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Author Topic: Terry Melcher  (Read 31520 times)
HeyJude
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« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2019, 01:03:52 PM »

I don’t have anything against Melcher; I’ve regularly pointed out he had a knack for catchy melodies and chord changes, and his input into his collaborations with Mike Love are by leaps and bounds the things that sometimes save those tracks.

I also don’t deny his successes as a producer and writer. I think he had very much a bland, inoffensive, unremarkable lead singing voice. It appears, surely by way of being someone who could write some catchy hooks, he was a solid harmony/background singer who could fill in gaps in that area, similar to those other anonymous-but-completely-competent backing vocalists on stuff like the “Celebration” material and “Looking Back With Love.”

But his work with the Beach Boys as a group mainly pertains to the 1984-1993-ish timeframe (give or take), and I don’t think his track record, artistically or commercially, on that material, is particularly impressive. It’s not a disaster either, at least in the first part of that era. Pre-Summer in Paradise, his production work was usually competent. He wasn’t an A-list producer by that time, and I don’t believe he was getting a ton of production work. In that sense, he was in a slightly similar boat to someone he was supposedly “competing” with to produce the band, Gary Usher.

In Usher and Melcher, the band had two people who clearly wanted to produce them and work with them, but neither Usher nor Melcher had either the industry rep nor the skillset to truly bring the band back into being relevant.

Let’s look at Melcher’s work with the band:

He co-wrote “Getcha Back.” A nice, inoffensive track that got decent traction for the band in 1985. It’s pretty derivative of “Don’t Worry Baby” (listen to them do a medley of the two songs on the ’86 anniversary special to hear how seamlessly the songs weave into each other). But it’s a fine song. The production (whether we’re pinning it on Levine or Melcher or both) was okay, but rather sparse. A nice solid “B” for the band for 1985. It scored them a #26 placement on the singles charts in the US.

Melcher then co-write and produced “Rock and Roll to the Rescue.” A-list material this was not, but I guess I hear what they were going for, that sort of mid-80s retro thing. I guess the underlying song is okay. The lyrics aren’t too hot, and the production was already dated by 1986. Now, let me stop briefly here to point out *I* dig the band’s 80s output more than I think most fans do. I have a soft spot for *most* of it, including cases where I think stuff is truly better than others give it credit for, and also cases where I have a soft spot for something that I know objectively isn’t that great. This song got them a #68 chart placement.

Melcher then also helped the band partially re-record and remix the 1982 recording of “California Dreamin’”, and this is one of Melcher’s better jobs, although the majority of what is on the ’86 record comes from the ’82 sessions. Nevertheless, Melcher punches the song up with some additional backing vocals, some better, punchier drums, and some extra guitar work to remove some of the sort of post-disco sound that had permeated the ’82 version. It reached #57 on the singles charts, but unlike “R&R to the Rescue”, remained a staple of their live shows for years to come (for better and worse).

Both “R&R to the Rescue” and “California Dreamin’” of course also featured on the 1986 “Made in USA” compilation.

Melcher, as described by Gary Usher (and seen in the credits) was a sort or producer/supervisor for the music for the band’s 1986 25th Anniversary TV special. We know how that special turned out. Usher’s description of the recording sessions for the songs used in the “live” performance indicate Melcher’s main role was corralling everybody and trying to get the stuff he needed to get on tape to use for the TV special.

Next up was the 1987 duet with Little Richard, “Happy Endings.” It’s a Bruce-Terry co-write, and is very much in the style of Bruce’s later 70s and 80s electric piano sappy ballads. This is one case where I wouldn’t be surprised if the composition is more Bruce then Terry. Melcher also produced the track. It’s, well, there’s not much to say about it. The Beach Boys add some nice lead and backing vocals. The song is sappy and corny and not particularly good, but not awful. It was released as a single, backed with a random contemporary live version of “California Girls.” This single failed to chart.

Then came 1988 and “Kokomo”, and we all know that story pretty well. Co-written and produced by Melcher, and an undeniably catchy song with pretty solid production for the era, and more than anything an undeniable shot in the arm for the band in getting a #1 single. History tells us in some respects this was a fluke, but a #1 fluke is a #1, and this track was still good, still enjoyable. It wasn’t purely a novelty bit. This song does reinforce a more nuanced nitpick I have about Melcher’s production style, which is that he tended to squish/compress the band’s vocals (both lead and backing), and things often ended up sounding rather thin and shrill. I’ll cut him some slack as some of this was probably due to the production style of the time. But it’s worth noting.

