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Author Topic: Mike Love, "Back In The USSR" and "Pisces Brothers"  (Read 1953 times)
harrisonjon
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« on: March 01, 2019, 04:31:46 AM »

1) Has anyone except Mike ever confirmed that he contributed lyrical ideas to Back In The USSR?

2) "Pisces Brothers" - supposedly about a painting of Guru Dev that George gave to Mike, according to Mike's autobiography.  Love also claims that John, Paul, George and Donovan sang an arrangement of Happy Birthday for him, "patterned after Fun Fun Fun"

I think the melody owes a lot to "Country Roads" by John Denver, but it drags like a bout of crabs.
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2019, 08:18:48 AM »

I've heard the "Happy Birthday Michael Love, Happy Birthday Michael Love" snippet of a song....definitely at the very least McCartney on it, likely the others if it was recorded in India as was stated.
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2019, 10:34:30 AM »

The melody of Pisces Brothers does sound like Take Me Home Country Roads, just like Still Cruisin sounds like "The Mountains High" by Dick and DeeDee. No surprise.

I'm still left wondering just how much contact Mike and George really had after 1968, and why George's family didn't invite Mike to take part in either the Concert For George or the later concert tribute which Brian and his band played, if they were close.

Also, maybe more related, what happened with Mike and Donovan to where they seem to have lost touch? Donovan has said they were close after the studies in India, but then he mentioned separating after brick walls went up...something cryptic like that. Maybe someone can find that quote, but I'd think Mike would have done more with Donovan than he ended up doing.
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2019, 10:51:20 AM »

I have no reason to doubt that at some point in the intervening 33 years between 1968 and 2001, George Harrison had some sort of contact/run-in/encounter with Mike Love. They probably said hello in 1988 at the R&R Hall of Fame, although it was Al in later interviews that said he apologized to George and Ringo for Mike’s speech.

I think it’s a fair assumption that he and Love were not close friends, but rather passing acquaintances with little in common musically or particularly otherwise. Certainly Mike wasn't on any list of people who might appear at "Concert for George"; even established Harrison associates like Steve Winwood weren't on stage (Winwood is in the audience). Peter Frampton lobbied to get on the show but wasn't invited.

I’m sure plenty of folks have written tribute songs about people who they only casually knew, or didn’t know at all, but feel some sort of connection with. I personally find the degree to which Mike has to tie his show and music to other people (Harrison, or the “I know Uncle Jesse from Full House!” stuff, etc.) kind of unfortunate and needless (Mike’s own resume and pedigree is plenty impressive), and the evocation of Harrison in doing that song and in presenting it in concert seems rather tacky. I don’t think he’s ever just making stuff up, but in the many evocations of Harrison I’ve heard from Mike, it certainly seems in my opinion to imply a closer relationship than likely actually existed.

As for Mike and Donovan, I know little about their relationship, but Mike did pop up in 2007 singing “Mellow Yellow” at a concert that was aired on PBS. Old thread here: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,4037.0.html

I think both Mike and Donovan have done stuff related to that David Lynch organization in more recent years.
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2019, 11:10:19 AM »

Aye, there's the rub. And it's a consistent theme that runs throughout so much of the past 30-40 years. Mike's resume is just fine as it is, and is impressive in and of itself with his vocals, lyrics that he did write, etc. I never understood the need to consistently bring up issues and points that could be argued are less impressive than what he actually did achieve in the music business, and pad that same resume mixed in with the constant resentment over getting screwed versus celebrating the bigger successes.

I'll need to revisit some of the histories relating to George Harrison, but on the surface it looked like George got more invested into Hare Krishna and Indian spirituality and religions and wasn't as much into TM and the Maharishi after the late 60's. And in terms of his friends, George didn't seem to have many enemies, and by all accounts was a fiercely private man (especially after Dec 8 1980), yet he had a pretty decent circle of very, very close friends. I think that innermost circle was who ended up on stage at Concert For George. I also think musicians who played the later tribute picked by Olivia and Dhani were musicians who George's family thought would be best to pay tribute to George musically, and who they admired too...across two generations rather than the earlier concert.

