Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beach Boys Tribute This Saturday

I forgot to mention this Beach Boys tribute in my weekly post. Presented by When You Awake with proceeds benefit Sweet Relief. Many great bands will be appearing, see the poster for details.

In honor of the event, here are ten lesser known Beach Boys' songs (I don't think any of them were released as singles) I'd love to hear tackled at the tribute:

1) “Only With You” from Holland: I’m a sucker for Dennis Wilson’s songs. He was a hard living guy who struggled with alcohol and had extremely questionable taste in friends but then he’d write some of the tenderest ballads. In other hands, these lyrics might come off as being corny or cliché, but the vulnerability in his vocal performance totally sells it. Not as beloved as “Forever,” but well worth repeated listenings.
2) “She’s Goin’ Bald” from Smiley Smile: This might be the weirdest, most sinister of all Beach Boys’ songs. It starts off innocently enough, but then about 50 seconds in, starts to get weird. The band incorporates an Eltro pitch shifter (pretty groundbreaking in a pre-digital world – Kubrick used around the same time for HAL in 2001) on an otherwise innocuous “Sha Na Na” harmony section then gets really creepy with “she drew a comb across her scalp…” But then the band/song returns to normal and they finish out the song like it started.
3) “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” from Pet Sounds: One of Brian’s most personal and moving songs. Co-written with Tony Asher.
4) “Feel Flows” from Surf’s Up: Don’t sleep on Carl Wilson’s integral contributions to the Beach Boys. The reverse echo on Carl’s vocals sort of makes the song for me. You probably remember it from Cameron Crowe’s film, Almost Famous.
5) “Hold On Dear Brother” from Carl & the Passions – So Tough: For this record, The Beach Boys added two South Africans, drummer Ricky Fataar (to replace the injured Dennis Wilson) and singer/guitarist Blondie Chaplin (to fill in for the mostly absent Brian Wilson). Fataar and Chaplin wrote this country rock gem with Chaplin singing lead vocal. On a side note, I’ve been getting back into Blondie’s first solo album lately too.
6) “Aren’t You Glad” from Wild Honey: It’s impossible for me to be in a bad mood when I hear this song. Fantastic, upbeat love song written by Brian and Mike Love. Vocal duties shared by Mike, Brian and Carl.
7) “All I Wanna Do” from Sunflower: As completely unlikable Mike Love is, he did have some great contributions to the Beach Boys. This is one of them. That’s Mike on lead vocals, the song was co-written by Mike and Brian.
8) “Wake the World” from Friends: I can’t even tell you how often I wake up on weekend mornings with this song in my head (and it usually means I’m going to have a great day). It was apparently the first song Al Jardine and Brian wrote together and Carl and Brian share singing duties.
9) “Girl Don’t Tell Me” from Summer Days (and Summer Nights!): Brian’s attempt to write a Beatles song. The Shins covered this the last time I saw them and the Vivian Girls recently released it as a B side.
10) “Baby Blue” from L.A. (Light Album): I wanted to highlight another underappreciated album (although this one’s very hit or miss), so I picked this Dennis Wilson track. This is another soft, piano driven song featuring Dennis and Carl on vocals. It was co-written by Gregg Jakobson and Karen Lamm.

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