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Author Topic: Johnny Carson, track from Love You  (Read 1896 times)
urbanite
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« on: December 16, 2019, 12:36:59 PM »

I really like this song, it has some rocking sections.  The part where the song changes from Mike singing ever so slowly "he sits behind his microphone, band then sings John-ny Carson, then eventually goes "Ed McMahon comes on and says here's Johnny, every night at 11:30 he's so party..."  Is that Mike or Carl singing that part?
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All Summer Long
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2019, 01:08:32 PM »

From my memory, it's Carl. 
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luckyoldsmile
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2019, 03:56:02 PM »

The good Carl Wilson himself delivers the part, to my humble ears. Puts a little fun swing into it, but it has his tone / timber.

Happy to stand corrected if I'm leading you astray.

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William Bowe
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2019, 07:36:15 PM »

Definitely Carl, in that very distinctive and not always pleasing way he had of singing at that particular time.
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juggler
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2019, 11:39:42 PM »

I freaking love that song...   I'm not sure if the lyrics are a Brian Wilson put-on, or they're totally sincere, or some combination of the two, but they bring a smile to my face..

It's nice to have you on the show tonight.
I've seen your act in Vegas... out of sight
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Rick5150
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2019, 04:00:50 AM »

I love "Love You"! I always heard that line as "Ed McMahon comes on and says here's Johnny, every night at 11:30 he's so funny..."

It seems like Mike is lisping a little. I know they were all a bit of a mess at that time, but I cannot tell if it is a put-on or not. It seems especially prominent when he sings, "He speaks in such a manly tone".

What a beautifully messed up album this is. Grin
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kennyhasbeenfound
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2019, 05:18:26 AM »

I really really love this album, but in an alternate universe I would have liked to hear it fully produced with a lot more guitar and drums and more care put into the vocals.
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Matt Bielewicz
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2019, 09:33:23 AM »

The ropey vocals on (most of) 15BO and this album are, I think, the real stumbling block for a lot of fans, or even non-fans who are potentially well-disposed to the Beach Boys. I couldn't hear past those the first time I listened to Love You, and I still can't bear a lot of 15BO for that same reason ('Just Once In My Life'... AWESOME cover, instrumentally speaking, but the vocals... my ears!!! the pain!!!!).

We all have our 'what were they THINKING?' moments with the Beach Boys' catalogue. 15BO and Love You started off that way for me. So here you have a band who, for better or worse, made their name on their beautiful harmonies and vocal arrangements. They've been out of the limelight for a few years, and really need to come back strong. What do they do? Put out two albums that sound as though the vocals are done by (to mangle a splendid description I read on this board or one of its forerunners MANY years ago) a bunch of bears having their sacks simultaneously slammed in a car door. They really should have put in more time and care on the vocals. I'm a huge fan of synths and electronic music and Love You should have been a no-brainer for me based on the instrumentation Brian was using... but the terrible singing meant that I didn't get as far as appreciating the instrumentation before I was turned off.

Having said that, eventually Love You won me over. And the first crack in my resistance was — yes — the track 'Johnny Carson'. That cycling outro tag ("Who's the man that we admire...?" etc etc) is what did it — it's a really standard doo-wop progression, but on Johnny Carson the goshdarned thing is just SO catchy. Eventually, I couldn't resist. And then my resistance to the other tracks tumbled in turn, and I started to notice the cool things about the album's backing tracks ('Solar System' was the first one I noticed... although I still had trouble getting past the hokey lyrics and Brian's hit-and-miss, husky 'just snorted a vacuum cleaner dust bag's worth of coke' vocal).

In another universe, Carl was with it enough to insist that Brian did his vocals with more care on both of these albums — and I wish I was in that universe. I couldn't really care less about the lack of guitar on Love You - I think the instrumental tracks are interesting enough as is, even to the point of being quite bold and experimental. But the vocals *really* needed more work. No BB albums suffer more from a 'will this do?' attitude. I still think that now.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 09:35:22 AM by Matt Bielewicz » Logged
Steve Latshaw
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2019, 11:40:11 AM »

Rolling Stone did a lengthy interview with Johnny Carson around this time.  Pointedly, they asked him if we was familiar with the song.  As I recall, he said he'd heard it, and said that "...it was not a classic."
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2019, 12:34:21 PM »

Rolling Stone did a lengthy interview with Johnny Carson around this time.  Pointedly, they asked him if we was familiar with the song.  As I recall, he said he'd heard it, and said that "...it was not a classic."

