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Author Topic: Why no new album in 1975?  (Read 3830 times)
Ziggy Stardust
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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2017, 10:11:49 PM »

Sweet and Bitter? Not familiar with that one...

It's from 1970 after Sunflower sessions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9En27eb2gMQ

Leaked out of the blue in 2013, i believe we never heard of that song existence beforehand.

I wish Dennis replaced Mike on lead, sounds like it would fit him more and compliment better the song overall but still a pretty nice lil' late 60s style song, you know? in fact i always thought it sounded pretty similar to The Letter by The Box Tops.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 10:57:21 PM by Ziggy Stardust » Logged
Don Malcolm
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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2017, 10:34:29 PM »

I just don't think there were enough completed tracks to put out an LP in '75 regardless of how much clamoring there was for a new BB LP.

This was a tricky situation back then and it was noted in the press on more than one occasion. The newer material had not brought them any hits--last one, "Do It Again" in '68, had not been warmly received in the press because it was a look backward.

As for putting a single out without an LP, it was still a common practice in the 70s. The LP might come out 3-6 months later and if the song was a hit, people would buy the LP to get the hit.

And let's not forget that the BBs biggest hit was a standalone 45. Something called "Good Vibrations."

"It's OK" was referred to by many in the contemporary press as "Do It Again Again," which was one of the reasons the BBs shied away from putting it out as the first single. Would it have performed better than "Rock'n"Roll Music"? Hard to say. The latter had a lot of staying power on the charts (six weeks in the Top 10) and the only real question looking at it now is whether they should have brought "It's OK" out a couple of weeks earlier. However, 15BO was not the LP that folks had hoped for from the BBs and it didn't have the commercial coattails to help a second 45 get a lot of traction. 15BO was in the Top 20 on the LP charts for just six weeks--compare that to the commercial "failure", Pet Sounds, which was in the Top 20 for twice as long.

In 1975 the band was in the final stages of resisting a wholesale return to the old sound--I don't think they were psychologically ready to fully embrace that direction until after Brian was pulled out of the bedroom and plopped down into the studio.

What you have here is a "frog in the pot" syndrome, and a band that had spent 5+ years pushing hard for a new image and had been heckled by part of its fan base to play oldies when they all wanted to go in a different direction.

Billy, "When Girls Get Together" was NOT going to be a hit in any year ending in '75, or any other year ending in any two numbers of your choice! The only reason it was released was to try to fool CBS into thinking that Brian was doing more work on KTSA than was really the case.

"Good Time" is a fun tune, but not a hit with those lyrics ("and so she needs her falsies on") and not a hit without 'em, either. Besides, it had already been handed off to Marilyn and Diane for the Spring LP.

"Sweet and Bitter"--not a hit, no matter who sung it.

Not to be as grouchy as ADG, but you guys who weren't alive when this situation was going on are just not registering with the full nature of the dilemma that existed at the time. What the BBs were mortally afraid of was that they would pick the wrong song to put out in this time frame and, as Jack Rieley liked to say, "blow it." That's why they played it so ultra-safe in '76 by making a Chuck Berry cover their comeback single.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 10:20:39 AM by Don Malcolm » Logged
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« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2017, 10:14:31 AM »

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

"Battle Hymn of the Republic" is actually a good example of something that fans seemed to have relatively high hopes for (I think fans clamored for it for the EH soundtrack in 1998), but then when it finally "circulated", we found out how weird and not-so-great it was. I'm not even as down on the track as some were when they first reacted to finally hearing it; it *does* pretty much sound like what would happen if the "15 Big Ones" era group and sound tackled the song.

But I can see why that one hasn't made it onto compilations with outtakes.
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« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2017, 10:20:51 AM »

Sweet and Bitter? Not familiar with that one...

It's from 1970 after Sunflower sessions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9En27eb2gMQ

Leaked out of the blue in 2013, i believe we never heard of that song existence beforehand.

I wish Dennis replaced Mike on lead, sounds like it would fit him more and compliment better the song overall but still a pretty nice lil' late 60s style song, you know? in fact i always thought it sounded pretty similar to The Letter by The Box Tops.