It's an interesting topic to look at, but I do think Pisces Brothers is a little overblown in terms of the subject matter...just my opinion, and not trying to "bash" anything. It would be like the differences between Elton John singing "Empty Garden" and another artist who hung out with Lennon briefly in 1974 if they had done the same thing....
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2019, 12:18:33 PM »

Aye, there's the rub. And it's a consistent theme that runs throughout so much of the past 30-40 years. Mike's resume is just fine as it is, and is impressive in and of itself with his vocals, lyrics that he did write, etc. I never understood the need to consistently bring up issues and points that could be argued are less impressive than what he actually did achieve in the music business, and pad that same resume mixed in with the constant resentment over getting screwed versus celebrating the bigger successes.

I'll need to revisit some of the histories relating to George Harrison, but on the surface it looked like George got more invested into Hare Krishna and Indian spirituality and religions and wasn't as much into TM and the Maharishi after the late 60's. And in terms of his friends, George didn't seem to have many enemies, and by all accounts was a fiercely private man (especially after Dec 8 1980), yet he had a pretty decent circle of very, very close friends. I think that innermost circle was who ended up on stage at Concert For George. I also think musicians who played the later tribute picked by Olivia and Dhani were musicians who George's family thought would be best to pay tribute to George musically, and who they admired too...across two generations rather than the earlier concert.

It's an interesting topic to look at, but I do think Pisces Brothers is a little overblown in terms of the subject matter...just my opinion, and not trying to "bash" anything. It would be like the differences between Elton John singing "Empty Garden" and another artist who hung out with Lennon briefly in 1974 if they had done the same thing....

I think the thing with "Pisces Brothers" isn't even simply that it might imply to some, even if unintentionally, a closer relationship between the two. Rather, it's the specific person Mike is focusing on.

George was often a pretty crusty, kind of cynical guy on and off through all those years. Sometimes it was just a fowl mood, and sometimes it was funny. Note some random comments such as his 1995 interview concerning the Beatles reunion songs, where George sarcastically remarked something like "I hope they do this when I'm dead - turn all my crap demos into hit songs!"

I don't think George would have had a problem so much with the sentiment of Mike's song, I just think he would have found it odd (and perhaps a bit annoying) that someone he barely knew was imbuing their quick, casually friendly run-ins with some deep meaning.

In that sense, it's a bit like Mike recording (and especially re-recording and talking about) "Brian's Back" during times he has been rather estranged from Brian. It's Mike's internal, idealized version of a relationship that kind of may not actually exist.
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2019, 12:21:57 PM »

I read Donovan's autobiography and he does mention Mr. Love, apparently they were friendly, but they don't come off as close friends.  Donovan, who was close with the Beatles, did a lot of drugs for a while.  His drug use would not have been compatible with Mike Love's lifestyle.   
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2019, 12:25:16 PM »

I read Donovan's autobiography and he does mention Mr. Love, apparently they were friendly, but they don't come off as close friends.  Donovan, who was close with the Beatles, did a lot of drugs for a while.  His drug use would not have been compatible with Mike Love's lifestyle.   

Actually Donovan swore off drugs, especially psychedelics, and went on TV shows speaking very much from an anti-drug stance. Donovan began advocating getting high through meditation and looking within versus doing it with chemicals. This was at least by 1969-70, and I know because I have seen the videos, Donovan was telling his fans and the kids in general not to do drugs. And that's one reason why I thought Donovan and Mike would have been even closer.
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2019, 01:03:04 PM »

Aye, there's the rub. And it's a consistent theme that runs throughout so much of the past 30-40 years. Mike's resume is just fine as it is, and is impressive in and of itself with his vocals, lyrics that he did write, etc. I never understood the need to consistently bring up issues and points that could be argued are less impressive than what he actually did achieve in the music business, and pad that same resume mixed in with the constant resentment over getting screwed versus celebrating the bigger successes.

I'll need to revisit some of the histories relating to George Harrison, but on the surface it looked like George got more invested into Hare Krishna and Indian spirituality and religions and wasn't as much into TM and the Maharishi after the late 60's. And in terms of his friends, George didn't seem to have many enemies, and by all accounts was a fiercely private man (especially after Dec 8 1980), yet he had a pretty decent circle of very, very close friends. I think that innermost circle was who ended up on stage at Concert For George. I also think musicians who played the later tribute picked by Olivia and Dhani were musicians who George's family thought would be best to pay tribute to George musically, and who they admired too...across two generations rather than the earlier concert.

