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679059 Posts in 27468 Topics by 4045 Members - Latest Member: reecemorgan June 09, 2023, 08:53:18 PM
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51  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: I think I can understand why Brian might not wanna write much with Mike... on: July 31, 2013, 07:04:38 AM
The point he is raising is that how could people possibly say The Beatles were John Lennon when someone like Paul McCartney contributed so much to what The Beatles were. He is drawing that comparison to himself - how can people say The Beach Boys were Brian Wilson when someone like Mike Love contributed so much to what The Beatles were. The difference, of course, is that Lennon and McCartney were far more equal contributors to The Beatles than Brian Wilson and Mike Love were.

His point: "But everyone has their own favourite members whose creativity they gravitate to. That's normal."

That has very different meaning when discussing The Beatles and Lennon/McCartney credits than it does when discussing The Beach Boys and Wilson/Love ones.  Very frequently, Lennon/McCartney credits were not collaborations at all, but were written by either one or the other.  In most other cases, the song was written primarily by either Lennon or McCartney with some assistance by the other.  Therefore, it is possible to identify "And Your Bird Can Sing" as a John Lennon song and "Got To Get You Into My Life" as a Paul McCartney song, and pick a favorite (gravitate towards their creativity) based on whose songs you like better.  Furthermore, in addition to picking a favorite, it is possible to make a convincing case for either Lennon or McCartney as the more significant contributor to The Beatles based on which you prefer.

It's much harder to say that in the case of a Wilson/Love credit, which, by and large, are Brian Wilson compositions with lyrical contributions from Mike Love. While it's entirely possible to say that Mike Love or any non-Brian Wilson member is your favorite Beach Boy, unless you think that "Let the Wind Blow" is better than all of the other Wilson/Love compositions put together, it's difficult to see how you could make a case that Mike Love was a superior, or even equal, contributor to the band to Brian Wilson.

We will disagree. The Lennon/McCartney is about people's favorites in a band. Also it's not about our take, it Mike's take. He's not claiming McCartney is his equal, he's drawing a parallel. 

Isn't it pretty obvious that there's slightly more to it than that? Nobody would claim that "John Lennon is the Beatles" simply because they like John Lennon. They'd say it because they think John's contributions to the Beatles significantly outweigh the other members contributions in one sense or another, to the point that John Lennon made the Beatles what they were with little significant input from anyone else. Mike rightly points out that this is pretty unfair on Paul McCartney who wrote, sang and played on a significant proportion of the material and John and Paul seem reasonably close to being equals in the band (in terms of the volume and success of their respective outputs, rather than my opinion on their contributions). It's a fair point by Mike, but he makes it whilst discussing others perceptions of his role in the Beach Boys. He's drawing a parallel between John's contribution versus Paul's and Brian's versus his (Mike's). I think that's a foolish parallel to draw beacuse:

1. John and Paul roughly matched each others output in a variety of ways, but Brian and Mike didn't at all
2. It could be taken to mean that Mike considers himself to be the equal of either Brian or Paul, and he's nowhere near either of them

I suspect Mike was probably thinking just that his contributions were more significant than he's often given credit for, in the same way that Paul's contributions were more significant than those people who say that John was the Beatles give Paul credit for. On that basis there are huge grey areas in play and Mike may not be overstating anything. But it's easily open to misinterpretation, confusion or wilful misuse. And that's generally my criticism of Mike, that he says the wrong things all too often, probably sometimes with different intended meanings than the ones that are understood by the reader/listener. It's gone on for so long that some fans take anything he says in a negative light, which is incredibly sad and frustrating. But he certainly doesn't help himself a lot of the time.

52  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: I think I can understand why Brian might not wanna write much with Mike... on: July 31, 2013, 06:18:54 AM
The point he is raising is that how could people possibly say The Beatles were John Lennon when someone like Paul McCartney contributed so much to what The Beatles were. He is drawing that comparison to himself - how can people say The Beach Boys were Brian Wilson when someone like Mike Love contributed so much to what The Beatles were. The difference, of course, is that Lennon and McCartney were far more equal contributors to The Beatles than Brian Wilson and Mike Love were.

Yes, but: as I've pleaded feebly before: Mike is (Love him or hate him) roughly 50 per cent of what The Beach Boys are. The template that was struck 50 years ago has really never wavered. And that template i:s Mike's voice with the counterpoint (or Mike's voice as the counterpoint to) the sensitive and more overtly emotive voice of Brian Wilson, and then when Brian went to bed, Carl stepped in with Al, Bruce and Dennis (who was the band's only real ringer) stepping up when/as needed..... That's The Beach Boys!!!! and Mike makes up basically half of if all by himself. Add to that, numerous writing credits and live frontman status: yes, he is as important to The Beach Boys as McCartney to The Beatles, IF in a different, though no less important way.

I hope you don't mind me jumping in here and prolonging or extending this discussion but I'm quite surprised by the "roughly 50 per cent" comment.  I generally find your posts to be very reasonable and fair, even though I might not agree with some of the conclusions - but this surprised me quite a bit. I think it significantly overplays Mike's contribution to the Beach Boys and I can't see that the 'template' is anything like as simple or as steady as you suggest. The Mike/Brian vocal counterpoint was just one element in the story / image /sound and it only lasted in any meaningful sense for 3-4 years. Mike doesn’t make up anywhere near half of ‘it’ in any way that I can see. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood the point, so apologies if that’s the case but I’m genuinely interested understanding this a bit more.

I’d argue that the two almost unique and irreplaceable features of ‘the Beach Boys’ are the compositional talents of Brian Wilson and the incredible vocal blend of the core members. Beyond that, I’d say that Brian’s production and arranging talents are the next most important elements. The closest thing to a template was Brian Wilson writing, producing and arranging music to sing with Carl, Mike, Dennis, Al etc.