Melcher then, in the 1988-1989 timeframe, worked on several songs with the band that ended up on “Still Cruisin’” This is probably his best work with the band. “Still Cruisin’” is not a particularly original song compositionally, and the production is extra thin-sounding for some reason. But it’s catchy enough, and kind of continues that late 80s retro vibe thing the band tended to lean into. As a single it didn’t do that well, only reaching #93 in the US.

“Somewhere Near Japan” is another Melcher co-write and a Melcher production, and it’s probably his best work with the band both on the songwriting and production sides of things. Unlike the shrill, thin-sounding “Still Cruisin”, “Somewhere Near Japan” sounds more organic and warm (though still retaining some late 80s touches), and the song is good and the band’s vocals excellent. It didn’t chart when released as a single, though by that point I don’t think Capitol was pushing their stuff a great deal (Mike complained about how the band’s singles were pushed to market and radio around this time).

Also prepped for a film and then included on the “Still Cruisin’” album was “Make It Big”, another Melcher co-write and production. This is another solid “B” song and production. Not a bad “album track” for the band.

From there, it kind of goes off the rails with a few exceptions.

Melcher co-wrote and produced “Problem Child”, which, while likely putting some coin in the band’s pocket via film placement, was one of their worst singles ever. The song is annoying, and the production even more so. The single did not chart.

And then we have “Summer in Paradise”, the closest we could get to a “Mike & Terry” album with some guest Beach Boys vocalists. The album features 12 tracks, including 6 originals and 6 covers. Five of the six originals are Love-Melcher co-writes. Melcher turns in generally catchy chord changes/melodies on some of these tracks. They’re overlaid with generally awful Mike lyrics. More problematic is Melcher’s production on the album. This is by leaps and bounds the worst *sounding* Beach Boys album. Everything sounds bad. Melcher using early (literally *beta* testing) early computer-based digital recording methods didn’t help. Everything is shrill and thin-sounding, everything uses the same awful snare drum sample, and the only thing saving the album from complete disaster are some good vocals from Carl and Al, and a couple of songs that are good enough that even Mike’s drippy lyrics can’t derail them completely (mainly the oft-cited “Lahaina Aloha” and “Strange Things Happen”). Neither “Hot Fun in the Summertime” as a single nor the eventual album charted *at all.*

This is not a stellar track record I’m sorry to say. This era is peppered with some good songs, and some *okay* productions/records. But Melcher’s pre-SIP track record was middling at best, and being the main force behind SIP along with Mike tends to blunt Melcher’s standing quite a bit in my opinion.

The Beach Boys-Terry Melcher pairing was not some sort of powerhouse pairing that sustained itself due to building success. Melcher had enough industry clout/connections to get them some film soundtrack placements, and was a generally competent musician and backing singer, and was also a competent producer the band could turn to without having to try to start from scratch getting to know a new producer (e.g. failed attempts like Sean O’Hagan, or even Steve Levine on BB ’85).

This isn’t to say Melcher should bear the brunt of the blame for all this stuff. The band wasn’t exactly churning out A-list material pre or post-Melcher either. But even Steve Levine (and I’d say even Bruce Johnston) had somewhat better production sensibilities overall, and while I don’t think the later Andy Paley material is just 100% unassailable, the material Paley did with Brian (and then with the band) is undeniably better compositionally overall and certainly much more organic and warm on the recording/production side of things.

Having said all of that, I think a better album *could have* happened working with Melcher. If the material had utilized more outside writers (and other writers in the band) rather than being inundated with Melcher-Love tracks, and if Melcher had leaned more into the “Somewhere Near Japan” production ethos rather than, say, “Summer of Love”, a decent, better album could have theoretically materialized.
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« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2019, 01:06:05 PM »

I, for one, have nothing against Terry Melcher and echo the sentiments above. I think he did admirable work with the Boys from 86 onward and agree with others who say the 85 album would likely have been better with his involvement.  As a vocalist he was no Carl Wilson, but that simply places him with the rest of humanity.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 01:09:17 PM by southbay » Logged

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HeyJude
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« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2019, 01:06:12 PM »

Thanks, Jude. Nice to see this included:

And Special Thanks to the Beach Boys Band for Still Cruisin’ with us after all these years – Ed Carter, Bass/Vocals; Mike Kowalski, Drums; Billy Hinsche, Piano/Vocals; Michael Meros, Keyboards/Organ; Jeff Foskett, Guitar/Vocals; Matthew Jardine, Percussion/Vocals.

