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Author Topic: 'Beach Baby' by First Class and Endless Summer Concurrent Chart Runs  (Read 1973 times)
Juice Brohnston
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« on: April 04, 2018, 09:52:36 AM »

Most things don't exist in a vacuum, and I was interested on anyone's thoughts concerning the song Beach Baby.

Released in May, a month or so before Endless Summer came out, it peaked at #4 in USA in early Oct, around the same time ES hit #1 on the Bilboard 200 Album Chart.

Did the song benefit from the good fortune of being out there at the same time a wave of nostalgia for older Beach Boys material was happening? Was it pure luck, or did the people behind 'First Class' see an opportunity? Perhaps more to the point, did The Beach Boys miss out by not trying to get a new 'retro style' song out to the hungry masses? Could/Should the success of Beach Baby been shifted to a Beach Boys single if they had got one to market at the time? Or did nobody care as the old stuff was selling so well, and the tours were growing.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 10:11:29 AM »

Frankly I was always confused why the song "Beach Baby" was so often attributed as Beach Boys-esque as it sounds nothing like The Beach Boys or Brian's signature compositional/arrangement/production styles. Obviously the lyric evokes a nostalgic longing for the "beach era", but the music is typical '70's MOR pop, something The Beach Boys didn't really flirt with until the late '70's. I always thought of Beach Baby as a song that people who really didn't understand what was unique about The Beach Boys might enjoy. That said, there was a significant nostalgia wave building and as you suggested it definitely benefited from the ground swell that was underway, but more so for the theme than for the sound.
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JK
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2018, 10:20:22 AM »

I see "Beach Baby" made it to the TWOTS album of "BB inspired songs" so it must have had some cred. They even made it the last track. Lovely album, by the way...

https://www.discogs.com/Various-The-Warmth-Of-The-Sun-Songs-Inspired-By-The-Beach-Boys/release/3294141
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2018, 10:42:10 AM »

I think it sounds like a sterilized version, maybe idealized would be the better term, of what nostalgia-bent listeners might want to hear as a "Beach Boys" throwback on the radio. But the nicks and nods are everywhere even though it isn't a direct nick of Brian's production hallmarks. However in some ways it is. The harmonies and their arrangement wouldn't have happened if not for Brian Wilson. 'First Class' sure as heck were not going for a "Jan Berry Sound" on this record... Grin

The influence is undeniable, IMO. There is even this line: "Remember...the dress I ruined with the soda pop?" which of course is a direct wink at "All Summer Long" and the line about "Remember when I spilled Coke all over your blouse?".

The lyrics are full of references and nods to the BB's and BB themes. There is even a Smile-esque "whoooo....." descending harmonized "spill" at one point after the bridge.

And I think for a lot of listeners, when they hear a stacked group harmony with a deep bass and soaring falsetto doing harmonized ooohs and ahhhs, they immediately think "Beach Boys" no matter who the artist is. Add in fun in the sun lyrics, and it's a done deal.

As far as where all this came from, I still can't get away from pointing to American Graffiti and the soundtrack with putting this nostalgia kick in full gear at this exact time in history. It put a lot of records that were even then being spun on "oldies" formats back into the current pop-culture consciousness, and that included the BB's, who obviously were featured in the film and also played over the end credits.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 10:53:03 AM »

Add this interesting bit of trivia to the song: The lead singer on Beach Baby was Tony Burrows, who also sang lead on several smash-hit one-off singles from the same era including 'Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes', 'United We Stand', and 'My Baby Loves Lovin'.

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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 11:14:33 AM »

I had no idea that Tony Burrows sang lead on "Beach Baby!" "'Love Grows..." is one of my favorite pop songs of all time.
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2018, 11:28:32 AM »

It seems he also sang lead on "Baby Loves Love." How unusual to sings lead on so many big hit songs with different groups (at least four with four, perhaps more of which I am unaware). Certainly a testament to his talent. He really drives the song in each instance while respecting its uniqueness. 
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2018, 12:08:04 PM »

One fact seldom noted about "Beach Baby" is its use (in the closing section) of the "swan call motif" from Sibelius's Fifth Symphony (here at 1:24 and elsewhere):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkzrSZKA4cM
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2018, 12:08:04 PM »

It seems he also sang lead on "Baby Loves Love." How unusual to sings lead on so many big hit songs with different groups (at least four with four, perhaps more of which I am unaware). Certainly a testament to his talent. He really drives the song in each instance while respecting its uniqueness. 
Probably butchering this, but doesn't he hold some distinction regarding "Top of the Pops"? Either singing with two different groups on one show, or singer with most appearances in different bands...something like that.
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2018, 03:15:43 PM »

