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Author Topic: Why no new album in 1975?  (Read 2710 times)
Cabinessenceking
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« on: March 14, 2017, 05:52:10 AM »

By the early 70's there weren't that many potential "hits" written by the boys, but by 1975 it seems they at least had some good single potential with at least 3 songs...

- River Song
- Good Timin'
- It's O.K

Even Susie Cincinnati was unreleased and might've had some single potential given its "old school" style which was to popular at the time.

Surely using one of these songs would be a better vehicle to relaunch themselves artistically into the mainstream. Especially "It's O.K" had some serious single potential. They also had a bunch of songs available and they could've put out another decent 30 min album to catch the wave by late 1975 at the very least.

Why did they feel the oldies approach was best? Where was Carl and Dennis in this? This was still some time before their drug and marital problems got out of hand. Was it only to entice Brian back into the producers chair and capitalise on his involvement for publicity?
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 06:06:09 AM »

Simply answer: by that time, Endless Summer had exploded, and Spirit Of America was following it into the Top Ten that very year. Faced with the excellence of their own (Brian Wilson-orchestrated) past coming back to stare them in the face, the group felt that any new album had to have BW steering the helm. Sure, the other members felt they could and should still contribute a song or two, but they REALLY wanted Brian to rise up, Phoenix-like, and revert to his former self...but in a modern sense. In other words, they wanted a contemporary-sounding, hit-filled, glossy Brian Wilson production for the then-modern times. They felt they needed that to be perceived as both artistically AND commercially valid. What they got a year later in 15 Big Ones in no way measured up to their expectations, but by that time they needed to get SOMETHING new out before they lost the momentum, and Brian was semi-back, so there you go.

A similar thing happened in 1981-'82: they were all interested in making a new album, but Carl especially felt that either (a) Brian needed to be truly "back" AND running things as he once was (and NOT just the latter), or they needed a strong commercial producer with some strong contemporary-sounding material. So we got something close to that with the '85 Steve Levine-produced album: some nice moments, but hardly the hoped-for blockbuster.
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c-man
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2017, 06:20:34 AM »

I'll hasten to add that pressure from the respective record companies to get BW involved was also paramount in both periods (Warner Bros. in '75, CBS in '81-'82).
Never underestimate the persuasive power of the record company!
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HeyJude
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2017, 06:49:57 AM »

It also appears that touring became more and more lucrative, and this coincided with *new* albums being less and less popular and therefore less lucrative. I think some of the albums we *did* get into the later 70s and early 80s had as much to do with securing and keeping advances from the label as they did with trying to stay artistically active and forward-moving.

Of course, by the 80s and into the 90s this became an even more prevalent theme. Touring and playing oldies made more money, and got them stronger and more immediately positive feedback. This also explains why by the 80s and 90s, they were hesitant to even dip much into their back catalog to do deeper cuts.

I think there was a period of time, even after they had stopped having "Hits", that they still recorded albums because, well, that's just "what they did." They were *recording artists* who also toured. They did five albums in five years from 1976 to 1980, despite having minimal success after "15 Big Ones."
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 07:37:22 AM »

It wasn't just the band who felt they wanted Brian back in the producer's chair, and it wasn't just the labels being labels: It had been a stipulation in their contracts both with Warner/Reprise and CBS that Brian be involved in producing the records.

That pretty much sums up what the general feeling was in the industry regarding paying for and releasing a Beach Boys album without Brian Wilson's involvement, as minimal as that would be in some cases. When the band was fishing for new labels at various times, that was the clout that he brought (the credit produced by Brian Wilson) to the bargaining table for the band regarding labels and contracts which neither the band name itself nor any other members individually or collectively could bring.
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Cabinessenceking
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2017, 07:38:12 AM »

I'll hasten to add that pressure from the respective record companies to get BW involved was also paramount in both periods (Warner Bros. in '75, CBS in '81-'82).
Never underestimate the persuasive power of the record company!