The "Sweet and Bitter" song was posted by a guy named Don Goldberg who had done a few sessions with the band around 1970. He also posted two other songs done with the group with his own vocals; one was his version of "Out in the Country", and the third was a song called "Fading Love Song." I think the latter two tracks had some BBs on the backing tracks, but no vocals.

I'm not sure if anybody ever confirmed whether "Sweet and Bitter" is in the BRI vaults. Goldberg may have the only copy. It's an interesting song, with a unique and spunky Mike lead vocal. But I also recall that the version Goldberg posted clearly had some overdubs that sounded like they had been recorded *much* later than 1970; they sounded more late 70s or maybe even 80s. That makes me think Goldberg retains the original multi-track for the song, as he was able to remove and record various elements at some later date, almost certainly without any BB involvement.

I would tend to doubt "Sweet and Bitter" would surface on a BB compilation, the mere ownership of the song and recording may be in question to begin with.
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« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2017, 03:37:10 PM »

Sweet and Bitter? Not familiar with that one...

It's from 1970 after Sunflower sessions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9En27eb2gMQ

Leaked out of the blue in 2013, i believe we never heard of that song existence beforehand.

I wish Dennis replaced Mike on lead, sounds like it would fit him more and compliment better the song overall but still a pretty nice lil' late 60s style song, you know? in fact i always thought it sounded pretty similar to The Letter by The Box Tops.

The "Sweet and Bitter" song was posted by a guy named Don Goldberg who had done a few sessions with the band around 1970. He also posted two other songs done with the group with his own vocals; one was his version of "Out in the Country", and the third was a song called "Fading Love Song." I think the latter two tracks had some BBs on the backing tracks, but no vocals.

I'm not sure if anybody ever confirmed whether "Sweet and Bitter" is in the BRI vaults. Goldberg may have the only copy. It's an interesting song, with a unique and spunky Mike lead vocal. But I also recall that the version Goldberg posted clearly had some overdubs that sounded like they had been recorded *much* later than 1970; they sounded more late 70s or maybe even 80s. That makes me think Goldberg retains the original multi-track for the song, as he was able to remove and record various elements at some later date, almost certainly without any BB involvement.

I would tend to doubt "Sweet and Bitter" would surface on a BB compilation, the mere ownership of the song and recording may be in question to begin with.

Well, the original Youtube uploads by Goldberg himself has since been shut down for copyrights claimed by Brother Records Inc, so does that tells us anything.. ?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 03:37:53 PM by Ziggy Stardust » Logged
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« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2017, 03:46:09 PM »

I've heard before that people have heard Your Riding High On The Music   I swear I saw it on YouTube once but I doubt it now
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« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2017, 04:52:37 PM »

I just don't think there were enough completed tracks to put out an LP in '75 regardless of how much clamoring there was for a new BB LP.

This was a tricky situation back then and it was noted in the press on more than one occasion. The newer material had not brought them any hits--last one, "Do It Again" in '68, had not been warmly received in the press because it was a look backward.

As for putting a single out without an LP, it was still a common practice in the 70s. The LP might come out 3-6 months later and if the song was a hit, people would buy the LP to get the hit.

And let's not forget that the BBs biggest hit was a standalone 45. Something called "Good Vibrations."

"It's OK" was referred to by many in the contemporary press as "Do It Again Again," which was one of the reasons the BBs shied away from putting it out as the first single. Would it have performed better than "Rock'n"Roll Music"? Hard to say. The latter had a lot of staying power on the charts (six weeks in the Top 10) and the only real question looking at it now is whether they should have brought "It's OK" out a couple of weeks earlier. However, 15BO was not the LP that folks had hoped for from the BBs and it didn't have the commercial coattails to help a second 45 get a lot of traction. 15BO was in the Top 20 on the LP charts for just six weeks--compare that to the commercial "failure", Pet Sounds, which was in the Top 20 for twice as long.

In 1975 the band was in the final stages of resisting a wholesale return to the old sound--I don't think they were psychologically ready to fully embrace that direction until after Brian was pulled out of the bedroom and plopped down into the studio.

What you have here is a "frog in the pot" syndrome, and a band that had spent 5+ years pushing hard for a new image and had been heckled by part of its fan base to play oldies when they all wanted to go in a different direction.