Yeah, that was an interesting and nice touch. It's obviously a snapshot of solely the people in the touring band in 1989.

I've long hoped some sort of career-spanning "Live" boxed set would afford the band, once and for all, an opportunity to list (and thank) every person who has rotated through the touring band over the years.
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« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2019, 02:22:14 PM »

I'll repeat again since the point seems to be getting lost.

Only two producers have ever scored a number one hit for the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson and Terry Melcher.

If anyone can dispute the magnitude of that fact, please give it a try. Because I'd like to see how a guy who has three number one singles  has his career reduced to listing his failures versus saying hey, this guy did some great stuff, some timeless stuff...I dont get it.
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Steve Latshaw
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« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2019, 02:35:03 PM »

<<I'll repeat again since the point seems to be getting lost.
Only two producers have ever scored a number one hit for the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson and Terry Melcher.
If anyone can dispute the magnitude of that fact, please give it a try. Because I'd like to see how a guy who has three number one singles  has his career reduced to listing his failures versus saying hey, this guy did some great stuff, some timeless stuff...I dont get it.>>

I couldn't agree more.  Well said.
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« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2019, 02:50:30 PM »

Mike Love co-wrote a huge number of hits, and then did "Summer In Paradise" later in his career. The poor quality and failure of that album didn't and never will negate his huge, admirable accomplishments that preceded that album.  

Similarly, Terry Melcher scored a #1 hit with the Beach Boys. With a good song to boot. He also had success in the 60s with other artists. All admirable accomplishments that nobody is trying to deny or negate. He then also contributed to a myriad of middling and sometimes poor quality work released by the Beach Boys.

The *original post* in this thread touched on Melcher's work with the Beach Boys, with a fair amount of emphasis on his 80s and 90s work with the band (which constitutes *most* if not nearly all of his direct work with the band). *That* is the material I've been discussing, and I stand by the characterization of that material as occasionally being good, often being rather middling to mediocre, and occasionally being of poor quality.

And again, let me reiterate I dig their 80s stuff *more* than many if not most fans. I get a surprising amount of enjoyment listening to "Rock and Roll to the Rescue." It doesn't mean it's a particular good song or record, and I can't deny it's not an indicator of a creative or artistic direction that in retrospect makes a lot of sense.

Nothing I'm saying about the quality of Melcher's work with the band in the 80s and 90s is calling into the question the magnitude of his accomplishments.

Melcher's continued collaboration with the band is *fascinating* for many reasons. It's an interesting story with a number of variables. But if I say Melcher's work was embarrassing on "Summer in Paradise", it doesn't mean I'm trying to deny he scored a #1 hit with "Kokomo."

We've discusssed the impact and possible reasons for the success of "Kokomo" *at length* on this board, and many folks have agreed that it didn't indicate nor lead to Melcher otherwise having a ton of critically or commercially successful work with the Beach Boys.

So when we're talking about Melcher's work with the band (why he was working with them, his potential for success, his track record, etc.) I'm not going to ignore "Problem Child" and most of the "Summer in Paradise" album.

Look at several of the band's career-spanning collections, such as "Good Vibrations" and "Made in California." How much representation of the "Melcher Era" is there? It's usually "Getcha Back", "California Dreamin'" and "Kokomo." Even his better material such as several songs off of "Still Cruisin" usually get ignored (and unfortunately so).

I mean, Bruce was an accomplished guy too outside of the Beach Boys, and did great stuff with them too. He also wasn't a particularly good pick to be the band's producer. He was a good semi-detached, objective person who could get the job done. Much like Melcher. But those guys' "demo reels" of recent productions didn't scream "Whoa, we gotta get that guy! Forget Roy Thomas Baker, or Chris Thomas, or even David Foster. Let's get Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher!"

