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Author Topic: Why Brian Dumped Mike: Exhibit A, "California Girls"  (Read 8269 times)
the captain
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« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2016, 11:08:16 AM »

Exhibit A for the defense: Brian didn't seem to mind having himself officially credited as the lyricist of 'California Girls' for 30 years.

Great point - in many interviews over the years . .

I recall that at some point in the '70's the lyrics suddenly offended some in the feminist movement.

Probably at the point when women started recognizing that they are humans, not consumer goods.

Well now you're just talking nonsense! Hysteria! Political correctness run amok!  Roll Eyes Grin

In all seriousness (What, that last bit wasn't serious? I think women ARE humans? Whoa!), I think "California Girls" is a good lyric from the one-dimensional perspective of an adolescent mind. One would hope its writer had a little more lyrical range than he showed there ... and I guess he did. Barely.
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« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2016, 11:25:12 AM »

Is it now just accepted by everyone that political correctness is synonymous with voices and opinions of people other than white men entering the conversation?
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Bill Ed
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« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2016, 01:04:44 PM »

My sincere apologies for interjecting politics into this thread. It bothers me when other people feel the need to make political points here, and it bothers me even more that I've committed the same transgression.

I'll just reiterate that I think California Girls is a great song and a great record. And to me, the lyrics have always been integral to the song.
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pixletwin
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« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2016, 02:29:39 PM »

Exhibit A for the defense: Brian didn't seem to mind having himself officially credited as the lyricist of 'California Girls' for 30 years.

KA-BOOOOOM!

#truthbomb  LOL
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2016, 02:55:11 PM »

Exhibit A for the defense: Brian didn't seem to mind having himself officially credited as the lyricist of 'California Girls' for 30 years.

KA-BOOOOOM!

#truthbomb  LOL

That is really besides the point. Brian also doesn't like his vocals on "Let Him Run Wild", but that doesn't mean he tries to deny having sung them or having written the song.  Standing up to his dad in order to get proper credits was not going to be something motivated by his like or dislike for a set of lyrics.
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« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2016, 03:01:17 PM »

And to me, the lyrics have always been integral to the song.

Let me guess.  You're at least 60+ years old?  I find the stuff that I liked which 'he' wrote [at least some] lyrics for still stand my 'test of time' from when I was 13 years of age or younger.  Otherwise?  I matured.  Brian matured.  The Beach Boys sound matured.  And the Love-meister stayed in grade 7.  Or was it  grade 6?  The music world and AUDIENCE left him and his stuck in the first half of the 60's ass  FAR behind.  It was like putting the lyrics to 'Stoked' on Beethoven's Fifth.  OK...'Tequila' then. Wink
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« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2016, 03:51:55 PM »


And can someone explain the lyrics to You've Got to Hide Your Love Away to me? The lyrics were cited above as somehow exemplary, but they don't hang together for me.

I'm going to refrain from getting into the "politically correct" discussion. As a woman, the dismissal of a push for equality as "politically correct" is a reflection of the privilege of the white male. Oops, I said something anyway. That being said, I've never really thought of California Girls as being particularly misogynistic. OK, they objectify women and generalize their attributes, but I don't find it too offensive. Just a bit immature. But I like the song.

Anyhoo.... I was the one who brought up You've Got To Hide Your Love Away. I picked that song off the top of my head because it's on Rubber Soul, which came out the same year as California Girls. I could have picked Norwegian Wood, which is also lyrically clever. The "Here I stand" lyric? I just find it to be a rather artful way of conveying humiliation and despondence. A little more artful than saying "I'm sad and lonely." Is it Shakespeare? No. Is it Dylan? No. But it's pretty great for a pop song from 1965.
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« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2016, 03:54:45 PM »

I have heard that Lennon wrote "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" for the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, who was a homosexual. Homosexuality in England, at that time,  was punishable by jail and (in some cases) castration.

That should tell you something about what the song is about.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 03:56:10 PM by pixletwin » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2016, 04:20:15 PM »

I have heard that Lennon wrote "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" for the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, who was a homosexual. Homosexuality in England, at that time,  was punishable by jail and (in some cases) castration.

That should tell you something about what the song is about.

I've heard that too. Is there evidence of it? I have a hard time believing Lennon was that progressive (for 1965) that he could show such empathy for Brian Epstein. (And yes, I've heard that Epstein was in love with John.) But if it's true, then again, another point being way ahead of Mike Love. Being able to put yourself in someone's shoes lyrically is a skill that I'm not sure Mike had (except if that someone else is high-school-age Mike).
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« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2016, 04:36:38 PM »


Anyhoo.... I was the one who brought up You've Got To Hide Your Love Away. I picked that song off the top of my head because it's on Rubber Soul...