I quite like Johnny Carson the song, but I must admit it's not objectively a great song.
It's just a weird oddity which has grown on me by leaps and bounds. It's got some cool, quirky parts to it, and as a fan it can be appreciated on many levels, but on the surface it's not great.

I can TOTALLY understand why Carson was not digging it. Must've been a WEIRD thing for him to have had a song be not just about him, but titled with his exact name, written/performed by a band that was very famous, the biggest band in the USA 10+ years prior, and have it come out sounding like it did. I can't imagine how odd an experience that must've been for Carson.

It's funny how Ed McMahon in his afterlife is now having a resurgence as part of this whole "Mandela Effect" thing. I have to think this must be the only song by a rock band that namechecks either Ed McMahon or Johnny Carson. I could guess that maybe a rap song or something by a non-rock artist might mention one or both of their names, but I just can't quite see any other rock band doing it, unless in context of a very weird band as a joke song. Which I guess might also kinda sum up The BBs' and their version, in context.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 12:38:14 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
urbanite
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2019, 12:52:19 PM »

The beginning of the song is rough.  I can see how it would turn a lot of people off.  I would love for someone to ask Brian or Mike about that part of the song and why it was recorded that way.  However, the part apparently sung by Carl is great and the ending section of the song, where Mike sings lead, is pretty cool.  Mike Love's singing at the end of the song "Whose a man that we admire..." is as good as anything he sang in the 1970's, an excellent vocal.  It drives me crazy that Mike sang so good on Johnny Carson but has that horrible style of vocal on It's A Beautify Day, also a 1970's track.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2019, 01:22:01 PM »

The beginning of the song is rough.  I can see how it would turn a lot of people off.  I would love for someone to ask Brian or Mike about that part of the song and why it was recorded that way.  However, the part apparently sung by Carl is great and the ending section of the song, where Mike sings lead, is pretty cool.  Mike Love's singing at the end of the song "Whose a man that we admire..." is as good as anything he sang in the 1970's, an excellent vocal.  It drives me crazy that Mike sang so good on Johnny Carson but has that horrible style of vocal on It's A Beautify Day, also a 1970's track.

I dig those  "Whose a man that we admire..."  vocals too.

Mike's voice can be used for good or evil. Especially after the 1960s, getting into the late 1970s and beyond, most times that he tried to intentionally ape his old voice in a "throwback" type of "good ol' days" style, it came across as self-parody, like he was hamming it up. It was probably less of him losing his physical vocal ability to sing in a "Fun, Fun, Fun" kind of manner, but more of him seemingly egging on a "youthful" sound in a way that feels unnatural. Pushing himself too far. Some of Your Love and California Calling come to mind. It's like the vocal equivalent of someone in their 40s trying to dress like a 20 year old. Or like how Al sings "totally rad" on California Calling - Al's voice actually sounds great, but it's embarrassing to hear that sung by a 43 year old dude with a mullet. And I love Al.

I wish we had more of Mike singing more hushed types of vocals, or at least something upbeat but isn't Mike turning himself up to 11. Roller Skating Child is a surprisingly good (for the time) example of Mike doing a very solid upbeat type of vocal. And the chorus group harmony vocals on that song are super super good to my ears. Mike and Al probably had the best vocals on Love You, actually.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 01:25:02 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2019, 01:29:26 PM »

The ropey vocals on (most of) 15BO and this album are, I think, the real stumbling block for a lot of fans, or even non-fans who are potentially well-disposed to the Beach Boys. I couldn't hear past those the first time I listened to Love You, and I still can't bear a lot of 15BO for that same reason ('Just Once In My Life'... AWESOME cover, instrumentally speaking, but the vocals... my ears!!! the pain!!!!).

Totally disagree on that one - I think the vocals on Just Once In My Life are great, because it's a bit of the Wilson brothers bleeding on tape. (Maybe the vocals are not "Classic Beach Boys®" type of great, but they're still great in their own way).

Especially because it was Brian covering his (then already sort of fallen) idol, and both Carl and Brian singing really heartfelt lyrics, it totally, completely works for me. It's a weird little insight into the mind of Brian at the time. Stuck in his bedroom in a dated time warp, trying to interject some modern keyboard flavor in the best way he can, while futzing around with some new keyboard technology, even though he himself was somewhat of a fallen star at the time too. It's a little messed up and warped, but I feel a sense of beautiful disintegration happening on that song. They're still giving it their all, or all they can give at the time, and to me it works. I have to think that it was placed at the end because Brian thought it was a great capper to the album.

