile and liste! n to thi s album again,the rewards are subtle but far more deep rooted than anything else in brians catalogue,my desert island discs? well i guess so sports fans...

    Me bongo_bongo@centrum.cz
    6 - This album is very strange, full of not completed fragments. I don´t think it´s brilliant like Pet Sounds or Smile. But it´s only my opinion. My favourite tracks: Heroes and Villains, Vegetables and Good Vibrations.

    Hapman cabinessence@freemail.hu
    Phew. What a great album. And what an underrated album amongst the BBs fans. True, the weirdest of all their albums, but it's a beautiful weirdness. I listen to this LP more often than Pet Sounds or Surf's Up or Today or any other classic Beach Boys records, cos it's so different from anything, ever. You know, it's the summer of love, huge symphonic concept albums etc, then a bunch of stoned young men record an album with not much more instruments than an old Baldwin organ. Every true BBs fan should get the Alternate Smiley Smile bootleg (from the Usurpassed Masters series) and listen to the instrumental tracks. Man, they sound like frickin' Fennesz! So, it's the same old case again - Brian was just about 30 years ahead of his time. An astonishing record, much better than the finished SMiLE 04, a more modest and attractive album. 10 out of 10, definitely.

    Claude Junk claude.junk@gmx.de
    The first real concept-lofi album of a major pop-group ever. AND - this is real Brian Wilson songwriting-genius. No Phil Spector-Hang-Ups anymore. No Big Wrecking-Crew production for its own sake. Just pure beauty, pure harmonies, pure melodies - pure Brian and his vocal companions. The brief and unpretentious tag on the (SmileySmlie)-Windchimes unveils more genius than the complete 6-months fortune-costing "H+V"-opera produduction !

    Matt Newham s4094332@student.uq.edu.au
    This album is unlike anything that the band had done prior, and was the first step in the sad deterioration of Brian Wilson (note the footnote - Produced by The Beach Boys). People will forever be looking into this album to find missing pieces of the original Smile project, but here are the facts (taken from David Leaf's liner notes of the Smiley Smile/Wild Honey two-fer): Firstly, the only part of the album originally intended for Smile is the fade out (the last "I know that you'll feel better") at the end of "VegeTables". Secondly, the songs "Heroes and Villians", "VegeTables", "Wonderful", "Wind Chimes" and "Good Vibrations" were all intended for Smile, but none of the songs on Smiley Smile (with the possible exception of "Good Vibrations") was recorded with the intention of being on Smile - in fact, "Good Vibrations" was the only song NOT re-recorded following Brian's ditching of the Smile project. Finally, "Fall Breaks and Back to Winter" does draw parallels to "Mrs ! O'Leary's Cow" (the "Fire" theme) from the Smile project - you can hear it on Brian Wilson's solo production of Smile. For a more detailed description of the Smile and Smiley Smile fiasco (at least from a commercial point of view), find the Smiley Smile/Wild Honey two-fer - it does not have the best material album wise (that honour goes to Today/Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!), but it does have the best bonus tracks in the catalogue, including Tony Asher's original lyrics from "Good Vibrations" (which were changed by Mike Love). My personal opinion is that it is a good album, but will always be seen in the shadow of Pet Sounds and Smile - it will also be seen as the first step through the desert for both Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys; the former would take decades to recover, the latter never would.

    Gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    Well first off it aint "smile" thats for sure ,Its really frustrating that their isnt a beach boys version of it out their (although some of the bootlegs are great) Carl wilson indeed attempted to compile a proper "smile" album at one point . I also find it annoying that "cool cool water" "cabinnessence" "surfs up" are all scattered across other releases too . However Its nice to hear "wind chimes" "wonderful" "heroes and villains" " "vegetables" etc here but its such a dissapointment compared to the compiled bootlegs which show the scale of wilsons work and put things in proper context ,maybe also backing up his decision to shelf it .(as even those bootlegs great as they are outline that Sgt Pepper would have blown it out the water) Fortunately "wild honey" is on my cd version of this which makes it more palatable . - indeed its the better album ! 6/10

    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Really nice cover art.... That aside though, I don't find it too difficult to become cold hearted when having to listen to "Smiley Smile". What can be said that hasn't been said a zillion times before in relation to what "could have been"...? Yeah, it's a charming and pretty harmless outing when analysed on its own, minus the "S****" rhetoric, so I'll give it a polite 7/10.

    Jude Bolton Australia
    Re: Heroes & Villians. According to some reviewers, the Smiley Smile version is overly simplified and dumbed down from the original Smile version. According to Al Jardine it is a "pale facsmile...purposely underproduced (by Brian)". I've never understood the ambivalence because as it appears here, Heroes & Villians is definitely one of my favourite ten Beach Boys song, at least the equal of the unambigiously perfect Good Vibrations. The entire Smiley Smile album is still quite an enjoyable experience for me. I'll admit that the "what a blow" section of She's Going Bald actually does "blow", and that the re-recorded versions of Wonderful and Wind Chimes ARE vastly inferior to the Smile originals. But that's where the complaints end. Fall Breaks & Back To Winter is haunting, Vegetables is a lot of fun as it appears here, the "He Gives Speeches"-derived part of She's Going Bald is lovely, and Getting Hungry is a very tasty rocker. Don't also overlook the B-side You're ! Welcome, which rounds a very interesting period of immediately-post-Smile recording for America's Band.


    Wild Honey ( 1967, UK pos 7 )
    Wild Honey / Aren't You Glad / I Was Made To Love Her / Country Air / A Thing Or Two / Darlin' / I'd Love Just Once To See You / Here Comes The Night / Let The Wind Blow / How She Boogalooed It / Mama Says

    And, so begins the second great era of Beach Boys music. This is unlike any album they've recorded before or since. It's a special album in it's own right, however. The production of 'Pet Sounds' and 'Smile' has gone completely, these are mostly live performances, rhythm and blues songs and going back to the roots of what excited Brian Wilson about music in the first place. He plays wonderful boogie piano all over this record -. the piano and the melodies in general are so inventive and strong, they go way beyond what is normally required for a rock album. No less an authority than Jim Morrison of The Doors expressed a love of this 'Wild Honey' album, a strange thing given their previous un-hip striped shirt image. These guys were hip! Okay?! Anyway, 'Wild Honey' with it's creaking Theremin sound opens the album and it's surely no 'Good Vibrations'. Very raw musically, and long term Beach Boys fans must have been scratching their heads over the song. 'Aren't You Glad' is simply wonderful though. Brian leads from the back with the piano melodies. The vocals are both soft, expressive, raw and brilliant, all at the same time. Carl's vocals on the record as a whole are a thing to behold, he sounds like he's enjoying himself. They all do actually. 'I Was Made To Love Her' is a Stevie Wonder song, doesn't sound like one here, though. Again, the piano holds it together. Bass, little shuffling percussion.... great vocals! All this, and 'Country Air' too. Now this really is special. The singing just soars through the air the listener is inhabiting. Little whistle parts that make you smile, Brian's melodies again. None of these songs are 'productions', none are ambitious works of art. All are simple, enjoyable and really just rather wonderful. None more so than 'Country Air', actually. 'A Thing Or Two' is a less enjoyable, a faster number, it loses it's beauty as it goes along.

    The second half of the album opens with 'Darlin' - a top twenty hit when they'd all but stopped having hits. A Carl vocal tour de force, the best group vocals of the entire record and a very good song too. 'I'd Love Just Once To See You' doesn't work and seems a left over from the 'Smiley Smile' sessions. Done in 'Wild Honey' style it really sounds, well, odd. 'Here Comes The Night' is funky! It would later be re-done as an attempted disco classic, this is the original recording and it's rather fine. 'Let The Wind Blow' contains one of the finest melodies Brian ever wrote, again his Piano is everywhere. It's hard to credit that this one song contains more melody in fact than some entire groups albums do. No, really, it does! Very subtle and soft sounding melodies with great echoed vocal effects. 'How She Boogalooed It' was a group composition minus Brian, the first like that they ever did and 'Mama Says' closes the album displaying good group harmony parts. It's a very short vocal work-out, nothing more. It works well as album closer, though. If none of the songs here are all time Beach Boys classics, the album as a whole is much more than the sum of its parts. Always rewarding, always entertaining.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Schagen, Sander vans.vanschagen@Beverwijk.NL
    Mamma Says first serviced during Smile and was probably meant as a part of Vege-Tables.

    Mike Harrison fughedaboudit455@yahoo.com
    This was an unusual album for its time. The sound is really stripped down and it has a raw feel. That said, it might be hard to swallow compared to the full production techniques of PET SOUNDS. But it's a nice change of pace compared to the "rampant psychedelia" of 1967. "Darlin'" is the best track of all, an uplifting little tune. "Aren't You Glad" has a neat stop-start feel that reminds me of "The Little Girl I Once Knew."

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    7-- This is back-to-basics songwriting with a white-soul feel that succeeds in a lot of areas, especially the title track, "Aren't You Glad," "Darlin'," the beaufitul "Let the Wind Blow," and "How She Boogaloed It." The rest isn't as good, but it's mostly interesting, and the album was a gutsy move for the band.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    A real underrated classic. Most people don't give this album credit for being the first major pop group to suddenly go from experimental, "arty" music to going back to their roots, which would suddenly be a trend in 1968 and 1969, when roots rock and bands going back to their roots (like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Doors and more). Wild Honey did it before them all! All the songs here are wonderful. "How She Boogalooed It" is a little more generic mid-60's pop, but the rest is great stuff. "Here Comes The Night" with its amazing group vocals is my favorite. I also love "I'd Love Just Once To See You", "Let The Wind Blow" (the new remixed stereo version is amazing), "Country Air", and "Aren't You Glad". The title track and "Darlin'" are bonafide classics as well. I give it a 9.

    Kjell Matheussen k-matheu@frisurf.no
    a really good album. The album features a lot of great songs notable Wild Honey Aren`t you glad, Darling,I`d loved just ones to see you The alow song etc. I give the album a 9

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    This is a truely wonderful album . This Album features might the freshesed music beach boys ever released . The music is so filled with joy and you and it makes you feel happy then you listen to it. The music is gorgous and I love alomost every song . notable songs: Darling, Are`n`t you glad, I was made to love here, The Bongalow song etc. It is hard to rank this album but i Would suggest that it get a 8 ore might a nine.

    Dan Wright dan.wright@itn.co.uk
    Though it changes from week to week, I think "Let the Wind Blow" is my favourite Beach Boys song. A proper Soul song, full of hurt and yearning. Beautifully sung, haunting yet funky piano sounds. Low-fi production but still a direct expression of emotion through sound. (Enough Psuedo-intellectual twittering - Ed) Still I would advise anyone who bumps into this site and has never heard it to check it out.

    Billy Liar glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    A classic underrated, unloved, abused neglected, degraded spat on. It makes me sick this is one of the best albums ever the beach boys best it’s so awesome beautifully layered minimalist music at it’s most effective, And the best ‘Beach boys album. When realise it’s a masterpiece and not just ‘Smiles’ unwanted twin. It was a mistake calling ‘Smiley smile’ because it was always going to make people think of smile. 10 amazing just as fresh with each listen.

    paul spectorsound@aol.com
    not a great album, but listening to carl straining out of his vocal range on the title track, is so great(what a fantastic voice that guy had)

    Matt Newham s4094332@student.uq.edu.au
    This album was a great follow up to Smiley Smile, and like Smiley Smile, it flopped. The fault should not be placed purely on the Beach Boys, though. This album has some great music on it, even without a lot of the Beach Boys' famous vocals. "Wild Honey", "Darlin'" and "Mama Says" are all brilliant tunes, ("Mama Says" being a piece of the Smile puzzle - it was intended as a brief interlude for VegeTables), and the other tracks, although varying in quality, back them up quite satisfactorily. The best song - you can't go past "Darlin'" - it should have done better than the #19 position it peaked at. The worst - the toss up is between "A Thing or Two" and "I'd Love Just Once to See You". There is also an important piece of history here - "How She Boogaloed it" was the Beach Boys original song (not instrumental) made without Brian's influence - sadly, this was to become the norm as the years progressed. Fortunately for the next couple of albums, the band's progress was he! ld together by Brian, Dennis and Carl. This album is on a two-fer with Smiley Smile - it is worth buying just for the bonus tracks and the brilliant accompanying liner notes by David Leaf.

    gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    After the lush soundscapes of pet sounds this must have been a bit of a shock . strangely enough i actually listen to this beach boys album the most. sparse to the extent of being almost lo fi , it sounds as if the band knocked this out in a day and had a real blast . It lifts your spirits every time you hear it .Especially glorious in those rare warm summer evenings ..

    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Now this is Brian's (or The Beach Boys' to the more accurate) first decent post "Pet Sounds" work. I think Carl remarked that it was music for Brian to chill to, and boy didn't he just! Maybe Brian and the guys managed to put the whole "Smile" debacle to one side at least temporarily, and it definitely worked, because now it feels like a more relaxed, albeit drastically different sound coming from the speakers. A worthy 8/10.

    Jude Bolton Australia
    This could be one of my favourite Beach Boys albums, but a few tracks are a tad underproduced for my liking. That doesn't apply to the title track (love the theremin and the organ break) which is one of the best BB singles of the era, or to Darlin' (which rocks, especially live), or to the passionate cover of I Was Made To Love Her. Nor does it apply to Aren't You Glad, which sounds absolutely perfect as it is and is one of the most supremely underrated BB songs. Rather, it applies to a few tracks (especially the rocking A Thing Or Two) which are catchy enough but are just a tad slight. Another complaint: This is one case in particular where I notice how damn short most Beach Boys albums are in length!


    Friends ( 1968, UK pos 13 )
    Meant For You / Friends / Wake The World / Be Here In The Mornin' / When A Man Needs A Woman / Passing By / Anna Lee, The Healer / Little Bird / Be Still / Busy Doin' Nothin' / Diamond Head / Transcendental Meditation

    The opener 'Meant For You' is thirty seconds long, it's 'Friends' all over, an album less than thirty minutes long. Released in 1968 it was certainly out of time, out of step with then current musical fashions. It was the groups worst selling album, almost ever I believe and also Brian Wilson’s favourite Beach Boys album. It hit's the spot, every single time, whatever and every mood you may be experiencing. This album works, it's so easy to listen to, so relaxing but also with a whole ton of melody and great vocal parts. The title track sees the group back weaving their harmonic magic after 'Wild Honey' had featured mostly solo vocals. 'Wake The World' I can listen to ten times in a row and still it remains fun and interesting every time. 91 Seconds long, it's actually addictive and doesn't even need to be a second longer in any case. We've got great little brass parts, wonderful vocals. It's perfect in every respect, why repeat it? Why stretch things out? The length suits this, and the album as a whole, actually. 'Be Here In The Morning' continues a high quality and in fact, every song here serves a purpose and has something to recommend about it - often several things. Short songs maybe. Simple tracks maybe... but there is such feeling here!

    Many of the songs on 'Friends' were written by the group in collaboration with Brian, both music and lyrics. 'Friends' saw the start of Brian withdrawing from the front-line, so to speak. His major solo contribution in terms of writing is the instrumental 'Passing By'. Luckily it's so good, English group the High Llamas have taken the sound and structure of this, and based entire albums around it! Another important development in Beach Boys world was the emergence of Dennis as a talented writer. Two of his songs feature, 'Be Still' being a lovely quiet meditation with 'Little Bird' sounding like Brian had a hand in it. It's Dennis Wilson that wrote and sang this however, and it works as a definite highlight - so good, it could sit on any Beach Boys record and not seem out of place. The two semi-instrumentals that close the album, like 'Passing By', are just so damn atmospheric, melody filled and enjoyable! 'Diamond Head' is a fantastic production too, certainly the most ambitious moment here. 'Transcendental Meditation' is musically a thing of wonder and this 'Friends' album a thing of splendour. For a very humble release, this really does have a certain magic surrounding it.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    7-- A wonderfully peaceful album with some great moments, especially Dennis' "Little Bird" and Brian's "Busy Doing Nothing" and "Passing By." Very Pleasant.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    One of my personal favorite Beach Boys albums, and one of the most underrated. Wonderful album! The production is just so amazing to me. Minimalistic, but so warm, passive and friendly sounding you can't help but get drawn into the good vibrations of this album. I love every song, and my favorites are "Busy Doin' Nothin'", and the title track. Both wonderous songs full of beauty. Why wasn't the latter a hit? This album should of fit like a glove in 1968, but unfortnately it didn't. It's a real shame because this is a really awesome album. I give it a 9, or a 2nd 10 besides the obvious 1st 10 to Pet Sounds.

    Johannes_Næss barepjokken@hotmail.com
    This is a very great album . I love it a lot because of the many lovely song on it. I think Beach boys songs prodused their most beautiful and lovely songs on this album . All the songs are really beautiful and you feel really calm and relaxed then you listen to it. This is in my point of one of the best beach boys second best album just Pet sounds is better. I give the album a 10.

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    This album is just so nice that you can`t belive it if you haven`t listened to it. you feel so relaxed and calm then you listen to it. This album is gorgous and features so many great songs . notable: friends, then a man need a woman, littele bird, buisy doing nothing, diamonds head etc. The only songs witch not fit in into the album consept might the last on trancendental meditation if they had taken that song out of the album and replased it with forexsampel I went to sleep from twenty twenty the album had been better. But still this album is great as it is I give it a 10 .

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    I'm with Adrian and Joe (and Brian Wilson) here. This is one of my favourite Beach Boys albums. I also think that, along with Pet Sounds, it is their most seamless album, especially side one. Every song on side one seems to be a continuation of the last. The warm-sounding productions are what this album so special to me - I'd take this any day over a harsh, raucous Beatles production. I especially love Wake The World with lyrics about the transition from day to night, When A Loves A Woman with lyrics about the joy of bringing a child in the world, and Busy Doin Nothing with lyrics about...... Transcendental Meditation gets continually bashed, but shouldn't. It's actually very calming in a strange way. Friends is one of their best and most underrated albums (although has many fans here), and an absolute pleasure to listen to.