No, it's not. Smiley It's on Help!  Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2016, 04:51:11 PM »

Regarding the maturation of rock music lyrics in '65...that mostly happened in the second half of the year, after the release of "California Girls". Sure, "Ticket To Ride" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" had (just barely in the latter case) topped the charts by that point in the year, but they were exceptions. "Satisfaction" had just come out the month before, by which time "California Girls" had already been recorded. Lennon had shown keen wit with introspective songs such as "There's A Place" going all the way back to '63, and "I'm A Loser" in late '64, but those weren't single A-Sides. To their credit, Brian and Gary Usher had shown such introspection on "In My Room" in '63...and the Brian-Mike musical-lyrical team had also shown it, on "The Warmth Of The Sun", in very early '64. My point? Introspective-sounding music calls for introspective lyrics. Happy, buoyant music (like the main body of "California Girls") calls for happy, buoyant lyrics, and that's what we got.
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« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2016, 04:59:33 PM »


Anyhoo.... I was the one who brought up You've Got To Hide Your Love Away. I picked that song off the top of my head because it's on Rubber Soul...

No, it's not. Smiley It's on Help!  Smiley

Oops, my mistake. I used to know all this stuff. Still 1965, though.  Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2016, 05:01:37 PM »


Anyhoo.... I was the one who brought up You've Got To Hide Your Love Away. I picked that song off the top of my head because it's on Rubber Soul...

No, it's not. Smiley It's on Help!  Smiley

Oops, my mistake. I used to know all this stuff. Still 1965, though.  Smiley

Rubber Soul is just Help, part 2 anyways.  Wink

(or is Rubber Soul really Revolver, part 1?) Shocked
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 05:02:38 PM by pixletwin » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2016, 05:24:45 PM »

I'm enjoying all the give and take here. I suppose I should point out that for me personally, it's not necessarily the subject matter that is the problem, it's more the word-for-word execution in the verses that lets the song down.
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« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2016, 05:38:04 PM »

Since it veered off into Lennon's "You've Got To Hide...", I can say - unless someone has turned up info to suggest otherwise - that Lennon himself never revealed exactly what the subject of that song was. He described it in decent detail but never defined who it was about, not naming Brian Epstein or even one of his own affairs a la "Norwegian Wood". How it got attached to Epstein if it's traced back was through other articles which suggested it was written about Epstein, but Lennon talked more about how he was at his house writing a lot of songs, and writing introspective songs especially at that time. I think he also called it his "Fat Elvis" period.

"Ticket To Ride" is one of the most catchy, jump-out-of-the-speakers hook-filled singles the band ever released, and it sounds both poppy, innovative, and "happy" - But the lyrics are really sad, the narrator is literally crying out because his girl is going away. So that's one contradiction between a happy sounding record and an emotionally devastating lyric. But it worked. All the way to #1. Same thing with Help, another Beatles smash from this same writing period of Lennon's - Catch as hell, but on that one John admitted he was literally crying for help, it was actually his voice singing the lyrics first-person.

McCartney also said it YGTHYLA was John doing Bob Dylan, and Lennon backs that up. He deliberately sat down to write Dylan-esque songs and he succeeded. But he never tipped off who the song was about, it was left ambiguous even years later.
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« Reply #40 on: November 27, 2016, 05:46:16 PM »

In terms of introspective lyrics, look at how "The Lonely Sea", Wilson-Usher, sits on the band's sophomore album alongside the non-single instrumental covers and other less than introspective (or even personal) songs. It was already in the band's canon to have introspection in their lyrics, and later it must have been so powerful even then that Brian was featured singing it solo at a campfire in a beach movie. It's not like it wasn't welcome by fans to have a "downer" of a lyric.
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« Reply #41 on: November 27, 2016, 07:30:47 PM »

In terms of introspective lyrics, look at how "The Lonely Sea", Wilson-Usher, sits on the band's sophomore album alongside the non-single instrumental covers and other less than introspective (or even personal) songs. It was already in the band's canon to have introspection in their lyrics, and later it must have been so powerful even then that Brian was featured singing it solo at a campfire in a beach movie. It's not like it wasn't welcome by fans to have a "downer" of a lyric.

Right - what I'm getting at is, with a few exceptions (such as "Ticket To Ride"), it was pretty uncommon at that time to have "downer", introspective, or even solemn lyrics tied to a rhythm as "bouncy" as the one in "California Girls" (and "Help!" was as yet unreleased). Sure, you have romantically sad lyrics on uptempo songs such as Del Shannon's "Runaway", but the "feel" of "California Girls" is pretty damn joyous, and IMO it called for simple, sunny, "populist" lyrics. I'm not sure it would have even occurred to Brian to have any other kind of lyrics for that song, at that point in time. A few months later...sure ("Wouldn't It Be Nice", for all it's joyfulness, is still a bit melancholy in the lyrics department, but it totally works as a "happy" song). Mid-to-late 1965 was, it seems, the turning point. By then, "Help!, "Satisfaction", "Like A Rolling Stone", and even "Eve Of Destruction" were all mega-hits, and things in teenland changed quite a bit after that.  "California Girls" just barely made it under that timeline wire. Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: November 27, 2016, 11:29:58 PM »

I have heard that Lennon wrote "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" for the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, who was a homosexual. Homosexuality in England, at that time,  was punishable by jail and (in some cases) castration.