Yet I also totally dig the Denny vocals on In the Still of the Night too, maybe it's part of the sadness that is simultaneously beautiful to my ears. It's guys who are messed up, but are really trying to get some form of emotional release on tape at the same time.

Very different from a "I give no f*cks and want to get out of the studio as quickly as possible" type of vocals which we hear on GIOMH. At least I feel the Boys were mostly trying and giving their all for one brief moment on 15BO. Yes, overall the vocals could probably have been done better on the 15BO album - even considering the condition and addictions of the Wilsons at the time - but I dunno, I guess I still dig em for the most part. Not quite so much on Back Home, though.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 01:36:00 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
Needleinthehay
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2019, 01:02:56 AM »

FWIW heres Johnny's full quote about it...pretty funny...

Did you ever hear the Beach Boys’ “Johnny Carson” song?
Sure I heard it. Someone sent it over to the office. I don’t think it was a big seller. I think they just did it for the fun of it. It was not a work of art.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2019, 06:34:11 AM »

FWIW heres Johnny's full quote about it...pretty funny...

Did you ever hear the Beach Boys’ “Johnny Carson” song?
Sure I heard it. Someone sent it over to the office. I don’t think it was a big seller. I think they just did it for the fun of it. It was not a work of art.

Fascinating that someone did manage to get Carson to comment on the song.

I probably go into this same thing often when Carson's attitude is brought up regarding this song, but it should be noted that Carson appeared to pretty "old school" about music. I can't imagine he would be anywhere in the stratosphere of "getting" anything about the "Love You" album. I often point to Carson's interview with Paul McCartney several years later in 1984. McCartney was promoting his Broad Street movie, and Carson seems stunningly only somewhat familiar with even *McCartney's* career, at one point actually asking McCartney if he "writes his own music." (This went along with a gag that Carson ran into the ground where he was poking fun at McCartney clearly *not* planning to play or sing anything, by having a guitar set up next to McCartney for the entire interview, often referencing that it was available for McCartney to play if he wanted).

Even given Carson's lack of interest in the Beach Boys or the song, it's still noteworthy that nobody apparently even attempted to get the band on to perform the song. I can't imagine the BBs *wouldn't* have done it had there been an offer.
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« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2019, 07:17:54 AM »


I often point to Carson's interview with Paul McCartney several years later in 1984. McCartney was promoting his Broad Street movie, and Carson seems stunningly only somewhat familiar with even *McCartney's* career, at one point actually asking McCartney if he "writes his own music." (This went along with a gag that Carson ran into the ground where he was poking fun at McCartney clearly *not* planning to play or sing anything, by having a guitar set up next to McCartney for the entire interview, often referencing that it was available for McCartney to play if he wanted).


I wonder if Johnny or his staff knew enough, at least, to get a left-handed guitar for Paul!
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« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2019, 07:28:13 AM »

The good Carl Wilson himself delivers the part, to my humble ears. Puts a little fun swing into it, but it has his tone / timber.

Happy to stand corrected if I'm leading you astray.



Oh it's Carl, alright. The vocal credits section in Brad Elliott's book misidentifies the lead singers as "MIKE, BRIAN" but it's clearly "MIKE, CARL". Any remaining doubt about that can be cast aside by a quick look at the notations on the actual Brother Studios tape box track sheet, which read:

16 - CARL (Ed)
17 - CARL (Ed)
18 - MIKE Lead
19 - BGS Johnny
20 - BGS Johnny

The "Ed" notations next to Carl's two vocal tracks are obviously a reference to the part he sings, "Ed McMahon comes on and says, 'Here's Johnny", etc. Interesting that there are two tracks for that part - I'm too lazy at the moment to listen and determine if Carl is actually doubling that part. Mike's lead, by contrast, occupies just one track.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2019, 09:01:59 AM »

FWIW heres Johnny's full quote about it...pretty funny...

Did you ever hear the Beach Boys’ “Johnny Carson” song?
Sure I heard it. Someone sent it over to the office. I don’t think it was a big seller. I think they just did it for the fun of it. It was not a work of art.

Fascinating that someone did manage to get Carson to comment on the song.

