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667786 Posts in 26843 Topics by 3890 Members - Latest Member: Hails1 April 16, 2021, 02:29:53 PM
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Author Topic: Most important Beach Boys members in vocal blends?  (Read 856 times)
thr33
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« on: March 22, 2021, 02:56:48 PM »

When you hear leads, harmonies and backing vocals, which of the boys do you think are the most essential in achieving the signature "Beach Boys sound"? Do you think any are less important than the others?
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dombanzai
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2021, 03:17:58 PM »

Impossible to single out anyone from the 'original five' of Brian, Mike, Carl, Dennis & Al. They all played their part in contributing to the overall vocal blend – Mike with bis nasal lead and sublime bass, Brian with his soaring falsetto, Carl with his ethereal leads, plus Al and Dennis (and Carl) providing the background chops and even their own classic vocal leads. Without the great background vocals, there would be no classic sound. And then there's Bruce, whose significant voice greatly added to tunes like California Girls and Add Some Music To Your Day, while Blondie provided the classic lead for Sail On Sailor. But would you describe that tune as the 'classic Beach Boys sound'? Probably not.

So in conclusion, Bruce, Blondie, Ricky and Dave had less significant roles, but there's no separating Brian, Mike, Carl, Dennis & Al, in my humble opinion.
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positivemusic
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2021, 05:42:56 PM »

When you hear leads, harmonies and backing vocals, which of the boys do you think are the most essential in achieving the signature "Beach Boys sound"? Do you think any are less important than the others?

I think they all had/have phenomenal voices, but if I HAD to pick one that made the sound, I would go with Dennis.

Bruce is an excellent vocalist, but the blend loses some of its "signature" sound when Brian started bringing in Bruce in place of Dennis.
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The LEGENDARY OSD
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2021, 06:10:06 PM »


While there was probably more to it like talent and personality, I never thought that Bruce was the right one to replace Brian on the road. His vocals sounded unusually tinny and weak and didn't resonate well with the others. When he sang both on tracks and live it was always easy to identify as Bruce and not an integral part of the blend. I would have liked to have seen Flo and Eddie, who's harmony was akin to the boys, join the group. They could have handled Brian's parts and after Carl passed pick up his parts as well. I think both of those guys who ended up with Zappa would have complimented the boys vocals both on record and the stage as well far better than Bruce.
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RubberSoul13
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2021, 07:08:15 PM »

The long answer is already above, detailing all of them and why...the short "gun to my head" answer is

Lead Vocals: Mike Love
Harmony Vocals: Carl Wilson

They are the two most irreplaceable figures in the foreground and background of the overall "signature sound" of The Beach Boys.
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Rebel
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2021, 08:59:16 PM »


While there was probably more to it like talent and personality, I never thought that Bruce was the right one to replace Brian on the road. His vocals sounded unusually tinny and weak and didn't resonate well with the others. When he sang both on tracks and live it was always easy to identify as Bruce and not an integral part of the blend. I would have liked to have seen Flo and Eddie, who's harmony was akin to the boys, join the group. They could have handled Brian's parts and after Carl passed pick up his parts as well. I think both of those guys who ended up with Zappa would have complimented the boys vocals both on record and the stage as well far better than Bruce.


I wish they would have scooped up Dean. By all accounts a swell guy and was friends with the band. I even wish they would have persuaded David Marks to come back. His song writing would have helped considering Bruce barely ever pitched songs. He was better at imitating The Beach Boys than being an actual Beach Boy. Where’s a ‘don’t run away’ when they needed it?

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Emdeeh
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2021, 08:59:56 PM »

Carl and Al -- those two hold the center.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2021, 09:00:47 PM by Emdeeh » Logged
juggler
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2021, 01:04:07 AM »

I agree with the statement above that the original 5 were all essential to the blend.   Can I imagine the blend without Bruce?  Sure, I can imagine it since they had the blend without him on the pre-California Girls hits, but Bruce certainly added something to 1965 and later tracks.  In the Good Vibrations recording film footage and you see the Wilsons, Al & Bruce all around the same mic singing "good, good, good vibrations."  Does that blend sound as rich without Bruce's voice? I doubt that it would.

BTW, I don't want to derail the thread, but I've occasionally wondered: was Bruce paid to sing on the records in the '60s?  AFAIK, he never had an ownership stake in the band, and they were paying him a per-show basis for the live gigs (Mike Love's book has an anecdote about how Carl had negotiated bringing Bruce on board, and when Carl asked Bruce how much he wanted to go on the road with the band, Bruce tossed out a number that was triple his $87 weekly salary at Columbia. And while Bruce meant per week, Carl thought he meant per show, and paid him accordingly with Bruce then being shocked to receive a $3,000 check after a dozen shows).

« Last Edit: March 23, 2021, 07:47:50 AM by juggler » Logged
phirnis
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2021, 12:59:18 AM »

The original blend is impossible to beat. Surfer Girl, In My Room, Don't Worry Baby, you name it. I even think that the "purity" of their early vocal blend is part of why their work from '63 to '65 remains their most popular music for the "general public". That said I don't mind Bruce Johnston's voice at all; what I mind is really the absence of Brian's vocals on some of their later productions after Friends. The singing is still great but for me it lacks some of the magic from before.
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