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Author Topic: New Video asks "Did The Band Play On Their Records" on 40 of their biggest hits  (Read 1770 times)
adamghost
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« on: December 13, 2022, 06:06:30 AM »

Hello all.  Some recent social media encounters made me realize how prevalent the narrative is that the Beach Boys never played on their own records.

I decided it was time to gather the information and correct the record, and so with a serious assist from Beach Boys sessions expert Craig Slowinski, I put together a special PET SQUARES episode, with a faster pace and higher production value (plus nearly 50 fake Beach Boys instrumental cues!), that details which of the band's 40 biggest hits they played on.

I hope this is a step towards the band getting its due along side the Wrecking Crew for their hard work in the studio.  Needless to say, sharing is encouraged.

https://youtu.be/woIiDlGlhlw
« Last Edit: December 13, 2022, 07:06:38 AM by adamghost » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2022, 07:14:58 AM »

Fantastic video! Really fun to see it all laid out. I hope that this true story, in which the band themselves *and* the wrecking crew get the credit they deserve, becomes the conventional wisdom!
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adamghost
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2022, 07:45:04 AM »

Fantastic video! Really fun to see it all laid out. I hope that this true story, in which the band themselves *and* the wrecking crew get the credit they deserve, becomes the conventional wisdom!

Thank you! That's my hope also!
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Wirestone
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2022, 08:19:03 AM »

This is most excellent. Thank you, Adam.
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2022, 11:15:43 AM »

A most welcome video to have out there. Thank you!

I didn't know about The Hot Doggers but I just looked what I could find out about it. Looks like it was a project of Bruce and Terry Melcher. Maybe that's why Carol Kaye thinks she played on the Beach Boys' version - she remembers Bruce.   Shrug
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was oneÖ their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

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adamghost
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2022, 07:28:09 PM »

A most welcome video to have out there. Thank you!

I didn't know about The Hot Doggers but I just looked what I could find out about it. Looks like it was a project of Bruce and Terry Melcher. Maybe that's why Carol Kaye thinks she played on the Beach Boys' version - she remembers Bruce.   Shrug

It also was very soon after the original song happened, so she might not have heard it on the radio until after she did her session. I left the Bruce stuff out because it would have gotten confusing.

CK is apparently absolutely adamant that she played on the original record but the session logs and recollections of the band beg to differ, so that's the best and most charitable explanation.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2022, 08:18:34 PM »

I remember getting my hands on the Good Vibrations box back in 1995 or 1996. I also remember thinking at the time that you could easily tell Carl was all over those early records -- the guitar solos just sounded like the same guy. Likewise, the backing tracks up until Pet Sounds or so sounded very much like a basic rock band with occasional odd accents (what BW did with a simple harp part in "Catch a Wave," for example).

But then I spent years hearing from folks online that the band played practically nothing after the first couple of albums. I even believed it for a time. All the better to build the myth of Brian the auteur. And to be fair, no one in the band every made a big deal of their instrumental prowess one way or another. Once the session information began to come out, however, thanks to Craig and others, we all could finally know the truth. And it was that the music sounded like was what it was. A solid, professional group doing their part to bring great songs to life.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2022, 05:17:35 PM by Wirestone » Logged
adamghost
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2022, 09:21:03 PM »

I remember back getting my hands on the Good Vibrations box back in 1995 or 1996. I also remember thinking at the time that you could easily tell Carl was all over those early records -- the guitar solos just sounded like the same guy. Likewise, the backing tracks up until Pet Sounds or so sounded very much like a basic rock band with occasional odd accents (what BW did with a simple harp part in "Catch a Wave," for example).

But then I spent years hearing from folks online that the band played practically nothing after the first couple of albums. I even believed it for a time. All the better to build the myth of Brian the auteur. And to be fair, no one in the band every made a big deal of their instrumental prowess one way or another. Once the session information began to come out, however, thanks to Craig and others, we all could finally know the truth. And it was that what the music sounded like was what it was. A solid, professional group doing their part to bring great songs to life.

Yeah, a lot of it was the band was oddly diffident about taking credit for their own work. When it first began to be known 20 years ago that Al had played bass on a bunch of their hits, it was a bit shocking. How come no one had ever mentioned it? When recently asked about it Al just shrugged and said something like it's just four strings.