That said, Mike took a key role in lead vocals on the first 8/9 albums, contributed lyrics to a large number of songs and is still the front man of the live shows after 50 years of touring. He’s a hugely important figure in the story of the band. But given the dominance of Brian’s contributions to new music up to the late 60’s (and sometimes beyond), the importance of multi-part harmony involving all of the principle members and the instrumental contributions of most of them, the continual reliance on Brian-centric material in the live shows for over 50 years and I really can’t see how anyone could reasonably say that Mike is roughly 50% of what the Beach Boys are. Add to all of that Carl’s increasing importance through the years (instrumentally in the studio, leading the live band, increasingly as a lead vocalist, leader producer for ten years for a significant number of albums, maybe the most consistently important voice in the blend) and the many contributions of Dennis, Al, Bruce and others and I start to think you’re significantly off with your assessment of Mike’s importance.

When Carl died, the Beach Boys only continued as a touring band drawing largely on older material and thereby demonstrating the importance of Brian Wilson’s talents even in his continuing absence. The only change was for the C50 last year, and that just reinforces Brian’s dominance to what the Beach Boys are.

I don’t want to downplay Mike’s role at all, it’s just that I think you’ve significantly overstated it with the 50% comment. Mike role was crucial to the band in many ways, but there were plenty of others hugely important roles and I find it very hard to accept that any other members contributions come anywhere near to matching Brian’s. Again, if I've got the wrong end of the stick - sorry!
53  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: What prospects did the original double-sided '15 Big Ones' album have? on: July 16, 2013, 07:09:19 AM
A second chance of a lifetime, and they deliver the worst album of their career so far. There are lots of fascinating "what if's" in the BB's story, but 15 Bog Ones is just plain sad one.

And come to think of it... They tried to shoot down quite a few of Brian's ambitious ideas during the wilderness years ('Til I Die, Fairytale, Old Man River...) but when he clearly had no ambitions or ideas left, THAT'S when they decided to give him free rein?

Carl and Dennis should have stood up and voice their opinions loud and clear well before anything was released.

Great post. A huge missed opportunity and a very poor album that I can't help but love! It's hard to fathom how anyone went along with the release of this album (band mates, management, record label etc). Something of reasonable quality could easily have led to a renewed interest in new Beach Boys music, but also to what they'd done in the previous 6-7 years. Instead we got an album light on new compositions and heavy on bizarre covers. Dennis probably lacked some of skills needed to lead the group, but it's a huge shame the group couldn't do something more with his material. I'm fairly sure he had an albums worth of very good songs available (based on what I think was written by this point) and half-decent recordings of those would have easily surpassed 15 BO. A missed opportunity.

I love putting together alternate track lists for Beach Boys albums (and I know some people find this an odd thing to do), but I struggle to get anything cohesive together for this era. Dennis' stuff is so well written, produced and performed that it clashes heavily with Brian's work from this period (which can be sloppy). Listening to something like Rainbows alongside something like Back Home is quite jarring to my ears, but I love them both. In an ideal world, I'd have one album compiled from the best original material from 15BO and Love You, with a bonus album of covers (including 'Sea Cruise' and possibly others) and then put something together using Dennis' material and the better stuff from MIU/LA. I'm useless at doing this though, so I'm never satisfied!
54  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: MIKE LOVE WANTS BRIAN WILSON BACK IN THE BEACH BOYS on: July 11, 2013, 03:40:57 AM
So anyway, backstage at Henley last night, I asked Mike if what the Daily Star reported about the end of the C50 tour was true, and he told me it was. Apparently, there is proof.

So, now you know.
Funny, I missed this part on your backstage Henley post on Brian's board.   Grin

No need. Big Brother is watching us. Big Sister too...  Thumbs Up

I hope so. Mike has essentially called Brian & Al liars while completely contradicting himself. We need answers. Let's start with that proof?  Head Spin

It's starting to look clearer to me. I think Andrew Hickey is right. It seems they agreed to 50 dates. Then they agreed to 25 extra but Brian said no more. Mike made other plans based on Brian's end date and their previous agreement that they would go back to their respective touring situations after those dates. Brian [and Al] later decided he wanted more dates after all but now Mike already had commitments.

All very plausible. Throw in Brian's earlier back problems and concerns he might have had about that and then Mike's possible concerns about the size and cost of the touring band / entourage etc and it's all very understandable. But why is it so difficult for anyone to put forward a short but full explanation of how things happened? It's not that I think they need to particularly, its just that drip feeding bits of information has caused all sorts of confusion and a lot of (unnecessary) bad press for Mike.
55  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: MIKE LOVE WANTS BRIAN WILSON BACK IN THE BEACH BOYS on: July 11, 2013, 03:03:43 AM
This all seems to be a mess of contradictions and confusion. I very much doubt anybody involved has deliberately lied about anything here, but it's easy to see how things could have ended up as they have through poor communication, crossed wires, changes of heart, wilful misunderstandings etc etc. I haven't got a clue what actually happened, but to my mind things only get muddier with time and new information because everything seems so contradictory. Brian and Al say it was Mike's fault, Mike defends himself, Mike later says Brian didn't want to extend things (which may or may not be Mike contradicting himself). So who knows?

As several people have said previously, maybe they just weren't on the same page on the same days. At one point or another it seems that everyone has had a turn at be willing to keep things going further than they did, but not all at the same time. I don't think it matters much about why it ended, but I am interested in what's stopping things happening in the future. If Brian, Al and David want to tour with Mike, and Mike says they only stopped touring together due to Brian - what's the problem now? On that basis there could easily be another tour after any dates Mike and Bruce are booked for. Or maybe all the fall-out just makes it so much harder for all concerned to get back together. I honestly think that all sides handled some things badly at the end of the tour and it could all have been dealt with amicably (and/or behind closed doors). I don't mind that the tour ended, but I wish all parties would be open to something in the future. Who knows, maybe they are?
56  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 3 (Potential) Brian Wilson LPs on: June 24, 2013, 07:32:50 AM
The thing I find saddest of all is that band issues became so complicated and unpleasant. It's sad that Brian can't just have Mike turn up and do a few vocals on an a few songs, or that Al can't play a show with Mike and Bruce every now and again. I don't know why it's so complicated or difficult for these people to collaborate freely, but it seems to be. Is it Mike only wanting to do things on his terms, or does Brian not bother asking him or make it unnecessarily difficult due to all of the people and things he brings with him? Are Mike and Al so at odds with each other that they'll avoid each other whenever possible? I'm pleased that Brian, Al and David are able to do this together and I wonder whether Bruce would be willing if the politics wasn't such an issue. Bruce seems to be a huge Brian fan and I think he helped Brian out a few times earlier in his solo career. His voice has held out well and he really made a difference to parts of TWGMTR, so it's a shame we won't hear him in the blend again any time soon.

