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Author Topic: The Wilson/Paley Sessions  (Read 12789 times)
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« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2022, 07:18:21 AM »

Somebody has called them "the greatest album that never was". The definition once reserved to SMiLE.
In any case, I think they deserve a treatment like the 2011 SMiLE Sessions, completed with a "reconstructed" album.
What do you think?


Considering what we got on that Long Promised Road soundtrack from that era, then the claims of greatness over most of these tracks are definitively false.  Sure, they represent a revival of some sorts in terms of Brian's creativity and there are a few good songs to come of it, but most of that material is kind of bland and forgettable.  And none of it warrants going into any kind of deep inspection. 

The subjective take on the material is the quality of that material: I happen to agree, that some of it isn't as good as its reputation, however there are some very good songs that could have been worked into some kind of a new release for the band. And that's where the objective take on the material comes into play: This was new material for a band who literally had little or nothing to offer in terms of new songs for a potential "next album". They had that issue going back to 1988 and the fluke of the Cocktail movie and soundtrack driving Kokomo and Bobby McFerrin up the charts that year. Their old label had renewed interest in new Beach Boys songs, they had a new contract for new material, and the band gave them essentially nothing to capture the interest after Kokomo. What they did offer was Summer In Paradise, and that eventually had to come out on another lesser label because it wasn't up to par.

I think perspective based on opinions at that time these sessions were being reported on in the press is important. Brian was back with the band and writing new material for them, Mike was working and writing with Brian again and excited to be doing so, and there were reports that some of that new collaborative work would be appearing on the show Baywatch, which at that time was one of the most popular TV shows in the world. If they had pulled even a half dozen of the best songs from those sessions and padded the rest with the lesser tracks, it would still be *new Beach Boys music*. Not covers, not tributes, not rehashed oldies, but genuinely new music specifically from Brian and Mike with those two actively collaborating for the first time in years.

This was exciting news for fans. It could have gone somewhere, it could have tanked, but before it got off the ground, Carl put the kibosh on it.

I think that's where the mystique around these tracks comes from, the fact that a band who was literally starved for new material since 1989 and who released a dud of an album that basically featured Mike Love, a beta version of ProTools recording software and various bad 90's synth sounds, and barely any worthwhile contributions from the other band members, finally had their former chief songwriter and producer back on board with a collection of new material to pick from, and nothing happened. To rub salt into the wound, when the band finally DID appear on Baywatch, they featured songs from Summer In Paradise which was several years old at that time having already flopped in all regards, the music already sounded dated, and beyond that they performed one of the worst travesties of a song the band ever released.

And the question of "what could have been" became even more amplified when fans went back to those interviews from several years ago reporting they had at least three dozen (and more) genuinely new songs to choose from, and instead they again had nothing new to offer as The Beach Boys except songs from an album that tanked and barely featured any material from the full band apart from Mike.

Looking back, hindsight is 20/20 of course, it was a moment in time where Brian wanted to come back and had a large collection of new songs to work on, Mike was excited to be working with him again, and no matter what the quality was in some of those demos, they had something substantial to work with which they would never have again. The moment passed them by, and a lot of it came from Carl's vetoes. I'd ask what did Carl have to offer in return during that era. 
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« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2022, 10:36:16 AM »

A few years ago I made a playlist of what a 1995/6 Beach Boys album *could* have looked like.  Not necessarily rooted in reality, but some of my favorite tracks from that era out of what was possible and to have the main players represented musically and vocally.  I think it works pretty well, accounting for the differences of when they were actually recorded.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZDS6whCNEU

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« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2022, 10:50:11 AM »

The same old problem I have with 99% of  BB/BW fandom (not talking of Billy and Craig, of course). I always root for quirky, unreined Brian. And the Wilson Paley sessions are just that.
But I have a growing feeling that we are a dwindling handful.
The damned formula, whatever the heck it is, has won.

" And none of it warrants going into any kind of deep inspection. "

Feels like talking with the Thought Police.
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« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2022, 11:35:54 AM »

Geez, I don't want to turn it into a treatise on what "fandom" is, but among the fans who are "hardcore" enough to be on message boards and whatnot, I've always found that the vast majority like the Paley material. I'm not sure it's quite 100% unfiltered Brian; I think Andy Paley had a pretty strong hand in many of the songs, and I suspect from time to time what we're hearing is Andy Paley "doing Brian" as much as it's Brian. But definitely, it's quirkier and more "raw" than "Imagination", etc., and surely Brian had a strong hand in the material as well.