I think the group was rubbing shoulders with session pros from very early on and Dennis and Al in particular just never rated their own playing very highly by comparison.  All of the Beach Boys bar Mike were perfectly capable of cutting a track and the Wilsons could if pressed each do it all by themselves, but the attitude was expressed by Bruce: "If someone else can do it better get them! Because the Beach Boys thing is singing even though everyone can play." I think they were more proud of their harmony work and no one could argue that it's on a whole 'nuther level from their instrumental work.  The band generally knew what they did on the records but never seemed to have a big need to have it acknowledged or prove anything to anybody.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2022, 09:22:28 PM by adamghost » Logged
HeyJude
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2022, 09:13:24 AM »

Iíd also say, especially when some people were incorrectly asserting the band didnít play on most of their ďhitsĒ, this was happening in the 90s when the touring Beach Boys (including Carl and Al as well as Mike and Bruce) were pretty atrophied and complacent with their live shows from a musician point of view, and the backing band continued to grow. That was not helping the perception that their musicianship had taken a back seat for a long time.

Other than Carl busting out the same old leads on the hits, one rarely could hear any noteworthy instrumental work from the stage from Carl, Al, or Bruce. Iím not contending they werenít plugged in or in the mix or anything, and I think *all* of them were and are better musicians than they cared to display in that era. (Iíve often noted I saw Al years later at his own gigs doing the Carl/Dave parts, including leads, on the early stuff). And they obviously could smoke during the 70s in particular.

But when someone was looking at like a 1994 live Beach Boys gig, they were hearing a lot of Billy Hinsche and Mike Meros keyboards, Ed Carterís bass, Kowalskiís drumming. Guitar as such was barely in the mix at those shows on many songs. Al had his eras of spending portions of shows not playing and looking pissed off at his monitor speaker. Bruce told Howie Edelson he played in such a way that youíd only notice if he *stopped* playing.

And itís also a great point that these guys (both refreshingly and frustratingly) have usually not hyped their own musical skills. I almost feel like Al himself forgot he played bass on some of those 60s tracks. Clearly, some specific things from the past for these guys are stark memories, and other stuff is just a blur.

Al in particularly has done himself an extra disservice by not only not touting what he has done, but also hindering his own solid musicianship with his penchant for starting and stopping and being squirrely every time he plays or records. Like, he can do some nice acoustic guitar work. But watch him back at something like those record store gigs back in 2012, and he has to start and stop 37 times, seemingly doubting himself.

I suspect, back when they were doing those sessions in the early-mid 60s, there was no time to futz around and be indecisive, so there was great, solid work being done by all of them.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2022, 09:15:31 AM by HeyJude » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2022, 09:56:49 AM »



Other than Carl busting out the same old leads on the hits, one rarely could hear any noteworthy instrumental work from the stage from Carl, Al, or Bruce. Iím not contending they werenít plugged in or in the mix or anything, and I think *all* of them were and are better musicians than they cared to display in that era.



Bruce was actually considered one of the best keyboard players in the business around L.A.
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was oneÖ their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2022, 11:35:38 PM »

I look back at video of BB concerts from the post-Dennis years, and Carl is the only one I can see and hear really playing. Bruce was already into his "keyboard as a stage prop" bit, Al might be playing guitar, but most times I can't distinguish it in the mix. Brian, if he's there, well, I can't really hear if he's playing anything, either. It's like none of them took their instrumental abilities seriously. Carl, though, being the musical director, is very present, both with his guitar playing and his singing.
And that's probably why a lot of my friends thought the guys did not play on their records.
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2022, 05:00:15 PM »

The "Brian is genius" narrative began early on (as can be seen briefly in the video, from a British article from '66) and I'd suggest that it's the British press who really leaned on this idea, with Nick Kent beating readers about the head and shoulders: I still cringe at some of his putdowns of the band members not named Brian, such as "talent-free Al Jardine." What a jackass...but this myth has been floating around in one form or another for fifty years.

So it is literally fantastic to have such a succinct (if occasionally breathless!) corrective to all of that cr*p. Fantastic editing and tricky production effects at a new level of sophistication also add significant value to the information and what we firmly hope will become an unassailable bellwether of fact about the band's true relationship to the creation/production of its music.

Brilliant work, Adam...but I hope you are going to pay Teresa some royalties for her cameo appearance!  Wink
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adamghost
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2022, 08:18:56 PM »

The "Brian is genius" narrative began early on (as can be seen briefly in the video, from a British article from '66) and I'd suggest that it's the British press who really leaned on this idea, with Nick Kent beating readers about the head and shoulders: I still cringe at some of his putdowns of the band members not named Brian, such as "talent-free Al Jardine." What a jackass...but this myth has been floating around in one form or another for fifty years.

So it is literally fantastic to have such a succinct (if occasionally breathless!) corrective to all of that cr*p. Fantastic editing and tricky production effects at a new level of sophistication also add significant value to the information and what we firmly hope will become an unassailable bellwether of fact about the band's true relationship to the creation/production of its music.

Brilliant work, Adam...but I hope you are going to pay Teresa some royalties for her cameo appearance!  Wink

Ha Teresa's doing fine...she's workin' way more than me these days!

