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Author Topic: California Calling  (Read 4565 times)
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« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2019, 04:33:19 PM »

I should add that the song overall doesn't bother me too bad-- but those lyrics just try too hard.
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William Bowe
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« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2019, 12:00:54 AM »

It was apparently released as a single (commercial and promo?) in Australia:

Which I own a copy of! God knows why.

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« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2019, 12:03:28 AM »

I should add that the song overall doesn't bother me too bad-- but those lyrics just try too hard.


Me, I think they're "totally rad". Because that's the way me and the guys talk, down at the country club.
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« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2019, 05:26:18 AM »

I like the song. Probably because of the goofy lyrics. I do not care for the production too much, but at the time it was released, it did not bother me. It we all had a time machine, maybe the production would he better now, but it probably would have sounded out of place at the time? I don't know.

For me the music is upbeat and familiar. It seems like a lot of Beach Boys songs are ones that reminisce about better times. I look at Getcha Back as a really light weight Do It Again. Even has a distinct drum sound. California Calling is but of a nod to Surfin' USA, but that doesn't bother me at all either. When I was at the age where I really loved Surfin' USA, I had no idea what the vernacular meant - or whether it was even accurate. It just sounded cool. Back that you couldn't Google it to see what they were talking about.  Smiley  In fact, I am pretty sure the hard core surfers, did not care for the Beach Boys music.

I think that the 80s were the boys trying to be relevant. The call backs and self-referential stuff never bothered my. Neither did Mike's "Love" puns. It connects the music in a mainstream way. Not us super-fans, but the average radio audience.

Is I Do Love You way better? Absolutely, but will it so what the band wanted at that time? If you heard California Calling or Getcha Back on the radio in 1985, it brings you back to sounds that sound familiar of you have heard them in the past. It was quite intentional. If you have that many years of hits, why not try to connect to those who enjoyed them the first time PLUS the newer audience?

It doesn't sound stupid to me. Only after we look at everything in hindsight.
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« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2019, 09:35:30 AM »

California Colin



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Steve Latshaw
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« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2019, 11:28:00 AM »

<<Even has a distinct drum sound. >>

I like it, too.  Unpretentious and fun.  And that distinct drum sound is Ringo Starr.
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« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2019, 11:49:09 AM »

I love Ringo, and he often has had a distinct drum sound, performance-wise. But the drums as performed on "California Calling" are pretty anonymous and simple. I can't say the song needed something more elaborate; the drums on the song are fine. But I don’t think anyone would know it was Ringo unless told. For that matter, 1984 was a pretty dire period for Ringo. He was out of it sufficiently so that, in his “Postcards from the Boys” book a couple decades later, he admits he has *zero* memory of even doing the July 4th ’84 gigs with the Beach Boys, admitting he only believes he was there because there are photos.

Were any BBs in attendance when Steve Levine had Ringo record the drums for “California Calling?” I know varying numbers of BBs were out in the UK in ’84 to work on the album, but I always sensed at least some scattered sessions were done with few or no BBs present, especially when it came to backing tracks with little or no BB involvement.

Knowing the song and album well, it wouldn’t have surprised me at all if they had attempted to push “California Calling” as a single. I don’t think it would have had much action on the charts; I truly think “Getcha Back” and its performance were about as good as chart action was going to get for the BBs in 1985. But they tried pushing some weird stuff in that era, such as a 12-inch "Passing Friend" single with "15 Big Ones" and "LA (Light Album)" tracks as b-sides:


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« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2019, 06:17:44 PM »

Is it possible that it was in the queue to be the next single? I base this on the end of the Video for It's Getting Late, where Brian picks up the shell and hears the song. Maybe the momentum had died too early for CC.
That would be my guess. The hype sticker on the album listed Getcha Back, California Calling, and one other song...might have been It's Gettin' Late. Instead, they went for She Believes in Love Again, and it didn't do a thing.
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« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2019, 12:14:40 AM »

I still think that "Getcha Back" should have been a big hit and the start of a comeback for the group. As far as "She Believes In Love Again", it doesn't sound seem like such a bad move to try to push that as a hit single, once you consider the type of music that Chicago was having huge success with.
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« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2019, 12:24:25 AM »

I still think that "Getcha Back" should have been a big hit and the start of a comeback for the group. As far as "She Believes In Love Again", it doesn't sound seem like such a bad move to try to push that as a hit single, once you consider the type of music that Chicago was having huge success with.