I don't think there's anything strange about a contrarian opinion on the material; I don't think it's just 100% unfettered genius. There are some clunky bits, some cheesy bits. I think there was a period of time back in the late 90s/early 00s when folks really did talk about the stuff like it was "Smile 2", and I can see how some folks after tracking it down might have felt let down. But both with my "critic" hat on, and just based on my own preference, there is easily a *very strong* album's worth of material from those sessions.

I always come back to that Andy Paley interview where he seemed blown away by how good the full Beach Boys contingent was adding vocals on the material, and he specifically said the Beach Boys could have cut vocals for an entire album "in two days."

The story of the band is full of "ifs", and this is definitely one of them. I think a 1995 Beach Boys album with the best of this material with BB vocals would have been *very very good* and would have also performed well, especially with critics.
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« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2022, 12:26:03 PM »

Guitarfool, interesting post as always, but you seem to be talking about Brian Wilson/Mike Love collaborations whereas this post is more about the Wilson/Paley collaborations. Indeed they are from the same time period, but can they be considered one and the same for this discussion's purpose?
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« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2022, 03:18:12 PM »

Guitarfool, interesting post as always, but you seem to be talking about Brian Wilson/Mike Love collaborations whereas this post is more about the Wilson/Paley collaborations. Indeed they are from the same time period, but can they be considered one and the same for this discussion's purpose?

I was considering these things as part of the same time period, however Don Was had been acting as something of a go-between and I'm sure his resume and name added some weight to getting all factions together in the name of making new music that would ostensibly sell records. If you read through various articles and interviews done at that time, there isn't much separation between, say, what The Boys were doing and what Brian was doing, and there was always a goal to get Brian and the Boys recording and releasing new material. That's specifically what Brian wanted, and what he expressed immediately after he was free of Landy: He wanted to make music with the band again. And I think Don Was was in the right position to facilitate that. And at least he tried.

So yes, I do see all of this material as part of the same discussion, because most of what was reported from that time almost suggested it was, and the end result hopefully being new Beach Boys music. It just so happened that Brian had a stockpile of dozens of song demos and ideas, Mike was enthusiastic about contributing and collaborating again (as was Brian), and they had a top level producer willing to work with them. We can go through and parse each track and say well this one was for Andy and Brian, this one was for the band, this one may have had Mike's contributions, etc. But add them all up and it feels to me like Brian was looking to place a lot these songs with the band, where they could pick ones that would fit what they needed and continue work on them.

That makes the fact that they blew him off on one of his invitations to gather and listen to the material even more sad.

And it makes the fact that Carl vetoed the ideas even more sad too, because as others have mentioned, they could easily have made a solid "comeback" album with Brian's involvement using the better examples of those dozens of songs. And they would have great PR behind the project from the media and the fans, as excitement had already built based on the fact they were even working together with Brian, and that Brian and Mike were working together again. That would have been a great angle to promote any new release, and fans would have bought it in some cases on that aspect alone.

Consider too that nearly the same scenario played out with the 50th reunion and the TWGMTR album: They needed new songs after the notion of remaking tracks like Do It Again was nixed, and Brian having been working with a collaborator on original songs had a backlog of material to present. In that case, they all agreed to go forward and proceeded to work on and release an album that was well-received and cracked the top-5 on the album charts. I can see where that could easily have happened with the material in the mid-90's had it not been scuppered by Carl.
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« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2022, 07:56:29 PM »

Guitarfool, interesting post as always, but you seem to be talking about Brian Wilson/Mike Love collaborations whereas this post is more about the Wilson/Paley collaborations. Indeed they are from the same time period, but can they be considered one and the same for this discussion's purpose?

I was considering these things as part of the same time period, however Don Was had been acting as something of a go-between and I'm sure his resume and name added some weight to getting all factions together in the name of making new music that would ostensibly sell records. If you read through various articles and interviews done at that time, there isn't much separation between, say, what The Boys were doing and what Brian was doing, and there was always a goal to get Brian and the Boys recording and releasing new material. That's specifically what Brian wanted, and what he expressed immediately after he was free of Landy: He wanted to make music with the band again. And I think Don Was was in the right position to facilitate that. And at least he tried.

So yes, I do see all of this material as part of the same discussion, because most of what was reported from that time almost suggested it was, and the end result hopefully being new Beach Boys music. It just so happened that Brian had a stockpile of dozens of song demos and ideas, Mike was enthusiastic about contributing and collaborating again (as was Brian), and they had a top level producer willing to work with them. We can go through and parse each track and say well this one was for Andy and Brian, this one was for the band, this one may have had Mike's contributions, etc. But add them all up and it feels to me like Brian was looking to place a lot these songs with the band, where they could pick ones that would fit what they needed and continue work on them.

That makes the fact that they blew him off on one of his invitations to gather and listen to the material even more sad.