It's a shame that this album won't have all the remaining members in the vocal blend but the only thing they can really offer is their vocals, and Al's involvement should therefore be a huge bonus. Brian is currently so far ahead of the other guys in creative terms that he'd be the significantly dominating force in any collective album. The Beach Boys vocals might improve his work but Brian's music can still be good without them.

As regards Brian's solo career, I think he's really stepped it up for his last three records. Maybe removing the pressure of producing an album full of original material allowed him to focus more on the arrangements and vocals of the songs, but they're much more enduring than Imagination or GIOMH. I enjoy both of those albums in parts, but I probably wouldn't recommend them to people. After GIOMH, I had concerns over Brian's next releases, but I've been pleasantly surprised by everything since That Lucky Old Sun. If we were talking about a follow up to GIOMH now, I'd probably have big doubts over whether a new album will be any good or not. But given that he's released three solid albums in each of the last three years (I'm including the reunion album) I'm really looking forward to what comes next. I still listen to the Gershwin and Disney albums and TWGMTR is still a regular play for me, so I'm quite excited about his next release. If you didn't like his output from the last few years then you'll see it differently, but I'll base my expectations on his last three or four projects rather than on solo stuff from ten years ago or more.
57  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: MiC up for order on Amazon, August release on: June 11, 2013, 09:19:12 AM
I'm laughing my ass off right now. We're pissing & moaning already and the tracklist list as been released how long? Wink
You're right about that, but from the looks of it a lot has been changed from the initial tracklist. The people in the know that leaked certain information wouldn't have been so excited had this been the tracklist... Cry

Agreed!  I think that's what this is all about.  Early reports were quite enthusiastic.  Something must have happened.

Or maybe the people who were excited have different ideas of what's exciting? I really, really don't know what people were expecting. A third of the box is unreleased stuff. It contains the tracks that people were saying were dealbreakers -- California Feeling 74 and Wouldn't It Be Nice To Live Again. It's got Soul Searchin' and You're Still A Mystery, tracks from the box set tour, Sherry She Needs Me, Mona Kana, and a few tracks that haven't even been *rumoured* to exist before (or if they have, the rumours haven't reached me).

Personally, I'm pretty enthusiastic about that...

Excellent post. Minor quibbles aside, I think this set looks excellent. Its a great representation of the Beach Boys body of work and there is plenty to excite the deeper fan too. I'm particularly pleased to see Dennis so well represented.

This was never planned to be a rarities set, so not all rarities were going to make the cut. What is here is very exciting and they've done a great job of selecting hits, deep cuts and rarities too.

58  Smiley Smile Stuff / Concert Reviews / Re: Beach Boys-Hyde Park July 7th 2013 on: May 23, 2013, 07:55:09 AM
The image being used by the Hyde Park event website:

I can't help but chuckle at seeing the Beach Boys given equal billing with The Gruffalo. I initially thought that was a joke at Mike and Bruce's expense, but I now realise its not! I do enjoy seeing the Gruffalo smirking over Bruce's shoulder though - almost as though he can't believe it either.
59  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Carl and Mike's relationship on: May 02, 2013, 03:50:44 AM
You can't lop off 1985 onward without realizing the utterly stultifying effect that Endless Summer had on the band in the mid- to late 70s. And you can't talk about that without talking about the way that the group was almost instantly anthologized as an oldies act in the late 60s.

The fact is, this is a band that was always about a singular created reality. And that reality (loosely defined as surf/cars/girls/occasional mopey BW ballad) was so powerful that it warped the group's entire career, and continues to do so. The embarrassments of the 80s and 90s are easily explainable when you realize that this was something that had pulled on the group its entire career.

What's funny is, the group managed to hold it together reasonably well music-wise as long as Brian or Carl were in charge. Each one had enough of a personal musical vision that they could avoid being sucked too far into the past (or if they did, it was on their own terms). Mike had neither the artistic ability or aesthetic sense to do anything other than the most ham-handed, nakedly tacky crap once he led the band. But it wasn't his fault. The market demanded it, and he made it. And when the market stopped demanding it, he stopped making it.

This thread has moved on quite a bit since this post, but I think it's pretty important to the discussion. From '67 to '73 the band had been trying make great music and reclaim their popularity, without that much success. Endless Summer and Spirit of America (which I think had one post-65 song between them) threw them back into the people's consciousness based on material from the early sixties. The next release was 15 Big Ones, which could barely be more of a throwback. Would things have been different after Endless Summer if they'd released a solid and current sounding album in '76? A Pacific Ocean Blue with Beach boys vocals, for example? I've no idea whether the context of that time would have allowed for any genuine interest in new progressive music, but 1976 seems like a year in which they were likely to sell albums. Yet 15 Big Ones seems like an album that would make it very difficult for them to sell subsequent records. Could things have turned out differently if they'd taken the wave of success and pulled things together to release a good album on the back of it? If they could have challenged the perception of being an oldies act with a solid album of new material, maybe they wouldn't have been so locked into the image that hampered them through the 80's and 90's. It seems like they had a chance to show that as well as the early hits, they still had good music to offer - but 15 Big Ones doesn't show that they did (and most subsequent albums don't either).