Quite funny then, considering that the re-recordings of many songs from Friends which Brian did together with Stanley Shapiro and Tandyn Almer were found promising, but rejected upon Warner Bros. discovering Brian "erratic has-been" Wilson partaking in the project only few years before Endless Summer came out.
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2017, 07:53:51 AM »

I'll hasten to add that pressure from the respective record companies to get BW involved was also paramount in both periods (Warner Bros. in '75, CBS in '81-'82).
Never underestimate the persuasive power of the record company!


Quite funny then, considering that the re-recordings of many songs from Friends which Brian did together with Stanley Shapiro and Tandyn Almer were found promising, but rejected upon Warner Bros. discovering Brian "erratic has-been" Wilson partaking in the project only few years before Endless Summer came out.

How many Friends songs...perhaps 4? And the label - A&M - who was behind that project to rewrite or recast some of Brian's 60's songs so they could shop the songs to be covered by artists on their label to make a few bucks on their newly-purchased catalog of Beach Boys songs, had an issue with Tandyn Almer's involvement too due to his antics. The way the post above reads, Warner rejected it because Brian was an "erratic has-been" and that's not quite the case.

A&M was the label looking for the rewrites, not Warners. Brian got involved apparently because the lead sheets being accessed for the project which had been done to copyright Brian's songs in the 60's were not accurate, and Brian offered them the original backing tracks as well to help fix the various errors, which led to his personal involvement beyond that level with Shapiro and Almer. Brian was happy his music was being reviewed again like this. It was a guy named Nelson at A&M who pitched a fit when he found out who the voices were, especially Almer and also Brian who he worried would do something bizarre while on the A&M grounds.

Such is the story told, anyway.
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 08:44:45 AM »

Even Susie Cincinnati was unreleased and might've had some single potential given its "old school" style which was to popular at the time.

Well technically, "Susie Cincinnati" was already released back in 1970 as the b-side to "Add Some Music to Your Day", but since the single flopped, I guess the track was as good as unreleased to the group!
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2017, 09:04:14 AM »

As Al tells it, "Susie Cincinnati" was John Belushi's favorite song, at least at the time they were working together on the TV special.

I'm not sure "Susie..." was ever destined to be a hit. It's a cool Al track, and it would be a blast to hear him do it in concert now, but it has never struck me as an amazing piece. It has a similar sonic stamp that stuff from that era has like "Slip on Through", "I'm Going Your Way", "This Whole World", etc.

One could actually at least try to argue that when finally released in 1979, "Good Timin'" was at least a "minor" hit, as it technically reached the Top 40 by getting literally to #40. That song seemed to have a good foothold in particular in certain radio markets as I recall. You can actually hear cheers as the song starts up when they play it on that 1980 Philadelphia radio broadcast; about the only time I've ever heard "song recognition cheers" from a crowd for anything the band did in that era.
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2017, 09:21:34 AM »

Even Susie Cincinnati was unreleased and might've had some single potential given its "old school" style which was to popular at the time.

Well technically, "Susie Cincinnati" was already released back in 1970 as the b-side to "Add Some Music to Your Day", but since the single flopped, I guess the track was as good as unreleased to the group!

Wasn't it also the b-side (in the US) to Child of Winter in Dec. 1974? Then in Nov. 1976 the b-side to Everyone's In Love With You. Still, it certainly should have found a home on a 1975 studio album.

Edit: Or was Susie the a-side in 1976? If so, Wiki is surely misleading...
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 09:49:47 AM by B.E. » Logged
Cabinessenceking
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2017, 01:53:25 PM »

Even Susie Cincinnati was unreleased and might've had some single potential given its "old school" style which was to popular at the time.

Well technically, "Susie Cincinnati" was already released back in 1970 as the b-side to "Add Some Music to Your Day", but since the single flopped, I guess the track was as good as unreleased to the group!

Good point! Forgot about that. In these internet days it's always hard to remember that the singles actually had B-sides...