And it makes the fact that Carl vetoed the ideas even more sad too, because as others have mentioned, they could easily have made a solid "comeback" album with Brian's involvement using the better examples of those dozens of songs. And they would have great PR behind the project from the media and the fans, as excitement had already built based on the fact they were even working together with Brian, and that Brian and Mike were working together again. That would have been a great angle to promote any new release, and fans would have bought it in some cases on that aspect alone.

Consider too that nearly the same scenario played out with the 50th reunion and the TWGMTR album: They needed new songs after the notion of remaking tracks like Do It Again was nixed, and Brian having been working with a collaborator on original songs had a backlog of material to present. In that case, they all agreed to go forward and proceeded to work on and release an album that was well-received and cracked the top-5 on the album charts. I can see where that could easily have happened with the material in the mid-90's had it not been scuppered by Carl.
I always cringe when I see  TWGMTR "top 5" in a post. If the album had been the mega-hit that kind of chart peak implies, the Beach Boys and Brian/Al would still be performing those songs today. Yes, the album had a great first week on the charts, but let's not fool ourselves, it wasn't Summer Days and Summer Nights part 2. How much airplay did any of those songs get? There's wasn't a Getcha Back size hit on the album, let alone a California Girls or Kokomo.
On the other end of the spectrum, it shocked me and stunned me how many years the group was pushing SIP material in their shows. How long had KTSA songs stayed in the setlists? Rock 'N' Roll to the Rescue? BB85 songs other than Getcha Back? Yet the group kept pushing this pathetic album, year after year. Maybe that's what killed Carl.
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« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2022, 09:33:02 PM »

Guitarfool, interesting post as always, but you seem to be talking about Brian Wilson/Mike Love collaborations whereas this post is more about the Wilson/Paley collaborations. Indeed they are from the same time period, but can they be considered one and the same for this discussion's purpose?

I was considering these things as part of the same time period, however Don Was had been acting as something of a go-between and I'm sure his resume and name added some weight to getting all factions together in the name of making new music that would ostensibly sell records. If you read through various articles and interviews done at that time, there isn't much separation between, say, what The Boys were doing and what Brian was doing, and there was always a goal to get Brian and the Boys recording and releasing new material. That's specifically what Brian wanted, and what he expressed immediately after he was free of Landy: He wanted to make music with the band again. And I think Don Was was in the right position to facilitate that. And at least he tried.

So yes, I do see all of this material as part of the same discussion, because most of what was reported from that time almost suggested it was, and the end result hopefully being new Beach Boys music. It just so happened that Brian had a stockpile of dozens of song demos and ideas, Mike was enthusiastic about contributing and collaborating again (as was Brian), and they had a top level producer willing to work with them. We can go through and parse each track and say well this one was for Andy and Brian, this one was for the band, this one may have had Mike's contributions, etc. But add them all up and it feels to me like Brian was looking to place a lot these songs with the band, where they could pick ones that would fit what they needed and continue work on them.

That makes the fact that they blew him off on one of his invitations to gather and listen to the material even more sad.

And it makes the fact that Carl vetoed the ideas even more sad too, because as others have mentioned, they could easily have made a solid "comeback" album with Brian's involvement using the better examples of those dozens of songs. And they would have great PR behind the project from the media and the fans, as excitement had already built based on the fact they were even working together with Brian, and that Brian and Mike were working together again. That would have been a great angle to promote any new release, and fans would have bought it in some cases on that aspect alone.

Consider too that nearly the same scenario played out with the 50th reunion and the TWGMTR album: They needed new songs after the notion of remaking tracks like Do It Again was nixed, and Brian having been working with a collaborator on original songs had a backlog of material to present. In that case, they all agreed to go forward and proceeded to work on and release an album that was well-received and cracked the top-5 on the album charts. I can see where that could easily have happened with the material in the mid-90's had it not been scuppered by Carl.
I always cringe when I see  TWGMTR "top 5" in a post. If the album had been the mega-hit that kind of chart peak implies, the Beach Boys and Brian/Al would still be performing those songs today. Yes, the album had a great first week on the charts, but let's not fool ourselves, it wasn't Summer Days and Summer Nights part 2. How much airplay did any of those songs get? There's wasn't a Getcha Back size hit on the album, let alone a California Girls or Kokomo.
On the other end of the spectrum, it shocked me and stunned me how many years the group was pushing SIP material in their shows. How long had KTSA songs stayed in the setlists? Rock 'N' Roll to the Rescue? BB85 songs other than Getcha Back? Yet the group kept pushing this pathetic album, year after year. Maybe that's what killed Carl.