60  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Carl and Mike's relationship on: April 30, 2013, 04:13:43 AM
Or to further dance around that bigger issue, if someone were to ask you personally for an introduction to the band's music through a playlist or a compilation/mix CD or something similar with songs you felt were a good representation of the band and its musical legacy, exactly how many songs from the Kokomo-Summer In Paradise-Still Cruisin' era would you add to that playlist? And would you go heavy on those 80's-90's era songs at the front end of such a collection? Or if they wanted a few video links which best represented the band, on your recommendation as a fan passing it down to someone less knowledgeable but interested in hearing what makes so many people think this band is great, would you link to the "Baywatch" appearance or the Kokomo video at the top of that recommended viewing list?

There is a common thread at work here which if it's not obvious already, it was to some like me who watched and listened and often cringed (or said 'what the hell is this?') as this stuff happened in real time from the 80's onward. And if some fans were into it, more power to 'ya! It's all personal taste, naturally, and the band obviously had reasons for doing what they did at that time.

I can completely understand you disliking the music of the era. I dislike much of it myself. But this has such a tenuous link to Mike pretending to play the saxophone in a video that I can't believe we've taken up so much board space discussing it.  Smiley

To get back closer to topic... I would guess that Carl knew a lot of the stuff they were doing was cheesy during this era but he also knew that they weren't capable of much more. He said himself that they weren't capable of making another Holland. Melinda has said that all of the band members were worried that Brian would embarrass himself or them when they did Stars and Stripes and I can't really blame them after all that had happened. It would seem from quotes in the Catch a Wave book that Carl was also very aware that some of the crowds they were performing to just wanted the meet and potatoes set so that's what they gave them.

The point about not being able to do another Holland is a very good one. Whatever we think of the music from the 80's / 90's era, what was the alternative? We might not like much of the music from that era but it's not like there were other viable release options. Artistically, the better option might have been to release nothing at all, but its hard to put blame at Mike's door for some of what happened during this time when no-one else had much to put forward for release. It's not like Brian junked Smile because Mike insisted on Summer in Paradise. By the time we did get to SIP, who else had anything significant to put forward? To Mike's credit, at least he tried to keep the Beach Boys relevant for a time in the later years.

I wasn't born until '84, so my perspective is all looking backwards. My personal opinion is that most of the music from this era cheapens and diminishes the Beach Boys legacy, and I find that frustrating. I think it damaged the Beach Boys image for several generations. It's incredible to think that Kokomo came out less than five years after Dennis had died. It's five years since 'That Lucky Old Sun' came out, but the gap between Dennis passing and Kokomo seems to me to be so much bigger. To me, Kokomo represents a very clear marker of what the band had become, even if the timeline and reasons for my perception of the change aren't clear, something had definitely changed by '88. Kokomo is  so far from who Dennis was as an artist that we can only imagine what he would have though of it.

Back to Holland and lots of positive things seemed to come together at the same time, probably for the last time. Two Brian classics (which become increasingly rare after this point), possibly Mike's best 'solo' composition, one of Al's most enduring compositions (though not personally a favourite of mine), one of Carl's best and his excellent production skills, two more great Dennis songs, Blondie's powerful vocals, Ricky's creativity and musicianship and the energy that the two of them brought along with a manager that really pushed the band towards creativity with a 'current' feel. After Holland, Brian's best moments become increasingly sporadic and often 'odd' lyrically, Carl stepped back from production and failed to develop as a songwriter, Blondie and Ricky left, Dennis' talents weren't capitalised on and he began to look for an alternative outlet (solo) before his health began to decline. Possibly with the exception of Al they all declined vocally and began to fracture as unit, with personal differences becoming more and more of an issue. Love You brought Brian back in during a creative burst before he withdrew again. Al and Mike stepped forward, but weren't able to match their Holland contributions. Holland was the last time it clicked for all of them in some way and after that the results are usually mixed. Its pretty obvious that after Love You, only Dennis had a lot to offer the Beach Boys creatively and his contributions to LA stand out a by a mile. I'd say that Carl contributed some great moments to '85, but they were mixed up with a good few clunkers. Take the best material from KTSA to Still Cruisin and there's a decent compilation with contributions from Carl, Brian, Mike and Al, but they couldn't bring it together all at the same time.

Kokomo, Baywatch, Stamos, Mike's Saxophone playing - they're all part of a change in what the Beach Boys represent to me, and I think many others. For those not old enough or interested enough to know the earlier Beach boys and their beautiful music, they might be more likely to know the band through these things than anything else. Mike became an increasingly dominating force, largely through others stepping back, passing away and compromising. But perhaps Mike and the Beach boys were simply taking the opportunities that came there way. Mike is obviously proud of Kokomo and its easy to see why. As someone who'd been unfairly blamed for many things and had been on the receiving end of some less than stellar treatment from his cousin's family, a big hit without Brian probably did feel all the more sweet. Creative merits aside, many people would be proud of a big hit like Kokomo 25 years into a music career. I might not like it and the band that the Beach boys had become, but my perspective is very different from its creators.

It's harder to see where Carl was during this time. He's there, but its less clear how invested he was in what they were doing. The last good opportunity for a solid Beach Boys album until 2012 was probably the Wilson/Paley material and apparently Carl didn't think it was the way to go. It's easy to see that as a big mistake, but Carl didn't know he wouldn't be around just a few years later. At the time, he might have looked forward to a full Beach boys album with Brian at the centre at some point - but who knows?

Apologies for a long and rambling post. In summary, I don't like what the Beach Boys became and I think a lot of it can be attributed to Mike, but I don't particularly blame him because all of the other Beach boys had the opportunity to create music and push the band in a different direction, but they either couldn't or didn't feel the need to do so. I'll still enjoy Carl's vocal on Kokomo and almost anything else he sang on and be grateful for the brief moments where the light of his beautiful voice still shone through cheese!

61  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Carl and Mike's relationship on: April 24, 2013, 02:05:18 AM
Adamghost, I think you're right about Carl doing "what he could," and the best illustration is this:

Before the embarrassing dreck from Mike, there is Two-and-a-half minutes of pure magic from Carl.

Thanks for posting this, I've not seen it before. It's particularly great to hear Carl sing the Brian part at the end, without having to sit through a Stamos lead vocal!

My favorite Carl-Mike moment is on Knebworth where there's a point between songs where they get together and both look at the set lists written on their hands.