    Billy Liar glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    Great review, this album has slowly crept up on me, when I first heard it I could'nt get it but now its probably my favorite BB album at least this week it is. Am I the only one that thinks that 'Busy Doin'Nothin' is a little like some Belle & Sebastian tracks or rather B & S are a little like this!! A bonafide classic and a definite all time top album

    Jon-Erick Schaudies jschaudi@hotmail.com
    So special, this one. It's like the intensity of Smile (and even Pet Sounds) just had to give way to something blissed out. Friends is right there for us. Stangely asexual, sweet, daft, sad and joyous all at once, I think this is the real inspiration for the High Llamas. "Take all the time you need..." Right back at you Brian.

    ken kenr@times.co.sz
    'Friends' is a great album, I agree with you there, but 'transcendental meditation' is a crap song and should have been replaced by 'I went to sleep' (which was recorded around the same time)--then it would have been a perfect record.

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    ever since i really started to take the beach boys seriously about 5 or so years ago, i can sincerely say i havent even swatted a fly. painfully cheesy thing to say, but im just being honest.there truly is a deeper sense of humanity running throughout their music, that makes one appreciate every microsecond of human existance. their spirituality is highly contageous, especially that which eminates from brian and dennis, even ole nasal twang mike "colonel tom" love sounds beautiful on "meant for you" easily the best short song of all time. "friends" is the precursor to "sunflower" and an ideal companion for a sunny june sunday at barna beach in county galway.the beach boys most underrated opus. 10/10.

    GAZZA
    One of the boys best albums and like "wild honey" its mainly made by the band at brians home studio. Tranquil gorgeous melodies,quirky and catchy songs only let down by a hideous mike love abomination at the end. "i go to sleep" would have closed the album perfectly - however along with surfs up and pet sounds this is some of the bands best work .

    Dan justto_haveone@hotmail.com
    I think I used to hate this album simply because you said that it's perfect for any mood, but it's definitely grown on me - every song is a delight if some thought or "uncaring" (or caring - however you see it) is involved. It's nice to see that someone isn't underrating this collection of classics (as much).

    David McKay Bathhurst
    I agree with the high rating you give Friends. It is a great album, and much more consistently good than most Beach Boys albums I've heard. Too many Beach Boys albums include some really weak, embarrassing songs that are glaringly awful when compared with their many terrific songs.


    Stack O Tracks ( 1968 )
    Darlin' / Salt Lake City / Sloop John B / In My Room / Catch A Wave / Wild Honey / Little Saint Nick / Do It Again / Wouldn't It Be Nice / God Only Knows / Surfer Girl / Little Honda / Here Today / You're So Good To Me / Let Him Run Wild

    Now here's a curious thing, possibly the worlds first ever karaoke disc! Whilst it no doubt went down well in Japan or somewhere, it was seen really as more Capitol records milking of The Beach Boys catalogue and rather ignored. It happens to be a personal favourite of Brian Wilson, although not really a personal favourite of mine. The song selection is slightly curious for a start. 'Darlin' to open? 'Darlin' without Carl Wilsons wonderful vocal performance? 'Darlin' minus vocals is just that, minus, lacking! Second track 'Salt Lake City' is pretty interesting though, revealed to be a strong instrumental track with plenty of horns and the sound of the 'California Girls' organ prominent. 'Sloop John B' being a 'Pet Sounds' era track, of course - sounds wonderful. As we are missing the vocals, some of the instrumental parts actually sound much clearer, certain parts that it's possible to miss or overlook when listening to the complete song with vocals. The bass line is especially noticeable here. Well, it was on the original too, I guess. The percussion is worth mentioning as well - all twinkling and sounding so lovely! 'In My Room' without the vocals, without those soul searching lyrics - sounds surprisingly good, better than you'd expect. Well, following 'Sloop' we're going back a few years to a time when Beach Boys backing tracks were much simpler, and that's the case with the track to 'In My Room' as well. Having said that, you do begin to marvel at Brian's production techniques. Again, the percussive parts and bass lines are especially noticeable in this 'new' version.

    The seemingly random song order starts to get a little irritating as the album progesses. 'Catch A Wave' is a very simple sounding backing track and badly misses the vocals, which were full of extra meaning and melody in themselves. It's still very well executed and produced of course, but you simply find yourself filling in the missing parts. 'Wild Honey', 'Little Saint Nick', 'You're So Good To Me' and 'Surfer Girl' are slightly questionable inclusions on a vocal free Beach Boys album. 'Little Honda' is very welcome though, a much underrated song in the first place! And, the backing track is of course given extra resonance and attention in the listeners mind - you have to focus on it, given the fact all the vocals have been removed. All of the 'Pet Sounds' material sounds wonderful here, of course - but 'Pet Sounds Sessions' does that job far better and more comprehensively. One minor gem remains right at the end, and may be part of the reason Brian digs this strange little Beach Boys album. Brian has always been unhappy with his own vocal performance on the regular 'Let Him Run Wild' much to the bafflement of Beach Boys fans. Here, we get the instrumental minus those very high falsetto vocals, and it's a truly glorious sounding instrumental track. They say this points the way towards 'Pet Sounds'? Well, listening to it minus vocals - that's even more plain to see. In fact, the backing here is pretty much 'Pet Sounds' quality. Now, there's a thing! Of course, this 'Stack-O-Tracks' album is unlikely to be at the top of even the most ardent Beach Boys fans shopping list. But, once you've got the rest, get this! It does reveal a few things along the way. You may not listen to this regularly, but when you do - you may well just marvel at the skill of Brian in the studio.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?


    Live In London 8 ( 1969 )
    Darlin' / Wouldn't It Be Nice / Sloop John B. / California Girls / Do It Again / Wake the World / Aren't You Glad / Bluebirds over the Mountain / Their Hearts Were Full of Spring / Good Vibrations / God Only Knows / Barbara Ann

    The Beach Boys 'live with beautiful sounds' in London, 1969. A fantastic selection of material,  anyone who has seen The Beach Boys play live in recent years will be amazed at this tracklisting! We open with 'Darlin' which is always a fun, rockin tune. Always. The versions of 'Pet Sounds' songs are rather rushed through with, but perfectly fine. We have a live 'California Girl' which certainly isn't an unusual occurrence. They perform it well, but by necessity, it lacks the sparkle of the original studio version. 'Do It Again' is suitably sing-along and party in atmosphere. It was a big hit at the time and generates a few cheers and handclaps from the crowd.

    Of course, there is a reason to buy this. There is one reason above all other reasons and that reason is 'Wake The World'! The introduction proves Mike is a great band-leader. The song itself is as beautiful as ever and perfect in rendition. 'Friends' is a big favourite album of mine in any case and it doesn't get any better than 'Wake The World'. It really doesn't! And?! Then?! 'We're gonna do a song that comes off our 'Wild Honey album'. One person cheers. That's a great album though! Mike tells a joke in the introduction and gets a huge round of applause. Mike has generally been underrated through the years for what he does exactly bring to The Beach Boys. 'Aren't You Glad' follows and everybody has fun. Its a stupendous song! The 'i got a love that just can't stop beating for you' line is supported by suitable Hal Blaine-esque drum section that echo the studio version well. We have a live version of 'Good Vibrations'! The weather is great and everything is fine. A fine live album! One of the best! Well, possibly not, but its hugely enjoyable and the song selection intelligent and fine, showcasing a mixture of hits and less well known song to great effect.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Mike is at it again, embarrasing audience members and what not... Still, as an album, it's a good indicator of the group in what can stil be regarding as a liminal period, still getting over the "Smile" fiasco if one be may allowed to refer to it in such terms. In this context, there's a certain back to basics yearning in the performances that make "Live In London" an exciting if not completely vital recording. Maybe Mike was just joshing about pin cushions... We're always a little strict towards him, aren't we... 8/10.


    20/20 8 ( 1969, UK pos 3 )
    Do It Again / I Can Hear Music / Bluebirds Over The Mountain / Be With Me / All I Want To Do / The Nearest Faraway Place / Cotton Fields (The Cotton Song) / I Went To Sleep / Time To Get Alone / Never Learn Not To Love / Our Prayer / Cabinessence

    What have we here? Well, an album pieced together from 'Smile' out-takes, concert favourites. Featuring almost no new Brian Wilson compositions but a couple of older one's. Singles put together with previously unreleased tracks and a couple of Dennis Wilson songs. Given that mixed pedigree, you might not expect this to amount to very much.... 'Do It Again' is an old style Beach Boys single designed to top the charts. It didn't quite manage that but it does an interesting thing mixing in a heavier rockier sound with the Beach Boys of old. 'I Can Hear Music' was the first ever Beach Boys recording on which Brian neither wrote, sang, played or produced. Carl put this cover of the Phil Spector song together and it sounds almost like a classic to me, a fabulous vocal arrangement. 'The Nearest Faraway Place' even sees Bruce Johnston getting in on the act with an effective 'Pet Sounds' style instrumental, very beautiful actually. 'Bluebirds Over The Mountain' and the cover of 'Cotton Fields' certainly aren't classic moments. Neither are exactly bad but the sound of session men can be heard, Brian can't and they lack imagination.

    Dennis Wilson’s songs here aren't the best he ever did but show his continuing development as a creative force within the group. 'Be With Me' is his finest moment here, a dense wall of sound epic ballad production. Phew! 'I Went To Sleep' I love because it sounds like a 'Friends' out-take, obviously a good thing! We end with a couple of 'Smile' out-takes. 'Our Prayer' is a one minute long spiritual vocal work out. Whatever Brian had done production wise, it works. The sound of the voices is just heaven itself. 'Cabinessence' was a highlight of the 'Smile' sessions and one of the most finished sounding songs. The lyrics are weird Van Dyke Parks ( his Smile Collaborator ) poetry, the music is hard to explain but the sound of 'Smile' all over. A brilliant artistic song. A work of art. As a whole, 20/20 isn't any work of art. It's let down by a number of lesser moments but retains more than enough quality overall to remain a hugely enjoyable listen.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    7-- Biggest production since Pet Sounds. 20/20 is stylistically patchy, but the solid songs make up for that. Bruce's instrumental "The Nearest Faraway Place" is wonderful, and the closer "Cabinessence" is a Smile-era masterpiece.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    The inclusion of the Smile songs "Our Prayer" and "Cabinessence" alone make this a very essential release. I don't think it's as good as Friends as an album overall, but it's still quite wonderful. "Do It Again", "Time To Get Alone", "Be With Me" and "I Went To Sleep" are particular awesome songs, and the covers "I Can Hear Music" and "Cotton Fields" are lovely as hell. The latter definately gives CCR a run for their money. "Never Learn Not To Love", the infamous Charles Manson re-write is stunning too, ironically. Beautiful arrangements and an awesome Dennis vocal makes this one of the Beach Boys's many criminally underrated tunes. Only song i don't care for is "Bluebirds Over the Mountain", but mostly for that ridiculous lead guitar in there. Otherwise, it's a fine cover. And "All I Want To Do" sounds like the friggin' Stooges! I give this a very high 8.

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    This album is very strange actually but it still features many great songs notable: Our prayer,cabinessences,I went to sleep etc. I just can`t rank this album but it is truely great.

    Matt Newham mattnewham@hotmail.com
    This album is a collection from about half a different sources, and here are the main categories: 2 Smile outtakes ("Cabinessence" and "Our Prayer" - both amazing), 3 singles of varying quality and commercial success ("Do It Again" made the top 20, "I can hear Music" made the top 40, "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" did neither), a Friends outtake ("I Went to Sleep"), 3 new songs by Dennis ("Be With Me", "All I Want to Do" and "Never Learn not to Love" - none of them are brilliant), another attempt at a hit from folk tunes ("Cottonfields" - the single release was better - thanks Al), an instrumental by Bruce Johnston ("The Nearest Faraway Place"), and, finally, one new work by Brian ("Time to get Alone"). Consequently, the character of the album is quite uneven - about as far removed from Pet Sounds and Smile as you can get. I differ with some people on which songs I like (I don't mind "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" and I think that "The Nearest Faraway Place" is just heav! enly) but I do agree that this album just doesn't quite sit well in its own right - it really does sound like (nearly) everything was meant to fit somewhere else - "I Went to Sleep" was meant for Friends (surprise surprise) and "Do it Again" would have fitted on Surfer Girl. The best song: I think that I'll have to go with "The Nearest Faraway Place" on this one, but it's not as good as Brian's instrumentals on Pet Sounds (especially "Let's Go Away for Awhile"). The worst song would have to be "All I Want to Do" - the suggestiveness of the lyrics (and "that" moment late in the fade out) are not within my understanding of the Beach Boys.

    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Something of a rag n' bone collection, but that shouldn't influence negative discourse. The majority of the songs "Be With Me", "Time To Get Alone", "I Went To Sleep" are home runs, perhaps just tarished slightly by the overuse of cover versions (still pretty good though) and previously recording songs, (most definitely classics). Dennis builds on his successful "Friends" output and solidifies his reputation with some overlooked drumming, coupled with his obviously dazzling compositions. 8/10.

    GAZZA
    matts assessment is spot on and 20/20 is simply a collection of singles,outtakes and smile cuts that really dont belong together and come over as a stop gap release. Its actually not that bad a listen but the guitar work on "bluebirds" does my head in "nearest faraway place" is like something that belongs on a barry manilow album and "all i want to do" is garbage . The 1st two songs are beach boys classic singles however and the assembled material is worth a listen but not as coherent as "friends" obviously 6.5/10

    Mark Gibson South Shields, England
    For me its a great album and yes it does sound like they just threw everything in mix. But in my opinion Friends was a little too laid back. Where as 20/20 is a lot more of a solid offering, the singles are great 'Do it Again', 'I can hear music' and 'Bluebird', all sound so effortless. For extra value on the cd reissue we also get Dennis's Celebrate the News, now that's just stunning. And any album that has 'Our Prayer' and 'Cabinessence' on it is real value for money. Of course its a classic. 9/10.

    Jude Bolton Australia
    I can't imagine anyone listening to this album and having a bad time. It contains Do It Again, I Can Hear Music, and Bluebirds Over The Mountains - which are Beach Boys singles from 1960s, none of which are less than great (just one exception: Ten Little Indians). It contains Cabinessence, which only suffers relative to the other Smile tracks released by the Beach Boys - Good Vibrations, Heroes & Villians, Surf's Up (with the benefit of hindsight), but still boasts a stunning arrangement, especially the "Who Ran The Iron Horse" section... and Our Prayer which is gorgeous for what it is. It contains three Dennis Wilson contributions which are pretty much as good as their more lauded Sunflower counterparts (Be With Me, All I Wanna Do, Never Learn Not To Love), and it contains a couple of mellow Friends-like Brian numbers (I Went To Sleep, Time To Get Alone) which are among my favourites. What's left is an early version of Cotton Fields which I don't listen to much because I'm ! well and truly sick of the 1970 Al Jardine-produced single version, and Bruce's instrumental The Nearest Fairaway Place which I don't listen to much because it's a bit dull. But other than that, this is a great album that I would give an easy 8.5 out of 10. And the bonus tracks on the Friends/20-20 twofer are easily the best of any twofer including another 1960s Beach Boys single (Break Away), another strong Dennis tune (Celebrate The News), another simple but charming Brian ditty (We're Together Again), and a couple of excellent covers (Ol' Man River, Walk On By - which I wish was complete, it almost tops the Dionne Warwick original). Combine with the Friends, and you have what might be one of the best compact disc's worth of music of all time!

    Sunflower 10 ( 1970, UK pos 29 ) more best albums...
    Slip on Through / This Whole World / Add Some Music to Your Day / Got to Know the Woman / Deirdre / It's About Time / Tears in the Morning / All I Wanna Do / Forever / Our Sweet Love / At My Window / Cool Cool Water

    We open with the Dennis Wilson song 'Slip On Through'. You notice straight away the rich production and backing track. A convincing rocker, it leads into the Brian Wilson song 'This Whole World'. If the whole concept of the singles charts hadn't been undergoing a process of change at this point in time it would have made a great Beach Boys single. Wonderful group harmonies, twinkling bell effects, good lead vocals. Brilliant melodies. 'Add Some Music' was the lead single, failed to chart, although the vocals are again wonderful. 'Got To Know The Woman' is Dennis's attempt at producing a funky sexy rock n roll number and he does pretty well all told! Bruce's pretty ballad 'Deirdre' together with the furious Dennis Wilson song 'Its About Time' wraps up the first side of the record - and it's a pretty strong first side too. The second side is even better, and where the real genius of 'Sunflower' resides. Bruce kicks things off with one of his finest ever contributions to a Beach Boys album. 'Tears In The Morning' has good lyrics, swooning vocals and is really rather fine. 'All I Wanna Do' is Mike Love on absolute top vocal form. Such a warm, tender vocal - one of his best ever leads. A ghostly atmosphere runs through a song that really is a underrated masterpiece and unjustly neglected. The lyric here is about Mike's meditation techniques, but doesn't really obviously display that. Unless someone told you, or you knew about Mike's preoccupation with Transcendental Meditation, you wouldn't guess it's about that at all. Whatever, it's a stunning wonderful song. Such good vocals towards the end it really is life-affirming.