Regarding a re-release as an A-sided single in 1975, I think Susie Cincinnati could pull off something, since it does fit the style of the retro 60s. Re-releasing a single has never stopped our Boys either, look at Sail On, Sailor and Come Go With Me  Wink
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icanhearmusic551
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2017, 03:18:54 PM »

There could have been a very good 1975 album

1. It's OK
2. Good Timin'
3. Rainbows
4. You're Riding High On The Music
5. Barnyard Blues
6. California Feelin'
7. River Song
8. Ding Dang
9. Don't Let Me Go
10. Earthquake Time
11. Our Life Our Love Our Land
12. Holy Man
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2017, 04:08:12 PM »

No LP in 1975 was directly attributable to four things:

--"Endless Summer" going to #1 on the Billboard charts in the late summer/early fall of 1974.

--Increasing publicity about Brian's eccentric behavior and his estrangement from the band.

--A virtually carbon-copy performance by "Spirit of America" in the summer of 1975.

--The increasingly rapturous press about the Beach Boys across this time frame, focusing (as the original poster noted) on Brian's songwriting/production genius.

All of this led to a gradual but inevitable return to an oldies-based show--and with Brian out of the picture in terms of the studio, Jack Reiley replaced by Steve Love as manager (meaning no connection between career strategy and music production), Mike and Al pushing for T&M and sobriety vs. Dennis' and Carl's penchant for the "rock'n'roll lifestyle", you have a recipe for NOT creating much new music, not being able to agree on what should be released, and a mounting fear that anything new would be slammed in comparison to the past and the current bubble of acclaim and prosperity would be burst.

Would those 12 tracks that icanhearmusic551 lists make for an LP that would have been well-received in 1975? (BTW, love your YouTube channel!) Having been there at the time, I fear the answer is..."no." Leaving aside the assumption that the track listing was actually feasible at any point in '75, I think this LP would have been seen as more disjointed than CATP and would have been greeted at the time with raised eyebrows from the entirety of the rock press. It would have been seen as another record that failed to deliver enough Brian Wilson.

IMO their best shot was to have come up with a version of "River Song" that had more vocals than this early version and released it as a single in April '75 before their Beachago tour and prior to the release of "Spirit of America."  With some luck and persistence (such as featuring it in the Beachago show) the track might have caught on as a "new variation" on the BB sound. It might have been carried along by the events of the summer in a manner analogous to how "Kokomo" climbed the charts thirteen years later, and become the first BB hit without Brian's involvement.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2017, 04:27:50 PM »

There could have been a very good 1975 album

1. It's OK
2. Good Timin'
3. Rainbows
4. You're Riding High On The Music
5. Barnyard Blues
6. California Feelin'
7. River Song
8. Ding Dang
9. Don't Let Me Go
10. Earthquake Time
11. Our Life Our Love Our Land
12. Holy Man

Have we even heard all of those songs? I don't think stuff like "Earthquake Time" or "Riding High...." even circulate. They could be amazing or could totally stink.

I'm guessing based on what we have heard that such an album would have been torn apart by the critics for being so schizophrenic.

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Cabinessenceking
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2017, 04:35:22 PM »

There could have been a very good 1975 album

1. It's OK
2. Good Timin'
3. Rainbows
4. You're Riding High On The Music
5. Barnyard Blues
6. California Feelin'
7. River Song
8. Ding Dang
9. Don't Let Me Go
10. Earthquake Time
11. Our Life Our Love Our Land
12. Holy Man

Unfortunately we don't have some of these track as bootlegs even. If they are decent, why would they still be in the vaults?

1. It's OK
2. Good Timin'
3. Rainbows
4. You're Riding High On The Music
5. Barnyard Blues
6. California Feelin'
7. River Song
8. Ding Dang
9. Don't Let Me Go
10. Earthquake Time
11. Our Life Our Love Our Land
12. Holy Man

That being said, Barnyard Blues proved to be a pretty good track, so there is hope. Other tracks that are known to have been worked on include Pacific Ocean Blue and Angel Come Home (Carl's Song). The Night Was So Young was also in the process of being recorded around this time I recall reading somewhere.

All in all a worthy successor of Holland could be put together. Add the three good outtakes from Sunflower; Good Time, Back Home and Susie Cincinnati, and you have enough tracks to make as good an album as any of the previous ones.

Still anticipating those unheard tracks. It seems the 1975 album could've quickly put together as a "20/20" style mashup and still be commercially and critically successful. At least something like this should've been plan B in late 1976 when it was becoming clear that the upcoming 15 Big Ones album was weak.