Brian and Al were playing the title track and , I believe, Summer’s Gone the next year and Mike and Bruce had Isn’t It Time in their sets for a few years.
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« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2022, 09:46:50 PM »

I always cringe when I see  TWGMTR "top 5" in a post. If the album had been the mega-hit that kind of chart peak implies, the Beach Boys and Brian/Al would still be performing those songs today. Yes, the album had a great first week on the charts, but let's not fool ourselves, it wasn't Summer Days and Summer Nights part 2. How much airplay did any of those songs get? There's wasn't a Getcha Back size hit on the album, let alone a California Girls or Kokomo.
On the other end of the spectrum, it shocked me and stunned me how many years the group was pushing SIP material in their shows. How long had KTSA songs stayed in the setlists? Rock 'N' Roll to the Rescue? BB85 songs other than Getcha Back? Yet the group kept pushing this pathetic album, year after year. Maybe that's what killed Carl.

Sorry Lonely, but it was a top 5 album. Did you have a top 5 album before? Did any of your friends? It was a nice accomplishment either way. People were excited for the album and bought it. If it was a collection of remakes featuring The Beach Boys with Bruno Mars and Locash, I'm willing to wager it wouldn't have gotten that high on the charts. People knew it was a new album featuring Brian Wilson. It mattered and it sold. Can't say the same of of Summer In Paradise, not selling enough to likely get in the top 500.

Sorry. I know the era was what it was, as far as physical copies of albums, but this is group that had albums chart at 151 or whatever just years after having massive hits. So yeah, the chart placement was a big deal. If Mike Love had an album chart at number 5 today, you and drbeachboy and whoever would be throwing a party at the Endless Summer Forum.

So, did it sell more than the Titanic soundtrack or Rumours? No. But it did well. Just as McCartney's latter day albums have been doing. Or whoever's.
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« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2022, 11:39:43 PM »

Not only that, but production issues aside, it was the best album quality wise since the early 70s with no real clunkers. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself.
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« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2022, 06:43:19 AM »

Guitarfool, interesting post as always, but you seem to be talking about Brian Wilson/Mike Love collaborations whereas this post is more about the Wilson/Paley collaborations. Indeed they are from the same time period, but can they be considered one and the same for this discussion's purpose?

I was considering these things as part of the same time period, however Don Was had been acting as something of a go-between and I'm sure his resume and name added some weight to getting all factions together in the name of making new music that would ostensibly sell records. If you read through various articles and interviews done at that time, there isn't much separation between, say, what The Boys were doing and what Brian was doing, and there was always a goal to get Brian and the Boys recording and releasing new material. That's specifically what Brian wanted, and what he expressed immediately after he was free of Landy: He wanted to make music with the band again. And I think Don Was was in the right position to facilitate that. And at least he tried.

So yes, I do see all of this material as part of the same discussion, because most of what was reported from that time almost suggested it was, and the end result hopefully being new Beach Boys music. It just so happened that Brian had a stockpile of dozens of song demos and ideas, Mike was enthusiastic about contributing and collaborating again (as was Brian), and they had a top level producer willing to work with them. We can go through and parse each track and say well this one was for Andy and Brian, this one was for the band, this one may have had Mike's contributions, etc. But add them all up and it feels to me like Brian was looking to place a lot these songs with the band, where they could pick ones that would fit what they needed and continue work on them.

That makes the fact that they blew him off on one of his invitations to gather and listen to the material even more sad.

And it makes the fact that Carl vetoed the ideas even more sad too, because as others have mentioned, they could easily have made a solid "comeback" album with Brian's involvement using the better examples of those dozens of songs. And they would have great PR behind the project from the media and the fans, as excitement had already built based on the fact they were even working together with Brian, and that Brian and Mike were working together again. That would have been a great angle to promote any new release, and fans would have bought it in some cases on that aspect alone.

Consider too that nearly the same scenario played out with the 50th reunion and the TWGMTR album: They needed new songs after the notion of remaking tracks like Do It Again was nixed, and Brian having been working with a collaborator on original songs had a backlog of material to present. In that case, they all agreed to go forward and proceeded to work on and release an album that was well-received and cracked the top-5 on the album charts. I can see where that could easily have happened with the material in the mid-90's had it not been scuppered by Carl.

I think Craig is nailing the point(s).

First point: I think nobody is claiming the WP sessions are Smile 2. But then, the comparison is unfair, in any case. The WP sessions are little more than raw demoes. The Smile sessions involved a tremendous amount of vocal work by all the Beach Boys, and instrumental work by the Wrecking Crew. I don't mean that  the WP sessions could ever be as good as Smile, but just that the difference was amplified by the circumstances.