That should tell you something about what the song is about.

I've heard that too. Is there evidence of it? I have a hard time believing Lennon was that progressive (for 1965) that he could show such empathy for Brian Epstein. (And yes, I've heard that Epstein was in love with John.) But if it's true, then again, another point being way ahead of Mike Love. Being able to put yourself in someone's shoes lyrically is a skill that I'm not sure Mike had (except if that someone else is high-school-age Mike).

I'd hold off on awarding John Lennon another point. The following is highly distasteful, but . . .

http://rec.music.rock-pop-r-b.1960s.narkive.com/exqCpegc/john-lennon-mocked-gays-and-jews
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« Reply #43 on: November 28, 2016, 02:52:31 AM »

I'd hold off on awarding John Lennon another point. The following is highly distasteful, but . . .

http://rec.music.rock-pop-r-b.1960s.narkive.com/exqCpegc/john-lennon-mocked-gays-and-jews

As you say, highly distasteful, largely thanks to the aptly named Trollberg...
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« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2016, 05:29:14 AM »

Granted, the sentiment behind them hasn't aged well, but they were, at the time, great pop lyrics, part of Mike's brilliant run 64-65 of Fun, Fun, Fun, I Get Around, and When I Grow Up. All with lyrics that were catchy, specifically detailed, memorable, original, and immediately graspable. (Contrast the more generic lyrics of Wendy, for instance.)

In addition, the lyrics did their part in accomplishing the tricky transition that The Beach Boys were undergoing at the time : expanding their subject matter from surfing and cars to the more universal ones of sex, romance, and hanging out with your buddies.
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« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2016, 08:12:02 AM »

I don't think it's any secret that Lennon wins no points for tolerance. He was misogynistic to the point where he abused his first wife, for example. I'm not trying to award him sainthood. I simply pointed to him as a comparatively sophisticated writer of lyrics.
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« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2016, 08:13:19 AM »

I don't think anyone's saying there should be introspective lyrics tied to "California Girls". The theme could have been the same, but far better refined and polished. There's no spark, no wit, nothing clever, just a leering slobbering kind of "Well, look at that chick over there, now let's look at this chick over here," approach that doesn't live up to the musical side of the equation. Maybe after a couple of drafts and some honing, Mike's concept might have worked, but it sounds tossed off when at the same time the musical backdrop is nothing but...
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« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2016, 08:22:45 AM »

Lennon's personal flaws and foibles and quirks (and misdeeds) have been out there for decades, some of them self-admitted, so it's a case of evaluating his art as a songwriter rather than trying to paint everything with a brush and palette consisting of all his personal negatives. To do that isn't an honest evaluation of anyone's art, if it were applied universally no one would be listening to Phil Spector in 2016 and beyond, and Michael Jackson's music and talent would take a back seat to his personal issues. Maybe in some cases it's more justified, but it's a pretty fine line and not always a fair one if discussing and enjoying someone's art is the focus.
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« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2016, 08:32:14 AM »

I'd say in terms of the Beach Boys and Brian's music going beyond the surf-cars-girls subject matter, my example of "Lonely Sea" is only one of the examples where the introspective and personal themes were co-existing with the more obvious surf-cars-girls themes. Look at the earliest work Brian did with Gary Usher. There were songs like "In My Room" and others that were coexisting with and coming from the same working partnership as 409, Shut Down, etc. Brian and Usher seemed to be tapping into this introspection and personal lyric concept from their first collaboration on Lonely Sea, and it sat right in place with the other themes that Capitol was using to market the band. Fans were buying all of it, and there are film clips of them exploring all these "heavier" themes alongside them wearing chinos and beach garb doing the surfers' stomp or whatever foot-shuffling dance that was.


One point I'll always come back to is that Brian worked with collaborators based on where he was going with his music and what he wanted to say. It didn't begin with him not using Mike for lyrics on Pet Sounds...it went back to Usher and Roger Christian. When Brian wanted lyrics to express specific feelings or themes, he worked with lyricists who could deliver an informed perspective.

To make the way Brian chose lyricists into a Mike-centric type of issue ignores the history of how Brian wrote songs for the band back to the early days. If he was looking for a certain perspective and outlook to write lyrics, he'd use that person. Again, the examples being most obviously Usher and Christian...then later Asher, Parks, and whoever else moving forward other than Mike. It isn't a mystery, secret, or a "diss" against Mike - It's the way Brian wrote and worked with collaborators.
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« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2016, 10:22:33 AM »


Anyhoo.... I was the one who brought up You've Got To Hide Your Love Away. I picked that song off the top of my head because it's on Rubber Soul...

No, it's not. Smiley It's on Help!  Smiley

Oops, my mistake. I used to know all this stuff. Still 1965, though.  Smiley

Rubber Soul is just Help, part 2 anyways.  Wink

(or is Rubber Soul really Revolver, part 1?) Shocked
I've actually always considered Rubber Soul and Revolver as a "part 1 and part 2" pairing. Actually, I sometimes think of Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as a trilogy.
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