I beg to disagree with Don Malcolm on the issue of this hypothetical album's critical and commercial reception. The public was going nuts for the Beach Boys and the shows were being held at large, packed arenas. The Dennis and Carl songs were very potent. The few songs by Brian was good and hit worthy, though his personal involvement seems unlikely in that year.

I think critics would enjoy it and so would the public. Sail On Sailor and Holland had a warm reception, with minimal BW involvement.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 05:01:03 PM by Cabinessenceking » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2017, 04:49:12 PM »

I feel like there was no single release then because they did not feel like they did have an album together.  Why release a single without an album to be pushed by said single?  Having said that, I think yes, perhaps they should have released It's OK as a single in 75....if anything, it may have been super-goosed up the charts as a result of there being no other actual new product from the band being released in that year, coupled with their massive "oldies" revival.  That was a missed opportunity...the subsequent late release of IOK in the LATE summer surely hurt that song's chances of becoming a larger hit...talk about Bad Timin', right up there with the belated release of Child of Winter.  Who the hell was running this band??
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2017, 04:50:33 PM »

I believe in one of the early Timothy White interviews during the 15 Big Ones sessions, Carl was very enthusiastic about Good Timin'. 
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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2017, 04:58:42 PM »

I think, after Endless Summer and Spirit of America, they did the only thing they really could do ... which was 15 Big Ones.
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Cabinessenceking
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2017, 05:02:52 PM »

Who the hell was running this band??

Wasn't it Steve Love? Family always makes for the best advice anyway  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2017, 07:03:22 PM »

Unfortunately we don't have some of these track as bootlegs even. If they are decent, why would they still be in the vaults?

Um... Wouldn't It Be Nice To Live Again? Where Is She? Sweet And Bitter?? these have been hidden in deep dark for many decades.
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« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2017, 07:13:31 PM »

Sweet and Bitter? Not familiar with that one...
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« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2017, 07:34:43 PM »

I think that C-Man's post hits the nail right on the head in terms of what was happening in and around the Beach Boys world in 1975. For those of us who were there, that's  how it went down. I don't think that any of the hypothetical albums mentioned would have had much appeal. I do agree that releasing It's OK prior to the Beachago tour would've been a great move and could've led to that tune becoming a big hit. Which I think it would've been had it been the first single released from 15 Big Ones.
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« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2017, 08:18:09 PM »

Remember there is also. Battle Hymn Of The Republic and Just An Imitation   Why Don't You Try Me is another.  But yeah some of these don't circulate. I really hope more stuff is released in the future
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« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2017, 09:40:21 PM »

As Al tells it, "Susie Cincinnati" was John Belushi's favorite song, at least at the time they were working together on the TV special.

I'm not sure "Susie..." was ever destined to be a hit. It's a cool Al track, and it would be a blast to hear him do it in concert now, but it has never struck me as an amazing piece. It has a similar sonic stamp that stuff from that era has like "Slip on Through", "I'm Going Your Way", "This Whole World", etc.

One could actually at least try to argue that when finally released in 1979, "Good Timin'" was at least a "minor" hit, as it technically reached the Top 40 by getting literally to #40. That song seemed to have a good foothold in particular in certain radio markets as I recall. You can actually hear cheers as the song starts up when they play it on that 1980 Philadelphia radio broadcast; about the only time I've ever heard "song recognition cheers" from a crowd for anything the band did in that era.
It was a big hit here in the Seattle area, probably top 10 on our top 40 station KJR.
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« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2017, 09:52:54 PM »

Here's something I never understood...there were so many recordings with Brian on them in the vaults, alogn with sundry other un-released material. Why not release THAT stuff in 1974 or 1975 with additional overdubs (to sound more "of the times") ? If they wanted to show Brian was more "involved" there was PLENTY of material in the can that could've been polished up and released and passed off as new material. I mean, "Good Time" and "When Girls Get Together" would've fit more in 1975 then in 1977 and 1980 respectively.   That would have bought him some time to get used to the studio again (and maybe he would've felt less pressure in that scenario).
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