I also applaud the band to a certain degree for trying to push SBILA as a single,  because it's not a corny throwback predictable choice for them to have released as a single (the way CC is). SBILA not a super fantastic track but it's a perfectly decent track in my opinion. Carl on this song, much like he does with the rest of the album, elevates the material significantly by his voice being so so good.
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« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2019, 07:03:16 AM »

At the end of the day, given what was on that '85 album, what was getting on the charts at that time, and what the BBs had been doing in the preceding several years, I don't think anything would have jump started higher chart action. As I've said before, I think "Getcha Back" was as good as it was going to get at that particular moment.

Sure, "She Believes..." is cut from a similar general cloth to the early 80s soft rock Chicago hits like "Hard to Say I'm Sorry", "You're the Inspiration", etc. But there were differences between the two band situations. I'd argue those Chicago hits from Cetera and David Foster, whether you like them or not, were/are better songs than "She Believes", probably better productions, but *most* important, Chicago had momentum going into those hits. Through Cetera's departure, they spent the late 70s and early 80s with far more hits and far more radio airplay than the Beach Boys.

Between 1976 (when "If You Leave Me Now" hit) and 1985, Chicago had by my count nine Top 20 singles, including a couple of #1 hits.

In the same time, leading up to the BB '85 album, the BBs between 1976 and 1984, the BBs had three Top 20 singles, two of which were oldie remakes ("Rock and Roll Music" and "Come Go With Me"), while the other was the lame "Beach Boys Medley." I'd wager none of those got as much airplay as Chicago hits during that same time frame. So the BBs had zero original compositions in the Top 20 during that time frame. You actually have to go back to 1968 and "Do It Again" to find a Top 20 (and literally #20 at that) original composition from the BBs on the US singles charts.

I think even if the BBs had grabbed as singles what at least many fans consider to be the strongest songs from the '85 album, like "Where I Belong", I don't think it would have had much traction.

It took another shift in the marketplace, and a different song, and some amazing luck as well, to get "Kokomo" to hit status in 1988. The fact that they didn't continue that hit streak afterwards indicates it was a fluke.

I don't think the BBs were 100% doomed to never be relevant in the marketplace in the 70s/80s/90s; smart steps could have been taken that would have at least increased their chances. But those steps were usually not taken.
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« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2019, 10:53:44 AM »

Chicago's history after Terry Kath's death is perhaps something incredibly relevant to the parallel history of The Beach Boys, or a way in retrospect to contrast the two and ask what could have happened had the BB's followed suit if chart and commercial success through reinvention was the goal that "Chicago" (deliberately in quotes) reached and the Beach Boys did not.

Chicago in the years after Kath's passing wasn't doing as well, in fact if their attempt at disco "Street Player" and the various member shakeups was any indication, they needed to do something before the ship sank.

So they bring in David Foster, who like any music producers of any generation had a great run where it seemed anything he touched turned to gold and platinum.

Foster in making new records for Chicago basically put the "sound" of Chicago which they had with Kath on the backburner, and instead brought Peter Cetera into the spotlight. Horns...what horns? Danny Seraphine...who? Jazz influenced experimentation...what? Heavy guitar sounds...where?

Anyway, Foster basically made "Chicago" into a soft-pop, hit making machine. They were successful beyond belief after Foster focused on Cetera. Hardcore fans were upset unless they were cooled down a bit by hearing 25 Or 6 To 4 as the encore of a concert circa 1984...but hardcore fans didn't sustain sales and demand enough to cross over as Foster did with the ballads and light pop. The band themselves did get resentful as their records sometimes sounded more like a Cetera solo album produced by Foster than they did an actual group effort. But they were raking in the dough, so how much could they resist?