Here's what the man himself has to say:
Burrows maintains he was a victim of his own success. "I did three of them on one Top of the Pops show. I was changing clothes on the side of the set because it wasnít pre-recorded in those days, it was live. The director came to me after the show and said, ĎTony, Iíve had the word from above - youíre not to be used anymore, the viewing public might consider this a bit of a con, seeing you on these different records. I was actually banned from the BBC for two years and in those days there were no commercial radio stations, apart from Caroline. It obviously had an effect on my solo career. I made a couple of records, but couldnít get them played."

https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/top-of-the-pops-ruined-my-career-1-595766

I read in another interview that they opened for the Beatles very much back in the day, actually  taught them how to take a bow. He also said that the screaming was so loud that they gave up on singing, basically conversed with one another.
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2018, 06:15:30 PM »

Love grows...  Greatest undercover lyrics ever.  Something about her hand holding mine. I just can't get away.  It keeps growing every place she's been. Believe it when you see it.   If you had her you'd never forget her.  .  I love her end..lessly.  It played prior to a Beach Boy concert and the lady in the seats back of us yelled the oral sex song. I don't know just sayin' Dennis Wilson was made to sing lead on this gem!
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2018, 11:11:32 PM »

I think it sounds like a sterilized version, maybe idealized would be the better term, of what nostalgia-bent listeners might want to hear as a "Beach Boys" throwback on the radio. But the nicks and nods are everywhere even though it isn't a direct nick of Brian's production hallmarks. However in some ways it is. The harmonies and their arrangement wouldn't have happened if not for Brian Wilson. 'First Class' sure as heck were not going for a "Jan Berry Sound" on this record... Grin

The influence is undeniable, IMO. There is even this line: "Remember...the dress I ruined with the soda pop?" which of course is a direct wink at "All Summer Long" and the line about "Remember when I spilled Coke all over your blouse?".

The lyrics are full of references and nods to the BB's and BB themes. There is even a Smile-esque "whoooo....." descending harmonized "spill" at one point after the bridge.

And I think for a lot of listeners, when they hear a stacked group harmony with a deep bass and soaring falsetto doing harmonized ooohs and ahhhs, they immediately think "Beach Boys" no matter who the artist is. Add in fun in the sun lyrics, and it's a done deal.

As far as where all this came from, I still can't get away from pointing to American Graffiti and the soundtrack with putting this nostalgia kick in full gear at this exact time in history. It put a lot of records that were even then being spun on "oldies" formats back into the current pop-culture consciousness, and that included the BB's, who obviously were featured in the film and also played over the end credits.
I certainly thought it sounded like the Beach Boys when I heard it on the radio. I didn't know a lot of BB's songs at that point, other than Fun Fun Fun, I Get Around, Surfin' USA, Surfer Girl; but I think Beach Baby captured the nostalgic vibe perfectly. The lead vocal sounds just a little bit like Mike Love; the lyrics certainly harken back to 63-65; and that little symphonic touch. I love it!
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2018, 01:56:30 AM »

It might help this discussion if you realise Tony Burrows was a session singer. He had been in the Kestrels vocal group  in the early 60s with the guys who became David and Jonathan. Later he joined the Ivy !eague......even one listen to them gives you the BB influence and respect. The writers behind the Ivy League wrote for First Class and Tony--plus John Carter-- were in First Class.

 The basic element tbroughout is harmony. Secondly, attempts at "pop success".

I found their stuff derivative and lightweight.
Of them all, Ivy League were the best writers and singers....but a trio....so, they lacked a bass voice and always seem incomplete to me.
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2018, 02:54:39 AM »

It might help this discussion if you realise Tony Burrows was a session singer. He had been in the Kestrels vocal group  in the early 60s with the guys who became David and Jonathan. Later he joined the Ivy !eague......even one listen to them gives you the BB influence and respect. The writers behind the Ivy League wrote for First Class and Tony--plus John Carter-- were in First Class.

 The basic element tbroughout is harmony. Secondly, attempts at "pop success".

I found their stuff derivative and lightweight.
Of them all, Ivy League were the best writers and singers....but a trio....so, they lacked a bass voice and always seem incomplete to me.