Second point: of course Andy Paley had a lot of input with the sessions. That's the reason everybody calls them the Wilson/Paley sessions. Smiley
But I don't like the inference "Even if they were any good, in any case they are lessened, or made less important, by Paley's involvement."
So what? The first years of the Beach Boys featured a great creative input by Mike Love. Pet Sounds, though a very personal project, featured Asher's essential lyrics and of course the sublime voices of all the Beach Boys. Smile was heavily influenced by Van Dyke Parks, and in 2004 by Darian. TLOS was something much like the WP sessions, but, I have to say MIRACULOUSLY, was actually released (probably the "formula" had taken a vacation).

Third, but not least: yes, the WP sessions had the potentiality to spawn a GREAT Beach Boys album. People should try to imagine the dozen best songs in the sessions with the Boys' voices and a good production. It could have been titled "Slightly American Music". But the "formula" was fully operational at the moment. Sigh.

P.S.
And, personal opinion, I'll have Long Promised Road over No Pier Pressure all the time.
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« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2022, 07:41:04 PM »

I always cringe when I see  TWGMTR "top 5" in a post. If the album had been the mega-hit that kind of chart peak implies, the Beach Boys and Brian/Al would still be performing those songs today. Yes, the album had a great first week on the charts, but let's not fool ourselves, it wasn't Summer Days and Summer Nights part 2. How much airplay did any of those songs get? There's wasn't a Getcha Back size hit on the album, let alone a California Girls or Kokomo.
On the other end of the spectrum, it shocked me and stunned me how many years the group was pushing SIP material in their shows. How long had KTSA songs stayed in the setlists? Rock 'N' Roll to the Rescue? BB85 songs other than Getcha Back? Yet the group kept pushing this pathetic album, year after year. Maybe that's what killed Carl.

Sorry Lonely, but it was a top 5 album. Did you have a top 5 album before? Did any of your friends? It was a nice accomplishment either way. People were excited for the album and bought it. If it was a collection of remakes featuring The Beach Boys with Bruno Mars and Locash, I'm willing to wager it wouldn't have gotten that high on the charts. People knew it was a new album featuring Brian Wilson. It mattered and it sold. Can't say the same of of Summer In Paradise, not selling enough to likely get in the top 500.

Sorry. I know the era was what it was, as far as physical copies of albums, but this is group that had albums chart at 151 or whatever just years after having massive hits. So yeah, the chart placement was a big deal. If Mike Love had an album chart at number 5 today, you and drbeachboy and whoever would be throwing a party at the Endless Summer Forum.

So, did it sell more than the Titanic soundtrack or Rumours? No. But it did well. Just as McCartney's latter day albums have been doing. Or whoever's.
Okay, so it was a big hit, as you say. Where are those songs today? Why aren't fans calling out requests for "Isn't it Time", "Spring Vacation", or "Summer's Gone"? Surely people attending BW shows or BB shows want to hear their latest hits?
You're more likely to hear "Love and Mercy", "Getcha Back" or "Still Cruisin" in a setlist today than any TWGMTR tracks.
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« Reply #37 on: August 21, 2022, 02:43:27 AM »

I always cringe when I see  TWGMTR "top 5" in a post. If the album had been the mega-hit that kind of chart peak implies, the Beach Boys and Brian/Al would still be performing those songs today. Yes, the album had a great first week on the charts, but let's not fool ourselves, it wasn't Summer Days and Summer Nights part 2. How much airplay did any of those songs get? There's wasn't a Getcha Back size hit on the album, let alone a California Girls or Kokomo.
On the other end of the spectrum, it shocked me and stunned me how many years the group was pushing SIP material in their shows. How long had KTSA songs stayed in the setlists? Rock 'N' Roll to the Rescue? BB85 songs other than Getcha Back? Yet the group kept pushing this pathetic album, year after year. Maybe that's what killed Carl.

Sorry Lonely, but it was a top 5 album. Did you have a top 5 album before? Did any of your friends? It was a nice accomplishment either way. People were excited for the album and bought it. If it was a collection of remakes featuring The Beach Boys with Bruno Mars and Locash, I'm willing to wager it wouldn't have gotten that high on the charts. People knew it was a new album featuring Brian Wilson. It mattered and it sold. Can't say the same of of Summer In Paradise, not selling enough to likely get in the top 500.

Sorry. I know the era was what it was, as far as physical copies of albums, but this is group that had albums chart at 151 or whatever just years after having massive hits. So yeah, the chart placement was a big deal. If Mike Love had an album chart at number 5 today, you and drbeachboy and whoever would be throwing a party at the Endless Summer Forum.

So, did it sell more than the Titanic soundtrack or Rumours? No. But it did well. Just as McCartney's latter day albums have been doing. Or whoever's.
Okay, so it was a big hit, as you say. Where are those songs today? Why aren't fans calling out requests for "Isn't it Time", "Spring Vacation", or "Summer's Gone"? Surely people attending BW shows or BB shows want to hear their latest hits?
You're more likely to hear "Love and Mercy", "Getcha Back" or "Still Cruisin" in a setlist today than any TWGMTR tracks.