So draw the rest of the lines and how all that worked out, but ultimately it could be asked what if the Beach Boys had brought in David Foster, what if Foster began crafting records around, say, Carl Wilson who had the best voice at that time and told Mike and his various ideas and notions of leadership to take a back seat, and had the clout to tell a fraud and goofball musician wannabe like Gene Landy to either cooperate and make hit records in the moment or f**k off.

Perhaps the years after Dennis' death would have been more successful in a commercial way. Foster had the golden touch when he was cutting those records and ballads with Cetera, they sold like hotcakes. It alienated the band, hardcore fans, etc...but Foster did what he was brought in to do, which was make money for the band "Chicago".

The fluke of "Kokomo" aside, did the Beach Boys see anything near the chart success in this same time frame as Chicago and Cetera? Of course not.

Did Chicago "sell out"? Well...decide for yourself. But they made money. And they released original music that sold. Did the "Beach Boys" sell out at this same time in terms of original music? That's the question.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 10:54:22 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: March 01, 2019, 11:05:58 AM »

Well, David Foster did co-write "Fairytale" with Brian around that time (and did release it as "Is there a chance?"), didn't he?
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« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2019, 11:14:10 AM »

Well, David Foster did co-write "Fairytale" with Brian around that time (and did release it as "Is there a chance?"), didn't he?

Brian has said he and Foster wrote that song (Is There A Chance)  in 1988 and it came out on Foster's own solo album 2 years later. I don't know what that would have to do with the Beach Boys.

Edit: "Fairy Tale" of course ended up on GIOMH in 2004, but Foster released "Is There A Chance" on his own. Just to clarify I didn't see any Beach Boys connection there based on the timing and the fact these collabs with Foster were done around Brian's solo projects.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 11:25:30 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2019, 12:09:01 PM »

Chicago's history after Terry Kath's death is perhaps something incredibly relevant to the parallel history of The Beach Boys, or a way in retrospect to contrast the two and ask what could have happened had the BB's followed suit if chart and commercial success through reinvention was the goal that "Chicago" (deliberately in quotes) reached and the Beach Boys did not.

Chicago in the years after Kath's passing wasn't doing as well, in fact if their attempt at disco "Street Player" and the various member shakeups was any indication, they needed to do something before the ship sank.

So they bring in David Foster, who like any music producers of any generation had a great run where it seemed anything he touched turned to gold and platinum.

Foster in making new records for Chicago basically put the "sound" of Chicago which they had with Kath on the backburner, and instead brought Peter Cetera into the spotlight. Horns...what horns? Danny Seraphine...who? Jazz influenced experimentation...what? Heavy guitar sounds...where?

Anyway, Foster basically made "Chicago" into a soft-pop, hit making machine. They were successful beyond belief after Foster focused on Cetera. Hardcore fans were upset unless they were cooled down a bit by hearing 25 Or 6 To 4 as the encore of a concert circa 1984...but hardcore fans didn't sustain sales and demand enough to cross over as Foster did with the ballads and light pop. The band themselves did get resentful as their records sometimes sounded more like a Cetera solo album produced by Foster than they did an actual group effort. But they were raking in the dough, so how much could they resist?

So draw the rest of the lines and how all that worked out, but ultimately it could be asked what if the Beach Boys had brought in David Foster, what if Foster began crafting records around, say, Carl Wilson who had the best voice at that time and told Mike and his various ideas and notions of leadership to take a back seat, and had the clout to tell a fraud and goofball musician wannabe like Gene Landy to either cooperate and make hit records in the moment or f**k off.

Perhaps the years after Dennis' death would have been more successful in a commercial way. Foster had the golden touch when he was cutting those records and ballads with Cetera, they sold like hotcakes. It alienated the band, hardcore fans, etc...but Foster did what he was brought in to do, which was make money for the band "Chicago".

The fluke of "Kokomo" aside, did the Beach Boys see anything near the chart success in this same time frame as Chicago and Cetera? Of course not.

Did Chicago "sell out"? Well...decide for yourself. But they made money. And they released original music that sold. Did the "Beach Boys" sell out at this same time in terms of original music? That's the question.