    Dennis Wilson's best ever song is right here on 'Sunflower', and it's also one of The Beach Boys finest moments, too. It's so good it really does rival anything Brian has ever written. 'Forever' is a stunningly beautiful ballad with intense vocals in the middle section and I simply adore the 'na na na' vocal parts that end the song. The next couple of songs are sweet, 'At My Window' by Al is just damn strange, a slight song although with totally beautiful harmonic parts, it must be said. All three songs are very enjoyable, work in the context of the record, and prepare you for 'Cool Cool Water'. When trying to explain to people there is more to The Beach Boys than 'Surfin USA' I always point to songs like 'Cool Cool Water'. Why? The vocals. These are heavenly and truly unsurpassed vocals. Carl's vocal parts are most noticeable, Mike does comes in with a slightly corny bit near the end, but in context it works. The music is full of relaxing rhythms and intriguing patterns. 'Cool Cool Water' was based on a fragment of a Brian Wilson 'Smile' melody. The little keyboard parts in 'Cool Cool Water' were unique, and way ahead of their time. I don't even know what I can say. I'm always rendered speechless by this one song. It's just so very beautiful, it brings up the standard of an already wonderful album to that of an absolute masterpiece.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    9-- This album is simple pleasantry brilliance. It is excellent teammwork all around with a lovable brightness. Oustanding tunes include "This Whole World," Bruce's wonderful "Dierdre," the ghostly "All I Wanna Do," Dennis' lovely ballad "Forever," the exquisite "Our Sweet Love," and the masterpeice closer "Cool, Cool Water." Refreshing.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    I think this could of been even better then it is, if they've included Dennis's "Lady" and "Loop De Loop" to the lineup and improved the production on some of these songs (some songs like "Deirdre" and "Add Some Music" have this crappy sound quality, while other songs like "Cool Cool Water" and "This Whole World" sound out of this world, no pun intended), but otherwise it's a forgotten classic. There's at least 3 classic songs on this album: "Cool Cool Water", "Forever" and "Add Some Music To Your Day". Every other song rules too, and it's also great to hear a good amount of Dennis on here! He's always been incredibly overlooked, and i've always thought he could be as amazing as Brian when he wanted. I give this a 9.

    aleksander aleksnader1983@hotmail.com
    very great album i really enjoy it. Beach boys shows them selfs from their best side on this album. I really think this is one of the onlly albums of beach boys there every band members have made a song for them self. notable songs: Tears in the morning,forever,sweet love, slip on through,add some music etc. I would really reccomend this album for all music fans all over the world this is just gorgous music witch is present on this album.

    george molina natalee.888@netzero.net
    great teamwork.not a big mike love fan;however, all i wanna do is in my top ten fave beach boys songs.love that song.like surf's up better.7/10

    hatchy hatchking@hotmail.com
    I have to say that this album just beats Pet Sounds for me, I think it's the ending to This Whole World that does it. Easily 10, well done!

    paul paulreynolds52@hotmail.com
    just love it to bits i need to know if its on a cd yet if not y not?

    Peter sunnybrisco@hotmail.com
    This lp marks the Beach boy's first offering for WB Records! True fans will see this lp as a great return to classic Beach Boy harmonys!

    Andrew Clark apclark@email.com
    Undoubtedly the finest Beach Boys album in their vast catalogue. Easily out does Pet Sounds for me. Strong writing through out, not a dud insight. This album proves Dennis Wilson could write. His songs for me are the highlights on this brilliant album.

    porcupine cupidandpsyche85@hotmail.com
    Probably my favourite Beach Boys album: 'This Whole World' is so breathtakingly, so maddeningly brilliant it's untrue. Such a pop classic. Dennis Wilson's tunes really add fire and funk to the Beach Boys sound, and in 'Forever' he proves he can melt hearts too. 'Cool, Cool Water' is really trancendental, 'Deirdre' is utterly swoonsome and 'All I Wanna Do' could be my absolute favourite BB tune ever. The atmosphere captured in this song is mindblowing, it's so dreamy, aquatic, beautiful, with Mike Love's best ever vocal. He's not my favourite singer in the band, but at his best, like on Holland's 'Big Sur' and this, he can really deliver the goods. I like Sunflower more than Pet Sounds, the tunes just capture my heart more. What a lovely album!

    john.co.kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    if the remarkable pet sounds is a teenage symphony to god, then this sensational glow of hawthorne sunshine is a hippie ceremony at its most serene and least pretentious.a celestial antidote to all bad karma.following on where in my room began and was developed by song for children/child is the father of the man,this an ode to positivity that trsnscends prehaps even [dare i say it] pet sounds and smile.even the "weakest" track,tears in the morning is a gem,while cool cool water, all i wanna do and the sumptuous this whole world are compulsory listening for anybody with a soul.but the ULTIMATE highlight for me is just how far denny has come from "our car club" and "denny's drums" what an amazing man,what an amazing album 11/10

    GAZZA
    This is one of the best produced beach boys records no doubt about it , everything sounds so precise and crystal clear and the songs are of a high standard generally . I cant give it a 10 cos i dont rate the 2 dennis tunes "its about time" and "got to know the woman as highly as adrian does . The 2nd half of the record is sublime however and the standard of the arrangements and vocals is very high . "all i want to do" "forever" and "our sweet love" is like a little symphony to love in its own right .I reach for "surfs up" more but the 2 albums combined on one disc makes for the bands best music since "pet sounds" 7.5/10

    hippietrek 8/10. Nowhere near a masterpiece but nevertheless a good and pretty sounding album. I love 'Slip On Through', 'All I Wanna Do' and 'Forever' however the rest of the album is just OK. Nice production throughout but the overated 'This Whole World' and 'Add Some Music' is pure schmaltz. And Mike Love ruins 'Cool Water' when he says 'Cool water is such a gas'. No Mike i think you'll find its a liquid.

    Will G Chicago
    8.5 - As much as I love this album, I must admit there are moments of utter greatness surrounded by mediocrity. Though this is a true team effort for the Beach Boys, most of the highlights are the tracks co-written by Brian (his falsetto backing vocals are some of my favorite parts of this album, too). The last 20 seconds of "This Whole World" is a jaw-dropper. "All I Wanna Do"creates a dreamy river that begs you to float down again and again. "Cool, Cool Water" is the type of irresistible oddball approach to songwriting that only could come from the mind of Brian Wilson. Even "At My Window" has the irrepresible charm that makes you not only accept its corniness it, but embrace it. However, as truly great as "Forever" is, Dennis' other contributions seem ripped out of the handbook of generic 70's rock. "Slip on Through" and "Got to Know the Woman" are enjoyable for what they are, but sound too much like they're trying to keep up with the current sound. "It's About Time" should have been left off the album and the sequencing of the album veers too much from these songs into the sugary nostalgic schamltz that Bruce seemed to only offer up. It may be uneven, but it's a satisfying listen nonetheless with 4-5 Beach Boys oft-overlooked, underappreaciated gems.


    Surfs Up 9 ( 1971, UK pos 15 )
    Don't Go Near the Water / Long Promised Road / Take a Load off Your Feet / Disney Girls 1957 / Student Demonstration Time / Feel Flows / Lookin' at Tomorrow (A Welfare Song) / A Day in the Life of a Tree / 'Til I Die / Surf's Up

    The first surprise is that Dennis has no songs here at all. Brian is absent from proceedings too, though a few of his songs do feature. The first song for example was co-written by Mike Love and Al Jardine. An unlikely song writing duo but when faced with listening to 'Don't Go Near The Water' with it's ecological lyrics and good group harmonies you really don't care who wrote it. Al wrote in a very Brian Wilson fashion. He always tried to imitate Brian. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. Here, it certainly works. An extended vocal harmony to close the song. And, to lead into Carl Wilson's 'Long Promised Road'. A rockier song that builds up in tempo and intensity as it goes along. A fabulous song! Each and every member of The Beach Boys were writing great songs in the early seventies. Nobody much noticed at the time, although this and 'Sunflower' have both grown in stature over the years to be recognized as the great albums they are.

    Al comes up with 'Take A Load Off Your Feet'. Brian had a co-writing credit on this one, though I’m not sure what contribution he actually did make to it. It's very quirky. Funny for a few listens though hardly a group career highlight. Bruce Johnston especially enjoyed the more democratic nature of The Beach Boys at this stage in their career. 'Disney Girls' is his masterpiece. Evocative lyrics, a good vocal. A great big ending section with stunning group vocals. A fine, fine moment. 'Student Demonstration Time' is not too nice being an old rock 'n' roll song re-worked by Mike with new lyrics. It does add variety though and helps the flow of the record overall. Carl's keyboard led 'Feel Flows' is another moment of sheer beauty. The lyrics are mystical sounding and actually work well. Carl's songs on this album helped overcome the lack of input from Dennis certainly. Al's folky 'Looking At Tomorrow' follows and then we have Brian Wilson's songs.

    'A Day In The Life Of A Tree' shouldn't be good on paper. The subject matter of the song is a little too much amateur poetry. It was sung by the bands then manager Jack Reiley. Brian choose him to sing it apparently because he thought his voice sounded like a tree! Thing is, it's doomy organ led backing behind a voice of suffering really does something here. 'Til I Die' features autobiographical lyrics from Brian himself and a hypnotic evolving keyboard pattern. Beautifully sung by Carl, it's a fine moment and one of Brian's best seventies compositions. 'Surfs Up' is just a thing of splendour. Rescued from the aborted 'Smile' album. A new vocal in the first section from Carl over the original 1967 backing track. It moves on to Brian’s original vocal backed by him at the piano. And the finale? A truly stunning mesh of harmony vocals and singing. A brilliant moment and had it been released in 1967 possibly an all time Beach Boys acclaimed masterpiece. It is acclaimed by those who know of it. 'Surfs Up' the album sold better than 'Sunflower'. They were starting to establish themselves as an albums band. Songs such as 'Surfs Up' whatever their origins were impossible triumphs against the odds. Another brilliant album as well, their future looked bright! 

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    9-- More great teamwork, but with some strange and dark moments. Closes off with another Smile-era masterpiece, the haunting title track.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    Not as good as Sunflower, its predecessor, but very good. Especially the last three songs. All 3 songs are brilliant songs and show that Brian still had his brilliance in 1971. If only he wrote more songs for this album like these, we'd have a masterpiece on our hands. I think "A Day In The Life Of A Tree" is definately one of Brian's most underrated compositions. The lyrics strike me as more then just a silly, amaturish, pro-wild life protest, but more as another autobiographical writing from Brian. The song appears to be about how trees suffer from the pollution from the earth, but the part "there's nothing left for me" really gives me goosebumps when i hear it, and i just can't help but think it's Brian expressing how once he was full of life, but now he has lost everything that has made his life worth living. Very grimm, and you can tell Brian was at a hard period of his life. Same with "Till I Die", which is an absolute Pet Sounds quality song if i've ever heard one! It would fit perfectally on Pet Sounds, and the lyrics are some of the most personal, and deeply profound Brian has ever written and i love it very much. The title track is also the lost Smile track, of course, and what they've done to it for release on this album is incredible. An absolutely brilliant song and words can't describe how mindblowing i find the "Child Is The Father Of The Man" part at the end. Best vocals i've ever heard, hands down. The rest pales in comparison to these, but it's still quite good. Both of Carl's songs are definate highlights, same with Bruce's "Disney Girls", and the catchy and silly "Take A Load Off Your Feet" (which contains a lovely brief vocal from Brian which is always great). The fact they released "Student Demonstration Time" instead of "When Girls Get Together" or "HELP Is On It's Way" (not to mention that there's NO Dennis on this album, which SUCKS! What were they smoking not releasing the amazing "Forth Of July"!!??!) annoys me greatly though. I give it a high 8.

    Kjell Matheussen k-matheu@frisurf.no
    I give this album a weak 10 it is one of the best beach boys albums the best songs are disney girls, until I die

    george molina natalee.888@netzero.net
    long promised road,feel flows,till i die, and surf's up are four of my favorite beach boys song of all time.that's enough to make this one of my fave beach boys albums.8/10

    nils nils.granstrom@edu.norrtalje.se
    I've been wondering a lot and I can't get it out of my mind. Is the man on the horse (donkey)on the cover of Surf's up Don Quiote? Or someone else? I've seen other versions of the same picture. Please answer, somebody! Nils in Sweden

    Dave S Dave@greentambourine.com
    IMO, Student Demonstration Time is a hideous track. When I had this album on vinyl, I always played side 2 over and over. That side alone is worth 10/10 One of the best albums ever, apart from that one horrible track!

    Michael Baker anthrax_088@hotmail.com
    Brilliant album this, Sunflower and Pet Sounds are my faviroutes. It's good how its quite political. Best tracks are Dont Go Near The Water, Long Promised Road, Till' I Die and Surfs Up. Though I have taken a personal liking to Take A Load Off Your Feet.

    Mark Simpson marko_vaughn@yahoo.co.uk
    Great Songs,Great Sound,Great Album.One of my favourite albums from the band.And what about Brian's heart-wrenchingly sincere title track?"..A broken man,too tough to cry.."Absolutely beautiful.

    Peter sunnybrisco@hotmail.com
    Great review! This is the Beach Boys long lost masterpiece! The only song on "Sunflower" that compares is "All I Wanna Do" The vocals and music is stunning on this song!

    Jason Southgate jason_southgate@hotmail.com
    The picture is a Classic piece of Americana by James Earle Fraser, and depicts an American Indian, It's a similar symbol used by Brother Records, right? I have a question. Is Lake Tahoe the "Church of the American Indian"?

    paul spectorsound@aol.com
    to me, surf's up is a prime example of the bb not realising they had 2 genius songwriters in the band. dennis recorded at least 2 tracks for inclusion-4th july and wouldn't it be nice to live again.replace take a load of your feet and the mind numbingly bad student demo time, and you have an album in the same class as pet sounds.

    Hapman cabinessence@freemail.hu
    According to Beach Boys scholar Andrew G. Doe a disagreement with Carl on the sequencing of the album led Dennis to withdrawn his compositions (who was planning to release a solo album anyway). Musically, this is the strongest post-PS BBs album, but Rieley's socio-political lyrics are so forced, it ruins the LP completely. So go ahead, ignore the crappy lyrics and enjoy the beautiful, melancholy music (and don't forget to skip over Student Demonstration Time, the most laughable "protest song" ever recorded by anyone).br>
    monkeybusiness monkeybusiness2000@hotmail.com
    I can't understand the hatred towards 'Student Demonstration Time'. I agree it's the weakest track on the album but it is the most extreme thing they did and has a message. Also underrated is Al's 'Looking At Tommorrow'. It's probably his best track, such a sad song of the downtrodden.

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    those two shitheads, wilson and elroy (the cannon and ball of music reviews), give this album a pretty rough time on their sorry excuse for a website. i can just imagine them in person, killing off small town pizza joints with their asshole reviews, etc etc. the sad thing is how they manipulate the "good cop, bad cop" act. just see what they have written about "sunflower"....... anyhow, fuck them!!! this is about the wonderful beach boys, and their glorious contribution to the popular art of music. it's very hard to criticise "surf's up" even "student demonstration time" has a sense of purpose, and shows mike to be actually in tune with reality for a change, instead of being high on some pretentious pseudo hippy, ego trip. musically garish, but at least he's using his brain for once. "feel flows" is about as far removed from "409" as is humanely impossible, it's like trying to compare a toothpick with a n.a.s.a. space shuttle. the title track is the ultimate version of the s! ong, arguably better than "good vibrations" and even "god only knows". sail the crest of a wave, as the final section just literally explodes from brian's gentle introspective piano piece. who needs cocaine when you have this? initially i would have given "surf's up" 9/10, but out of contempt for wilson and elroy, i'll give it a perfect 10.

    GAZZA garyhess44@hotmail.com
    Remove that hideous mike love track and replace it with "cool cool water" a track from smile which stylistically fits better here than on sunflower and guess what ? Beach boys best album since pet sounds. (beach boys were more a singles act for me) Artists as diverse as elton john and the verve have stated an enduring love for this album and i can only agree. Its such a subtle and beautiful recording an almost perfect listen . God i could kill mike love for that tune - thank god for CD programming , thats all i can say :)

    Will G Chicago
    7.5 - With new Brian contributions becoming fewer and fewer, teamwork songwriting amongst the Beach Boys now has become the norm. However, the results this time are a bit less satisfying than Sunflower, though I think this album may be more interesting than that album considering the gloominess to the production and the newfound political/ecologically themed lyrics. Dennis is pretty much absent from Surf's Up which means more Carl (good), some Al (ok), a Bruce song (meh), and Mike (oh Lord). "Don't Go Near the Water" is likably cheesy with its bubbly effects and memorable chorus even if the lyrics are a bit much. Carl's songs, "Long Promised Road" and particularly "Feel Flows" point the way towards the more prog rock sound of the next 2 Beach Boys albums, culminating in Carl's master creation of "The Trader" on Holland. However, the album is weighed down by not-as-bad-as-it's-made-out-to-be-but-still-bad-and-overlong-to-boot "Student Demonstration Time" and Al's weak "Lookin' at Tomorrow". Bruce's "Disney Girls" seems like his typical inoffensive nostalgic schmaltz badly misplaced on this album, but in a way, it's oddly fitting to have this song right in the middle of the album. While the other Beach Boys are maturing as musicians and songwriters, delving into current trends and political topics, a song straight out of a '50s time warp is offered up by a guy who himself seems like he's perpetually stuck in the 50's. Brian swoops in to save the day with the last 3 songs as the title track and the amazingly depressing yet achingly beautiful "Till I Die" rank amongst his best work. "A Day in the Life of a Tree" is haunting in its own right, particuarly since Rieley himself sounds like, well, a decaying tree with a pretty creepy organ providing the backdrop. The album as a whole is even more uneven than Sunflower, but its melancholy tone makes this likely the darkest Beach Boys album.


    Carl And The Passions ( 1972, UK pos 25 )
    You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone / Here She Comes / He Come Down / Marcella 5)Hold on Dear Brother / Make It Good / All This Is That / Cuddle Up

    The record company held this album in such low esteem they issued it with 'Pet Sounds'as a bonus disc. It had originally been mooted that the legendary 'Smile' would be issued at around this time. Carl had apparently been working with the pile of tapes that made up the aborted 'Smile' sessions. Nothing did appear of course, just a strange coupling of 'Pet Sounds' married to this new studio set. It sold poorly and people naturally made comparisons between 'Carl And The Passions' and 'Pet Sounds'. Only eight songs, three of them sound like Beach Boys songs.... Two members of South African group 'Flame' were integrated into The Beach Boys line up around this time, effectively replacements for the departed Bruce Johnston and the mostly inactive Brian. 'You Need A Mess Of Help' kicks things off and becomes Brian's only real contribution to the record. An up-tempo rocker, it's a little rough around the edges but still Brian's trademark melodic flourishes shine through. This is followed by two gospel influenced numbers, they sound nothing like The Beach Boys although are perfectly professional in their execution, especially the rollicking enjoyable 'He Come Down'. 'Marcella' is the most 'Beach Boys' sounding song here. It's a re-make ( with new lyrics ) of a 1964 out-take 'All Dressed Up For School' and works as simple good fun if hardly being a Beach Boys classic. 'Hold On Dear Brother' is better, a slow mournful...wonder. Certainly a highlight, nothing to indicate it's actually even by The Beach Boys but it does feature damn good vocals.