I mean, I still hear the 'That's Why God Made The Radio' jingle at times on my local classic rock station and I did hear the actual song being played for a while after it came out - not sure if they still play it as I don't listen to the station as regularly as I used to. You say you "always" cringe when you read that the album was a top-5....I don't understand why one would even have such an abnormal visceral reaction to an album that was probably the best case scenario for us Beach Boys fans. Just because fans aren't clambering to hear 'Spring Vacation' at concerts doesn't mean the album isn't worthy of occasional praise (or worthy of it's top-5 placement). Most every song that is played at BW/BB shows has had 50+ years to become wonderfully rooted in the hearts/minds of Beach Boys fans, Kokomo was a #1 hit and (like it or not) is an 80s cultural phenomenon, and the songs that define the classic California lifestyle (and classic post-WWII America) are of course going to be the ones played at concerts. That doesn't make a comeback/reunion album any less enjoyable for most fans...nor does it make it unworthy of it's original chart placement.

Gotta say though, Beach Boys fandom never ceases to amaze me: never thought I'd see someone complaining about a high chart placement of a Beach Boys album LOL Gotta love it.
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« Reply #38 on: August 21, 2022, 01:35:42 PM »

I always cringe when I see  TWGMTR "top 5" in a post. If the album had been the mega-hit that kind of chart peak implies, the Beach Boys and Brian/Al would still be performing those songs today. Yes, the album had a great first week on the charts, but let's not fool ourselves, it wasn't Summer Days and Summer Nights part 2. How much airplay did any of those songs get? There's wasn't a Getcha Back size hit on the album, let alone a California Girls or Kokomo.
On the other end of the spectrum, it shocked me and stunned me how many years the group was pushing SIP material in their shows. How long had KTSA songs stayed in the setlists? Rock 'N' Roll to the Rescue? BB85 songs other than Getcha Back? Yet the group kept pushing this pathetic album, year after year. Maybe that's what killed Carl.

Sorry Lonely, but it was a top 5 album. Did you have a top 5 album before? Did any of your friends? It was a nice accomplishment either way. People were excited for the album and bought it. If it was a collection of remakes featuring The Beach Boys with Bruno Mars and Locash, I'm willing to wager it wouldn't have gotten that high on the charts. People knew it was a new album featuring Brian Wilson. It mattered and it sold. Can't say the same of of Summer In Paradise, not selling enough to likely get in the top 500.

Sorry. I know the era was what it was, as far as physical copies of albums, but this is group that had albums chart at 151 or whatever just years after having massive hits. So yeah, the chart placement was a big deal. If Mike Love had an album chart at number 5 today, you and drbeachboy and whoever would be throwing a party at the Endless Summer Forum.

So, did it sell more than the Titanic soundtrack or Rumours? No. But it did well. Just as McCartney's latter day albums have been doing. Or whoever's.
Okay, so it was a big hit, as you say. Where are those songs today? Why aren't fans calling out requests for "Isn't it Time", "Spring Vacation", or "Summer's Gone"? Surely people attending BW shows or BB shows want to hear their latest hits?
You're more likely to hear "Love and Mercy", "Getcha Back" or "Still Cruisin" in a setlist today than any TWGMTR tracks.

I mean, I still hear the 'That's Why God Made The Radio' jingle at times on my local classic rock station and I did hear the actual song being played for a while after it came out - not sure if they still play it as I don't listen to the station as regularly as I used to. You say you "always" cringe when you read that the album was a top-5....I don't understand why one would even have such an abnormal visceral reaction to an album that was probably the best case scenario for us Beach Boys fans. Just because fans aren't clambering to hear 'Spring Vacation' at concerts doesn't mean the album isn't worthy of occasional praise (or worthy of it's top-5 placement). Most every song that is played at BW/BB shows has had 50+ years to become wonderfully rooted in the hearts/minds of Beach Boys fans, Kokomo was a #1 hit and (like it or not) is an 80s cultural phenomenon, and the songs that define the classic California lifestyle (and classic post-WWII America) are of course going to be the ones played at concerts. That doesn't make a comeback/reunion album any less enjoyable for most fans...nor does it make it unworthy of it's original chart placement.

Gotta say though, Beach Boys fandom never ceases to amaze me: never thought I'd see someone complaining about a high chart placement of a Beach Boys album LOL Gotta love it.
I would bet that, in the end, TWGMTR probably sold less than BB85 or SC.
TWGMTR is a very good album. We were lucky to get it. It's mostly a BW album with BB vocals on it - basically what Brian was trying to do back in 1995. I would be very pleased to hear a few TWGMTR songs in concert. A top 5 album? What other top 5 BB albums are completely ignored when putting together the setlists?