Billy, "When Girls Get Together" was NOT going to be a hit in any year ending in '75, or any other year ending in any two numbers of your choice! The only reason it was released was to try to fool CBS into thinking that Brian was doing more work on KTSA than was really the case.

"Good Time" is a fun tune, but not a hit with those lyrics ("and so she needs her falsies on") and not a hit without 'em, either. Besides, it had already been handed off to Marilyn and Diane for the Spring LP.

"Sweet and Bitter"--not a hit, no matter who sung it.

Not to be as grouchy as ADG, but you guys who weren't alive when this situation was going on are just not registering with the full nature of the dilemma that existed at the time. What the BBs were mortally afraid of was that they would pick the wrong song to put out in this time frame and, as Jack Rieley liked to say, "blow it." That's why they played it so ultra-safe in '76 by making a Chuck Berry cover their comeback single.

Never meant WGGT had any chance of being a hit, and was in fact just saying it should've been an album track on a proposed 1975 album for the same reason it was released in 1980
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« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2017, 08:01:25 AM »

Well, the original Youtube uploads by Goldberg himself has since been shut down for copyrights claimed by Brother Records Inc, so does that tells us anything.. ?

Possibly, but BRI issues takedown notices on YouTube *and* eBay stuff all the time, occasionally casting a wide net that includes stuff that they don't even appear to own.

The Goldberg stuff may have been specifically targeted, or just caught up in a sweep of all kinds of other stuff.
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« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2017, 08:06:04 AM »

I've heard before that people have heard Your Riding High On The Music   I swear I saw it on YouTube once but I doubt it now

I don't think it has ever been out there. What does sometimes happen in fandoms is that someone posts (or circulates, in the olden days) something under a famous/infamous unreleased song title even though it's not actually that song.

The one example I can think of at the moment is the instrumental from the 1960 Beatles rehearsal tape that was titled "Thinking of Linking" (an early Lennon/McCartney original title) for years until the *actual* "Thinking of Linking" was finally heard, which indeed is a totally different song. McCartney ended up titling the 1960 instrumental "Cayenne" for the "Anthology" album, though many have suspected he may have devised that title in the 90s (can't remember at the moment whether Mark Lewisohn dug up any info on whether that song could have been called "Cayenne" back then).
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« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2017, 08:22:08 AM »

Never meant WGGT had any chance of being a hit, and was in fact just saying it should've been an album track on a proposed 1975 album for the same reason it was released in 1980

OK...but can't say that I'm keen on that idea either. Cobbling together an LP out of some combo of new and old was something born out of desperation and increasing cynicism, and would have been exactly what the band needed to avoid in 1975 to cement their reemergence in the pantheon of rock.

Not to mention that the track itself is plodding and lugubrious in the extreme...deserving (at best) a release on a GV30 or MIC set or maybe an "Odds & Sods" type compilation.
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« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2017, 11:21:08 AM »

<<The only reason it was released was to try to fool CBS into thinking that Brian was doing more work on KTSA than was really the case.>>

Don - as someone who was a fan at the time - your analysis is the best view of the 1975-76 era as I have ever read.  In the case of WGGT, I believe there might have even been a contractual requirement with CBS that over half of the songs on KTSA had to be Brian Wilson compositions.  Thus we had the promo ads in magazines in 1980 touting no less than "6 new Brian Wilson songs, including five by hit songwriting team Brian Wilson and Mike Love!"

I remember that ad very well.
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« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2017, 12:09:34 PM »

Interesting to note about "When Girls Get Together" is that they apparently considered it for "15 Big Ones" as well. That "Brother Proposed Bonus Tracks" compilation that surfaced several years ago listed a "15 Big Ones" mix of the song.

However much I find the song pretty dull and tedious, some guys in the band must have had a soft spot for the song.