    The final two songs follow a somewhat overblown Dennis Wilson ballad. 'Cuddle Up' is also a somewhat overblown Dennis ballad, but this time it's a much better song. Heartbreakingly dramatic and a true classic for my money - overblown or not, this is truly wonderful. 'All This Is That' has the best lead vocals of the album with Carl giving a superlative lead performance. One of his best vocals ever, actually. It's not quite enough to push this album totally through however. 'All This Is That' and 'Cuddle Up' apart - this record doesn't sound as special overall as previous albums. What is here is fairly solid, to be fair, even the more generic sounding songs. Everything is performed well and this wasn't quite the end of The Beach Boys. Certainly not, more was still to come!

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    5-- Disappointing, scant collection of tunes. The album is competently performed and the band is up with the times, but the material is not suited to them, and the singing is annoyingly raunchy. "All This is That," however, is a brilliant, beautiful tune.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    VERY underrated! Though, just like on Surfs Up, they go and release another trilogy of mindblowing songs at the end that overshadows the rest. Dennis is absolutely the star of this record! They should of just put Dennis in charge of the band and release a bunch of his tunes, because "Cuddle Up" and "Make It Good" are honestly 2 of the most gorgeous songs i've ever heard. They're definately up there with the best of Pet Sounds if you ask me. Their beauty might be a bit more subtle, but the emotional power can't be denyed, and they bring me to tears everytime i hear them. I'll even say that i think both songs blow away "Forever" any day, though i love "Forever" too! "All This Is That" is also an amazing song, and the ending is especially beautiful as hell. Carl had one amazing voice! "Marcella" also should of been a big hit! Really great song. Only thing that bogs this record down is that it's so short, and Ricky and Blondies songs are weak compared to any song by The Beach Boys. "He Come Down" also is nothing too spectacular, though it is quite an impressive stab at gospel, with some authentic African American-esque vocals! I give this album an 8. I really wish they dumped the more weaker songs for more Dennis songs, then this would be a real classic album to me!

    Kjell Matheussen k-matheu@frisurf.no
    why does so many people dislike this album I don`t have a clue at all.We only possible reason is that the bands style on this album is very unilke tje typical Beach Boys stuff it is very progressiv pop /rock mixed with a little bir RMB and Gospel . Actually Carl The Passion is a album with very great with very fresh music on. I think we to new band member from South Afrika make a very good achivement on this album. The album consist of many great songs I can mention Marcella, He come down,Cuddle up , Make it good, and all this is that . the album is very great with any boring bad songs all songs is good but witch I mentiones is might the greatest.

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    i would have to give this album 7/10. it's a long, long way from being a screw up, but it has quite a few faults as well. i suppose the bad blood between jack reilly and bruce johnston didn't help matters, nor the fact that they were rushing an album out in the footsteps of the previous 2 masterpieces. in a way, it comes across like zep's "houses of the holy", with its vibrant eclecticism, expect that zeppelin's album was for the most part, an artistic success, whereas "carl and the passions" has a feeling of jadedness, and trying too hard, running throughout. we have oddities from blondie and ricky, that sound like 2nd rate creedence clearwater revival out-takes, (although they more than made up for it, with the highly impressive duo of "we got love" and "leaving this town" a few months later) while the attempt at gospel was a rare experimental faux pas from the early 1970s beach boys. "all this is that" is the moment that really saves the day, with an eerie beauty, similar! to "all i wanna do" and dennis is hero of the hour yet again, with "cuddle up" arranged and produced to the extreme, yet as subtle as "little bird" with its humane tenderness, and scott walkeresque strings. if nothing else is achieved here, at least the album finishes on an orgasmically resounding high with these 2 diamonds, although it would take another 9 months or so, to create a truly worthwhile follow up to "sunflower" and "surf's up".

    Will
    This album is at least as good, and superior in many ways to Surfs up and Holland, for me. I guess the lack of any lovable throwaways is why people don't warm to this as much, but I'd rather listen to 'hold on dear brother' than 'day in the life of a tree' or the one about shoes ANY day, much as I love them. It's interesting how Sunflower and this album have crystal clear productions, whereas surfs up and holland sound really murky, like the cobbled together set of outtakes they are. As a big Dennis lover of course, this album wins for me as it has his two orchestral masterpieces on it, whereas Surfs up has no songs by him, and Holland has no LEAD vocals or discernable backing vocals on it. Much as I love only with you and steamboat, I'd rather have heard Dennis sing them!

    GAZZA
    This one suffers a bit from not "feeling" like an album as such more a bunch of songs from different sources chucked together. This puts it alongside "smiley smile" and "20-20" but the quality of the songs and cohesive playing of the boys raises it above those records . A lot of praise should go to carl wilson who proves hes a major production and arrangement talent and he helped keep the band afloat while brian had gone gaga . The 2 new guys provide quality songs especially " hold on brother" which along with "marcella" and "all this is that" are probably the best things on here . The 2 dennis songs ? well one of them could easily have lost the over inflated orchestration and brought a bit more variety to the sound but "cuddle up" certainly throws the emotional kitchen sink at the listener . I reach for "surfs up" and "holland" more often (these are my favourite 2 post pet sounds beach boys albums) But far from a disaster . Id give it a solid 7/10


    Holland ( 1973, UK pos 20 )
    Sail on Sailor / Steamboat / California Saga-Big Sur / California Saga-The Beaks of Eagles / California Saga-California / The Trader / Leaving This Town / Only With You / Funky Pretty

    Now this is a good album! A last gasp of creativity from the group. I say group. After this the band would splinter more and more into different factions. The album is so named because the entire Beach Boys operation was shipped over to Holland to record the album. Why this was done has never adequately been explained. I think they were trying to stimulate Brian a little. Brian contributes only two new songs here. He had his troubles, which are well documented. 'Sail On Sailor' kicks things off in fine style. It's actually funky, something you wouldn't really associate readily with The Beach Boys, but still! Dennis contributes 'Steamboat' a real chugging wispy smoky evocative song. I love nearly all of his songs, a much underrated talent. We then move on to 'California Saga' and this is the centrepiece of the album. And it may well put you off.... It's a bit, well, odd. But, it's actually pretty good if you ignore the completely daft lyrics. Indeed, Mike Loves song 'Big Sur' is fantastic, really. I mean, it sounds like a Neil Young song off 'Harvest' or something, with added magical Beach Boys harmonies for good measure! 'The Beaks Of Eagles' written by Al is completely ludicrous and pretentious. Some nice music though as Al reads out poetry over the top. The good bit about 'The Beaks Of Eagles' is the way it links into the third part of 'California Saga'. 'California' is bouncy, bubbly, and a 'California Girls' re-write. What really makes it for me is Brian’s on the synthesizers. Pure Brian Wilson genius as Al struggles slightly with the vocals. But then we have the backing harmonies! Also a high point. Here we get Brian back on Falsetto where he belongs, with a gloriously rough and affecting part. Makes me cry. And the whole damn song is so cheerful! Be snobbish if you want, but really, this is great stuff.

    The second half of 'Holland' kicks off with Carl Wilson's 'Trader'. His finest moment musically, and great singing, too. Weird lyrics from Jack Riley, but we can't have everything! 'Leaving This Town' and 'Only With You' are both mid tempo ballads, a little bland perhaps, but both very well performed. 'Funky Pretty' ends things off with Brian playing almost everything on it, including drums. It's a grower of a song rather than an instant standout, a bit like the album as a whole, actually. But give it time, and you'll be more than glad that you did give it time. More than glad, as 'Holland' is a fine thing, a fine musical album I can whole-heartedly recommend.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    S.E. Veldkampveldse@hetnet.nl
    I do agree with your views on Holland. The song you are least interested in, Leaving this town, was strangely enough my main interest in the album as it has been the (then misterious) tune of a very interesting cultural TV-show in the Netherlands in the seventies for a couple of years. Very fascinating of course was the fact that I was living in Hilversum at the time the Beach Boys were recording this album (in Baambrugge) and had rented a villa right across the home of friend of mine, just a mile down the road.Never saw any of them in the flesh of course. Beach Boys weren't cool in those days anyway (Roxy was, and Bowie) so I didn't mind much. Now that I rediscovered the album, I'm very sorry about that attitude, because I do like it!

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    8-- Nice recovery. The music here is well suited to the band, and there are some gutsy, innovative moments, such as the wonderful "Big Sur" and "Beaks of Eagles" sections of the "California Saga," and other outstanding moments such as "Sail on Sailor," "Leaving This Town," "Trader" (though it is slightly hurt by politically correct lyrics), and "Funky Pretty." A strong record.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    Great album, but certainly not any better then Carl And The Passions to me. It's probably about the same, though none of these songs blow me away as much as a few of those on Carl And The Passions (besides "Funky Pretty" and "California" of course! Both amazing songs). "Sail On Sailor" was never one of my favorites either, but that's probably because i really wish Carl sang it instead. Other songs i really like are "Only With You", "Big Sur", and Carl's "Trader". The other stuff is okay, though the only real weak song is "Leaving This Town". Again, another weak Ricky and Blondie song that does nothing for me. I give it an 8.

    Kjell Matheussen k-matheu@frisurf.no
    I give the Holland album a strong 9. It is a very strong album spesially leaving this town,trader,Only with you og Funky Pretty though Sail on Sailor is also briliant the other songs are very good to but those 5 i mentioned is the songs witch really stand out from the bunch in my opionon.

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    Great album, I really enjoy hearing the Beach Boys playing this style of music, very atypical of the rest of the career. Plus, the So Tough / Holland 2fer was the very first I bought, so I have a bit of a soft spot for it. Anyway, Holland seems to be more cohesive than its predecessor - the best set of writing from the group as a whole. Carl's Trader is probably the highlight for me, but there's also fine contributions from Mike, Al, Dennis, and yes, Blondie and Rickie. In particular, I reckon Dennis's Steamboat is the best thing he ever wrote (for the Beach Boys at least - I haven't heard his solo albums), except maybe Slip On Through. And Brian's songs are great, of course. Even during his troubled times, he could still write good songs.

    Simon Edwards siedwards@hotmail.com
    I don't really like this album. There a few good songs: "Sail On Sailor", "California", "Only With You, but songs like "The Beaks Of Eagles", "Leaving This Town" and the "Fairy Tale Story" are really not worth two listens. I was really excited about listening to this album and then it became a big let down.

    Peter sunnybrisco@hotmail.com
    The quality of this lp is stunning! I found it along with the 45 for a dollar at my used record store! One man's junk is another man's treasure!

    paul spectorsound@aol.com
    the last great beach boys album, before their re-birth as a traveling juke box. the best song recorded during the sessions(carry me home), written by dennis,about the last dying moment's of a soldier in vietnam, never made it on to the album. a slow country ballad, sung by blondie chaplin. halfway through, the track pauses and dennis wilson sings "life, is meant to live" "and im afraid, im afraid to die" as the boys ghostly backing vocals, come in behind him. the track lurches to its conclusion, someone (sounds like mike love) exclaims "that was a mother fcker" don't suppose capital will ever get round to releasing it, not with the 456th greatest hits collection to promote.

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    disgracefully maligned by many on release,this was even the case up to the mid 1980s [check out steven gaines lame assed review in the otherwise brilliant "heroes and villians"] holland shows that the beach boys could venture perilously close to even prog rock and still produce an audio treasure trove, as if there complete divorce from "domestic bliss" was nothing more than a fart in a tornado.my favourites are steamboat, sail on sailor and the moogtastic duo of leaving this town and funky pretty. 9/10.

    Arend arend_sonneveld@hotmail.com
    Referring to the reaction of mr. Veldkamp, I also found this site after Googling for the song "Leaving this Town", as it was the trailor of the Dutch television programme "Gat van Nederland" in the beginnig of the 70ties. I found this a super song and am actually surprised by finding out that it is generally regarded as a minor creation. Must have something to do with the different mind-settings in Europe and the States at that time.

    GAZZA
    An absolute joy to listen to from start to finish .Amazingly neglected at the time but further proof that carl wilson probably saved this band on several occasions , it proves there was more to the beachboys than brian wilson. The trip to europe for recording seemed to reenergise and refocus the group . This for me is the beach boys best collaborative effort since brian let go of the production reins . Its certainly a toss up between this and "surfs up" for second best beach boys album. "sail on sailor" and "trader" are beach boys classics , "california saga" is both preposterous and amazing, "steamboat" is another you cant get enough listens of . It fits together conceptually as a great album too , heading into the same waters that elton and stevie wonder were occupying in mid 70s (indeed leaving this town is highly reminiscent of stevie wonder). Maybe the beach boys should have moved to amsterdam full time if the results would always be as splendid as t! his (and dennis would have had a good time no doubt;) - 9/10


    In Concert 8 ( 1973 )
    Sail On Sailor / Stoop John B. / The Trader / You Still Believe In Me / California Girls / Darlin' / Marcella / Caroline No / Leaving This Town / Heroes And Villains / Funky Pretty / Let The Wind Blow / Help Me, Rhonda / Surfer Girl / Wouldn't It Be Nice / We Got Love / Don't Worry, Baby / Surfin' USA / Good Vibrations / Fun, Fun, Fun

    The Beach Boys were actually highly thought of as live performers during the early seventies, even if their albums didn't always sell very well. There's a little story I heard of Bob Dylan being backstage amongst the press guys during this era at a particularly notable Beach Boys live performance and saying, very loudly so everyone could hear, 'you know, these guys aren't half bad'. The Beach Boys had ceased to be seen as 'cool' by the population at large, hence the dramatic fall in record sales since their Sixties commercial peak. This particular live set did 'go gold' however, and became their best selling album for a while at the time. The song selection mixes in then contemporary material with classics from the past. Following the groups commercial best selling 'Endless Summer' early summer hits 'best of' which followed a year later, they'd focus more and more on the classic Sixties material when performing live. This set captures The Beach Boys still giving a damn about producing good new material, and caring about performing that material live for their fans. Brian didn't participate of course - he'd long since given up performing live with the group, but AL Jardine in particular ably deputises for him, providing a whole load of great vocal performances. The opening 'Sail On Sailor' was the commercial highlight of the bands 'Holland' set and is performed well enough here. 'Sloop John B' has some great vocal work from all involved - 'The Trader' as on record, as here - a Carl Wilson vocal tour-de-force.

    'You Still Believe In Me' sounds strange initially - a very weird electronic keyboard playing the string section. Al does the Brian Wilson vocals, and does extremely well indeed, a wonderful vocal full of the right amount of yearning. The harmonies come in, and it's just, ahh.... so lovely! 'California Girls' of course gets a big cheer, although isn't so well re-produced here, just a party sing-a-long. It fitted in the set, of course. Carl steps up to the mic for 'Darlin' and turns in yet another stunning vocal performance. Carl always enjoyed singing 'Darlin' in live Beach Boys sets, and it survived in their regular set-list well into the Eighties. 'Marcella' sounds a lot better than its studio counterpart, 'Caroline No' slightly worse. 'Leaving This Town' which was a good enough song on 'Holland' although not really a highlight as such, sounds really fine indeed as performed here. Blondie Chapman turns in a performance with real soul, and it's a shame he left the group, really. 'Heroes And Villains' has a little Seventies 'cheese' as performed here and lacks the psychedelic tones of the studio original. 'Funky Pretty' suits Blondie and Ricky down to the ground, and suddenly, The Beach Boys do indeed 'go funk' and with some aplomb as well. And! They even keep the weird Brian Wilson keyboard parts! Kudos!! 'Let The Wind Blow' is slower than it's original, but just as lovely in the end. Carl does very well vocally. 'Help Me Rhonda', like 'California Girls' is just a treat for the fans crying out for a hit, and something for Mike Love to play upto. 'Surfer Girl' is a delightful surprise, a real dip back into their past. Weird hearing it not sung by Brian - instead, the whole group sing although Al deserves special praise for his contributions.

    The album closes with a few party sing the hits, type numbers. 'Good Vibrations' sounds nothing like as special as the studio version, but that really won't come as any surprise to anyone. Just not 'do-able' live I suppose. 'We Got Love' is an unremarkable 'Holland' out-take and 'Don't Worry Baby' another showcase for Al Jardine. A fine live album, all in all. A fine document of the group at this stage in their career.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    george molina natalee.888@netzero.net
    my favorite live album ever.love don't worry baby and caroline no.great group of songs.from sail on sailor to surfer girl.great album.10/10


    15 Big Ones 6 ( 1976, UK pos 31 )
    Rock & Roll Music / It's Ok / Had to Phone Ya / Chapel of Love / Everyone's in Love With You / Talk to Me / That Same Song / T M Song / Palisades Park / Susie Cincinnati / A Casual Look / Blueberry Hill / Back Home / In the Still of the Night / Just Once in My Life

    Opens with a strangely lumpen sounding 'Rock And Roll Music'. Any sense of production has gone out of the window. Brian was, as the hype and advertising all proclaimed, 'back'. Except, that he wasn't. Not really. He was forced and coerced into producing this album. The idea was originally to record an album of covers as a warm up to get Brian back into the swing of things. Half way through he gave up, basically. Never one to miss an opportunity, Mike Love helped the record company put the thing out anyway. Very few originals here as a result. There are a few. 'It's Ok' is a perfectly respectable exercise in nostalgia. It sounds like The Beach Boys of old. You know, of 1964 or something. It even charted in modest fashion. 'Had To Phone Ya' is a short, quirky Brian Wilson original. It's not at all bad and shows what the following years 'Love You' would have up it's sleeve. 'Chapel Of Love' is notable because Brian sings and sounds full of beans. It's a horrible song from a musical point of view however and very corny. Mike contributes a pretty ballad before we reach the whole albums absolute nadir, 'Talk To Me'. Easily one of the worst things The Beach Boys ever did. Really. It sounds 1950's, dated and the production is terrible. 'That Same Song' is half a song but entertaining for Brian’s contribution vocally. 'TM Song' is very strange and ends the first half of the record.