Now I wish someone could answer the other half of my post: why did the group keep pushing that giant turkey of an album, Summer in Paradise, in their shows? Album is released summer 1992. Makes no impact on any charts anywhere that I'm aware of. Hot Fun in the Summertime did appear on Billboard's AC chart. Yet, summer of 1993, they're still pushing it. Even did a video for it that was shown on ABC In Concert. Posted an 800 number where you could buy the album in a bundle with the box set.
1994, 1995, still trying to sell this turkey. I never saw them give an album that much of a push before. Why?
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« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2022, 02:15:44 PM »

Because it was important to Mike and he was in complete control of the band at that point. It was basically Mike/Carl/Bruce vs Brian and Al at that point
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« Reply #40 on: August 21, 2022, 03:13:46 PM »

This was also a different time as well. In the early to mid ‘90s, artists seemed to “work” albums for years. Take for instance, Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion albums or Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill album. You could have these albums that would have anywhere from maybe four to seven singles and/or music videos supported by tours that could last like three years. And with The Beach Boys, what else were they gonna do? So they pushed that garbage hoping against hope that one of those dinky Summer In Paradise songs might take off somehow and they’d be onto a new wave of their career. I also think possibly that’s what Carl didn’t wanna do a new Brian-helmed album. He knew that they were gonna have new top-40 singles with a Brian Wilson production. I’m not sure he knew what was hip in rock or pop but I’m sure he listened to adult contemporary music and thought that it was unlikely that “You’re Still A Mystery” or “Soul Searchin’” would work in that scene. Although, by ‘97 you have Dylan releasing what’s thought to be his best album in years and you had the Beatles’ revival and reunion. So maybe he judged incorrectly.

Or maybe I’m just off base. We will never know I suppose.
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« Reply #41 on: August 21, 2022, 04:10:27 PM »

Not only that, but production issues aside, it was the best album quality wise since the early 70s with no real clunkers. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself.

It's in my top 5 of the best Beach Boys records, because all of the songs are good, and it works wonderfully, thematically, as a "summer" record. It's as good as could be hoped.

But being in the top 5 of the Billboard album chart in 2012 doesn't mean much, aside from the symbolism of it. How many copies do you need to sell to get a top 5 record? 20,000? Almost any name band or artist from the Sixties -- Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys -- is guaranteed that many sales in the first week, especially since boomers are one of the last demographics to buy actual CDs. One should not think these days, from the fact that a given record gets in the top 5 or top 10 in the first week before falling out of the charts the following week, that it had any kind of commercial success beyond the fan base.
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« Reply #42 on: August 21, 2022, 08:40:37 PM »

It was basically Mike/Carl/Bruce vs Brian and Al at that point

Based on what I observed backstage then, the alliances ran Mike & Bruce and Carl & Al, but then I'm just an outside observer. I suspect, as the group's mediator, Carl was the man in the middle.

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« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2022, 08:42:32 PM »

1994, 1995, still trying to sell this turkey. I never saw them give an album that much of a push before. Why?

The answer to that is actually quite easy.  "SIP" was released on the BRI's own "Brother Entertainment" label.  Navarre was merely a distributor.  BRI had a direct  financial stake in hawking unsold CDs in a way that they never did or have with Capitol, Reprise, CBS, etc.
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« Reply #44 on: August 22, 2022, 12:15:09 PM »

It was basically Mike/Carl/Bruce vs Brian and Al at that point

Based on what I observed backstage then, the alliances ran Mike & Bruce and Carl & Al, but then I'm just an outside observer. I suspect, as the group's mediator, Carl was the man in the middle.



I meant in regards to Brian
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« Reply #45 on: August 22, 2022, 12:59:43 PM »

Not only that, but production issues aside, it was the best album quality wise since the early 70s with no real clunkers. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself.

It's in my top 5 of the best Beach Boys records, because all of the songs are good, and it works wonderfully, thematically, as a "summer" record. It's as good as could be hoped.