The band made some seemingly screwy decisions for KTSA. They dug out "When Girls Get Together", and also gave consideration to "Can't Wait Too Long" as well as lazily licensing the then-17-year-old "The Lord's Prayer" for the album (can anyone imagine McCartney randomly putting the original Beatles recording of, say, "I'll Get You" on his 1980 album "McCartney II"?), all the while there were a bunch of serviceable outtakes from the sessions that would have sounded less out of place, like "Goin' to the Beach", "I'll Always Love You", "Da Doo Ron Ron", not to mention over an album's worth of unreleased stuff on "Adult Child", and so on.
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« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2017, 12:24:05 PM »

Interesting to note about "When Girls Get Together" is that they apparently considered it for "15 Big Ones" as well. That "Brother Proposed Bonus Tracks" compilation that surfaced several years ago listed a "15 Big Ones" mix of the song.

However much I find the song pretty dull and tedious, some guys in the band must have had a soft spot for the song.

The band made some seemingly screwy decisions for KTSA. They dug out "When Girls Get Together", and also gave consideration to "Can't Wait Too Long" as well as lazily licensing the then-17-year-old "The Lord's Prayer" for the album (can anyone imagine McCartney randomly putting the original Beatles recording of, say, "I'll Get You" on his 1980 album "McCartney II"?), all the while there were a bunch of serviceable outtakes from the sessions that would have sounded less out of place, like "Goin' to the Beach", "I'll Always Love You", "Da Doo Ron Ron", not to mention over an album's worth of unreleased stuff on "Adult Child", and so on.


It's all very strange indeed.

But if the stipulation was to specifically have songs written by both Brian + Mike, then it tends to make more sense. Because how many usable outtakes were there in the can that were written by those two?

WGGT is a total slog though.
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« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2017, 12:30:11 PM »

Sweet and Bitter? Not familiar with that one...

It's from 1970 after Sunflower sessions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9En27eb2gMQ

Leaked out of the blue in 2013, i believe we never heard of that song existence beforehand.

I wish Dennis replaced Mike on lead, sounds like it would fit him more and compliment better the song overall but still a pretty nice lil' late 60s style song, you know? in fact i always thought it sounded pretty similar to The Letter by The Box Tops.

The "Sweet and Bitter" song was posted by a guy named Don Goldberg who had done a few sessions with the band around 1970. He also posted two other songs done with the group with his own vocals; one was his version of "Out in the Country", and the third was a song called "Fading Love Song." I think the latter two tracks had some BBs on the backing tracks, but no vocals.

I'm not sure if anybody ever confirmed whether "Sweet and Bitter" is in the BRI vaults. Goldberg may have the only copy. It's an interesting song, with a unique and spunky Mike lead vocal. But I also recall that the version Goldberg posted clearly had some overdubs that sounded like they had been recorded *much* later than 1970; they sounded more late 70s or maybe even 80s. That makes me think Goldberg retains the original multi-track for the song, as he was able to remove and record various elements at some later date, almost certainly without any BB involvement.

I would tend to doubt "Sweet and Bitter" would surface on a BB compilation, the mere ownership of the song and recording may be in question to begin with.

Brian sounds more like MIU era Brian here....crazy.
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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2017, 12:13:07 AM »

I think they did have a hit single in the vaults they could have brought out after Endless Summer: Soulful Old Man Sunshine (with Carl's "shunshine" flub cleaned up). It was a really good old-school Beach Boys style song, and even if it was mostly Rick Henn's song, it had Brian's name on it, so people would believe he was "back."

San Miguel would have been another good cut for an album in 1975 -- and I think they should have bump one of the covers off 15 Big Ones to put it on.

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« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2017, 06:54:43 AM »

The band had some brilliant songs in the vaults in 1975. What would have actually scored them *a hit*, or whether they could have achieved a hit, is difficult to say. The relative hit status of "Rock and Roll Music" in 1976 had a fair amount to do with publicity rather than solely pure musical brilliance.

So, without that '76 style promotional push, I'm not sure what would have scored a hit in '75.

Was "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" sonically/stylistically/production-wise like anything that was scoring a hit single for artists in 1975. I'm not a historical Top 40 aficionado, but based on the other artists I *am* familiar with that had hits around that time, it doesn't sound like anything that was a hit around that time.

I can't imagine the 1975 live Beach Boys going on TV and either miming to or performing live "Soulful Old Man Sunshine."
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« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2017, 07:20:05 AM »

I was absolutely floored the first time I heard "River Song," and that was before I was an obsessed fan. I think it had the best chance as a single of anything else they had at that point.