I remember when Burrows was all over TOTP-----what a sickeningly predictable time that was. The Ivy League's "Funny How Love Can Be" is one of my all-time favourite UK vocal harmony tracks (along with "He's In Town"). Don't have a problem with the lack of a bass voice----it didn't do CSN any harm, after all.

I hated "Beach Baby" with a vengeance when it first came out. It was only after falling in love with the Boys' music that it began to make sense and ended up sounding pretty good! 
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« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2018, 12:00:01 AM »

I've actually always thought this sounded more like a Jan & Dean ripoff, than a Beach Boys one.

But, I do really like Jan & Dean and this song, so no problem for me, personally, there.
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« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2018, 05:18:50 PM »

"Beach Baby" is a great song. I feel it's evocative of The Beach Boys: certainly a Mike Love style lead vocal. I wish Mike & Bruce would do it in their show (and mercifully ax 'Ol Betsy').
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2018, 02:19:48 PM »

I think Beach Baby sounded like a Beach Boys song. To those who do not study each note of every song the Beach Boys sang, that is.  LOL It has the nasally lead and the stacked harmonies.

If you get a good copy and listen with headphones, you can hear the splices for the harmony parts for some reason. And for what it is worth, I think the band accredited to this song is called "The First Class" not "First Class".  Considering that they were a UK group singing about L.A. in a style much like another famous harmony band from southern California, I would say they were "borrowing" this style of song from The Beach Boys.
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2018, 02:57:52 PM »

Beach Baby was a poor man's California style sound.  It sounded like kids trying to recreate something which turned out to be close to what the doctor ordered that specific year.  Brian's old signature sound for the State always held up well.  Still does. 

Juiceman asked..."Did the song benefit from the good fortune of being out there at the same time a wave of nostalgia for older Beach Boys material was happening?"

NO.  It was merely a coincidence.  Obviously it could not have been planned.  They would have had NO IDEA that Capitol was going to sabotage the Beach Boys by pigeon-holing them with E.S.


'El Juicerama' then continued with... "Was it pure luck, or did the people behind 'First Class' see an opportunity?"

They saw nothing and apparently heard only marginally better.   Beach Baby was a fun song but it was also so simplistic that they would never experience another hit single.  It was less than ***'loveish'***.

Then there's..."Perhaps more to the point, did The Beach Boys miss out by not trying to get a new 'retro style' song out to the hungry masses?"

They missed out by releasing pretty much nothing...nada...zilch...dick-all/sweet f*** all.  1st Class beat Lazy Ass.

There's more in that Juice Container..." Could/Should the success of Beach Baby been shifted to a Beach Boys single if they had got one to market at the time? Or did nobody care as the old stuff was selling so well, and the tours were growing."

Obviously there were way too many internal AND external 'problems' circling and encircling the group at that particular juncture in the festivities.  A certain BALD HEAD [" We gotta chase those crazy bald-heads outta the yard."] pressured for control...but he was there with WAY too little too late and they missed the boat then and  for most every year after he [and Capitol] roasted and totally ate the golden goose.  He's been pickin' his teeth with the bones ever since.
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2018, 10:07:28 AM »

Beach Baby was a poor man's California style sound.  It sounded like kids trying to recreate something which turned out to be close to what the doctor ordered that specific year.  Brian's old signature sound for the State always held up well.  Still does.  

Juiceman asked..."Did the song benefit from the good fortune of being out there at the same time a wave of nostalgia for older Beach Boys material was happening?"

NO.  It was merely a coincidence.  Obviously it could not have been planned.  They would have had NO IDEA that Capitol was going to sabotage the Beach Boys by pigeon-holing them with E.S.


'El Juicerama' then continued with... "Was it pure luck, or did the people behind 'First Class' see an opportunity?"

They saw nothing and apparently heard only marginally better.   Beach Baby was a fun song but it was also so simplistic that they would never experience another hit single.  It was less than ***'loveish'***.

Then there's..."Perhaps more to the point, did The Beach Boys miss out by not trying to get a new 'retro style' song out to the hungry masses?"

They missed out by releasing pretty much nothing...nada...zilch...dick-all/sweet f*** all.  1st Class beat Lazy Ass.

There's more in that Juice Container..." Could/Should the success of Beach Baby been shifted to a Beach Boys single if they had got one to market at the time? Or did nobody care as the old stuff was selling so well, and the tours were growing."

Obviously there were way too many internal AND external 'problems' circling and encircling the group at that particular juncture in the festivities.  A certain BALD HEAD [" We gotta chase those crazy bald-heads outta the yard."] pressured for control...but he was there with WAY too little too late and they missed the boat then and  for most every year after he [and Capitol] roasted and totally ate the golden goose.  He's been pickin' his teeth with the bones ever since.