But being in the top 5 of the Billboard album chart in 2012 doesn't mean much, aside from the symbolism of it. How many copies do you need to sell to get a top 5 record? 20,000? Almost any name band or artist from the Sixties -- Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys -- is guaranteed that many sales in the first week, especially since boomers are one of the last demographics to buy actual CDs. One should not think these days, from the fact that a given record gets in the top 5 or top 10 in the first week before falling out of the charts the following week, that it had any kind of commercial success beyond the fan base.
Thank you. Finally someone gets my point.
With all the pre-orders being counted in the first week of release, yes, any older pop/rock act is nearly guaranteed a strong first week. Bob Dylan had 3 #1 albums in the 70's - Planet Waves, Blood on the Tracks, Desire - and then nothing until Modern Times and Together Through Life in the 00's. Do I believe either of those albums sold as well as his classics? No.
So having a top 5 album in the 2010's is a nice feather in the caps of the Beach Boys, but it's not the same as Endless Summer and Spirit of America being hits in the mid 70's. It doesn't put TWGMTR on the same level as Beach Boys Today or Pet Sounds.
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« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2022, 01:02:34 PM »

It was basically Mike/Carl/Bruce vs Brian and Al at that point

Based on what I observed backstage then, the alliances ran Mike & Bruce and Carl & Al, but then I'm just an outside observer. I suspect, as the group's mediator, Carl was the man in the middle.


That was my impression, too. As far as Carl and SIP, he went along with it, but not with the idea that it was gonna be Pet Sounds Volume 2, or even Surf's Up Again.
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« Reply #47 on: August 22, 2022, 01:22:07 PM »

I always cringe when I see  TWGMTR "top 5" in a post. If the album had been the mega-hit that kind of chart peak implies, the Beach Boys and Brian/Al would still be performing those songs today. Yes, the album had a great first week on the charts, but let's not fool ourselves, it wasn't Summer Days and Summer Nights part 2. How much airplay did any of those songs get? There's wasn't a Getcha Back size hit on the album, let alone a California Girls or Kokomo.
On the other end of the spectrum, it shocked me and stunned me how many years the group was pushing SIP material in their shows. How long had KTSA songs stayed in the setlists? Rock 'N' Roll to the Rescue? BB85 songs other than Getcha Back? Yet the group kept pushing this pathetic album, year after year. Maybe that's what killed Carl.

The problem is that none of these eras are comparable. The Beach Boys were *never* going to have a "hit single" in 2012. It just doesn't work that way. A good showing on the album charts and good album reviews was the *only* success their studio material was going to see in 2012. And given the status of things in 2012 (being a long dormant studio band while also having a "version" out on tour every year *not* doing new stuff, plus not a lot of push from the label), the album did quite well.

There are many reasons TWGMTR songs didn't stay in setlists for years and years, and not having a "hit single" is like #47 on that list, below things like Mike clearly having disdain for the whole project (he kept "Isn't It Time" in his setlist for a short time; not coincidentally one of the songs he wrote lyrics for), there not being a lot of extra room in either respective setlists, the general trend since the beginning of time that "new album" songs get mostly dropped very quickly, and so on.

That Mike would keep SIP tracks in the setlist for years (if not decades), and do "Duke of Earl" and dud tracks off his low-key solo albums (who's going to his shows asking for "Rockaway Beach"?) seems to prove a general lack of correlation between a song being a "hit" and being kept in the setlist.
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« Reply #48 on: August 22, 2022, 01:28:15 PM »

It was basically Mike/Carl/Bruce vs Brian and Al at that point

Based on what I observed backstage then, the alliances ran Mike & Bruce and Carl & Al, but then I'm just an outside observer. I suspect, as the group's mediator, Carl was the man in the middle.



There weren't the more obviously delineated personal *and* business "sides" the way there had been in, for instance, 1977 when the band essentially broke up for a few weeks after the "tarmac" incident.

Al has said in interviews that Carl did not agree with him (Al) about specific issues including Mike's company taking over booking shows, and Al described that this created a certain amount of "estrangement" between he and Carl. I don't think it was absolute; I don't think Al and Carl were ever in a heavy dispute. But there was certainly a sort of passive/quite arguable "coup" happening around that time frame that pretty much left Al out in the cold on his own.

You can see this play out in the Marks/Stebbins book, when in Spinal Tap fashion Al isn't told that a member has been added to the Beach Boys and just eventually notices David keeps showing up at gigs. Once Al realizes what's going on (while David at the time *didn't* understand what was going on or what role he was unknowingly playing in it), as described in the Marks/Stebbins book, Al knows it's essentially "game over", and indeed mere months later Al was out.

I don't think we would have known how at odds Carl and Al were unless Carl has been alive and in the band as this stuff with Al unfolded (remember, as also mentioned in the Marks/Stebbins book, Mike was supposedly looking for David to replace *Al*, not Carl). Would Carl have gone along with Mike and essentially s**tcanned Al? We'll never know. I think the answer is definitely firmly in the "we don't know" realm, but with an uncomfortable amount of "yeah, I think Carl might have gone along with it."
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« Reply #49 on: August 22, 2022, 02:10:02 PM »

And I think Carl would NOT have gone along with it, based on what I know about the man.
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