Wasn't "Rainbows (string bass song)" also recorded by 1975? Another fun pop track that might have gotten some love and advanced the popular perception of the "Beach Boys sound."

Of course, neither of these have a Brian Wilson writing credit... Which raises another interesting point. Dennis and Brian never wrote much together until the cocaine/hamburger sessions. It would be tough to see how that arrangement would have worked, given that both brothers had trouble getting their productions across the finish line without help from the rest of the group and Carl, especially. And neither was exactly an accomplished wordsmith. But it would have been cool if Brian and Dennis had managed to genuinely collaborate on a few tracks while they both still had some fire in their bellies.

Also, let's not forget that there is some evidence Dennis was a big part in the return to the oldies concert format after the Rieley era and the beginning of the Endless Summer. You don't hear from the fans when you're laying down tracks for your new, groundbreaking project in the studio, but you definitely hear them screaming for Little Deuce Coupe from the audience when you're on stage trying to play your latest, forward-looking compilation. Must have been a bummer.
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« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2017, 09:18:20 AM »

"River Song" was their best shot for the music zeitgeist in 1975--it just needed more BB-type vocals added to it. It was not a conventional "verse-chorus" song, but a more guitar-based version of the sequence Dennis arrived at for the POB version would definitely have had a shot--particularly given the type of press that they were getting for their live performances.

I think the best way to characterize what happened with 15BO was that once the band had capitulated to Steve Love's "Brian is Back" promotional shuck, and they got a good listen to what they were getting once they'd all jumped into that old Woodie and were weaving (not honkin'...) down the highway in it, they decided to play it ultra-safe with "Rock'n'Roll Music." It had the pedigree (Chuck Berry) when folks still cared about the roots of rock'n'roll; it had Mike on lead just like the old days (Mike had been mostly absent as the lead singer on 45 releases since "Do It Again" in '68); and--and--well, it more energy and focus than most of the other oldies and all of the new stuff. However, I can still remember hearing it for the first time...and shaking my head.

As noted by HeyJude, it was a hit only because of the relentless hype--and, oddly enough, due to the lingering effects of the bicentennial year phenomenon. That "All-American" thing got attached to the BBs in '76, and gave them an added boost...because, frankly, they frittered away a good bit of the momentum that had built up in 1974-75 by not generating new material that could exploit that spike in popularity.

To be fair, it was a very tricky problem, and I'm not sure anyone could have threaded the needle. But not taking a stab  with new material in '75 forced them to pretty much acquiesce to a direction that crippled them for the rest of their career.
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« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2017, 09:58:43 AM »

Since we're on the topic of missed commercial/artistic opportunities, I think the biggest misstep was trying to be "hip" in the early '70s. There are elements of Wild Honey and Friends that are kind of "progressive bubblegum" ... and this is my favorite era.

I think finishing and releasing "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" and "Seasons in the Sun" would have brought them into a Partridge Family-type scene on a commercial level. They clearly were not interested as a group, but I believe that would have been a direction Brian might have been more comfortable heading in (there’s that quote where he says “Break Away” was a tribute to the Monkees!) ... we might have heard more BW originals during this time (such as "Games Two Can Play" and "Good Time"). Sunflower was kind of a transition/combo of the "progressive" group and the Friends-era band.
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« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2017, 11:22:19 AM »

Since we're on the topic of missed commercial/artistic opportunities, I think the biggest misstep was trying to be "hip" in the early '70s. There are elements of Wild Honey and Friends that are kind of "progressive bubblegum" ... and this is my favorite era.

I think finishing and releasing "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" and "Seasons in the Sun" would have brought them into a Partridge Family-type scene on a commercial level. They clearly were not interested as a group, but I believe that would have been a direction Brian might have been more comfortable heading in (there’s that quote where he says “Break Away” was a tribute to the Monkees!) ... we might have heard more BW originals during this time (such as "Games Two Can Play" and "Good Time"). Sunflower was kind of a transition/combo of the "progressive" group and the Friends-era band.

That's interesting to speculate on. It does seem they were venturing into this territory, but were maybe afraid of being thought of as even MORE square by doing so.