It's an interesting topic to look at, but I do think Pisces Brothers is a little overblown in terms of the subject matter...just my opinion, and not trying to "bash" anything. It would be like the differences between Elton John singing "Empty Garden" and another artist who hung out with Lennon briefly in 1974 if they had done the same thing....

I think the thing with "Pisces Brothers" isn't even simply that it might imply to some, even if unintentionally, a closer relationship between the two. Rather, it's the specific person Mike is focusing on.

George was often a pretty crusty, kind of cynical guy on and off through all those years. Sometimes it was just a fowl mood, and sometimes it was funny. Note some random comments such as his 1995 interview concerning the Beatles reunion songs, where George sarcastically remarked something like "I hope they do this when I'm dead - turn all my crap demos into hit songs!"

I don't think George would have had a problem so much with the sentiment of Mike's song, I just think he would have found it odd (and perhaps a bit annoying) that someone he barely knew was imbuing their quick, casually friendly run-ins with some deep meaning.

In that sense, it's a bit like Mike recording (and especially re-recording and talking about) "Brian's Back" during times he has been rather estranged from Brian. It's Mike's internal, idealized version of a relationship that kind of may not actually exist.

Pisces Brothers is at best a fairly lousy song and I can hear George thinking WTF is this?  I doubt that George ever gave writing a song about Mike a thought.
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2019, 02:25:51 PM »

I don’t think George And mike hung out together. George did however meet the BBs again in 1971 when they were filming the Central Park tv show. Between then and 1988 I am not aware of any contact
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2019, 07:30:55 PM »

Agree with the above. I doubt there was much of a relationship between the two if any at all after Rishikesh '68. 
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2019, 01:39:01 AM »

I don’t think George And mike hung out together. George did however meet the BBs again in 1971 when they were filming the Central Park tv show. Between then and 1988 I am not aware of any contact



That's where this picture that seems to be shown on videoscreen during Mike's performances comes from, right? Is there an uncropped version? Who is George talking to? Mike isn't standing next to him and actually his eyes are on another person.





On another note: I'd read that Harrison's wife came from Hawthorne, CA and that he was very interested to see the Beach Boys related places when they visited.
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2019, 11:45:33 AM »

George was a fan of the Beach Boys as we've discussed before, but the fact Olivia (Arias) Harrison attended Hawthorne High in the 60's is a very interesting connection to pursue. She would have been there most likely between 1962 and 1966, more detailed info needs to be posted later about exactly when and how long, but no doubt there would have been some shared experiences even though the BB's were older and more established.

Consider other Hawthorne Cougars alumni and alumna have said they remembered seeing Mike Love cruising the areas popular among the Hawthorne students in a flashy new car - Corvette if I remember? - after the BB's became national hits. Like he was looking to pick up girls, haha. Anyway...Would be interesting to see if Olivia while a student at Hawthorne High had any dealings with the band and their families.

Back to Pisces Brothers, yes to the comments above, and I'll go back to saying it's one thing to write a tribute song to or for anyone who you admire, but the personal connections in this case seem to have been exaggerated.
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2019, 12:00:06 PM »

Adding/Editing: Olivia Arias was Class of 1965 at Hawthorne High, attended from 1961 to '65. There is a vintage photo of her brother with fellow Hawthorne Cougar Chris Montez from one of the Hawthorne publications. So obviously there was some deeper connection there by sheer force of geography to the early Beach Boys...

Pretty cool.  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2019, 10:56:15 PM »

Adding/Editing: Olivia Arias was Class of 1965 at Hawthorne High, attended from 1961 to '65. There is a vintage photo of her brother with fellow Hawthorne Cougar Chris Montez from one of the Hawthorne publications. So obviously there was some deeper connection there by sheer force of geography to the early Beach Boys...

Pretty cool.  Smiley

And Montez was in the same graduating class as Brian and Al.
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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2019, 04:20:17 AM »

Olivia-BBs link is jolly interesting. I read many years back - maybe here - she went to see Brian's 1st Smile concerts (true? Anybody?). Some guy said she likes BBs, been big fan.
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2019, 04:30:42 AM »

Olivia's birth year is given incorrectly in most online sources like Wiki. It should be 5.18.47 not 5.18.48.
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