I probably go into this same thing often when Carson's attitude is brought up regarding this song, but it should be noted that Carson appeared to pretty "old school" about music. I can't imagine he would be anywhere in the stratosphere of "getting" anything about the "Love You" album. I often point to Carson's interview with Paul McCartney several years later in 1984. McCartney was promoting his Broad Street movie, and Carson seems stunningly only somewhat familiar with even *McCartney's* career, at one point actually asking McCartney if he "writes his own music." (This went along with a gag that Carson ran into the ground where he was poking fun at McCartney clearly *not* planning to play or sing anything, by having a guitar set up next to McCartney for the entire interview, often referencing that it was available for McCartney to play if he wanted).

Even given Carson's lack of interest in the Beach Boys or the song, it's still noteworthy that nobody apparently even attempted to get the band on to perform the song. I can't imagine the BBs *wouldn't* have done it had there been an offer.

It's a bit bonkers to think of Johnny Carson actually holding the Love You album in his hands and giving it a spin.

Johnny did say that "Someone sent it over to the office" in talking about the *song*, not the album. One wonders if it was just a quick tape dub of that 1 song, or if it was the entire album, thus presumably necessitating some Carson assistant cueing up the record needle to track 4.

I wonder how many non-musician celebrities have ever listened to that album. Johnny might be the only one!

« Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 09:03:35 AM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
juggler
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« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2019, 09:03:07 AM »

Fascinating that someone did manage to get Carson to comment on the song.

That someone was the late Tim White.   It was in an interview in 1979 in Rolling Stone.  White, a great journalist and a Beach Boys/Brian Wilson fan, landed a rare interview with Carson for RS, and obviously didn't let it go to waste!
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luckyoldsmile
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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2019, 03:32:14 PM »

The ropey vocals on (most of) 15BO and this album are, I think, the real stumbling block for a lot of fans, or even non-fans who are potentially well-disposed to the Beach Boys. I couldn't hear past those the first time I listened to Love You, and I still can't bear a lot of 15BO for that same reason ('Just Once In My Life'... AWESOME cover, instrumentally speaking, but the vocals... my ears!!! the pain!!!!).

Totally disagree on that one - I think the vocals on Just Once In My Life are great, because it's a bit of the Wilson brothers bleeding on tape. (Maybe the vocals are not "Classic Beach Boys®" type of great, but they're still great in their own way).

Especially because it was Brian covering his (then already sort of fallen) idol, and both Carl and Brian singing really heartfelt lyrics, it totally, completely works for me. It's a weird little insight into the mind of Brian at the time. Stuck in his bedroom in a dated time warp, trying to interject some modern keyboard flavor in the best way he can, while futzing around with some new keyboard technology, even though he himself was somewhat of a fallen star at the time too. It's a little messed up and warped, but I feel a sense of beautiful disintegration happening on that song. They're still giving it their all, or all they can give at the time, and to me it works. I have to think that it was placed at the end because Brian thought it was a great capper to the album.

Yet I also totally dig the Denny vocals on In the Still of the Night too, maybe it's part of the sadness that is simultaneously beautiful to my ears. It's guys who are messed up, but are really trying to get some form of emotional release on tape at the same time.


I quite agree. Right on.


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Dave in KC
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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2019, 06:14:33 PM »

I always loved that cover of the Rolling Stone issue of Johnny. It's buried in the attic. Christmas time I believe, the picture I mean.
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« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2019, 07:30:10 PM »

I always figured there was a projection by Brian of his feelings when he was "the man" overworking to pump out hits and product.

When guests are boring he fills up the slack
The network makes him break his back

Don't (you) think (he's) such (a) natural guy
The (way) he's (kept) it (up) could make you cry

As well as admiration that Carson keeps it so together.  And of course just a sly wink at what was then a pop culture phenonomen.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2019, 08:21:03 PM »

I always figured there was a projection by Brian of his feelings when he was "the man" overworking to pump out hits and product.

When guests are boring he fills up the slack
The network makes him break his back

Don't (you) think (he's) such (a) natural guy
The (way) he's (kept) it (up) could make you cry

As well as admiration that Carson keeps it so together.  And of course just a sly wink at what was then a pop culture phenonomen.


To me, there is zero doubt in my mind that Brian had a self-referential lyric in there. No doubt whatsoever. It's pretty damn funny, too.

It's pretty ironic and funny that the band never made an appearance on the show when Johnny was hosting. The one time they were on there during that era, John Rivers was the guest host.

I feel like Johnny almost certainly would have brought up the song to the band on air, had he been hosting, even if it was 1984 and a number of years removed. That would've been really bizarre to see the band talking about an obscure Love You track, seven years later.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 08:23:43 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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