I wonder what Brian thought about the success that a band like Carpenters had around this time.
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« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2017, 11:46:48 AM »

The idea of kind of "mature bubblegum pop" sort of stuff is interesting.

I think there are some old posts from Howie Edelson where he speaks well to how the BBs could have targeted the sort of "Happy Together" type of music genre back in 1967 to stay in the charts, and there are moments where of course things like "Wild Honey" veer into this area. But I think that would have needed to be cultivated well before 1975.

I also think, had they gone for some sort of 70s advanced-bubblegum sound with "Soulful...." in 1975, it would have still required some re-recording.

I have no idea whether this list supports or undercuts the idea that the BBs could have had a hit with a known existing song in 1975, but here's a link to the 1975 year-end Hot 100 singles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billboard_Year-End_Hot_100_singles_of_1975

There actually are some "older" acts in that list, and you do see stuff like Frankie Valli's "My Eyes Adored You" near the top. So who knows?

I mean, in retrospect and not caring how many hits they scored, I would always prefer the band to follow some sort of muse rather than trying too hard to pander just to get a hit. But you look at a list like that, and it doesn't seem too crazy that we could have seen some sort of BB track on that list.
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2017, 12:30:51 PM »

There could have been a few possible singles. Good Timin' was there It's OK was from 74/75 as well.  Rainbows by Dennis and California Feelin'
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2017, 01:15:39 PM »

The idea of kind of "mature bubblegum pop" sort of stuff is interesting.

I think there are some old posts from Howie Edelson where he speaks well to how the BBs could have targeted the sort of "Happy Together" type of music genre back in 1967 to stay in the charts, and there are moments where of course things like "Wild Honey" veer into this area. But I think that would have needed to be cultivated well before 1975.

I also think, had they gone for some sort of 70s advanced-bubblegum sound with "Soulful...." in 1975, it would have still required some re-recording.

I have no idea whether this list supports or undercuts the idea that the BBs could have had a hit with a known existing song in 1975, but here's a link to the 1975 year-end Hot 100 singles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billboard_Year-End_Hot_100_singles_of_1975

There actually are some "older" acts in that list, and you do see stuff like Frankie Valli's "My Eyes Adored You" near the top. So who knows?

I mean, in retrospect and not caring how many hits they scored, I would always prefer the band to follow some sort of muse rather than trying too hard to pander just to get a hit. But you look at a list like that, and it doesn't seem too crazy that we could have seen some sort of BB track on that list.

Yeh, it's kind of a fascinating topic and era (late '60s-early '70s). To me, it seems there were competing interests in the group. Brian seemed be writing songs and making recordings the same as he always did -- "Mt. Vernon & Fairway" and "Funky Pretty" still have that sort of quirky pop feel as late as 1972. And the Spring album does too (speaking of the Carpenters ...). Carl and Dennis seemed to form an axis around this time of a more soul-based, heavier sound (later including Blondie and Ricky). Dennis of course was also doing his own more moody work. Then you have Al and Mike on an TM kick, with a more mellow, spiritual sound. Bruce was obviously lost in the midst of these dynamics.

Honestly, Brian seemed like he got sidelined around the time of 20/20. I believe if BW were in charge of all of the records from this era, we'd have tons of records like Friends and Love You. I'd guess they would have become quite bizarre by 1973 or so. This is not to say he was interested in or willing to take charge of the records. But if the group were behind him, and following his initiative ... I don't see why they couldn't have made every album mostly BW songs and at least co-productions. But it was also an era of the flowering of the other (significant) talents within the group. And I think the beginning of the band losing faith in his ability to deliver what was expected of him.

Warner Brothers seemed to be caught between "We want Brian Wilson songs" and "OH, wait ... those are Brian Wilson songs?!? Do you have anything more contemporary?" Smiley

Funny thing is when Brian finally delivered some tracks reminiscent of Pet Sounds ("Still I Dream Of It" and "It's Over Now"), Warners rejected the record, and the group didn't seem to be behind it either.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 02:13:20 PM by DonnyL » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2017, 02:51:51 PM »

Really don't see any of the songs mentioned here being viable singles in '75. Pretty sure "Good Timing" wasn't finished, there were more vocals added and some suggest that the backing track was reworked/stripped down for inclusion on BBLA. (Whatever the actual facts are, it sure doesn't seem that anyone felt ready to go forward with it in that time frame.) It's also not 100% clear that "It's OK" was finished in '75--AGD disses the June '76 session listing, but there is some evidence that the track was tweaked then for use as a single. Assuming they were actually ready in '75, they both ran (and, indeed, still do run) the risk of being seen as lightweight knockoffs of a bygone era.