I don't have any firsthand knowledge of this question but my sense of it from various data points I've gathered is that after Carl got clean around '79, and then after his solo jaunt happened, it was a period of detachment for him.  He definitely needed to separate himself from the drug culture surrounding Brian and Dennis, and also the creative stagnation and associated inertia of the band situation.  Yet, obviously by 1983, it became obvious that he needed them and they, him.  By that time, Mike's been in charge for two years and just by pure momentum, Carl's sphere of influence on the band upon returning would be slightly smaller.  It may have shrunk a little further after the Carl-dominated 1985 album only did so-so business, and certainly after Mike's co-writing success of "Kokomo."  So it would appear that Carl was very practiced in the art of the possible.  He fixed what he could, and stayed out of anything negative wherever it was doable.  It's clear, for example, that Carl rolls an eyebrow at "Still Cruisin'" in his 1989 interview with Cathy Macgowan.  But he went along with it anyway.  And, I would imagine, cashed his check, and went back home to Colorado and did other things he was more interested in. An old friend of mine had a saying about arguments he stayed out of that I loved:  "it's not a hill worth dyin' on."  I bet Carl thought that way a lot.  He either went along with it and played on the team, or if he felt strongly enough he didn't, and it didn't happen.  Not a bad place to be.

The feeling I get about the Beach Boys' power structure after the early '80s was that Mike set the agenda, and Carl held silent veto power.  And the feeling I get about how they felt about each other was a hard-won mutual respect, recognizing each others' differences and value to the group.

The one thing that runs against what I have portrayed above is, and I have heard this from several people who would know (and I'm sure I'm not the only one), that Carl was deeply involved, and stressed out by, the conservatorship battle over Brian.  He was not at all detached in that situation and it seems to have done a real number on him emotionally and physically.

Anyway take that for what it's worth, probably not a whole heck of a lot.  I think it's a great question though.

An excellent post. This all seems very plausible. Even with conservative set lists, I think Carl went some way to balancing this out with just his voice. They at least had one of the finest vocalists in popular music singing brilliantly consistently, even if we might question the set lists. Carl's voice alone lifted the Beach Boys to a higher level.

P.s. This is a great thread and it makes a nice change from some of the others that have descended into argument/unpleasantness!
62  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Carl and Mike's relationship on: April 23, 2013, 09:14:59 AM
Carl seems to have been pulled in all sorts of different directions and held the differing personalities and egos together in one single group for an incredibly long time. After Carl died, the Beach Boys as we knew them fell apart and I think that says a lot. My impression is that Carl was able to get along with everyone and was the glue that held it all together through a long and sometimes difficult journey.

This is my impression as well, and is what we have "on record". I'd just love to know how they got on in private, whether there was any sort of friendly family relationship between them, so to speak.

I remember the Carl quote as something more like - "My brothers are my greatest teachers". I always considered 'brothers' in that context to include people like Mike, but who knows (and of course, I might have misremembered the quote anyway). I'd love to see that full interview.

I'm so sure it's band mates, or colleagues. I don't have the damn thing to hand. It is ambiguous though, I always read it that he learnt tolerance, and empathy, but at the expense of his own feelings and ambitions, which is sort of what you alluded to at the beginning of your post.

It was "partners"

Thanks! Still a little ambiguous but in the context of an interview about the Beach Boys (I assume), I think its fair to say he was talking about his fellow Beach Boys.
63  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Carl and Mike's relationship on: April 23, 2013, 04:29:17 AM
I think it's interesting too, but I don't have much to add!

Carl seems to have been pulled in all sorts of different directions and held the differing personalities and egos together in one single group for an incredibly long time. After Carl died, the Beach Boys as we knew them fell apart and I think that says a lot. My impression is that Carl was able to get along with everyone and was the glue that held it all together through a long and sometimes difficult journey. That includes getting along well with Mike. I'd say that Mike and Carl 'shared' something of a leadership role, in that Mike was the 'front man' with Carl leading the band and the two of them sharing lead vocals on much of the material. We know that they had some differences in the late 70's, but other than that there's not much to suggest conflict between them.

I remember the Carl quote as something more like - "My brothers are my greatest teachers". I always considered 'brothers' in that context to include people like Mike, but who knows (and of course, I might have misremembered the quote anyway). I'd love to see that full interview.

64  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Where is that %^&$@#&* MIC Box Set @#$%^&*(!!! on: February 28, 2013, 04:37:37 AM
I must be one of the few that actually would like to see a good amount of post-1979 material.

- Keepin' The Summer Alive (live at Knewborth '80)
- Goin' On
- It's A Beautiful Day
- Chasing the Sky
- East Meets West
- Getcha Back
- Where I Belong
- California Dreamin'
- Lady Liberty
- Rock & Roll To The Rescue
- The Spirit of Rock'n'Roll ("BB live" version '86)
- Crocodile Rock
- Problem Child
- Kokomo
- Somewhere Near in Japan
- Lahaina Aloha
- Summer in Paradise (live at Wembley '93)
- You're Still A Mistery
- Soul Searchin'
- vocals-only montage from Stars&Stripes
- Do It Again (2011)
- She Believes in Love Again (2012)
- (untitled TWGMTR outtake / I'd Go Anywhere)
- Waves Of Love (2012)
- Isn't It Time (single version)

About half that stuff's available on currently-available CDs though, and while obviously the box is going to be mostly material that's available elsewhere, I can't imagine ever thinking "I need another copy of Goin' On". I can understand that stuff going on there, but I don't see why anyone who's got those tracks would *want* them on a box set (especially since half of them are pretty poor).

Agree with this. My personal preference would be for a whole load of recordings that I've never heard or only have in poor quality. I'd add alternate mixes, vocals only mixes, live recordings etc to make up the numbers. But that doesn't make a good career spanning box-set so its not what we'll get and not what I think should be released under the guise of a career spanning box-set. I can make my own compilations of the best stuff in each era and it wouldn't leave much room for unreleased/live/alternate stuff on 6 cds. There's great material after 1979, but no more in the (nearly) 25 years since then than in the three years from '63, '67, '77 or most other periods. Including 'All This is That' might lead people to CATP, but where does 'Lady Liberty' lead people? That's an argument that could be made against a whole host of the post '79 work.