Beach Baby was Number 1 in our native Canada. I blame the DJ's  Wink
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Juice Brohnston
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2018, 10:08:11 AM »

I think it sounds like a sterilized version, maybe idealized would be the better term, of what nostalgia-bent listeners might want to hear as a "Beach Boys" throwback on the radio. But the nicks and nods are everywhere even though it isn't a direct nick of Brian's production hallmarks. However in some ways it is. The harmonies and their arrangement wouldn't have happened if not for Brian Wilson. 'First Class' sure as heck were not going for a "Jan Berry Sound" on this record... Grin

The influence is undeniable, IMO. There is even this line: "Remember...the dress I ruined with the soda pop?" which of course is a direct wink at "All Summer Long" and the line about "Remember when I spilled Coke all over your blouse?".

The lyrics are full of references and nods to the BB's and BB themes. There is even a Smile-esque "whoooo....." descending harmonized "spill" at one point after the bridge.

And I think for a lot of listeners, when they hear a stacked group harmony with a deep bass and soaring falsetto doing harmonized ooohs and ahhhs, they immediately think "Beach Boys" no matter who the artist is. Add in fun in the sun lyrics, and it's a done deal.

As far as where all this came from, I still can't get away from pointing to American Graffiti and the soundtrack with putting this nostalgia kick in full gear at this exact time in history. It put a lot of records that were even then being spun on "oldies" formats back into the current pop-culture consciousness, and that included the BB's, who obviously were featured in the film and also played over the end credits.

Very good analysis!
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2018, 02:26:06 PM »

Beach Baby was Number 1 in our native Canada. I blame the DJ's  Wink

Guilty.  Embarrassed  I played it when it was new...and subsequently.  Gotta admit...at the time...it was better than nothing...which is what we were getting from our 'heroes' [and villains.]
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Donald  TRUMP!  ...  Is TOAST.  "What a disaster."  "Overrated?"... ... ..."BIG LEAGUE."  "Lots of people are saying it"  "I will tell you that."   Collusion, Money Laundering, Treason.   B'Bye Dirty Donnie!!!  Adios!!!  Bon Voyage!!!  Toodles!!!  Move yourself...SPANKY!!!
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2018, 07:59:10 PM »

"Beach Baby" is great sunshine pop song. Songs that cheer up, positive start to finish should be written daily! 3D Brian-not Brian-influenced, 1-3 hit wonders - discuss it, be interested in these things. Me? I couldn't care less. Btw, not many "one hit wonders" can brag good hits, f.ex. forgettable "Rhythm Of The Rain" by The Cascades, generic "Tequila" by Champs, dreadful "Torn Between 2 Lovers" by Mary MacGregor, pure boredom "Steal My Sunshine" by Len etc.
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« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2018, 08:13:25 PM »

RangeRoverA1 - You crack me up!  You have such a direct way about you... But I do agree that Beach Baby is a great, upbeat ray of pop sunshine. I never confused it with the Beach Boys or felt that  the group was trying to sound like them. Rather, I thought that it was more of a respectful nod to the Boys .  I'm guessing that you didn't grow up in North America or the UK. Were you exposed to the music we discuss on SS when you were growing up?
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« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2018, 04:25:04 AM »

2Buckethead: Thanks. Think we shall get along famously. To answer question - BBs isn't greatly appreciated band in Russia. Few get their influence, the others don't care & usually would belittle facts about them, dismiss them completely. Everything else - esp. Pink Floyd, Beatles & various hard rock/ heavy metal is popular since USSR times, according to old dinosaur music fans' recollections in Russian forums - they listen. I didn't listen to music we discuss here till 2010 when I got fascinated with 60s music. Ofc it began with Beatles duh. Same year later discovered Beach Boys & since then big fan.
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2018, 05:03:38 AM »

There's an earlier song (from 1967) that's definitely BB-influenced and which in my view wipes the floor with the Scott McKenzie "anthem".

It's "Let's Go To San Francisco" by The Flower Pot Men. In the UK their name is clearly a reference to a famous kid's TV show but in the US there isn't that connection so they often got called "The Flower Men" on radio shows. Grin  See the wiki link for more information. And there's a Tony Burrows connection! He doesn't sing on the record but was part of the touring Flower Pot Men...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH-x-HgDtmk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flower_Pot_Men
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