And let's call it for what is, OK--"Rock'n'Roll Music" was their way of getting back on the charts. It fits the type of scenario HeyJude was referencing. As I said, their time came around, they took the surest bet, the adulation in 74-75 scored them a #5 hit with a creaky cover. Their time came around again in 1988. It was probably due again in 2000, but Carl was no longer there to bring off a chorus that nailed the "sweet spot" in the audience. In 2012 they pieced together a nice little track that credibly referenced "Kiss Me Baby" with some tasty recycled guitar and a bass line that brought it all back home.

The Boys were victims of the times--their harmony sound was appropriated by the "counterculture"--CSNY--and was further morphed into incredibly successful pop harmony--the Carpenters. The bubblegum groups were all stealing from them in terms of vocal arrangement. Their influence was huge at this time despite the fact that they weren't selling lots of records. There was no place of grace for them until they (wisely, despite the disrespect to Brian's wishes) went back and finished a version of "Surf's Up." They had to find a way to reclaim their place in the artistic pantheon of rock, because they were commercial dinosaurs. 

SURF's UP (the LP) accomplished that feat--it gave them access to FM. At that point it made sense to branch out and meld their sound with the predilections of the early 70s, but they probably rushed CATP out into the marketplace. But the logical single--"Marcella"--was considered just enough "retro" to get passed over. And "Mess of Help" was too different and was a "headphone" song rather than a "radio" song. "Marcella" got a good bit of pre-release hype--as early as December '71 rock writers who'd gotten a listen while visiting the studio were ga-ga over it. (That said, Murry should've sneaked in and raised it a half-tone and the tempo would've been just about right.)

One of the remaining mysteries in this area is why the band--with Rieley still in the manager's seat--did not try to get Dennis' intended SURF's UP tracks onto CATP. Imagine a sequence such as:

Mess of Help--Here She Comes-He Come Down-Marcella/4th of July-Hold on Dear Brother-All This Is That-WIBNTLA

The LP is more unified stylistically without all those strings; there's a poignant "protest" song that kicks off a more reflective side, and ends on a high note. It would likely have sat much better with the critics and the record-buying public, who were a good bit more tribal in those days.

HOLLAND was a solid effort, just needed a single. I think the mix of "SOS" is subpar, the guitar is way too low--you can hear how much more kickass it was in the backing track available on the HAWTHORNE set. Probably also difficult to have a big hit with Blondie singing lead in '72--even the "hip" audience wasn't quite ready for that. Carl was probably the best bet, but it seems as though he thought he had too many lead vocals on the LP already.

If somehow "SOS" is a Top 20 hit, does that in itself change some of the dynamics in the band? Does Brian get a boost? Does any of that affect the management situation (but we got the sense that both sides were wearing out each other's welcome)? Would Blondie have stayed longer (no Steve Love to clash with as manager)? Clearly we'll never know. But "SOS" as a Top 20 hit doesn't address the creative division of labor issue in the band at the time--and it would still serve as a reminder that you needed Brian to have a hit.

It just wasn't a simple situation. And Dennis didn't make it easy for anyone in the band to take him seriously as "the leader" despite his songwriting talent. Brian was a mess. The Wilsons and the "meditators" were at odds. Too many things got in the way--including the old songs, which went from being the elephant in the room to being a herd of stampeding bison.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 02:54:40 PM by Don Malcolm » Logged
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« Reply #49 on: March 17, 2017, 02:55:55 PM »

BW had the right track of songs for a new complementary BBs album with "it's ok, good timin, and California feelin". Just his declining mental state had the horrible coincidence of "endless summer" being released.
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I don't see the point in punishing Brian's musical output solely because Mike wants to wow the President Elect with how long he can weeze "wheeeeeeen" into a microphone.- rab2591
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