Not to veer too far off topic, but concerning Chicago, the other guys in the band certainly had little room to argue Cetera was hogging all the leads or that the band was "selling out" by doing that type of music. Cetera (and Foster) were the ones proffering the material; there's little evidence the other guys in the band had better or ample material to offer. And the other guys in the band lost any ability to claim Cetera and Foster were turning the band too soft musically; they did their first post-Cetera album with David Foster still! The first original post-Ceter hit was the 1986 single "Will You Still Love Me?", co-written by *and* produced by David Foster (and sung by Cetera's replacement Jason Scheff. Subsequently, they turned to an even softer, even *more* adult contemporary force in scoring two more songs written or co-written by Diane Warren, "I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love" and "Look Away."

To bring it back to the BBs in that same late 80s era, they clearly tried to do "Kokomo" variants in a way not totally dissimilar to Chicago continuing to prime the "power ballad" well. The difference? Again, whether you like the songs or not, those Foster-penned and Warren-penned power ballads were catchy, commercial songs that garnered radio airplay.

The BBs just never found that niche. It's possible that had they had someone like David Foster grooming the band and Carl to make that Adult Contemporary turn over several albums, ideally springboarding off a nice hit, they could have taken a similar path.

"Hard to Say I'm Sorry" may be seen as a bit cheesy or insipid or too "soft" or whatever, but it was a well-liked, well-written song. What it *wasn't*, and what the BBs continued to go after, was more a "novelty" sort of hit. Even "Kokomo" is arguably partially based on the novelty of the whole tropical motif. The BBs *weren't* directly going after literally "tropical" sounds on a regular basis at the time. But it mean that when, say, they did a full album of largely "Kokomo" variants in the form of "Summer in Paradise", nobody cared. What are the most listenable songs on SIP? Two songs that sound the most like "regular pop", "Strange Things Happen" and "Lahaina Aloha", the latter of which is more lyrically vaguely "tropical" than musically.

The closest anybody in the BBs ever came to priming that Cetera-esque power ballad, AC sound was the posthumous "Beckley-Lamm-Wilson" album, which has a few solid Carl songs, but was about a decade too late in terms of its "sound."
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« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2019, 12:17:25 PM »

The Beach Boys in the 80's needed to bring a creative person into their orbit, someone who could write new songs and preferably help produce them.
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« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2019, 12:21:59 PM »

The Beach Boys in the 80's needed to bring a creative person into their orbit, someone who could write new songs and preferably help produce them.

Someone like David Foster  Grin
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« Reply #42 on: March 01, 2019, 01:40:13 PM »

“It’s Getting Late” > “Getcha Back”
“Back Where I Belong” > “She Believes in Love Again”

Carl’s material on this album is head shoulders above three rest.
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« Reply #43 on: March 01, 2019, 04:08:11 PM »

“It’s Getting Late” > “Getcha Back”
“Back Where I Belong” > “She Believes in Love Again”

Carl’s material on this album is head shoulders above three rest.

This brings up an interesting question to ponder...

What do people think of the evolution/change of Carl's songwriting from Youngblood to BB85?

-Was it an intentional shift to write songs more suited for the full BBs band somehow?
-Or was he just collaborating with different people who influenced the direction?
-Or did he simply take his time on BB85 by spending longer times in the studio to get things right, as opposed to his solo albums which might have been done quicker during breaks from touring?

It seems Carl's songs on BB85 were overall considerably better (in terms of composition and production) on BB85 when compared to his solo albums that came right before, IMHO.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 04:08:52 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: March 02, 2019, 11:17:31 AM »

“It’s Getting Late” > “Getcha Back”
“Back Where I Belong” > “She Believes in Love Again”

Carl’s material on this album is head shoulders above three rest.

This brings up an interesting question to ponder...

What do people think of the evolution/change of Carl's songwriting from Youngblood to BB85?

-Was it an intentional shift to write songs more suited for the full BBs band somehow?
-Or was he just collaborating with different people who influenced the direction?
-Or did he simply take his time on BB85 by spending longer times in the studio to get things right, as opposed to his solo albums which might have been done quicker during breaks from touring?

It seems Carl's songs on BB85 were overall considerably better (in terms of composition and production) on BB85 when compared to his solo albums that came right before, IMHO.