    The second half opens with two strong songs. 'Palisades Park' has some of the strongest production of the whole record. Al Jardine's song 'Susie Cincinnati' was actually a re-recorded 'Sunflower' out-take. 'A Casual Look' and 'Blueberry Hill' are yet more cover versions performed in a fifties style. This is hardly the stuff of legend. No 'Good Vibrations' here! 'Back Home' was an old Brian Wilson composition but it's first recorded appearance. It's the best song here. Brian's voice has lost a little of it's purity. The production is still very basic. It really is catchy though and has an undeniable charm all of it's own. 'In The Still Of The Night' features some great vocals courtesy of Dennis. It suits him down to the ground. 'Just Once In My Life' is another Phil Spector cover. Fabulous production here. Brian had obviously made some effort over this. It's haunting, good singing. A fine moment and a good way to close. Overall though, this is hardly essential stuff. For fans only. It's good to hear Brian singing again though and the groups next project would be all the more interesting for his return as an active group member.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    1-- Atrocious return for the band. "It's OK" and "Had to Phone Ya" are fun ditties, but the remaining originals are poor, as Brian's return to the band seems hasty and forced. The overabundant covers are far too polished to generate any feeling, though the closer "Just Once in My Life" is beautifully sung by Carl and features some nice fuzz guitar. One the whole, however, this is a major misfire.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    I just don't see what people think is so bad about this album! I enjoy it to an extent, and ironically i think "Talk To Me" is the best song on the album! Carl's voice is gorgeous, and the whole song reminds me of around the holidays, especially New Years eve for some reason. "Chapel Of Love", "In The Still Of The Night", "Just Once In My Life", all very good cover versions to me! I also really like the version of "Palisades Park", although it is a lot less energetic then the original. All the originals are all great too (though Mike's "Everyones In Love With You" is sappy), especially "It's OK", which features an amazing tag by Dennis, and "Back Home", which should of been a Beach Boys classic about 12 years earlier. Only song i don't like is the "Rock And Roll Music" cover, but you absolutely can't ruin a classic song! I personally give it a 7. Even though it's not nearly as good as what the Beach Boys were doing just 2 years earlier, it was a rushed product requested from the greedy, asshole record company anyway. So concidering that, i think of it as a warm up to the classic Love You.

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    Not their worst album ever, I agree. I actually LOVE one of the songs - Had To Phone Ya - which puts this album above much of what they released post-Love You. Plus, This Same Song and It's OK are quite enjoyable. On the down side, there's crap like Everyone's In Love, and a bunch of covers that are mostly awful (not that I've heard all the originals). The world is fucked up when Till I Die fails to chart, while Rock And Roll Music goes top 10.

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    4/10. a huge disappointment. it must have been a kick in the teeth for beach boys fans in 1976 to have this flung at them, after the fuss and hype of the "brian's back" farce. the only genuine highlight here is the version of "just once in my life". i can imagine the beach boys playing it on a mid 1970s u.s. t.v. special a-la "the captain and tenile show" with brightly lit live film, and mimed to perfection. maybe they did, who knows? whatever the case is, it actually betters the original, and (here i go yet again) should have been on the boxset, especially when you consider that the humilliating "rock and roll music" was included. denny does his best with the very few vocal opportunities passed his way, but even he can't do anything about this major screw up. strictly for collectors only.

    GAZZA Edinburgh
    Well , its not a good album is it ? Brian was back in the production chair hence the hype but the decision to go for numerous cover versions scupper the enterprise . If you want to hear the boys murder "blueberry hill" and "rock n roll music" this is your chance . The arrangements are woeful , but its the 1st album where i heard poor,hoarse lead vocals from the guys ("chapel of love" "in the still of the night") . The one cover that should have suited the guys style "for once in my life" isnt a patch on the righteous brothers version , no matter how hard carl tries . The original material has some gems "its ok" "had to phone ya" "everyones in love" are all fun and well performed and "back home" benefits from a nice fat bassline but god check out the duffers - "the tm song" is just awful, "suzie cincinnati" an outtake from sunflower and "pallisades park" makes my teeth itch . The whole thing is also overdubbed to death and smothered with 70s synths . A real feelin! g of "will this do ?" pervades the whole exercise . And the cover ? It looks like a cheap fuckin k-tel compilation album . And brian looks half crazed . Avoid unless youre a completist...


    Love You ( 1977, UK pos 28 )
    Let Us Go on This Way / Roller Skating Child / Mona / Johnny Carson / Good Time / Honkin' Down the Highway / Ding Dang / Solar System / The Night Was So Young / I'll Bet He's Nice / Let's Put Our Hearts Together / I Wanna Pick You Up / Airplane / Love Is A Woman

    An album almost solely written and performed by Brian Wilson. Group members make contributions vocally. The musical backing is made up of very primitive sounding synthesizers. Groundbreaking stuff though. Brian just used whatever instrumentation was to hand, actually. 'Let Us Go On This Way' is immediately more engaging than much of '15 Big One's'. Al Jardine contributes vocally to the verses with Brian on the chorus parts. 'Roller Skating Child' is so simple sounding. This is no 'Good Vibrations' or 'God Only Knows', production wise. It sounds child-like. The lyrics certainly are. It's pure Brian Wilson though. So full of melody! And! It leads into 'Mona'. One of the happiest, most wonderful songs they ever did. Charming lyrics! Fantastic song all round. 'Johnny Carson' is a quirky bizarre tribute to the TV host. Mike contributes to this one. 'Good Time' is another 'Sunflower' out-take and sounds misplaced sonically. It's another wonderfully simple song packed full of melody. You know, none of this record is serious stuff. It's just great, grin inducing fun. It's so melodic, so Brian Wilson. Almost a Brian Wilson solo record in actual fact. The group was falling apart at this time and pretty much left him to it.

    We continue. 'Honking Down The Highway' musically has Brian playing everything including drums. He adds the 'honk honk' backing vocals. The melody goes round and round. The lyrics again are charming and I believe it's Al again on vocals. A great song guaranteed to make you smile. Music should :) 'Ding Dang' was written with Roger McGuinn of The Byrds. It's fifty eight seconds long. It's extremely peculiar. 'The Night Was So Young' for me is right up there. One of the best songs Brian Wilson has EVER written. Plain and simple. It's well performed, sounds good and it's heartbreakingly beautiful. 'I Wanna Pick You Up' is actually about Brian's home life and his then two young daughters. As sung by Dennis is sounds positively peculiar and rather worrying! It's hugely entertaining, although it's childlike lyrics will annoy some. Lyrically this is a very simple record. The music, although with weird synthesizer backing, is always great fun. If you can get over the sound of this record it's certainly a winner. If not, you are missing out on some of the best melodies Brian has ever written.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    10-- Brian is truly back with this one. This is an absolutely brilliant album full of amazing, phenomenal moments. The first half is great fun, and the second half consists of incredible, heart-breaking ballads that may bring tears to the sensitive. The ballads here may not be as technically or musically impressive as the ballads on Pet Sounds, but they are every bit as moving. A must-have.

    Joe H. jcjh@comcast.net
    Now THIS album is the true "brian is back" album. Amazing record, and so late in in the Beach Boys/Brian's career nonetheless. Every song here is fantastic, with awesome melodys and creativity all over, which results at one of my top 3 favorite Beach Boys albums. I absolutely love that synth bass sound they decided to use for this record too! "Honkin Down The Highway" has some of the greatest vocals from Al, "Let Us Go On This Way" is a fuckin' awesome synth drenched rocker (new wave, baby!), "The Night Was So Young" an absolutely gorgeous song with the greatest Brian falsetto heard on the record in years besides the 1970 leftover classic "Good Time" with Brian's old sweet vocals. "Love Is A Woman" is quite underrated as well. The rest rules as well of course. 10/10 definatly.

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    this album is another great beach boys album . It sounds a little bit weird very mutch unlike the other beach boys album that`s because syntezeiser featruring on so many of the song on the album. and the music isn`t either the typical Brian stuff with harmonic experimental music. The music goes more straight forward not so sofisticated. But that doesn`t matter at all. The lyrics are great indeed some of the songs are just funny and sweet like Roller Skating Child and Mona Other one is more personal and deep like Let us put our hearts toghetether witch is on of my favorite beach boys songs ever . The song express so honestly feeling and is so very personal . This album features many great songs and I want to recommend it for all music lovers all over the world .

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    Let Us Go On This Way comes storming out from the end of the 15 Big Ones album. I love the 'Rollllll-errrrr skaaaaa-ting child' tag. I find it hard to believe that Mona isn't a cover of a 50s doo-wop classic: a simple, brilliant, timeless melody. Is Johnny Carson still a TV host? Good Time sounds so much more at home here than it ever could on Sunflower, and that little "Hey!" at the end is IMPOSSIBLE to synchronise with when I'm singing along! Honkin Down The Highway combines one of Brian's strongest pop melodies with Do It Again-like drums. Ding Dang is the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard in my life. I read a review once that said that Solar System is 'a good way to learn to names the planets.' The Night Was So Young when I wrote this comment. I'll Bet He's Nice and posts it. Let's Put Our Hearts Together could easily have been sung by Olivia and John on the Grease soundtrack (one of my favourite albums). Dennis and Brian make for a hoarse combination on I Wanna Pi! ck Up: my favourite ballad here, with an accepella tag just like old times! Why does a stupid line like "the houses look so tiny, the cars look like dots" tug at my heart-strings? Love Is A Woman in most cases. Every song on Love You has, basically, something to love about it.

    paul spectorsound@aol.com
    awful production, bad singing (apart from carl's brief contribution)and purile lyrics make this a total embarresment for me. listen to pet sounds and then love you, and weep for a ruined genius. only "the night was so young" has any mark of brian's once brilliant talent. the only positive thing you can say about this album, is that its better than 15 big ones or miu. what must dennis have felt like, having to sit on wonderful songs like river song or rainbows while the boys were only interested in singing about roller skating cuties and pretending it was 1962 again.

    Bill Scherer bspro@comcast.net
    Oh my!! I am so surprised to see that anyone has anything good to say about the Love you disk beyond The Night was so Young. It's just a total load of crap. Lyrically it's total garbage. Look folks this was mostyly written and recorded by a guy that was having lots and lots of problems. We don't have to like it just because Brian did it. No one can appreciate his music and production more than I can but crap is crap. It was a therapy session and something for the greedy record company execs to try and make a buck on.

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    a charming and very "real" album, that's for sure...... reminds me of carole king's beautiful "really rosie" album from 1975. i'd imagine mr. wilson would have been a fan of that one. the frailty of brian and dennis is alarming, unnerving and glorious, rolled into one, as aptly demonstrated on "i'll bet he's nice" and "i wanna pick you up" the latter a display of manchild tendencies, that even the most vile androphobic valerie solanos type, wouldn't be able to criticise. i appreciate why some people are pissed off with "love you" as it's possibly the most aquired taste album of all time.......... 8/10.

    GAZZA Edinburgh
    Well im surprised this is rated so highly in the beach boys canon . For me its more evidence they should have quit after "holland" . It sounds like a bunch of demos recorded by a guy who was to be frank having a lot of problems at the time . Some of it is truly painful to listen to . "mona" is by far the best track but is marred by dennis's whiskey and fags voice , "lets put our hearts together" is like marriage counselling put to music and "love is a woman" has all the sincerity of a drunken karaoke session . Not to mention that lyrically this record is kind of creepy "roller skating child" being a prime example . I dont want to hark on about brians mental state at this point but he clearly wasnt in any state to helm beach boys albums . "johnny carson" kind of shows you where his head was at . Some fans say its a raw,fun album , but "wild honey" for me is a raw fun beach boys album and i still listen to it heaps but this isnt in the same class , anyone ! who thinks it is has bought too fully into the myth . Peter buck claims that this is his favourite beach boys album , i think he must be taking the piss .


    MIU Album ( 1978 )
    She's Got Rhythm / Come Go with Me / Hey Little Tomboy / Kona Coast / Peggy Sue / Wontcha Come Out Tonight? / Sweet Sunday / Bells of Paris / Pitter Patter / My Diane / Match Point of Our Love / Winds of Change

    Very much an Al Jardine project this, in the face of tensions within The Beach Boys camp that resulted in everyone leaving at some stage. Carl contributes very little to this album, singing lead on only one track and adding nothing at all in the way of guitar or keyboards. Dennis was also largely absent, lost in his own little world and separated somewhat from the group. Mike is still here, singing lead or co-lead on a few songs. Al is everywhere, and Brian even pops up in places and was credited as 'executive producer' whatever that means! Given all this turmoil, the record is surprisingly listenable, although not exactly original. 'She's Got Rhythm' features Brian and Al on vocals, Brian does well enough with his parts - not exactly accomplished but displaying plenty of verve and enthusiasm. 'Come Go With Me' is an old doo-wop song brought up to The Beach Boys formula by Al and a deserved hit single. 'Hey Little Tomboy' is a Brian song with very 'Brian' lyrics, hardly a poetic work of art, but very melodic and very Brian, although the actual production is perhaps a little bland. 'Kona Coast' would be a fine effort but for it not ripping off their own earlier 'Hawaii' to form a large part of the song!

    Al's version of 'Peggy Sue' encapsulates the problem this album faced within the commercial market-place, The Beach Boys just weren't seen as relevant anymore. It's a good enough version, just pretty much pointless. 'Wontcha Come Out Tonight' has some fine vocals, from Brian in particular, pleasingly. It's a simple, unambitious song, but rather charming all the same. Carl sings 'Sweet Sunday' and sings well, but the song is nothing much to write home about. 'Belles Of Paris' again features Brian in the vocal mix, Mike sings lead. 'Pitter Patter' is actually pretty good, with a little stomping rhythm and fine Al Jardine lead vocals, although the lyrics are fairly standard stuff. The closing 'Matchpoint Of Our Love' and 'Winds Of Change' are the weakest things on the whole album, poor lyrics in the former, very bland performances in the latter, although if pressed you could say it was 'sweet'. There is one particular highlight remaining, Brians 'My Diane' which Dennis sings! Brian does a little 'Pet Sounds' thing with the music, and Dennis gives this lots of passion and soul. It's a wonderful song, and a fine way to improve an album!

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    3-- A stumble. With Brian going back to his drug use, the remaining band members try to push on and the result is this collection of lightweight ditties that, though very easy to listen to, do nothing for the band-- artistically or commercially. There is a lot of beautiful singing here (especially on "Sweet Sunday," "Match Point of Our Love," and "Belles of Paris) but it can't make up for the weak compositions.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    I agree with the 7 here. All of Brian's compositions are awesome for starters (though "Matchpoint...", besides the lovely vocals, is kinda weak). "Sweet Sunday Kinda Love" and "My Diane" in particular should be Beach Boys classics. "Hey Little Tomboy" is also catchy as hell. Unfortunatly the rest is quite insignificant and basically a retread of former glories (even retreads from 15 Big Ones for pete sakes!). Good, but flawed. Now if only Adult Child was released in its place, we'd have another classic!

    john john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    ungodly. only "my diane" and to a lesser extent, "she's got rhythm" emerge with any sense of class and dignity. "come go with me" is the moment where the beach boys jump the shark. 2/10.


    LA Light Album 8 ( 1979, UK pos 32 )
    Good Timin' / Lady Lynda / Full Sail / Angel Come Home / Love Surrounds Me / Sumahama / Here Comes the Night / Baby Blue / Goin' South / Shortenin' Bread

    Bruce Johnston returns to The Beach Boys in the wake of Brian disappearing again. Carl is much more involved this time around though, and Dennis even gifts the group a couple of songs. So? Well, this is a fine latter day Beach Boys album! Ok, so it includes a horribly out of place, if actually very 'professionally' done Disco re-make of one their own old songs placed slap bang in its center! But, apart from that..... We have 'Good Timin' for a start, a Brian Wilson song wonderfully performed by Carl, truly as good a ballad as Brian has ever written. Al comes up trumps with 'Lady Lynda' incorporating a little classical theme to form a distinctive introduction to the song. 'Lady Lynda' was ignored in the U.S. but became a huge hit in England and Europe. It's very contemporary for the time ( late seventies ) and smoothly commercial, and really - as good as anything anybody else at the time had to offer the pop charts. 'Full Sail' is hardly a great musical track, but Carl is awesome vocally, fully saving the song and bringing it up to something more. Similarly, Dennis rescues bland musical material with 'Angel Come Home' giving one of his finest vocal performances, well, ever! 'Love Surrounds Me' isn't so hot, even being a Dennis Wilson original, and the disco song 'Here Comes The Night' so ridiculously out of place here, in the end it just manages to be funny. Bruce wanted to create the perfect disco record, apparently.