I hope we get a reasonable amount of stuff that's unheard by most of us, or only available in low quality but my main hope is that this box does justice to the Beach Boys incredible body of work. I think it will succeed on that front, even if that means some of the things that would appeal to me and others here are left off. It will be a shame if there are obvious exclusions of good material that hasn't been released, because this might be the last major release of material from the archives. But if that means a better listening experience to the uninitiated, then that's fine with me. My only concern is that given the state of physical sales, where is the biggest market for this type of release. Is it us? Or the casual fan with a hits package? Or the totally uninitiated? It'd be a shame to target this more towards the latter two if they're not likely to buy it.
65  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Where is that %^&$@#&* MIC Box Set @#$%^&*(!!! on: February 22, 2013, 03:51:01 AM

Okay, fair enough about R&R2TR. How about the covers of "Crocodile Rock" and "Back In The USSR"? And duets of "East Meets West"* and "Wipe Out"? None of these are necessarily dreck but in my opinion this was a better era to see them in concert then buy their latest record.

* My interest in all things 4 Seasons has actually increased by several hundred percent thanks to my "discovering" Genuine Imitation Life Gazette last Fall. How did an album this spectacular evade my radar for so long? Actually that's exactly the same feeling I had when I "discovered" Beach Boys too.

How about a DVD that includes the video for Crocodile Rock? Just saw this recently - how did a video that spectacular evade my radar for so long? I'd take the Getcha Back video too! Both hilarious.
66  Smiley Smile Stuff / 'Rank the Tracks' / Re: Rank the tracks #22: L.A. Album on: February 13, 2013, 06:16:13 AM
This is much better than MIU but has a mixture of very good and very poor tracks. The best ones are top quality and the worst are embarrassing. Whilst I like one or two tracks on KTSA and '85, it took over thirty years and the passing of both Dennis and Carl before the rest of the band could release a decent album again.

Very good:

1. Love Surrounds Me - An excellent song and hints at a direction that I think they should have followed (using Dennis' talents a lot more).
2. Baby Blue - Another great song and good vocal performances. A great example of why this album is streets ahead of the MIU disaster - Carl and Dennis are back.
3. Good Timin' - A nice song with more great vocals from Carl. It might not be the most original song, but its very enjoyable and the brief appearance of the 'Surfer Girl' melody is a far better nod to the past than lyrical references to Fun, Fun Fun, or Good Vibrations. Its a good example of good later Beach Boys work (there are some similarities with TWGMTR, for example).
4. Angel Come Home - The arrangement and backing vocals could have been better but its a good song and Dennis' lead vocal is great. His voice was in the process of deteriorating, but he attacks this better than any of his band mates could have, with power and emotion. I would say that parts of the verses give the impression that he was having to work his voice harder and harder to get something from it.

Not so good:

5. Shortenin' Bread - I enjoy this, but I think they were capable of better.
6. Full Sail - Too slow and a bit boring. I don't like the production or arrangement. It'd be passable as filler if the album didn't have several worse tracks on it.
7. Lady Lynda - A good effort, but not top my taste. Overly sentimental and cheesy.
8. Goin' South - Full Sail but even worse. I love Carl's voice on almost anything, but I get bored of this very quickly.


9. Here Comes the Night - I think this is an awful track that drags the whole album down but I do at least find it amusing. Terrible vocal sound and a major error of judgement in my view but as a disco attempt, its reasonably well executed. I'd have preferred it if Bruce had 'gone disco' and rerecorded a whole load of Beach Boys songs in this style for a solo project, to sit alongside Going Public and his savaging of Deirdre. I like disco, but I don't like an eleven minute Bruce Johnston-led disco reworking of a great Wilson/Love song.
10. Sumahama - Terrible in every respect. I wonder if this type of song is partly why Mike's reputation as a contributor to the Beach Boys has suffered. At least he was trying something a bit different, even if the end result isn't good. He's not exactly sticking to any formula or trying to recreate their classic sound. In the end though, it might give the impression that this is what Mike comes up with without Brian  and Maybe that causes some people to underestimate Mike's lyrical contributions in the earlier years. At this point, Mike's voice is nasal and unpleasant and his songwriting is as weak, but that should never take anything away from his earlier work.

The album feels like a compromise. Brian was absent again but Carl and Dennis returned with songs and vocals, which improves things considerably. Mike isn't around much and there's a lot less Al, but they each contribute a track to the detriment of the album. Dennis had better material than Carl at this point and replacing some of the weaker tracks with more Dennis would have really lifted this album.
67  Smiley Smile Stuff / 'Rank the Tracks' / Re: Rank the tracks #22: M.I.U. Album on: February 06, 2013, 06:25:57 AM
One of the worst albums I've heard by anyone, ever. It's an incredible drop in quality from Love You. Most of the album has a particularly sterile sound that's quite unpleasant and it has some of the worst vocals of any Beach Boys album (I'm surprised that a lot of people seem top have such a poor opinion of the vocals on Love You, but seem to think that these vocals are ok). Bad songs, bad arrangements, bad production, bad vocals, bad mix. There's not much going for it at all. Given that POB was released in the previous year, I do wonder what anyone was thinking with this album. Maybe personal circumstances got in the way, but the group had a very talented man in the background who had been making great music without them. It's pretty obvious from MIU that they needed some creativity and it's almost tragic that we didn't get a Dennis-led Beach Boys album. It would have been a hell of a lot better than MIU (and even through two songs and a lead on LA he managed to make the next album worthwhile).

1. My Diane – The only highlight. I'm not totally sold on the production but the Dennis and Brians vocals are very good. The lyrics are simple, but very relatable and they sum up the feelings of a painful break up - "Everything is wrong and nothing is right" - I've certainly felt that way before.