To say these things is not to deny Melcher (or Bruce's) accomplishments. That Melcher had a long-standing collaboration and relationship with the band and various members is undeniably impressive. That he was one of few outside producers to work with the band *at all* is impressive. That he also scored a #1 hit with them is impressive. He also co-wrote some of of and nearly wholly produced the worst album they ever made, and that album followed up on nearly a decade of mixed, at best, work with the band. *All* of that is part of the story.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 02:56:20 PM by HeyJude » Logged

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« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2019, 02:55:49 PM »

The Terry Melcher version of Happy Endings (which was released on the Doris Day My Heart album a few years back) is about a thousand times better than the Beach Boys/Little Richard version.

In the intro Day claims that Terry had actually wrote it for her, but that she insisted he sung it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yuqlWtObJs
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« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2019, 03:38:04 PM »

Call me nuts,but I always had a soft spot for Happy Endings....I liked the melody, the vocals, and the harmony.....less Little Richard, who sort of ruined the tune in my opinion. And Loved Carl's vocal here too. Thought Melcher did a good job on his later version as well.
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« Reply #58 on: July 25, 2019, 04:07:36 PM »

Mike Love co-wrote a huge number of hits, and then did "Summer In Paradise" later in his career. The poor quality and failure of that album didn't and never will negate his huge, admirable accomplishments that preceded that album. 

Similarly, Terry Melcher scored a #1 hit with the Beach Boys. With a good song to boot. He also had success in the 60s with other artists. All admirable accomplishments that nobody is trying to deny or negate. He then also contributed to a myriad of middling and sometimes poor quality work released by the Beach Boys.

The *original post* in this thread touched on Melcher's work with the Beach Boys, with a fair amount of emphasis on his 80s and 90s work with the band (which constitutes *most* if not nearly all of his direct work with the band). *That* is the material I've been discussing, and I stand by the characterization of that material as occasionally being good, often being rather middling to mediocre, and occasionally being of poor quality.

And again, let me reiterate I dig their 80s stuff *more* than many if not most fans. I get a surprising amount of enjoyment listening to "Rock and Roll to the Rescue." It doesn't mean it's a particular good song or record, and I can't deny it's not an indicator of a creative or artistic direction that in retrospect makes a lot of sense.

Nothing I'm saying about the quality of Melcher's work with the band in the 80s and 90s is calling into the question the magnitude of his accomplishments.

Melcher's continued collaboration with the band is *fascinating* for many reasons. It's an interesting story with a number of variables. But if I say Melcher's work was embarrassing on "Summer in Paradise", it doesn't mean I'm trying to deny he scored a #1 hit with "Kokomo."

We've discusssed the impact and possible reasons for the success of "Kokomo" *at length* on this board, and many folks have agreed that it didn't indicate nor lead to Melcher otherwise having a ton of critically or commercially successful work with the Beach Boys.

So when we're talking about Melcher's work with the band (why he was working with them, his potential for success, his track record, etc.) I'm not going to ignore "Problem Child" and most of the "Summer in Paradise" album.

Look at several of the band's career-spanning collections, such as "Good Vibrations" and "Made in California." How much representation of the "Melcher Era" is there? It's usually "Getcha Back", "California Dreamin'" and "Kokomo." Even his better material such as several songs off of "Still Cruisin" usually get ignored (and unfortunately so).

I mean, Bruce was an accomplished guy too outside of the Beach Boys, and did great stuff with them too. He also wasn't a particularly good pick to be the band's producer. He was a good semi-detached, objective person who could get the job done. Much like Melcher. But those guys' "demo reels" of recent productions didn't scream "Whoa, we gotta get that guy! Forget Roy Thomas Baker, or Chris Thomas, or even David Foster. Let's get Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher!"

To say these things is not to deny Melcher (or Bruce's) accomplishments. That Melcher had a long-standing collaboration and relationship with the band and various members is undeniably impressive. That he was one of few outside producers to work with the band *at all* is impressive. That he also scored a #1 hit with them is impressive. He also co-wrote some of of and nearly wholly produced the worst album they ever made, and that album followed up on nearly a decade of mixed, at best, work with the band. *All* of that is part of the story.

This seems about right.
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« Reply #59 on: July 25, 2019, 04:39:03 PM »

Since I've just discovered this, and its Melcher related - Make It Big was originally recorded by Doris Day and Terry for her 1985 show Best Friends.