    'Sumahama' is a charming little overlooked Mike Love song, all about Japanese ladies, etc - something close to Mikes heart, by all accounts! But, seriously, it's a fine song that like 'Lady Lynda' was perfectly contemporary for the time. It's worth remembering, that with '15 Big Ones' and 'MIU', The Beach Boys had been seen more and more as an oldies act. What Bruce brought as producer of this set was to brings things a little more upto date for the group, and they do it well. Oh, and following on from the one certifiable classic on this set so far, 'Good Timin' Dennis turns in one of his orchestrated, heart yearning wonders with the truly amazing, tears in the eyes provoking ballad 'Baby Blue'! Sigh :) The harmonies through 'Baby Blue' are utterly gorgeous, by the way. To close we have a fine Carl vocal with 'Goin South' and a funny piece of Brian madness with 'Shortnin Bread'. Of course, this is no 'Pet Sounds'. This album, to be fair, is no 'Sunflower' either. But, even with it including the, um, interesting 'Here Comes The Night' remains a high quality album that's recommended to Beach Boys fans who tend to cease interest with the groups catalogue after 1971 or so.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    3-- More trouble. This album has more lightweight material, but of a more melancholy tone. The first half is full of soft ballads that are not very accomplished, but are pleasant nonetheless. But things go terribly wrong on the second half. Mike's "Sumahama" starts off nice and beautiful, but when Mike starts singing in Japanese, it gets sour. It is followed by the ten-minute disco version of "Here Comes the Night," which doesn't help. The next ballad, "Baby Blue," is okay but, in this pool of ballads, it is too much and too slow this late in the album. So is "Goin' South," though it has great singing and nice saxophone use. The album finishes off dreadfully with a rockin' take on "Shortenin' Bread," the bad idea of a demented Brian.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    An improvement over MIU if you ask me. This album has a more mellow sound to it, opposite of the upbeat, sunny, poor 60's nostalgic imitation, and frankly, i'd rather hear the Beach Boys do something different. This album also has some absolute gorgeous songs on here, which MIU lacked. "Baby Blue", "Good Timin'", "Goin' South", "Lady Lynda"... all have their share of gorgeous beauty. "Angel Come Home" and "Shortenin Bread" are strangely upbeat, and also very catchy and fun, without being nostalgic at all! Pity the Beach Boys would totally stop trying anything new after this album, and Dennis is probably the sole reason why this album is great. Unfortunatly, a few songs bog the rating down, and makes this album boring for most people to sit through, like "Full Sail", Mike's "Sumahama" and the very formulaic production, which makes everything sound similar. The "Here Comes The Night remake is also an incredible embarrassment and shouldn't of ever, ever been attempted. What a stupid idea, and what an insult to the awesome original! Overall i give this a 7. I'm sure if Brian was around more this would be even better.

    george molina natalee.888@netzero.net
    An improvement over MIU if you ask me. This album has a more mellow sound to it, opposite of never heard this album.i just wanted to say that i love good timin.classic carl wilson.that' enough to give this album at least a 5.

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    6/10. at least it's an improvement on the hideous "m.i.u." which is no surprise, considering that dennis and carl were allowed a lot more input here. i would rate "love surrounds me" as denny's most criminally ignored song. a smooth, semi funk, electronically driven, nocturnal ode, that leaves me in a mixed state of awe and aural enlightenment every time i hear it. "full sail" is actually a very beautiful song, which unfortunately loses it's potency due to a production style more akin to christopher cross, or peter cetera. a real shame, as the vocal harmonies are absolutely perfect. mike fucks things up with "sumahama" but the less said about this one the better... i've always had a soft spot for "here comes the night", an artistic enigma if ever there was one.... "lady lynda" is tolerable, but always worked better in concert. what really ruins the album, is finishing with the listless "goin' south" and a "15 big ones" style version of "shortenin' bread" instead of finishin! g on a high with the magnificient "baby blue", but there aint much we can do about it now.

    Johnpaul Davies Wolverhampton
    Although i agree with your review on the most part (as this is one of my least favourite BB albums) I do disagree with your verdict of Winds of Change. I Love this song!!!! Its got incredible harmonies and whilst the lyrics may not be brilliant they are on a par with anything Brian wrote at this stage in their career. Everytime i listen to this song it makes me choke back the tears i cant explain why its just beautiful music. My Diane is also amazing although i prefer the demo these 2 songs alone are the only reason i listen to this album.


    Keepin The Summer Alive ( 1980 )
    Keepin' the Summer Alive / Oh Darlin' / Some of Your Love / Livin' With a Heartache / School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell) / Goin' On / Sunshine / When Girls Get Together / Santa Ana Winds / Endless Harmony

    With Brian retreating again and Dennis absent - not too much can be said to recommend this. The title song is funky and 'Living With A Heartache' has a little enjoyable country feel to it. But really, this album is unique among Beach Boys albums. It doesn't have a single song that can be said to have that undefinable magic. 'Endless Harmony' and 'Some Of Your Love' come closest. 'Endless Harmony' shows that even at this late stage, the group could weave some of the best harmony singing around. 'Some Of Your Love' is a good time, fun, Beach Boys nostalgia trip and would have made a far better single than the truly plodding and dreary  'Goin On'. 'When Girls Get Together' for some reason gives off the image of two young girls walking across an icy landscape. Interesting!

    Shortly before and after this album, various members would record solo albums to differing degrees of success. At one point even Mike Love would leave the group, prompting Carl to re-enlist Brian to fulfil some concert dates. It seems nobody much cared about 'Keepin The Summer Alive', although Carl does do his best vocally to hold things together. He does just about hold things together, but the record company insisted upon Brian's involvement. This resulted in the clutch of new Wilson/Love compositions, but they hardly display the usual signs of Brian Wilson melodic invention. Brian wasn't in any real fit state, as far as the actual recording sessions were concerned he disappeared after just a couple of days work had been completed. 

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    5--While I agree with your overall rating of the album, I do not believe that this is the worst Beach Boys album (That dubious honor goes to 15 Big Ones). Also, though, after the lightweight ditties of The M.I.U. Album and the soft ballads of L.A. (Light Album), the tunes on Keepin' the Summer Alive are a major relief. On Keepin' the Summer Alive, the energy and momentum that helped define the Beach Boys sound is back, and so is the variety. Yeah, the lyrics here are mostly mediocre, but the band here actually sounds like a real rock and roll band, which they do not sound like in the two previous albums. I personally enjoy the single "Goin' On," and songs such as the title track, "Some of Your Love," and "Sunshine" are all fun cuts with a driving pulse. "Santa Ana Winds" may be a little corny, but it has nice guitar and violin work and, along with "Livin' With a Heartache," it adds nice stylistic variety. Yes, "When Girls Get Together" was recorded ten years before the album was released, but the orchestrated music and vocal blend is very pleasing. And the final moments of this album on, "Endless Harmony," are pure Beach Boys magic.

    Joe H Jcjh20@aol.com
    Half great, half stupid. "When Girls Get Together", despite the shitty mix they released on here compared to the original Landlocked mix, is the best song here and is a wonderful song that should of been released long ago. Beautiful unique arrangements and vocals. "Sunshine" is also a favorite of mine, as it's full of catchy vocals that will stick in your head and put a smile on your face. Mostly inconsistancies after that, but "Oh Darlin", "Some Of Your Love", and "Endless Harmony" are very enjoyable to an extent, especially "Endless Harmony", which has some gorgeous vocals at the end. The rest is decent, but not Beach Boys material. Dennis is not here at all which also really hurts the record and also really sucks, because more of his songs would of been really great to hear. It's really sad Dennis didn't even take part on the last record the Beach Boys recorded before he died, and i think they should of just broken up after this. The next self titled 1985 album is enjoyable in some moments, and there's also "Kokomo", but those wouldn't of been missed too much, and the Beach Boys legacy could of rested in peace easier. I give this a 6 or so.

    aleksander aleksander1983@hotmail.com
    I know many people would be very disagree but I just know this album is so great. Listen to songs as some of your love and so on songs like . getting a head ack and then girl gett toghet and so on. Truely many great songs here. The title track and endeless harmony is also great go get buy it this is good beach boys tunes on this album.

    Will
    Utterly without merit. It makes me realise how much the preceding two records were propped up by Dennis' contributions. Without him, and Brian writing by numbers, this is an utterly pointless record. How they could still be recording great stuff (isn't 'stevie' from 1980?) yet not release it, is beyond me

    Johnpaul Davies Johnpaul.davies@yahoo.co.uk
    This is very harsh review i am a big a beach boys fan as anyone i think this album displays some of the best vocal work the boys did for a very long time and goin' on is NOT dreary i personally think this is the last great BB song there is the harmonies are simply stunning although i agree the rest of the songs are average the production alone deserves more then 5 1/2 endless harmony is a glorious tune santa ana winds also i would give this album a 7

    Timmy Boston MA
    Everyone says Dennis was nowhere to be found on the album, and I have read in many books and online that he is absolutely heard on Endless Harmony. He attended a few sessions before takin off and took part somewhat. I love your website. I'm a big fan of the Beach Boys. Just figured Id drop you a line. Look it up and at least check it out that Dennis is heard on the Endless Harmony track. Thanks


    Live At Knebworth 1980 ( 2002 )
    Intro / California Girls / Sloop John B / Darlin / School Days / God Only Knows / Be True To Your School / Do It Again / Little Deuce Coupe / Cotton Fields-Heroes And Villains / Happy Birthday Brian / Keepin The Summer Alive / Lady Lynda / Surfer Girl / Help Me Rhonda / Rock & Roll Music / I Get Around / Surfin USA / You Are So Beautiful / Good Vibrations / Barbara Ann / Fun Fun Fun

    How about we start off by crying? I was crying, and not entirely out of joy. This release is the last ever recorded performance of the original Beach Boys line-up. Yeah, even Brian was there. Even Dennis was there, but then, they had another drummer as well. As well as another bass player, another guitar player - all helping out the overall sound. That's a little nasty of me, after all, many of these songs had a dozen musicians around to perform them in the studio, so why not live as well? Makes sense? It does, actually, but the relegation of Dennis to 'second drummer' and 'occasional' Piano player, really saddens me. He'd be dead three years later, from a boating accident. There's a wonderful moment of beauty here, the introduction to 'School Days', a Chuck Berry song, is taken acapella. They sound beautiful, pure California Beach Boys harmony, as if they'd never aged since 1963, and yeah, that's a compliment. As well as being one of the few times the original Beach Boys line-up would all be together in the same place, this concert marks another 'last'. It was the last time The Beach Boys would integrate new material into their set-list. The new material this time out includes an absolutely storming version of the title track from the album they were promoting, 'Keepin The Summer Alive' that FAR eclipses the studio original. So much so, attenders to this performance must have been mighty dissapointed if they'd rushed out following this gig to buy said album. The Beach Boys did play a few new songs in 1985, to be fair, but those songs were dropped like stones very quickly. The Beach Boys through the Eighties would become a travelling nostalgia act, a pale shadow of their former selves. With Dennis gone, the soul of the group was gone. With Brian gone, the heart of the group was gone. Who'd have even imagined, in the twenty first century, they'd still be a Beach Boys without Carl? Without a single Wilson Brother? Makes me wanna cry.

    'Sloop John B' opens with Brian taking the lead, and it's a delight. 'God Only Knows' is given the utmost respect, Carl sings it beautifully as ever - and it works as well as it ever did. 'Be True To Your School' i've always disliked, and then we enter party time! Except it sounds more like a funeral. A series of hits are played, including an inexplicable couple of Cottonfields married to a rushed through 'Heroes And Villains' given absolutely no respect. The entire crowd sing happy birthday to Brian, and then things pick up again. The Al Jardine showcase and hit single 'Lady Lynda' is nice and affecting, 'Surfer Girl' is always a delight to hear, but then we descend again. Cabaret, Beach Boys tribute band, Mike Love, Carl in the background. Dennis sings 'You Are So Beautiful' and I fall apart, heart broken. The encore of 'Good Vibrations', 'Barbara Ann' and 'Fun Fun Fun' is akin to The Beatles playing 'All You Need Is Love', 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' and 'She Loves You' as an encore in 1980. Can't imagine it, can you? Carl sings well throughout the first half of this album, especially through 'God Only Knows' and 'Darlin'. Dennis and Brian are all but inaudible for the most part, but The Beach Boys just about hold themselves together. There are reminders of who they once were, enough to please a fan at the time, but who even were their fans at the time? With the CD re-issue of 'Pet Sounds', years later in 1990, The Beach Boys would win a whole new audience. An audience that weren't just at Knebworth in 1980 out to have a good time, but an audience that actually loved them, even though the group was dead and gone as an on-going concern.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    6.5 is a bit cruel, adrian! by no means an essential album, despite the hype of it being the last time all 6 beach boys played in concert together, (which i find hard to believe, after all, it's june 1980, not 1983)it does however, have enough worthy moments to push it up to a 7.5, although i must conform to the general sentiment that the band were beginning to morph into an embarrasing "golden oldies" greatest hits show around this stage. it's rumoured that all of the set list isn't present on this recording, anyone know any different? the liner notes suggest that "santa ana winds" was played, and surely bruce would have got at least one centre stage moment, possibly "endless harmony" or even "disney girls" i also can't believe that they didn't play more songs from "light album" after all, it was their 2nd most recent release. the running time on the cd suggests that at least 4 or 5 more songs must have been performed, but correct me if i'm wrong........


    The Beach Boys ( 1985 )
    Getcha Back / It's Getting Late / Crack at Your Love / Maybe I Don't Know / She Believes in Love Again / California Calling / Passing Friend / I'm So Lonely / Where I Belong / I Do Love You / It's Just a Matter of Time / Male Ego

    An eighties album! With eighties drums! Dennis sadly had departed by this stage after drowning in a boating accident. His talent and character are missed here. A hot producer of the day Steve Levine who had also produced of all people 'Culture Club' was drafted in to shape the recording process. Brian was re-integrated into the group whether he liked it or not. Thankfully, although he didn't have a hand in the writing, the opening 'Getcha Back' is a wonderful slice of nostalgic pop. You can hear Brian in the harmonies - back on falsetto! He sings the closing section as well and drags the whole song up to a higher level. Many of the songs here sound like Carl Wilson solo projects. His vocals are amazing throughout and rescue rather substandard material. This is noticeable on the likes of second song 'It's Getting Late'. 'Where I Belong' is possibly the most affecting moment of the whole record and it's largely thanks to those heavenly Carl Wilson vocals. Brian's contributions to this record in terms of writing are very disappointing. He co-wrote 'California Calling' with Al and it sounds very dated. The production doesn't help but it's hardly a shining jewel in any case. 'It's Just A Matter Of Time' and 'I'm So Lonely' are affecting songs but they don't quite sound fully developed. The closing 'Male Ego' very dodgy lyrics apart, is hugely entertaining though - musically if not lyrically displaying Brian’s character. One of the few occasions his melodic touch shines through here.

    Other songs include 'Passing Friend', which is basically a Culture Club song sung by Carl Wilson. The production team is the Culture Club production team and the song was written by Culture Club. The music sounds like Culture Club! Thank god Carl doesn't try to emulate Boy George, though. Be thankful for small mercies! 'I Do Love You' is a Stevie Wonder song sung by Carl with assistance from Al. Bruce contributes 'She Believes In Love Again' which does overcome somewhat glossy production to end up sounding just like a Bruce Johnston song. Yay! It's not one of his better efforts, but it is affecting enough. Overall? Well, it's disappointing the five years that had passed since their last studio effort were not put to writing a few more decent songs! 

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Gary Michael Hewalked@aol.com
    6-- A return to par here. This is the last true Beach Boys album (consisting of new material and featuring both Brian Wilson and Mike Love), and it has a lot of fun moments. "Getcha Back" is a nice, lovely single, "It's Getting Late" and "Maybe I Don't Know" are pleasant and enegetic at the same time, and "Crack At Your Love" and "California Calling" simply give you a good time. "She Believes in Love Again," "Where I Belong," and "I'm So Lonely" are all decent, well-sung ballads. The two covers are okay, and the 1980's synthesizers take some of the edge off the album, but it is a worthwhile listen. The hidden track "Male Ego" is a fun, humorous Mike Love--Brian Wilson tune.

    john john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    the band's last decent creative moment. at least their hearts are in the right places. the general attitude of the guys is a lot better on this, and some of the songs [despite steve levine's sickeneing production] actually work. "where i belong" is yet another classic inexplicably left off the box set. the album is not without its flaws, especially the culture club song, and the sometimes o.t.t. performances of the guest stars, but it's better than it might have been...... i really dig the funky "straight down the middle" look, mike. 7/10.

    Steve
    Whatcha cookin'? While this album is certainly not a keeper as Beach Boys records go, its' worthwhile for fans once they've purchased the essentials. The production is very much a product of its' time, what with the synthesizers and digitalized vocals. The best songs overall, IMHO, are "It's Gettin Late" (great lead from Carl), "Where I Belong" (nice harmonizing by the guys) and Brian's simple-but touching "I'm So Lonely" and "It's Just A Matter Of Time." "Getcha Back" and "California Calling" are fun, even if they do try a little too hard to recapture the surf-cars-fun vibe of the guys' early 'sixties recordings. The two outside songs, "Passing Friend" (from Culture Club) and "I Do Love You" (from Stevie Wonder, who provides his always-groovy harmonica sound) are pleasant, if not definitive. The only outright duds are "She Believes In Love Again," which doesn't do anything for me, and "Crack At Your Love," which has a catchy melody and a funky vibe, but mediocre lyrics.! All in all, though, this is a decent album, and the songs do grow on you the more you play them.


    Still Cruisin' 6 ( 1989 )
    Still Cruisin' / Somewhere Near Japan / Island Girl / In My Car / Kokomo / Wipe Out / Make It Big / I Get Around / Wouldn't It Be Nice / California Girls

    The sound of The Beach Boys, even the sound they achieve here, had huge commercial potential circa the mid to late eighties. For evidence of this, just witness to return to selling records enjoyed by The Bee Gees. If only Mike Love had any semblance of sense whatsover and he really DID understand 'the business side' - The Beach Boys would have entered the nineties as a huge selling AOR act. Fair enough, that's not 'Pet Sounds', but the guys could still sing. Brian Wilson played no part in the putting together of this strange hodge-potch of an album, by the way. He'd officially left the group for good by this stage. That didn't stop them trying to place a bunch of one-off songs onto movie soundtracks, however. Which actually, is the basis of this album. One bone of contention however is the fact we only have seven new songs. They dug out their odious collaboration with the fat boys 'Wipe Out', but didn't see fit to include Brian penned 'Rock And Roll To The Rescue' or even their own occasionally charming in an AOR way cover of 'California Dreaming'. Another newish studio recording, 'Lady Liberty' was twice released as a b-side. So? Well, 'Still Cruisin' is rounded off with three of the groups big sixties hits, lending this whole enterprise a smell of Mike Love's particular brand of crass cashing-in commercialism. Just wait until you have an album of songs, yeah??