There's a big gap in quality from this to the rest of the album. I find it hard to rank because there are so many poor tracks, but here goes -

2. Pitter Patter – One of the better ones here, but still not great. Mike sounds better here than he does elsewhere on the album. Parts of the vocal arrangement are weak.

3. Match Point of Our Love – I can imagine Brian being quite proud of this one at the time. I quite like the melody and I can imagine the track and melody as the opening to a low-budget late 70's or early 80's cop show.

4. Hey Little Tomboy – Apart from the obvious lyrical issue on this one, I can't stand Mike's bridge vocal but I do like the "Hey little, Hey little, Hey little Tomboy" vocals (Dennis' part makes this worthwhilse) and Carl's vocal is reasonable too (a big reminder of what the album mostly misses).

5. Sweet Sunday Kinda Love – The album misses Carl a lot, but even he can't make this song shine. It’s a nice vocal, but a weak song.

6. She’s Got Rhythm – A punchy song with an enthusiastic vocal from Brian, but his falsetto is really poor here. I've heard it described as a return to form from Brian but it's not in my view. Also it's a strange song with an upbeat melody and lyric (Imagine Brian disco dancing?) and then an oddly mournful and eerie section that Mike sings, that doesn't really fit to my ears. But I do like the transition back to Brian after this section.

7. Winds of Change  - I first heard a brief clip of the verse whilst the album was out of print and unavailable to me. It sounded like a good song and I eagerly awaited the chance to hear the full version - but ended up very disappointed. The song seems half-finished and underdeveloped and the production and vocal arrangement really let it down. With a better vocal arrangement, it could have been one of those Beach Boys tracks rescued by a great vocal round at the end, but the vocals are sparse and poorly arranged. A big let down, given that there's something in the song itseld that could have been quite pleasant.

8. Wontcha Come Out Tonight – Very unpleasant opening vocals on the "Come, come-a, come-a, come out tonight" parts not rescued by a decent Mike Love part in his lower range. Then Brian's lead vocal is reasonably strong and he sounds good, if a little uninterested. Then Mike undoes all of his good work on the intro with his lead vocal - "I've been anticipatin'". Mike Love with his nose turned up to 11. The song is quite weak and isn't helped by some poor lyrics (which read like classic latter-day Love lyrics). The ending does improve things a bit.
9. Come Go with Me - Better vocals, but a pointless exercise.
10. Kona Coast – A pointless throwback. Maybe some people might think it’s ok, but the Beach Boys should have been capable of so much more than this (and I think Brian and Dennis' work in the late 70's shows this).
11. Peggy Sue – Again, pointless. Reasonably polished but why bother? It offers absolutely nothing.
12. Belles of Paris – Another terrible song.
68  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian and Dennis's late '70s vocals on: November 20, 2012, 11:02:56 AM
The decline of Dennis' voice is incredibly sad. I think he improved as a singer as he bloomed creatively and he had an incredibly powerful and soulful voice. His vocal ability improved as the seventies progressed whilst his range, tone and clarity seemed to decline. I think the group needed Dennis' lead vocals to add credibility to their work after Holland, whilst Mike's increasingly nasal tone can be almost embarrassing. I feel the same about his work in general in this era, they needed him more than they realized and failed to capitalize on an a fantastic opportunity to move forward creatively without Brian. As a good example of this, the rest of the boys contributed some appalling songs to the aborted Christmas album, whilst Dennis had the incredibly beautiful 'Morning Christmas', which could have been a Christmas classic in other circumstances.

Dennis became a fantastic singer in his own right during the seventies, with great power and feeling in his delivery. I enjoy his gritty mid-late 70's voice as much as the earlier softer vocal work. His voice became drier and raspier as the seventies wore on, but the warmth and light still shone through. At some point, that warmth and light began to fade away and almost disappears into the 80's leaving only the rasp behind. I'm only judging that on the limited footage available but there's not much to suggest otherwise. I wish the group had used his voice more on lead duties through the late 70's.

I would say that the because Carl retained such a strong and clear voice through this period that the Wilson trio sound fantastic together on record.

I feel a bit different about Brian's voice, given that he was an outstanding singer from the very beginning of the Beach Boys. As his voice changed in the seventies, I do miss the range, clarity and accuracy but still enjoy his vocals. His 70's voice had great soul and a lovely vibrato at times, but he did have pitch issues and some of the vocal work is lazy, in a way that Dennis' rarely is. I think Brian's vocal work would have been far better with his newer voice if his quality control had been higher. Some of the final vocals on 15 Big Ones are crying out for another take. Maybe Brian couldn't do better, but maybe he didn't care enough to improve them. I believe that Brian put a huge amount of effort into developing his vocals in his younger days and if he'd done the same in the 70's, he might have had more control over his 70's voice. With Dennis, I think the major improvements in his singing came later, yet his increasingly damaged voice brought an early end to his promising vocal work. With Brian, there's more of a loss as his voice changed but still some positive changes on the back of it.

I'm more saddened by the changes to Brian's voice that came later. It's strange that his voice changed so much between different eras. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'd identify different eras as the same singer, but then there'd be the odd line where you can hear a Brian from a different era. It's probably for a different thread, but Mike's late 70's vocals also took a turn for the worse in my opinion. Where did the 'Big Sur' voice go? His TWGMTR vocals are better than some of his late 70's work.

69  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: \ on: November 15, 2012, 06:15:38 AM
If you listen to the full tape, with the songs presented in the correct order, it becomes evident that 1) Brian was very nervous, fluffing the lyrics and the chords badly in places and 2) the band reaction to the first few (personal) songs was, to be polite, muted: more honestly, they were likely thinking "WTF ?". Brian realised this, and played "Airplane" for laughs, evoking at least a laugh, and this loosened him up enough to hit "I'll Bet He's Nice" out of the park. Years of boots presenting the songs in the wrong order have obscured the fact that this demo presentation session was very nearly a disaster (for Brian).

That's very  interesting - thanks for that. I've never listened to these tracks as a complete  tape, and I didn't even know that they were a complete recording. I'm not sure I've got anything complete, or correctly ordered but I'll check and see what I've got. It sounds like the context that preceded "I'll Bet He's Nice" was pretty crucial to it's reception.