This suggests that Mike's contribution was the middle bit - the "Baby you're a superstar Lookin' like you're goin' far" and "You could be my little movie queen Up there on the silver screen" parts

Elora has kindly uploaded it the audio to Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-x6jAlDOdw&feature=youtu.be

Or if you want to see it in context, with cute videos of dogs and kids playing together, https://youtu.be/dOKuy_N_E6c?t=450
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« Reply #60 on: July 25, 2019, 06:07:00 PM »

Since I've just discovered this, and its Melcher related - Make It Big was originally recorded by Doris Day and Terry for her 1985 show Best Friends.

This suggests that Mike's contribution was the middle bit - the "Baby you're a superstar Lookin' like you're goin' far" and "You could be my little movie queen Up there on the silver screen" parts

Elora has kindly uploaded it the audio to Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-x6jAlDOdw&feature=youtu.be

Or if you want to see it in context, with cute videos of dogs and kids playing together, https://youtu.be/dOKuy_N_E6c?t=450

Wow, thanks for sharing! So fascinating. I'm a big fan of the BBs version of this tune (not the Troop Beverly Hills version, but the Still Cruisin' album version), so very interesting to hear the demo.

Some of Mike's lyrics during the parts he added to the final version, and the way Mike sings "best buddies" annoy me, but I otherwise quite like that section that was added to the final version of the song.

Now I'll never be able to hear the song without images of dogs and cats in my head.  Pooper Scoop Beverly Hills.
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« Reply #61 on: July 25, 2019, 06:09:02 PM »

The Terry Melcher version of Happy Endings (which was released on the Doris Day My Heart album a few years back) is about a thousand times better than the Beach Boys/Little Richard version.

In the intro Day claims that Terry had actually wrote it for her, but that she insisted he sung it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yuqlWtObJs

That's also really cool. Thanks for sharing! I like this version better as well. Despite some corny lyrics, it's a well-composed song.
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« Reply #62 on: July 25, 2019, 09:23:15 PM »

Crazy to hear that version of "Make It Big." Count me as another big fan of that tune. Actually while reading this thread I've been listening to Still Cruisin' and I must say I unabashedly like a lot of it. I will totally admit to digging "Still Cruisin'", "Somewhere Near Japan", "Island Girl", "In My Car" and of course "Kokomo."

May I say that The Beach Boys were kinda awesome at that booming late '80s glossy, somewhat over-rawked sound? Shame they didn't put together more actual albums in this time. I think between what Brian was doing, a few things from Al, a few better things from Melcher and Mike and maybe "Run Don't Walk" from Carl we mighta had somewhat classy, somewhat lame, but ultimately fun late '80s Beach Boys album.
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« Reply #63 on: July 25, 2019, 09:55:33 PM »

The Terry Melcher version of Happy Endings (which was released on the Doris Day My Heart album a few years back) is about a thousand times better than the Beach Boys/Little Richard version.

In the intro Day claims that Terry had actually wrote it for her, but that she insisted he sung it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yuqlWtObJs

That's also really cool. Thanks for sharing! I like this version better as well. Despite some corny lyrics, it's a well-composed song.

I'm loving this version, and Terry's voice in particular. It's ironic to have such a synth-laden backing track under such a purely recorded, natural sounding vocal...but that's exactly what this is. And listen to Terry's control especially on the high notes: He's stretching his range, but his control is fantastic. What a smooth sound, and as someone commented on the YT video, it reminds me of Karen Carpenter. Just that natural, smooth, controlled vocal that really sold the lyrics on ballads such as this.

I'll put it as bluntly as I can: Terry knew his sh*t. That's why he could claim three #1 singles to his credit.
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« Reply #64 on: July 26, 2019, 06:31:25 AM »

Call me nuts,but I always had a soft spot for Happy Endings....I liked the melody, the vocals, and the harmony.....less Little Richard, who sort of ruined the tune in my opinion. And Loved Carl's vocal here too. Thought Melcher did a good job on his later version as well.

