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Author Topic: gushing about Fun, Fun, Fun  (Read 2968 times)
voxnut
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« on: March 27, 2006, 10:29:36 AM »

No real insight or questions to this post, just sharing today's enthusiasm... While a lot of the early hits have sort of become furniture due to hearing them a bazillion times and also with the whole county fair/oldies act kind of thing that has gone on for the last 30 years, occasionally the stars will align and I'll hear something with fresh ears and imagine what it must've been like to hear it when it was new. I was born in '67, so my Beach Boys consciousness in earnest doesn't really kick in until the Endless Summer era when the stuff had already been established as hits.   

Anyway, I had a bit of a road trip over the weekend and grabbed disc 1 and 2 from the Good Vibrations Box set and once again I'm struck by what a genius pop song Fun, Fun, Fun is. It's got everything- cool production, monster hook and great lyrics that tell a comlete story in three short verses! While everyone points to the Phil Spector production, other than the lawsuit that brings the Chuck Berry tie in, I think in the early years the Beach Boys had some really great moments when they could channel the whole Chuck Berry style of story telling and transpose it to a west coast middle class setting.

I know it's hip to only like Pet Sounds and Smile, and to a lesser degree the stuff that came after but I've gotta cheerlead the early stuff too. I think a good reason the Beach Boys work so well for me is that when I became a fan as a little kid, there was no way I could grasp Pet Sounds or Smile (had it come out) I couldn't even particularly grasp girls and romance, but hot rods and surfing and the stories and having fun were images were very alluring and somethign I could get behind, but as I got older and started to be interested in girls, there was side 2 of Today and other stuff that I started paying attention to and it added another layer of depth. Then as I hit my late teens and started grappling with the "who am I and what does this all mean?" questions we all have, Pet Sounds was there for me. So I guess I can understand why someone in their 20's and new to the BBs might not be smitten with the early stuff, but it's a shame because I think in a lot of ways it's harder to get the job done in 2 minutes than it is in 5 or 7 minutes- everything has to count and everything has to be distilled to it's essence for it to work well. I love those short pop songs that are over too quickly and leave you wanting more. Much more than the ones that are just one verse or chorus or solo too long. I think Brian hit paydirt so many times in those early days of cutting the perfect pop single that leaves you wanting more.   

But the surf and drag stuff still works for me and I'm thankful that there are occasions when I can listen to some early cuts and for whatever reason have it knock me out the same way it did when I first heard it. Doesn't happen all the time, and I don't know what frame of mind I have to be in for this to happen, but when it does it's great. I find that I'll have repeat phases of this sort of "gobsmacked" thing with the single version of Help Me Rhonda and Wendy as well.

Anyone else have this happen- and what songs do it for you?

Dean   
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Mitchell
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2006, 10:43:52 AM »

My love of the Beach Boys definitely started when I was a kid, and of course that meant that I loved the early hits. Still do, for sure. Strangely enough for me, some of the songs that meant the most to me when I was 8 years old included Don't Worry Baby and Wouldn't It Be Nice, for their romantic sentiment. Recently, I have heard Don't Worry Baby on AM radio, and it was the same experience you just described. Hearing it "the way it was meant to be heard" was amazing. It just exploded out of the radio, with Al's meaty bass line being especially great.
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JRauch
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2006, 10:57:42 AM »

"Fun Fun Fun" is a killer song, sure. But I always have the feeling that "Dance Dance Dance" was some kind of second try by Brian, to make it even better. I canīt really explain it, but the songs are very similiar, even the titles.

Any opinions?
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Jonas
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2006, 10:58:15 AM »

My love of the Beach Boys definitely started when I was a kid, and of course that meant that I loved the early hits. Still do, for sure. Strangely enough for me, some of the songs that meant the most to me when I was 8 years old included Don't Worry Baby and Wouldn't It Be Nice, for their romantic sentiment. Recently, I have heard Don't Worry Baby on AM radio, and it was the same experience you just described. Hearing it "the way it was meant to be heard" was amazing. It just exploded out of the radio, with Al's meaty bass line being especially great.

Agreed! But God Only Knows is that one song that I kept hitting 'Previous Track' over and over and over and over and over and over...
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Ron
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2006, 12:05:15 PM »

Yes, I understand completely what you're saying.  It's like a fundamental thing, everything that's great is usually great because of something simple, kind of like how the ground looks beautiful whenever it's just plain grass for miles, with no buildings or clutter or anything on it.  Simplicity is what everything great is based and built on.  So those old Beach Boys songs, the early ones, the simple ones, have nearly as much genius and brilliance in them sometimes as "California Girls" or Pet Sounds did. 

I like what you're talking about when you say how it must have originally sounded, too.  I always trip about about "Surfin' U.S.A." and how cool that must have been to be a teenager then. 

Imagine it's the summer, you live in Kansas or somewhere, and you're really big into Rock & Roll, which had only been around a few years.  You're 16, going through all that stuff with girls and school, and summer break is here.  You just got a car, and all of a sudden you hear on the radio for the first time

"If everybody had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like Californi aaaaaaa"

Then in the hook here's this great rock song with the guy calling out places all over the world where kids are listening to their radios, and beaches all over the country.

That must have been INCREDIBLE to hear that on the radio and the energy in it.