    'Somewhere Near Japan' revisits Mike's preoccupation with Japanese rather than California girls, but when Carl starts singing harmony - the whole track is saved and rendered gorgeous, anyway. The hit 'Kokomo' was a one-off, but it needn't have been. I mean, it's not great. It's a nice pop song for adults - Carl sings very well. Why couldn't they manage to continue with stuff like this?? It would have been better than being all bitter and disappearing, then releasing, well, crap. Al Jardine's 'Island Girl' is worthy enough, 'In My Car' has a writing credit of 'Wilson/Landy/Morgan' so was obviously the product of Brian Wilson writing sessions, rather than Beach Boys writing sessions. Still, it's a stellar tune. No, really, it is. 'Wipe Out' is awful, absolutely terrible, and 'Make It Big' the worst of the original material collected here. After which, the remaining three hits from the sixties sound so terribly out of place and manage to ruin the moon created by the other seven songs. A possible 'decent' commercial Beach Boys record. It did sell in any event, but enjoyable as many songs here are, probably didn't leave a very good taste in the mouth.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    not quite as evil as say, "15 big ones" or "m.i.u." in the sense that we expected so much better from the beach boys in the 1970s, but certainly not in 1989. then again, that throws up an arguement along the lines of, what the hell were the beach boys doing in the first place, by releasing a "new" album in 1989? what purpose could it possibly serve? judging by the end product, the cynicism of the latter is perfectly justified. "somewhere near japan" is a reasonably tolerable song in the circumstances, and "island girl" is likeable on it's own undemanding terms. i always wondered why al wrote so very few songs ENTIRELY on his own, considering he had a knack for coming up with worthwhile lyrics to other's music, and worthwhile music to accompany other's lyrics! very strange indeed. "wipe out" is on a par with taking a strategically placed shit into marina del ray, and you can just visualise mike rubbing his hands with glee, as he realises another shitehawk z movie director wan! ts him and his staff members to desicrate yet another song that they had done so much better in more sincere circumstances 20 plus years before. 3/10.


    Summer In Paradise 3 ( 1992 )
    Hot Fun In The Summertime / Surfin / Summer Of Love / Island Fever / Still Surfin / Slow Summer Dancin / Strange Things Happen / Remember Walking In The Sand / Lahaina Aloha / Under The Boardwalk / Summer In Paradise / Forever

    Why the hell did Van Dyke Parks agree to work on this thing??? The fate of The Beach Boys, into the nineties and beyond, as anonymous puppets of Mike Love is sealed. Non Beach Boys that contributed but wind up seemingly permanent members of the band as Mike tours the guys around the US for all eternity include Adrian Baker, who in the early 80s actually briefly replaced Carl Wilson on tour. A guy called Craig Fall, who could be absolutely anybody you bumped into in the street earlier today, plays guitar, mandolin and electronics. The Beach Boys themselves seem to only sing, bar occasional keyboards from Bruce and occasional guitar from Carl. Actor John Stamos is roped in to be 'the new dennis wilson, he has that spirit' - and I forget who or where that quote comes from, but JESUS CHRIST!! You don't remake Dennis Wilson's finest moment with an actor who has no place being on a Beach Boys album. You really don't. The other big no-no here is the hip-hop remake of the groups earliest hit, 'Surfin'. Mike wanted the group to be 'hip', 'with the times', whatever. It's actually not so bad if you imagine it produced by a bunch of session guys, perhaps for a television advert. Mike was advertising both himself and the image of The Beach Boys as 'America's Band'. You ever watched the 'Endless Harmony' DVD? At one point, Mike says, pretending to be kind of cool about it, but not being able to hide either his pride or his ego "and we became 'america's band'", kind of shrugging, and you just think, JESUS! Give it a rest, Mike!

    Anyway, this album actually isn't the complete disaster it's nearly always painted out to be. It's close, but 'Summer Of Love', crass lyrics included, at least has a decent hook and decent harmonies. The opening 'Hot Fun In The Summertime' isn't too bad, 'Island Fever' is very catchy and could have been another 'Kokomo' if the wind had been blowing in the right direction, you know? The album gets bogged down in mid-tempo anonymous AOR hell and even the vocals of Carl Wilson can't save the likes of 'Lahaina Aloha'. But, bad as this album truly is, i've heard worse. I've heard worse by bands who released albums in 1992/1993 that sold millions of copies. You can't blame Mike Love for everything, much as certain fans would like to. He tried, you know? Misguided, possibly - but he tried.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    John Shawler js242899@ohiou.edu
    I don't think this album deserves a 3-it's certainly more of an album than Still Cruisin', and has more original tunes than 15 Big Ones. This was the last Beach Boys record, and I don't think it was too bad of a swan song.

    R.S. Churchman robert@s-churchman.wanadoo.co.uk
    Brian is God, right? Brian hates Mike, right? Therefore Mike is the anti christ! Well maybe, but should we be so harsh on his work? I recently bought this album to complete my BB collection. Yes, it is corny in places but the more i play it the more i like it. Don't ask my why but i just do. For the record the last two concerts i went to were Brian's Smile tour and the Mike/Bruce version of the Beach Boys. Have to say the former was mind blowing and the latter was suprisingly excellent.

    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Oh Michael, oh why? "I can't hold it! She's breaking up.... She's......" *KABOOM* 0/10. It probably deserves some kind of ironic praise though, for making "M.I.U." sound like an antidote.

    Bluekahuna Liverpool
    Hated it at the time, but I have mellowed a bit. It certainly wasn't a 'tour de force' that we would have wished for, but without Brian it was always going to be 'so tough'. The positives; some great harmonies and trademark Beach Boys at that, a few decent songs, and this will be subjective, but I like STH, SIP, SS, and one or two others. Yes some of the songs were utter crap and Forever should not have been used. A 'limp out' then from a great band who will always retain their rightful place as one of the greats in musical history, often misunderstood and sometimes unappreciated, but also much loved across the globe. Good vibrations indeed people.


    Good Vibrations - 30 Years Of The Beach Boys 10 ( 1993 )
    Disc One : Surfin' U.S.A. [Demo Version] / Little Surfer Girl / Surfin' / Surfin' [Rehearsal] / Their Hearts Were Full of Spring [Demo Version] / Surfin' Safari / 409 / Punchline [Instrumental] / Surfin' U.S.A. / Shut Down / Surfer Girl / Little Deuce Coupe / In My Room / Catch a Wave / Surfer Moon / Be True to Your School / Spirit of America / Little Saint Nick / Things We Did Last Summer / Fun, Fun, Fun / Don't Worry Baby / Why Do Fools Fall in Love? / Warmth of the Sun / I Get Around / All Summer Long / Little Honda / Wendy / Don't Back Down / Do You Wanna Dance / When I Grow Up (To Be a Man) / Dance, Dance, Dance / Please Let Me Wonder / She Knows Me Too Well / Radio Station Jingles / Concert Promo/Hushabye [Live]

    Disc Two : California Girls / Help Me, Rhonda / Then I Kissed Her / And Your Dream Comes True / Little Girl I Once Knew [45 Version] / Barbara Ann [45 Version] / Ruby Baby / Koma [Radio Promo Spot] / Sloop John B. / Wouldn't It Be Nice / You Still Believe in Me / God Only Knows / Hang on to Your Ego / I Just Wasn't Made for These Times / Pet Sounds / Caroline, No / Good Vibrations [45 Version] / Our Prayer / Heroes and Villains [Alternate Version] / Heroes and Villains (sections) / Wonderful / Cabinessence / Wind Chimes / Heroes and Villains (Intro) / Do You Like Worms / Vegetables / I Love to Say Da Da / Surf's Up / With Me Tonight

    Disc Three : Heroes and Villains [45 Version] / Darlin' / Wild Honey / Let the Wind Blow / Can't Wait Too Long / Cool Cool Water / Meant for You / Friends / Little Bird / Busy Doin' Nothin' / Do It Again / I Can Hear Music / I Went to Sleep / Time to Get Alone / Break Away / Cotton Fields (The Cotton Song) [45 Version] / San Miguel / Games Two Can Play / I Just Got My Pay / This Whole World / Add Some Music to Your Day / Forever / Our Sweet Love / H.E.L.P. Is on the Way / 4th of July / Long Promised Road / Disney Girls / Surf's Up / Til I Die

    Disc Four : Sail on Sailor / California / Trader / Funky Pretty / Fairy Tale Music / You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone / Marcella / All This Is That / Rock & Roll Music / It's Ok / Had to Phone Ya / That Same Song / It's Over Now / Still I Dream of It / Let Us Go on This Way / Night Was So Young / I'll Bet He's Nice / Airplane / Come Go with Me / Our Team / Baby Blue / Good Timin' / Goin' On / Getcha Back / Kokomo

    Disc Five: In My Room [Demo Version] / Radio Spot #1 / I Get Around [Track Only] / Radio Spot #2 / Dance, Dance, Dance [Tracking Session] / Hang on to Your Ego [Sessions] / God Only Knows [Tracking Session] / Good Vibrations [Sessions] / Heroes and Villains [Track Only] / Cabinessence [Track Only] / Surf's Up [Track Only] / Radio Spot #3 / All Summer Long [Vocals] / Wendy [Vocals] / Hushabye [Vocals] / When I Grow Up (To Be a Man) [Vocals] / Wouldn't It Be Nice [Vocals] / California Girls [Vocals] / Radio Spot #4 / Concert Intro/Surfin' U.S.A. [Live 1964] / Surfer Girl [Live 1964] / Be True to Your School [Live 1964] / Good Vibrations [Live 1966] / Surfer Girl [Live in Hawaii Rehearsals 1967]

    The music of The Beach Boys can be many things depending on who you happen to be, your cultural upbringing, the year you were born. The music of The Beach Boys can be some cornball song about Surfing and nothing else. It can be an image in your mind of a greying, balding Mike Love fronting a live group that pass as no more / no less than an ageing, if professional, covers act. The music of The Beach Boys can be something else, it can mean the entire world, be unmatchable, unsurpassed art of the highest order. It can be a group who recorded a few hit songs in The Sixties that you don't really like to think about, because, you know, it's old, it's irrelevant. This box-set was released to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their first top ten hit single, 'Surfin USA'. For those that view The Beach Boys as art, that view Brian Wilson as a genius and the groups vocal capabilities as unsurpassed examples of harmony and arrangements - there is much to enjoy here. Unreleased or difficult to find songs, an entire disc devoted to the era 1967 through to 1971, an era in which they made frequently beautiful, if often overlooked, music. There is more than that, here, however. The box-set as a whole could work as an introduction to the groups music for someone who'd never heard them before, if such a thing is imaginable. Everyone it seems, fan or novice, Brian Wilson fan or 'I Get Around' fan has some kind of opinion about The Beach Boys.

    Capitol Records endless re-issue program concentrating almost exclusively on the 1962 to 1965 era and hits albums whilst the groups seventies output remained deleted for years and years has distorted the view of this group for some time. Even at the time the likes of 'Sunflower' and 'Surfs Up' were being issued, the group were in an uneasy position of selling a fraction of the records they did in the mid-Sixties, and therefore were seen as irrelevant at a time each and every single ex-beatle had chart topping solo records, for example. When 'Good Vibrations' topped the charts worldwide in 1966 following the highly acclaimed 'Pet Sounds' it seemed as if The Beach Boys were ready to topple anybody, Beatles included. All they needed to do was to make the greatest album anyone had ever heard, or would ever hear, an indisputable masterpiece that would be as acclaimed as 'Pet Sounds' but also sell millions and millions into the bargain. There was a lot of pre-hype about the album to be titled 'Smile', so when it never appeared, crisis loomed. Almost overnight The Beach Boys had become irrelevant, washed-up, sent back to California to lay bloated on the beaches and the surf from which they first crawled. Only, it didn't quite happen that way. Brian was suffering from taking LSD, from paranoia, from having worked non-stop for four, five, six years. He'd had a breakdown back in 1964, in 1967 he had another break-down, one from which it's generally perceived he has never really recovered from to be quite the same hard-working genius he was before. So, The Beach Boys build a home studio in Brian Wilsons house, encouraging him to participate whenever they could. Carl and Dennis Wilson, even Mike, Bruce and Al all stepped up to contribute song-writing, they coaxed Brian to write songs, sometimes recorded his songs without his permission or knowledge. They created some beautiful music from 1967 to 1971, different music to 'Surfin USA' or 'I Get Around' for sure, and for sure, there wasn't the same sense of The Beach Boys progressing and progressing to a certain pinnacle, but each album offered something new and mysterious, each album offered something different, it was a period of discovery and sheer love of making music that drove them on, even though it appeared nobody was listening. Disc Three on this box set encapsulates that era, and that's the finest disc of all five for this unrepentant and passionate Beach Boys lover.

    A demo of 'Surfin USA' contains none of the Brian Wilson production, no harmonies and lo-fi recording quality. Brian sings the song that would really send them on their way, sings in a raw voice whilst bashing away at a Chuck Berry riff on the Piano. Even here there is a moment of wonderful, unexplainable transcendence that thrills me. When Brian sings "Everybodies gone Suuuurfinn....." it just gets to me. You can't explain the reason or thought behind this. It's a human voice, the sound of a man full of passion and joy, audible and infectious passion and joy. 'Little Surfer Girl' is no more than a mere fragment. We progress through a series of songs that show progress in writing and production. '409' was an early Car song, a switch from the girls, sun and surf material. The Beach Boys would create a concept album entirely focused around their love of the motor car, a love shared by their teenage audience at the time. 'Punchline' is a Surf instrumental perfectly well done, but hardly the stuff of legend. 'Surfin USA', the single version, still represents to most the sound of The Beach Boys, and anything else doesn't really even enter their hearts or imaginations, and for those people I feel so sad and sorrowful, that they'll never get to hear 'Surfs Up' or 'Mona', 'The Night Was So Young' or 'God Only Knows', never really get 'to hear' those songs, even if they happen across them, because they won't be listening and their hearts will be closed and their minds full of striped shirts and the desperately uncool imagery and fashion of early Beach Boys. Personally speaking, if I never heard 'Surfin USA' ever again, it would be no great loss to me. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the song, but it is so inferior to the songs that followed that it's position in Beach Boys history makes me uneasy. 'Shut Down' and 'Little Deuce Coupe' are Car songs, full of passion and good vocals, 'Surfer Girl' a heavenly hymn devoted unashamedly to an ideal of a California residing, Blonde haired and perfect angel of Brian's imagination. When Brian gets going with his "little one" falsetto, nothing else matters. There is a love and honesty coming through that just thrills me. 'In My Room' can be seen as comparable to The Beatles 'There's A Place'. Were they listening to each other as early as this? The difference is Johns place was his mind, Brians place was his heart - the singing and lyrics here perfectly evoking and representing the feeling of retreating to yourself and your own environment where you won't be afraid, where you'll be comforted and everything will be ok. 'Catch A Wave' is a perfect summer sensation, outtasight! A real early 'Wall Of Love' Brian Wilson song in response to Phil Spectors 'Wall Of Sound'. 'The Surfer Moon' is charming, if slightly cornball, 'Be True To Your School' is a Mike Love concept, and i've never enjoyed it's blatant commercialism.

    Lesser known gems from The Beach Boys early era such as 'Spirit Of America' are gorgeous vocal exercises where Brian's falsetto shines through, they built a career around that falsetto. 'Don't Worry Baby' is an inspired response to Phil Spectors 'Be My Baby' which although is a classic in it's own right comes across more as a command, 'Be My Baby', where Brian is pleading, human and affecting, the love and emotion shining through in the falsetto and the beautiful vocal arrangement that just sounds so warm it could reduce your heating bills all through the winter.  'The Warmth Of The Sun' is beautiful, the 'Today' material beautiful and even more sophisticated production wise, Brian was growing and growing. One slight quibble, why isn't 'Kiss Me Baby' here? Generally speaking though, the song selection on this box includes everything important than any Beach Boys fan could ever hope for. There will always be certain omissions, but this Box does do a fantastic job of representing The Beach Boys entire career extremely well. Disc two is necessarily flawed, trying to excerpt 'Pet Sounds' selections away from their original context that just creates a longing within you to listen to all of 'Pet Sounds'. You find yourself missing the songs not here, the beautiful 'Don't Talk' being the most notable omission for me personally, although altogether eight of the thirteen 'Pet Sounds' songs ARE here. An out-take from 'Beach Boys Party' wouldn't be the place you'd possibly expect to find the first genuine thrilling and unmissable out-take on this box. But, there it is. 'Ruby Baby', sung by Brian with dumb/clever/thrilling harmonies, very homely complete with pig 'oinking' noises that still can't take away from the sheer thrill to be found in Brians vocal performance. Why wasn't this on 'Beach Boys Party' in the first place? Following 'Pet Sounds' we have 'Good Vibrations' with sunlight playing on hair, an expensive yet justified production, justified because it sold zillions of copies and broke new ground in production techniques. A multi-part song with sections seamlessly stitched together that were recorded not only at different times but in different studios. She goes with me to a blossom world. The extensive use of Theremin, a strange device that you not so much played as waved your hand in front of hoping for the best was inspired, but there is so much more here on display all through 'Good Vibrations' that it would take an essay in itself to go into them all. The switch into the long-lost 'Smile' material is striking to say the least. 'Our Prayer' is difficult for me to listen to without breaking into tears, just this one minute or so of truly heavenly sounding harmonies the like of which we probably will never see ever again for as long as music exists, and there is a world for it to exist in. The alternate version of 'Heroes And Villains' was recorded right in the throes of the creation of 'Smile' and thus is a far truer representation of what 'Smile' may have been over the 'Smiley Smile' hit 45 version.