While objectively the "music critic" part of me has to admit the song isn't A-grade material, I've always dug hearing the Beach Boys trading off vocal parts on this, and I think having it *not* be another Bruce-and-keyboard solo outing helps. Indeed, I'd love to simply hear that BB version with one of the BBs singing Little Richard's lines. But Carl and Al in particular (and Mike as well) sound nice on it. I'm a sucker for hearing the guys trade off lead lines.
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« Reply #65 on: July 26, 2019, 06:38:23 AM »

Since I've just discovered this, and its Melcher related - Make It Big was originally recorded by Doris Day and Terry for her 1985 show Best Friends.

This suggests that Mike's contribution was the middle bit - the "Baby you're a superstar Lookin' like you're goin' far" and "You could be my little movie queen Up there on the silver screen" parts

Elora has kindly uploaded it the audio to Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-x6jAlDOdw&feature=youtu.be

Or if you want to see it in context, with cute videos of dogs and kids playing together, https://youtu.be/dOKuy_N_E6c?t=450

This does provide an interesting insight into what was added to the song a few years later. I'd say the arrangement and overall performance was much improved on the BB version. I'd wager not only did Mike add to the song, but Melcher probably did additional rejiggering at that later date. Not sure what the third writer Bill House added or when.
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« Reply #66 on: July 26, 2019, 06:44:59 AM »

Crazy to hear that version of "Make It Big." Count me as another big fan of that tune. Actually while reading this thread I've been listening to Still Cruisin' and I must say I unabashedly like a lot of it. I will totally admit to digging "Still Cruisin'", "Somewhere Near Japan", "Island Girl", "In My Car" and of course "Kokomo."

May I say that The Beach Boys were kinda awesome at that booming late '80s glossy, somewhat over-rawked sound? Shame they didn't put together more actual albums in this time. I think between what Brian was doing, a few things from Al, a few better things from Melcher and Mike and maybe "Run Don't Walk" from Carl we mighta had somewhat classy, somewhat lame, but ultimately fun late '80s Beach Boys album.

Most of the non-oldies on the album formed a pretty decent 1989 outing for the band, despite the piecemeal nature of how it was put together.

We've gone over a lot of the background (and postmortems offered by the band and fans) of the album in past threads, so I won't retread too much of that. But a fascinating element of the album is that while fans have often felt the three oldies at the end water down the album's impact as a "new" album, Mike said in an interview that he felt the *non-soundtrack* songs were what watered down the original concept of the album as essentially a "repackage" featuring all stuff that had been featured in films in the preceding several years. He singled out Brian's "In My Car" and Al's "Island Girl" as essentially political concessions. Ironically, while he seems to have felt that the "non-soundtrack" originals watered down the album, he also in the same interview lamented Capitol dropping the ball on promoting *his* co-write, "Somewhere Near Japan", which was also *not* a movie soundtrack song.

I've always enjoyed most of "Still Cruisin'", with really only "Wipe Out" out of the non-oldies being a usual "skip." It could have *easily* been fleshed out with 3-5 more "new" songs.

The band did work on other stuff around this time. Supposedly, much if not most of what we hear on Al's eventual 2010 version of "Don't Fight the Sea" comes from 1989 sessions, including Brian's contribution.
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« Reply #67 on: July 26, 2019, 06:47:00 AM »



Wow, thanks for sharing! So fascinating. I'm a big fan of the BBs version of this tune (not the Troop Beverly Hills version, but the Still Cruisin' album version), so very interesting to hear the demo.

Some of Mike's lyrics during the parts he added to the final version, and the way Mike sings "best buddies" annoy me, but I otherwise quite like that section that was added to the final version of the song.

Now I'll never be able to hear the song without images of dogs and cats in my head.  Pooper Scoop Beverly Hills.

While the "Troop Beverly Hills" version of "Make It Big" is kind of choppy (likely due to tightly editing it to fit into the film's opening animated sequence), it's quite interesting as it offers whole sections of the same recording that were edited out of the "Still Cruisin'" version. I wouldn't mind a "clean" full version of that iteration of the track.
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« Reply #68 on: July 26, 2019, 07:30:23 AM »

Since I've just discovered this, and its Melcher related - Make It Big was originally recorded by Doris Day and Terry for her 1985 show Best Friends.