Thanks so much! Yeah I really was trying to make this thing move along as much as possible. YouTube is all about brevity...it's one reason my channel has struggled somewhat. People don't have time for long form content these days, which is what I'm most interested in doing. But it's fun to do a video like this once in a while.

And I also think the topic is important and if I did a good enough video, it had a shot of getting out there and shifting the narrative. Let's hope it does. Smiley

As an aside, with the democratization of the internet we can look back and see how much stoner prejudice applied to rock criticism, and through that what was deemed cool. A lot had to do with who you felt good sitting next to sharing a joint with. After '67 (when Brian retreated, leaving the circle of cool kids as it were) Dennis filled that role, and Carl somewhat, but woe to anybody that was gonna hang out in the kitchen doing the dishes at your metaphorical rock critics' high school house party.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2022, 08:22:44 PM by adamghost » Logged
Bob K
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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2022, 01:14:45 PM »

Love all your YouTube content, Adam - this one included!
It was fun on this latest one to hear the background music as each song was discussed - just enough notes changed to keep it legal!  Cheesy
Looking forward to your next one.
Bob
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adamghost
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« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2022, 07:24:36 AM »

Love all your YouTube content, Adam - this one included!
It was fun on this latest one to hear the background music as each song was discussed - just enough notes changed to keep it legal!  Cheesy
Looking forward to your next one.
Bob

Ha well one of the songs I had never actually learned before and in doing the soundalike I inadvertently played the correct chord progression! I ain't saying which one though...
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yrplace
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2022, 03:21:57 PM »

I haven't watched the entire video yet, but on Fun Fun Fun Dennis plays drums on the track and Hal plays blast sticks and then he overdubbed the toms. On the session tape you can hear the initial attempt to do the drums and toms live, with both playing  but Hal points out that it won't sound right so he goes to the blast sticks and overdubs the toms....
And if you want a great example of just how good the group could play,  check out the track for Pom Pom Playgirl from Shut Down Vol 2. That's just the Beach Boys including Mike on Sax navigating a very complicated track in one unedited take ..... and you should also take note of the bg vocal line as well.... I " Huh? you not "

Fun Fun Fun

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8ov8vHMnwY  listen around 3:51

Pom Pom Playgirl

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0AfXs7i9s0

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adamghost
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2022, 08:19:24 PM »

Thanks Mark. Another drummer pointed out something similar. That may have been an error that got by us all. Sad
« Last Edit: December 19, 2022, 08:24:43 PM by adamghost » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2022, 08:36:03 PM »

Thanks Mark. Another drummer pointed out something similar. That may have been an error that got by us all. Sad

Until we got the session tapes I assumed it was Hal on drums on FFF.

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adamghost
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« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2022, 08:57:29 PM »

Thanks Mark. Another drummer pointed out something similar. That may have been an error that got by us all. Sad

Until we got the session tapes I assumed it was Hal on drums on FFF.



We still should have caught that. Let me know if you find anything else.
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« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2022, 10:09:04 AM »



Other than Carl busting out the same old leads on the hits, one rarely could hear any noteworthy instrumental work from the stage from Carl, Al, or Bruce. Iím not contending they werenít plugged in or in the mix or anything, and I think *all* of them were and are better musicians than they cared to display in that era.



Bruce was actually considered one of the best keyboard players in the business around L.A.

Bruce was a good musician (whether he was literally "one of the best in the business" among hundreds of great/virtuoso musicians in L.A. at that time, I really don't know, but he was certainly very good and played on and sang at sessions, both his own and other artists of course), but he gave up showing it pretty much over 40 years ago, content to just give a "felt but barely heard" bed of keyboards at shows since 1978.

He mentioned eons ago online that he's been demo-ing stuff at home for years, but we've heard almost none of it (his solo "demo" of "She Believes in Love Again" escaped on a nearly uncirculated compilation, and I think a few other things made it out over the years), and I've always questioned how much passion he still had/has for music if he never found the time over the last nearly 50 years to just do solo albums for the sake of doing it (and this goes for most of the other guys in the band as well; why didn't Carl put out five albums between 1984 and 1997?).

I think most of the guys became content/complacent to bring in the income from touring, and their adventurousness in doing those live shows waned over the years as well. They upped their game setlist-wise (and rehearsal-wise) for the "boxed set" tour in late 1993, but that was something like 8 or 9 shows total. Out of thousands.

It's also worth noting that on the scant latter-day material the band *did* release on record during this same time, they often didn't play much if anything on *those* records.

All this is to say that as this falsehood proliferated that they like exclusively used session musicians, they didn't put in much work to help refute it. If anything, they seemed to have slightly started to believe it over the years. As I mentioned earlier, I feel like Al seemingly forgot he played that much bass on those early records.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2022, 10:11:21 AM by HeyJude » Logged

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