Pretty much correct. I'm a Beach Boys solo album freak. I've got a bunch of Brian's stuff, a bunch of Mike's (sometimes very rare) stuff, Al's Postcard, Dennis' Pacific Ocean Blue and even nice bit of Bruce's stuff and his projects (I have Bruce & Terry, The Hot Doggers, other Bruce stuff, but definitely not Going Public). But for some reason I never could pull the trigger on either of Carl's solo albums. And I think the reason for that is the same reason I don't think I'll ever touch Going Public. They're kinda boring and obvious. Whatever you say about Mike's solo material, or Brian's Gettin' in Over My Head or freaking Bruce's Bob Sled & The Toboggans, at least it's entertainingly bad! Carl's solo albums are just regular boring music for the most part ("Heaven" definitely excepted. I think Carl wrote a great one there).

So the key to learn from this is when you do something that isn't very good at least make it entertainingly bad!

On the other hand though, I think the Beckley-Lamm-Wilson songs Carl wrote are really nice. "Like A Brother", "I Wish For You" and "Run Don't Walk" are all really nice songs that I'm pretty sure woulda been able to fit in to a cool Beach Boys album anywhere from the mid '80s to the 00's. Just my opinion.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 11:19:04 AM by Jim V. » Logged
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« Reply #45 on: March 02, 2019, 11:24:30 AM »

“It’s Getting Late” > “Getcha Back”
“Back Where I Belong” > “She Believes in Love Again”

Carl’s material on this album is head shoulders above three rest.

This brings up an interesting question to ponder...

What do people think of the evolution/change of Carl's songwriting from Youngblood to BB85?

-Was it an intentional shift to write songs more suited for the full BBs band somehow?
-Or was he just collaborating with different people who influenced the direction?
-Or did he simply take his time on BB85 by spending longer times in the studio to get things right, as opposed to his solo albums which might have been done quicker during breaks from touring?

It seems Carl's songs on BB85 were overall considerably better (in terms of composition and production) on BB85 when compared to his solo albums that came right before, IMHO.

Pretty much correct. I'm a Beach Boys solo album freak. I've got a bunch of Brian's stuff, a bunch of Mike's (sometimes very rare) stuff, Al's Postcard, Dennis' Pacific Ocean Blue and even nice bit of Bruce's stuff and his projects (I have Bruce & Terry, The Hot Doggers, other Bruce stuff, but definitely not Going Public). But for some reason I never could pull the trigger on either of Carl's solo albums. And I think the reason for that is the same reason I don't think I'll ever touch Going Public. They're kinda boring and obvious. Whatever you say about Mike's solo material, or Brian's Gettin' in Over My Head or freaking Bruce's Bob Sled & The Toboggans, at least it's entertainingly bad! Carl's solo albums are just regular boring music for the most part ("Heaven" definitely excepted. I think Carl wrote a great one there).

So the key to learn from this is when you do something that isn't very good at least make it entertainingly bad!

On the other hand though, I think the Beckley-Lamm-Wilson songs Carl wrote are really nice. "Like A Brother", "I Wish For You" and "Run Don't Walk" are all really nice songs that I'm pretty sure woulda been able to fit in to a cool Beach Boys album anywhere from the mid '80s to the 00's. Just my opinion.

Jim - I feel the same about Carl's solo albums. I know some completists look down on those who don't immediately praise anything released by a band member of your favorite bands, but I just never dug the sound of Carl's solo albums, and the songs just didn't hit me. I feel the same about solo efforts across the board, from BB's to Beatles to Monkees...if I like the music, I listen. But I never felt obligated to listen.

Having said that, last summer on one of the road trips I took was when Sirius was running their Beach Boys channel. And that week or so they just happened to be playing more of Carl's *live* solo material, and it really sounded great. It did hit me that time, and I dug it a lot. Much more than the studio tracks. Maybe Carl and his music from that solo era came off better with a live band and live energy? Carl definitely knew his way around the live stage, and I'd consider checking out whatever live tracks are out there from Carl's solo works, and see how those feel versus his studio work.
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« Reply #46 on: March 02, 2019, 11:31:31 AM »

“It’s Getting Late” > “Getcha Back”
“Back Where I Belong” > “She Believes in Love Again”

Carl’s material on this album is head shoulders above three rest.