This suggests that Mike's contribution was the middle bit - the "Baby you're a superstar Lookin' like you're goin' far" and "You could be my little movie queen Up there on the silver screen" parts

Elora has kindly uploaded it the audio to Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-x6jAlDOdw&feature=youtu.be

Or if you want to see it in context, with cute videos of dogs and kids playing together, https://youtu.be/dOKuy_N_E6c?t=450

This does provide an interesting insight into what was added to the song a few years later. I'd say the arrangement and overall performance was much improved on the BB version. I'd wager not only did Mike add to the song, but Melcher probably did additional rejiggering at that later date. Not sure what the third writer Bill House added or when.

The chorus heard in the final BB version was the chorus from Bill House’s song.

https://youtu.be/g_KbMVS1VqU
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« Reply #69 on: July 26, 2019, 07:48:19 AM »

Since I've just discovered this, and its Melcher related - Make It Big was originally recorded by Doris Day and Terry for her 1985 show Best Friends.

This suggests that Mike's contribution was the middle bit - the "Baby you're a superstar Lookin' like you're goin' far" and "You could be my little movie queen Up there on the silver screen" parts

Elora has kindly uploaded it the audio to Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-x6jAlDOdw&feature=youtu.be

Or if you want to see it in context, with cute videos of dogs and kids playing together, https://youtu.be/dOKuy_N_E6c?t=450

This does provide an interesting insight into what was added to the song a few years later. I'd say the arrangement and overall performance was much improved on the BB version. I'd wager not only did Mike add to the song, but Melcher probably did additional rejiggering at that later date. Not sure what the third writer Bill House added or when.

The chorus heard in the final BB version was the chorus from Bill House’s song.

https://youtu.be/g_KbMVS1VqU

Ahh, that's right. I was thinking that I had long ago heard some other older version of the song different from that '85 Melcher version.
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« Reply #70 on: July 26, 2019, 08:25:28 AM »

Crazy to hear that version of "Make It Big." Count me as another big fan of that tune. Actually while reading this thread I've been listening to Still Cruisin' and I must say I unabashedly like a lot of it. I will totally admit to digging "Still Cruisin'", "Somewhere Near Japan", "Island Girl", "In My Car" and of course "Kokomo."

May I say that The Beach Boys were kinda awesome at that booming late '80s glossy, somewhat over-rawked sound? Shame they didn't put together more actual albums in this time. I think between what Brian was doing, a few things from Al, a few better things from Melcher and Mike and maybe "Run Don't Walk" from Carl we mighta had somewhat classy, somewhat lame, but ultimately fun late '80s Beach Boys album.

A few interesting "Stilll Cruisin'" related tidbits from a 1989 Carl interview:



LK: Why only five new songs on Still Cruisin'?

Carl: I wanted more new songs. Capitol only wanted three, we managed to get five.

LK: Why didn't you include songs like "Chasin' The Sky", which also were on film soundtracks?

Carl: No, that's CBS material, and they have the right to it a few more years. A new Caribou compilation album may come out soon.

LK: Why didn't you write any songs for Still Cruisin'?

Carl: I did write one, with Phil Goldstein, but I wasn't satisfied with the way it turned out in the studio.

LK: When will see a new album of Beach Boys songs?

Carl: Well, we've certainly run out compilations, don't you agree? The new LP should have been called 5 Big Ones (laughs). Perhaps next summer.

LK: So why don't you include songs like "Cool, Cool Water" and "Caroline, No", for example, instead of doing cover versions like "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" and "Little GTO"?

Carl: We have done "Cool, Cool Water" from time to time, and we did "Caroline, No" last year. I would like to do that more, but I'm in a minority in the group. Of course, there are times when each one of us is more active. Sometimes it's Al, and he does more of his stuff, now it's Michael. I hope Brian gets more involved. I spent some time with him in the studio when he recorded "In My Car" and it was great. I like the music, but Brian should collaborate with his peers, not Gene (Landy) and wife. These lyrics: "I'm master of my fate when I accelerate," ... what? (Carl laughs and shakes his head). Gene couldn't hit the right note even if his life depended on it! I said to Brian, "Feel free to call me." But Landy doesn't like me because I say the truth.
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« Reply #71 on: July 26, 2019, 09:00:21 AM »

Crazy to hear that version of "Make It Big." Count me as another big fan of that tune. Actually while reading this thread I've been listening to Still Cruisin' and I must say I unabashedly like a lot of it. I will totally admit to digging "Still Cruisin'", "Somewhere Near Japan", "Island Girl", "In My Car" and of course "Kokomo."