    The 'Smile' material occupies its own world, and once you've adjusted to this wildly different if unfinished and incomplete Beach Boys material offers many many rewards. It's truly a different place. 'Wonderful' as included here, the genuine 'Smile' version is just Brian and a harpsichord. How come it sounds so great? How come it pulls and tugs at my heart strings and how come it was released on 'Smiley Smile' in a different version that doesn't contain even a fraction of the beauty of this version? Questions that will probably never be answered. 'Wind Chimes' also differs hugely from it's 'Smiley Smile' version, this version is so much more powerful it's almost a completely different song altogether. This version has a friend in 'Cabinessence', although switches between heat-breaking quiet sections and noiser walls of production more effortlessly than the still fine  'Cabinessence'. 'I Love To Say DaDa' and 'Do You Like Worms' are fragments of repeating melodies and clearly nowhere near finished - they sound like they were hardly begun. The version of 'Surfs Up' contained here on Disc Two is a Brian Wilson solo version that almost matches the impossible glory and beauty of the completed and revived 1971 version. 'With Me Tonight' ends this disc, an absolute holy highlight from 'Smiley Smile' that shows Brian and the boys far from faded creatively. This is vocal heavy, light on music, but when you have four, five voices that sound this good in combination, music is hardly necessary. Moving onto disc three, which i've already stated is my favourite of this box, although doesn't overshadow anything else, contains the best out-takes. I'll concentrate on the out-takes, because I could talk all day about the brilliant 'Wake The World', the rocking 'Darlin', or the fabulous Dennis Wilson song 'Little Bird'. Buy the albums. Buy 'Wild Honey', buy 'Friends' - they are both worth hearing in their entirety, although the selections contained here are so very cleverly chosen and beautifully sequenced. Disc three can work as an album in its own right, as well as part of this box. It's truly a beautiful thing, and may shock and delightfully surprise those who aren't at all familiar with anything other than the early material. This is a different place. 'Breakaway' was the finest Beach Boys single to never have been a hit, Brian co-wrote it with his father Murry in a rare moment of reconciliation. 'San Miguel' is a hell of a great Dennis Wilson song with stupendous production and vocal sounds. A singer called Joe South had a single Brian dug, so he wrote a song about it, dashed it off, recorded it quickly and seemingly by himself, although the sound of The Beach Boys group is definitely heard in harmony. This dashed off quickly recorded and forgotten material is better than the material and melodies most groups at the time spent months and months producing. This one song has such great harmony singing, also a feature of the funny, grin inducing 'I Just Got My Pay', which sees the boys harmonizing like it was 1964 again, but married to much improved sound production. The 'Sunflower' material remains as great as it ever was, special mention for Dennis here. Somedays his 'Forever' is my favourite song of all time - one reason for this being the 'na na na' vocal harmonies to close, sung by Brian at a time he didn't sing all that often on Beach Boys records. Brian had great love and respect for his Brother Dennis and his artistic development. Dennis wrote or co-wrote nearly half of 'Sunflower' and it's clear it wouldn't have been the wonderful album it is without Dennis. Dennis contributed nothing at all to the follow-up to 'Sunflower' a victim of group politics, such politics that occasionally did get in the way of the best artistic decisions. Still, Carl stepped up to write his finest ever song, the sheer glory and adventure in vocal sound that is 'Long Promised Road'. Dennis isn't finished yet, though. An out-take of his '4th Of July' is truly lovely, heartbreaking beauty, and his voice wonderfully expressive. The 'finished' version of 'Surfs Up' is an incredible piece of writing, the finest writing that took place when 'Smile' was being planned. Carl was the driving force behind piecing together the fragments of 'Smile', and his time was more than worth it for giving us this. They had intended to put together and finish 'Smile' in this fashion, but it never happened, they needed Brian to conceptually piece it together and he simply wasn't interested in re-visiting the past, however artistically successful the results may have been.

    Disc four is the wilderness years, even more so than disc three. The songs here are spread over a sixteen year time span in which Brian was ever less involved, although he did magnificently rally for one album in particular. Somebody bought me this box set for my birthday one year. I listened to 'Smile', then I found myself going through this fourth disc. I was instantly taken with the four songs from 'Love You'. There is nothing else like these songs, the production so strange, yet the songs so beautiful, especially 'The Night Was So Young' which should prove once and for all that Brian simply couldn't lose what he had in him, that fountain of creativity. You can't just 'lose' what you once had, sure it can be buried, but it never goes altogether, and here it is. The opening songs on this disc focus on 'Carl And The Passions' and 'Holland', the 'Holland' material bearing up particularly well within this context, Carl's 'Trader' and Al's 'California' being special notable moments of grin-inducing and affecting sound-bliss. 'Fairy Tale Music' is a strange thing, a little concept piece Brian produced on his own, with a little help from Carl, that originally was issued as a bonus on the 'Holland' album. Here, we lose the narration, and it's all the better for it. Brian couldn't concentrate too well, he had so many unfinished songs, and 'Fairy Tale Music' comes across and six or so songs all unfinished yet put together in the one suite. It's a beautiful, gorgeous thing. 'All This Is That' was a Carl vocal of glory from the 'Carl And The Passions' album, an album short on ideas but strong on performance. Mike comes in with a few vocal lines, and even Mike sounds warm and loving. The vocal arrangement here which Brian took no part in whatsoever, is evidence that The Beach Boys as an entity had a lot to offer at that time, Brian or no Brian. Four songs are featured from '15 Big Ones' a forced Brian production, and the worst four songs here. Compare them to 'It's Over Now' and 'Still I Dream Of It', two songs from a ballad and string Sinatra styled unreleased Brian Wilson solo album. But, what's this? His seventies nicotine fueled cracked voice is replaced by beautiful, deep voiced singing that breaks my heart. Brian reportedly wrote 'Still I Dream Of It' with the hope Frank Sinatra would cover the song. Then again, the lyrics kind of distance this from Frank Sinatra material, this one song will come to be seen as truly representative of Brian, his heart and soul, when he's no longer with us. Trust me on that, this is glorious, beautiful stuff, the lyrics are so full of pain, heartbreaking passion, regret yet infused with hope. I identify with this so hugely, and the lyrics are at once funny and romantic, lonely and lovely. Til then i'm just a dreamer, i'm convinced of it.

    The later Beach Boys material includes brilliantly commercial moments in a good way from Al Jardine, a fun throwback in the out-take 'Our Team' which seemingly promises another 'Beach Boys Party' only in 1978. 'Baby Blue' is one of the most beautiful songs anyone has ever written, anywhere.  'Good Timin' has gorgeous vocal harmonies, a song co-written by Brian and Carl. The final three songs on disc four span a period of eight years, not the groups best era, but I dig 'Getcha Back' with Brian back on falsetto where he belongs. The fifth and final disc on this box is packaged like a bootleg and features a variety of session material, in the studio material, vocal or instrumental material and a mere smattering of live material. A disc for the already converted. The demo of 'In My Room' is lovely, the 'Good Vibrations' session material creates a longing for the promised 'Good Vibrations Sessions' album that has been rumoured. So very many ideas went into the final song, and these ideas which ended up being dismissed or lost are almost great 'songs' in themselves. One truly gorgeous moment, soft airy and holy vocal harmonies appear singing "hold me down, hold me down, woe uh!" - beautiful stuff. So, The Beach Boys? They make me laugh, smile and cry. Crying can be a good thing. Emotional stuff, difficult times when listening to 'Pet Sounds' or 'Love You' can seemingly rescue your life, take you away from the brink. There are other times of love and celebration, when 'All Summer Long' or 'Holland' is the perfect soundtrack. The sound of their vocals is unmistakable and truly not something I can even begin to explain. Just a little combination of four or five human voices, singing a sound, not even a word - can break my heart. I can't explain that.

    Return To Featured Reviews or

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    john,co.kildare,ireland. js242899@ohiou.edu
    im afraid to say this is more of a lost opportunity than a celebration of a glorious artistic legacy.i think the best comparison we can make is with the brilliant 30 years of maximum rnb by the who.as this gem was released a year after good vibrations,prehaps "the powers that be" had learned from the mistakes of the previous.with "rnb" we get a perfect balance of obvious classics/obligotary hit singles, cult classics/fan favourites,alternative versions of the well known tunes,a good balance of released/unreleased live tracks,completely unreleased studio songs [most are excellent], hard to find b sides, off the wall studio/live chit chat,lots of radio ads and interviews,and of course,what i would consider to be DELIBERATELY included bad tracks, just to deliciously stir up the mix,as it where.unfortunately precious little of this approach exists on gv.also at fault is the way songs are included almost in exact chronological order,and the deeply irritating way the precious few ! live songs are all lumped together at the end.there are a MINIMUM of ten songs that SHOULD have been included here,and AT LEAST ten dropped [come go with me included ahead of my diane?????!!!!!! HELLO!]the lack of instrumentals and conservative inclusion order is a grade "a" bummer,alongside precious little fom dw [no be with me,cuddle up,carry me home or love surrounds me]and the BIGGEST crime is only FOUR songs from sunflower.unforgivable! there is a plus side however,that ups the positivity levels,that being the first real official journey into the epicentre of smile,as well as the first release of the almost supernatural still i dream of it,a truly devine song,and american equivalent of sandy denny,s who knows where the time goes.and why the hell were blondie and ricky given such a pitiful mention?! insulting or what?! i will conclude [thank god] by suggesting gv is far from being a dissapointment, but considering what it could have been,and how easy it would have been ! to do it....... i give the music 10/10,and the overall project! 7/10


    Endless Harmony 9 ( 1998 )
    Soulful Old Man Sunshine / Soulful Old Man Sunshine / Radio Concert Promo 1 / Medley: Surfin' Safari/Fun, Fun, Fun/Shut Down/Little Deuce Coupe/Surfin' U.S.A. / Surfer Girl / Help Me, Rhonda / Kiss Me, Baby / California Girls / Good Vibrations / Heroes And Villains / Heroes And Villains / God Only Knows / Radio Concert Promo 2 / Darlin' / Wonderful-Don't Worry Bill / Do It Again / Break Away / Sail Plane Song / Loop De Loop / Barbara / 'Til I Die / Long Promised Road / All Alone / Brian's Back / Endless Harmony

    'Soulful Old Man Sunshine'! And a NEW vocal from AL with 'Loop De Loop'. It's good, too. And a great unreleased couple of Dennis moments! Soulful Old Man Sunshine is stunning and it's hard to credit that it remained unreleased all this time. Worth buying for this one song alone. And some good live tracks here too, especially 'Darlin' on which Carl gives a superlative vocal performance. A demo of Heroes And Villains is dubious listening but interesting to hear for a section called 'Barnyard' another missing piece in the 'Smile' jigsaw. 'Kiss Me Baby' has been given a stereo remix that is so crystal clear in terms of sound quality it makes you wish all their sounds were given similar treatment. The groups highly regarded Seventies engineer Steve Desper was involved, and as far as I'm concerned, should be given the task of upgrading all of The Beach Boys catalogue, if he does such a fine job as this! Oh, and amongst the many highlights this fine compilation has to offer, 'Til I Die' is extended, the vocals dropped out or re-ordered and it's a truly wonderful thing.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    john john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    "soulful old man sunshine" is absolutely fucking mesmirising!!!! everytime i hear it, it reminds me of the glorious summer of 2003, when i first bought the album. sunny delight for your ears. the rest of the album is pretty good as well, especially the new, revamped "kiss me baby". now we can REALLY hear the fantabulous vocal arrangement. finishing with the "regular" version of "endless harmony" is a bit odd, but it works very well in the overall context of the album. 8.5./10.

    gary garlin10@aol.com
    My favorite off this album is Brian's Back. it is a balance of satirical, sentimental, and a reminder of how the beach boys were only as good when Carl and Mike, Al and Bruce (and Brian, when invited) loved what they did and not try to be political or spiritual or anything else but just THE BEACH BOYS.

    pieter flandersfield
    Don't agree with that meager 7. For me personally it's worth at least a 9, because Hawthorne CA was the issue that converted me to BB music. There are so many extremely touching musical moments on it: the perplexing rendition of Devoted to you or Their hearts were full of Spring. Only the vocals from Can't wait to long and Kiss me baby. The massive instrumental track for Dennis' Be with me, but also for Sail on sailor. I prefer the demo from Litlle deuce coup above the album version. I think Hawthorne CA is an essential part of the BB catalogue. There is so much to discover on it. And again, it was the first BB cd I gave serious attention. From then on I called myself a fan.


    Hawthorne CA 7 ( 2001 )
    Mike Love introduces Surfin' / The Surfin' Rehearsal / Happy Birthday Four Freshmen / Mike on Brian's Harmonies / Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring / Surfin' USA / Surfin' USA / Carl Wilson Radio Promo / Shut Down / Little Deuce Coupe / Murry Wilson Directs A Radio Promo / Fun, Fun, Fun / Brian's Message To 'Rog' / Dance Dance Dance / Kiss Me Baby / Good To My Baby / Chuck Britz on Brian in the studio / Salt Lake City / Salt Lake City / Wish That He Could Stay / And Your Dream Comes True / Carol K Session highlights / The Little Girl I Once Knew / Alan and Dennis Introduce Barbara Ann / Barbara Ann / Barbara Ann / Mike on The Everly Brothers / Devoted To You / Dennis Thanks Everybody / Can't Wait Too Long / Dennis Introduces Carl / Good Vibrations / Good Vibrations / Heroes And Villains / Vegetable Promo / Vegetables / You're With Me Tonight / Lonely Days / Bruce on Wild Honey / Let The Wind Blow / I Went To Sleep / Time To Get Alone / Alan and Brian talk about Dennis / A Time To Live In Dreams / Be With Me / Dennis introduces Cotton Fields / Cotton Fields / Alan and Carl on Break Away / Break Away / Add Some Music To Your Day / Dennis Wilson / Forever / Sail On, Sailor / Old Man River / Carl Wilson / The Lord's Prayer / Carl Wilson - Coda

    Not an essential compilation, it must be said. A disappointment is the selection of tracks. Why a stereo remix of 'Heroes And Villains' when the unreleased two part 'Heroes And Villains' from Smile is still unavaliable? The radio spots in-between the songs are amusing to listen to once or twice but irritating after a while. The main reason to consider buying this is to get hold of previously unreleased songs. Songs, as opposed to performances or tracks. 'Lonely Days' is a 'Wild Honey fragment. Short but so full of melody! 'A Time To Live In Dreams' is a Dennis Wilson song. You should know if you've been reading my other reviews that I love Dennis. Almost as if to prove his talents were under-used great wondrous songs of his keep appearing from beyond the grave! What wouldn't Mike Love give for a new song this good to put on a new Beach Boys album? Another reason to buy this, for me, is with the acapella songs. Especially on the later material. An acapella 'Forever' absolutely kills me. So beautiful. And with a little surprise at the end! But, overall, this compilation is just an interesting curio for already dedicated fans. I can't see it appealing too much to the merely curious. For them, there are better hits compilations out there.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?


    That's Why God Made The Radio 8 ( 2012 )
    Think About The Days / That's Why God Made The Radio / Isn't It Time / Spring Vacation / The Private Life of Bill And Sue / Shelter / Daybreak Over The Ocean / Beaches In Mind / Strange World / From There To Back Again / Pacific Coast Highway / Summer's Gone

    This is the first original beach boys album to feature Brian Wilson in twenty seven years and the first to be led by him creatively for thirty six years. Since 1988, Brian has released a number of solo albums to differing degrees of creative reception, some received great receptions. Yet, surely nobody expected this, a genuine beach boys reunion featuring all the remaining original members and backed by a selection of Brian's touring band. Jeff Foskett who had toured with the Beach Boys prior to lending his voice to Brian's solo albums steps in for some of the higher harmonies required to achieve a genuine Beach Boys vocal blend. Elsewhere Brian takes lead vocals, Al a few, Mike a couple and that's about it. Bruce and David Marks seem marginalised vocally, but at least you can hear Bruce filling out harmonically. I'm not sure David Marks sings at all although I could be wrong on that point. The songs have various origins, some seem to have been designed for Brian Wilson solo projects, others were almost certainly written especially for this project and one, Mike's 'Daybreak Over The Ocean' was written in the late seventies, and recorded by Mike as a solo artist in the early part of this century.

    The vocal blend The Beach Boys acheive across this albums twelve tracks is arguably stronger than any album they've made since 1973, even if the songs themselves aren't always as strong as the performances. There's only really a couple of songs that make me frown a little, the undeniably catchy 'Spring Vacation' sports lyrics written by Mike Love in five minutes flat. 'Beaches In Mind' is slightly clunky and Mike's 'Daybreak Over The Ocean' given its origins seems ever so slightly divorced from the rest of the record. It's a fairly pretty song, a decent enough effort from Mike but not among the album highlights. The uptempo songs on the album, or mid-tempo if we're being more accurate are the ones that could be potential singles. 'The Private Life Of Bill And Sue' is a superior 'Kokomo' whilst lead single 'That's Why God Made The Radio' is typically late Beach Boys in the way the lyrics cheese their way across your eardrums. The vocal blend is both familiar and at once not so, as you miss Carl as the other voices surround you, yet Brian and Al apart, you're not really sure which Beach Boy is singing which part.

    The first classic of this set arrives with 'It's About Time', a song that seems to be a cross between 'Friends' and 'Sunflower', it's a typically quirky and genuine Brian Wilson composition - Al, Mike and Brian take turns in the lead vocal stakes and this sub four minute slice of wonderfulness could really only ever have come from The Beach Boys. Shelter' and 'Strange World' lead me to believe they could well have been intended for Brian Wilson solo projects, but both are good songs all the same. The real meat of 'That's Why God Made The Radio', the real spirituality and the real genuine Brian Wilson renaissance arrives with the final three tracks, takens from what some have led me to believe are a full album length suite. These three tracks which run to around ten minutes in total are so good at least one of the tracks could replace something like 'That's Not Me' from 'Pet Sounds' and you wouldn't mind in the least. The lyrics of 'Summer's Gone' are something of a 'down' way to end the album, yet the music is truly beautiful. 'Pacific Coast Highway' lasts under two minutes, add another couple and you'd probably have the greatest song Brian has written since 1966. As it is, this suite is a sequence of ever so spine chillingly brilliant moments strung together rather than being tunes in their own rights. What better way than this three song suite to end The Beach Boys career though? At least, assuming that's what this album has been designed to do. It was meant to be an end then Brian changed his mind. He wants more Beach Boys music, some rock n roll. Whether that ever comes to pass is another matter.

    Return To Featured Reviews or Add A Comment?

    this page last updated 08/02/14


    Full Archive - Sort by Decade - Sort by Genre


    Album Reviews | Beginners Guides | Contact Us | CD Store/Shop | Best Of 2013 |
    Music & Web Apps | Features | Blogs We Like | Message Board | Ratings At A Glance
    Home | Top 100 Songs | Singles Bar | Top 100 Albums |


    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

    Made In Devon.