This brings up an interesting question to ponder...

What do people think of the evolution/change of Carl's songwriting from Youngblood to BB85?

-Was it an intentional shift to write songs more suited for the full BBs band somehow?
-Or was he just collaborating with different people who influenced the direction?
-Or did he simply take his time on BB85 by spending longer times in the studio to get things right, as opposed to his solo albums which might have been done quicker during breaks from touring?

It seems Carl's songs on BB85 were overall considerably better (in terms of composition and production) on BB85 when compared to his solo albums that came right before, IMHO.

Pretty much correct. I'm a Beach Boys solo album freak. I've got a bunch of Brian's stuff, a bunch of Mike's (sometimes very rare) stuff, Al's Postcard, Dennis' Pacific Ocean Blue and even nice bit of Bruce's stuff and his projects (I have Bruce & Terry, The Hot Doggers, other Bruce stuff, but definitely not Going Public). But for some reason I never could pull the trigger on either of Carl's solo albums. And I think the reason for that is the same reason I don't think I'll ever touch Going Public. They're kinda boring and obvious. Whatever you say about Mike's solo material, or Brian's Gettin' in Over My Head or freaking Bruce's Bob Sled & The Toboggans, at least it's entertainingly bad! Carl's solo albums are just regular boring music for the most part ("Heaven" definitely excepted. I think Carl wrote a great one there).

So the key to learn from this is when you do something that isn't very good at least make it entertainingly bad!

On the other hand though, I think the Beckley-Lamm-Wilson songs Carl wrote are really nice. "Like A Brother", "I Wish For You" and "Run Don't Walk" are all really nice songs that I'm pretty sure woulda been able to fit in to a cool Beach Boys album anywhere from the mid '80s to the 00's. Just my opinion.

Jim - I feel the same about Carl's solo albums. I know some completists look down on those who don't immediately praise anything released by a band member of your favorite bands, but I just never dug the sound of Carl's solo albums, and the songs just didn't hit me. I feel the same about solo efforts across the board, from BB's to Beatles to Monkees...if I like the music, I listen. But I never felt obligated to listen.

Having said that, last summer on one of the road trips I took was when Sirius was running their Beach Boys channel. And that week or so they just happened to be playing more of Carl's *live* solo material, and it really sounded great. It did hit me that time, and I dug it a lot. Much more than the studio tracks. Maybe Carl and his music from that solo era came off better with a live band and live energy? Carl definitely knew his way around the live stage, and I'd consider checking out whatever live tracks are out there from Carl's solo works, and see how those feel versus his studio work.


Carl's second solo lp has the absolutely beautiful "Giving You Up" and I've always wondered if he did this live at any time. I saw him on his solo tour (actually got to talk to him for a bit as well), but that song wasn't performed. Anyone have any info on this?
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« Reply #47 on: March 04, 2019, 08:04:14 AM »

The subject is fun song. It being retread doesn't annoy in the slightest. It's Top 3 in the '85 album.
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« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2019, 06:15:09 AM »

It's definitely not a remarkable song, but it's listenable enough and I like that Ringo Starr plays drums on it.
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« Reply #49 on: March 05, 2019, 09:38:59 PM »

I thought "It's Gettin' Late" was a gutsy choice to followup "Getcha Back" because it didn't have that retro Beach Boys sound. I recall hearing it on the radio quite a bit, but maybe it was too far from the BB's formula sound to catch on.
One of our local AC stations played "Givin' You Up" a lot in the summer of 83. I thought it would become a hit. I loved the Youngblood album. Boring? Not at all. It doesn't sound anything like the Beach Boys, though, maybe that's why some fans still don't like it. Brian's solo albums sound like Beach Boys albums without their voices on  them; Carl went for a completely different sound. "Heaven" and "What You Do to Me" are the only ones that sound slightly Beach Boyish.
And yes, Carl did sing "Givin' You Up" at the few solo shows he did in 83 - I was at one of them.
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