May I say that The Beach Boys were kinda awesome at that booming late '80s glossy, somewhat over-rawked sound? Shame they didn't put together more actual albums in this time. I think between what Brian was doing, a few things from Al, a few better things from Melcher and Mike and maybe "Run Don't Walk" from Carl we mighta had somewhat classy, somewhat lame, but ultimately fun late '80s Beach Boys album.

A few interesting "Stilll Cruisin'" related tidbits from a 1989 Carl interview:



LK: Why only five new songs on Still Cruisin'?

Carl: I wanted more new songs. Capitol only wanted three, we managed to get five.

LK: Why didn't you include songs like "Chasin' The Sky", which also were on film soundtracks?

Carl: No, that's CBS material, and they have the right to it a few more years. A new Caribou compilation album may come out soon.

LK: Why didn't you write any songs for Still Cruisin'?

Carl: I did write one, with Phil Goldstein, but I wasn't satisfied with the way it turned out in the studio.

LK: When will see a new album of Beach Boys songs?

Carl: Well, we've certainly run out compilations, don't you agree? The new LP should have been called 5 Big Ones (laughs). Perhaps next summer.

LK: So why don't you include songs like "Cool, Cool Water" and "Caroline, No", for example, instead of doing cover versions like "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" and "Little GTO"?

Carl: We have done "Cool, Cool Water" from time to time, and we did "Caroline, No" last year. I would like to do that more, but I'm in a minority in the group. Of course, there are times when each one of us is more active. Sometimes it's Al, and he does more of his stuff, now it's Michael. I hope Brian gets more involved. I spent some time with him in the studio when he recorded "In My Car" and it was great. I like the music, but Brian should collaborate with his peers, not Gene (Landy) and wife. These lyrics: "I'm master of my fate when I accelerate," ... what? (Carl laughs and shakes his head). Gene couldn't hit the right note even if his life depended on it! I said to Brian, "Feel free to call me." But Landy doesn't like me because I say the truth.


Interesting little excerpt right there. Coulda sworn I'd read it before somewhere. Perhaps you had posted it before, HJ.

Regardless, I feel like the song called worked on for Still Cruisin' was "Run Don't Walk" (which later appeared on the Beckley-Lamm-Wilson album Like A Brother). I have nothing to back this up, but I coulda swore I read it somewhere.

Also, it still shows Carl in his heart of hearts wanted to keep The Beach Boys moving forward, but that it seemed like he also was honest with himself that they were pretty much were where they were going to be (i.e. meat and potatoes setlists, not much creativity in the studio). And besides Brian's Paley material, the 1995 Beach Boys reunion sessions and his work with Beckley and Lamm, there really wasn't much to sink your teeth into in Beach Boy land. And for The Beach Boys fan at that time, obviously we weren't gonna hear the fruits of these projects for a while.
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« Reply #72 on: July 26, 2019, 09:40:59 AM »

It seems pretty clear in that 1989 Carl interview that he had already somewhat abdicated a role as a leader of the band and was letting Mike run the thing. Carl apparently still worked on keeping the touring band together rehearsal-wise. But he clearly seems to be in a sort of "Well, Mike seems excited by the success of Kokomo and I'll just let him do this thing" frame of mind even by 1989.
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« Reply #73 on: July 26, 2019, 09:56:47 AM »

It seems pretty clear in that 1989 Carl interview that he had already somewhat abdicated a role as a leader of the band and was letting Mike run the thing. Carl apparently still worked on keeping the touring band together rehearsal-wise. But he clearly seems to be in a sort of "Well, Mike seems excited by the success of Kokomo and I'll just let him do this thing" frame of mind even by 1989.

There are no indications to suggest otherwise, with the only possible exception being the '93 "box set" mini-tour where they pulled out some really deep cuts...and I'm guessing Mike wasn't the one to helm that situation, considering his troupe of dancing girls would be hard pressed to choreograph steps for "Wonderful".
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« Reply #74 on: July 26, 2019, 11:40:17 AM »

I had that 1989 interview with carl. I had no scanner after the fire but I faxed it to bgas who with the help of another posted it here back in 2013. for anyone who wants to read it in full here is the link:
http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,15607.0.html

page 6 of the thread.
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