70  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: \ on: November 15, 2012, 04:59:48 AM
Thanks. I have that one, but I've never noticed Mike's talking in it. Maybe I just didn't listen close enough.

There are just quick bits where you can hear Mike. He tells Brian after "Airplane" that he (Mike) wants the lead, and jokes that he'll quit the group of Brian doesn't give him the lead. After another song, Mike mentions that "those last two were motherf***ers. Mike (and it sounds like some others) just audibly get really excited during the middle of "I'll Bet He's Nice."

What this tape shows is that, in the right context, unguarded and not in public, Mike and the others did appreciate Brian's music, even the "non-commercial" stuff. That tape is the main item that makes me think Mike *can* appreciate great music, great chord changes, etc. even if they aren't "commercial" by some arbitrary standard.

The "I'll Bet He's nice" demo is a fascinating listen and it's one of the reasons I love the song so much. I love the released version but the piano/vocal rendition really shows the raw strength of the song and gives a short but interesting insight into that moment in time. I'm not sure who was present and who I'm hearing (beyond Brian playing/singing and the parts that are clearly Mike) but Brian delivers a fantastic performance and there's an audibly gleeful reaction from those present when he hits the middle eight.

Some of the group must have found the 70's a frustrating and disappointing period with Brian, as he withdrew from active participation and song writing (at least in terms of providing songs for the group -  who knows what he might have been writing). Brian returned, and the boys sang on an album of somewhat strange covers after a much longed for comeback. Roll on a few months, and Brian belts out this heartbreakingly beautiful song with a powerful but hauntingly painful melody full of anguish and then a middle eight of desperate pleading. It's hard not to think of this as being directly written about Marilyn, give the inevitable difficulties of their relationship. To me, the demo conveys emotion way beyond the produced version. I'm left with an impression of a man desperately unhappy that this relationship may be failing, comparing himself unfavourably with other men, unable to deal with his emotional pain and illness, pleading with his wife to stay with him yet almost accepting the inevitability that ultimately she will leave. It may not be autobiographical but it certainly gives me the impression that it is. I can imagine Brian's friends and band mates hearing this for the first time with all of the understanding and insight they would have, being in awe of the song itself but with an even deeper sense of understanding about where it came from and being astounded at the performance. Whoever is present at the demo recording (it may only be Mike), but I think there are comments  like "Oh my god" as he's almost cheered on through the middle eight. I think that's what we can here from the demo, but I could be totally and utterly wrong!

I agree that it shows a supportive and appreciative Mike Love with good taste, which is almost unrecognisable from the unpleasant, bullying presence with little appreciation of Brian's talents that some have portrayed him as throughout the years.
71  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: after Holland, did it seem like they gave up? on: October 24, 2012, 04:13:57 AM
I can see that it might seem like they gave up, but I don't think they did. I think they carried on trying to have hit albums right the way through to '85 and possibly even through to SIP. So maybe it depends on what they gave up. After Holland, they tried bringing back Brian to produce an album but 15 Big Ones might not have been what they had in mind. Love You followed that and is a fantastic album but probably wasn't the hit they wanted. I'm not sure what happened with Adult Child, but it's a better 'album' than MIU and so it seems that either Brian withdrew himself, or Al/Mike decided to try a different path with MIU. MIU sounds a bit like everyone had given up (poor songs, poor vocals, poor production) but I think it was probably the best that those present could muster. That didn't work either and we ended up with Bruce and LA, which I think is a better album than MIU but still isn't commercial and not much of an artistic statement. But they were still trying and I think that's evidenced by the different approaches to creating albums and very specifically by the misjudged foray into disco. It's harder to say exactly what they were trying to do, but they certainly were trying and they still were during KTSA and '85 (where again, they tried a different approach).

In my view, they'd had a period of trying to create great albums (up to Holland) that the public weren't interested in. They were using new technologies and trying different approaches musically, but the environment was just wrong. Wild honey through to Holland is probably my favourite stretch of Beach Boys albums, but they weren't successful commercially. If I'd been one of the group through that period, putting my heart and soul into creating music that I thought was great, I'd have felt the surge in popularity centred on Endless Summer and the 'oldies' as a quite demoralising. For me, the big change after Holland is that Dennis' creativity became largely absent from the Beach Boys as recording artists. Dennis eventually became consumed by other things, but for a time in the mid-70's I think the group could really have re-found some commercial recording success if Dennis had been established as lead writer/producer with support from the group. I don't know if he could have held that role or if he'd have wanted to, but I doubt the group would have let him. With the benefit of hindsight, I think that's where it went wrong and it might be that Dennis did give up as a recording Beach Boy at some point in the mid-70's.
72  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight/BW88 discussion... on: October 18, 2012, 12:09:28 PM
Thanks for that, I guess I'll pick up a copy of the original release then!
73  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight/BW88 discussion... on: October 18, 2012, 08:54:46 AM
Can anyone fill me in on the issues with the c. 2000 reissue of this album? I've read about incorrect mixes being used for some tracks (Melt Away being on of them) and whilst I've got original CD and the reissue, my copy of the original release is scratched beyond repair. Are the differences significant enough that I need to get a new copy?

Brian still had a lot of power in his vocal delivery at this point, even though his voice had changed a lot. I can still hear something of Brian's soulful late 70's vocals here and I'm not sure if Brian's vocals were ever this strong again. As much as I like the 'wall of Brian' on this, I'd love to hear how good this could have sounded with group vocals.
74  Smiley Smile Stuff / The Beach Boys Media / Re: The Official BB You Tube Thread on: July 08, 2006, 03:48:02 AM
Yeah, I was posting the same but you beat me.
Dennis on Rhonda is cool, he sounds strange though...

He does sound strange in that clip. If anything I would have expected a much rougher, less audible voice. He didn't sound like himself at all, but his voice sounded like it had more substance to it than in some of the audio I've heard from the previous few years. Are there any clips of him singing from around this time?
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