Funny you mention Chuck Berry, I've always thought how great it must have been to have been 6 or 7 and heard Chuck Berry do "Run Run Rudolph" for the first time on the radio for all the kids at Christmas.  Must have just been so special to hear something that exciting.  "Run Run Rudolph! Santa's gotta make it to town! Santa make him hurry tell him he can take the freeway down!"
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voxnut
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 12:16:21 PM »

As a side note- something again came to mind in reading the replies to this thread (thank for replying!), that I think it's a strong case builder for the "Brian Wilson = genius" theory: have you ever noticed that when people tlak about their favorite BBs songs, they are all different  from each other? To me that's a true sign of greatness, that you can have folks list different songs as their faves. If everyone points out the same one or two songs, it just means that the artist got lucky a couple of times (and there's nothing wrong with that, mind you) versus consistently knocking 'em into the cheap seats. Makes me proud to be a fan.  Grin

Dean
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 12:20:00 PM »

What about all those people who's favouite Beach Boys song wasn't even written by Brian Wilson?
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Mitchell
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2006, 12:39:22 PM »

Just goes to show that the band is probably better than even some of its fans think.
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voxnut
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2006, 12:46:44 PM »

That's cool with me- I was just speaking from my perspective, which is certainly 1962-67 and Brian Wilson-centic. I am more than happy to engage the old saw "different streaks for different freaks." If folks out there want to build a case for Al Jardine=genius, who am I to throw a wet towel on them?

That said, I perhaps in bias fashion believe that until '67 Brian was the absolute Sensei of the BB's dojo, so I kinda feel like all roads lead to Brian either directly or indirectly when it comes to the other guys output, with varying degrees of success. As usual, feel free to disagree.

Dean
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Sheriff John Stone
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2006, 12:54:38 PM »

Fun, Fun, Fun

It all seemed so easy. Mike had an idea for a song. He and Brian go in the studio. Mike writes the words, Brian writes the music. Brian produces the track, brings in the guys to do the harmonies. Have a hit record.

It all seemed so easy. Should've lasted forever. Won't last forever. Won't...last...forever...

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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2006, 01:39:47 PM »

It's interesting that kids can relate to the BB music so well. I remember at around 10/11 being so excited at I Get Around, Surfin USA. I think I had the Golden Greats complilation. Then I got Made In USA. I think kids can relate to the more complex stuff though and not just the early surf hits. I adored Heroes and Villains. In fact, it's still my favourite tune 20 years later!
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2006, 03:56:06 PM »

Quote from: Ron re "Surfin' U.S.A."
That must have been INCREDIBLE to hear that on the radio and the energy in it.


Yes, it definitely was! Even tho I was barely into my teens at the time. Wink

The Beach Boys' sound was so fresh-sounding on the AM radio. I was a Four Seasons fan until I discovered the BBs in '63. From then on, there was no turning back.
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PMcC
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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2006, 04:18:59 PM »

In my opinion, the vocals add more than half the energy. I have heard the backing track alone, and it is what it is until the voices get there. Then it's taken to this wonderful place. A great , wonderfully produced record. an immortal production...
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Surfer Joe
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2006, 05:59:27 PM »

I was actually steered to the Beach Boys, as if by some kind of presentiment, by my older brothers.  I went to J.C.Penney's as a seven year old in 1972 with a couple of bucks to buy three singles for my little record player.  I already knew all about the Beatles, but I was strongly urged to pick up on "I Get Around" as well.  So for about .69 cents each, I came home with "She Loves You" (Swan Label, black), "Please Please Me" (Vee-Jay?  Orange label) and "I Get Around" (Capitol, orange).  I loved them all equally, but as always happens, I flipped for the flips: "I'll Get You", "From Me To You", and "Don't Worry, Baby".  They were proud posessions and I still have 'em all.

After that it was off to the races, and I bought everthing I could from the oldies singles rack at K-Mart.  They came shrinkwrapped on blue cardboard, covered with stars...
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2006, 01:54:15 PM »

I can clearly recall my teenage sister bringing home the newly released Surfin' USA LP in 1963. I was 5 years old and I can still remember thinking this was really radical music...so electric. And looking at the photos of the BB's on the back cover I was struck by how casually dressed they were. To that point I'd thought all singers and musicians had to wear suits, and look really slick. The BB's looked like the kids in the neighborhood, except Dennis and David looked like the bad kids from down the street. The whole thing was shocking and wonderful. It really affected my life. To me that was my punk rock moment. The Beatles were awesome and fun, but the BB's had already shattered whatever barriers there were between rock and regular life for me. From the time I held that copy of Surfin USA my only goals were to grow my hair long, buy an electric guitar, and be in a band. By the time Fun Fun Fun came along it all seemed kind of tame. I loved the song, the beat, the guitars...but it was so much "cleaner" than the Surfin USA experience...which to me seemed very subversive. For a lot of us suburban Californians the photos and sounds on the first few BB's LP's were like a call to arms. Then the Britsh invasion came the next year and the whole formula changed. I actually began lking the BB's because they were more "regular"...the All Summer Long LP was like the soundtrack of my town...or my life. The Beatles were exotic, like another planet. I loved both...but nothing ever had the impact of the Surfin USA LP for me...that was a mind blower.
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