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Author Topic: A "What If?"--No Mike Love after 1966  (Read 17215 times)
the captain
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« on: December 24, 2005, 07:19:35 AM »

In my grand tradition of asking "what if?" questions (that generally make people respond with "That isn't what happened. You're wrong. You're dumb. Shut up," and similar such sentiments of either misunderstanding or annoyance at me), imagine this:

What if Mike Love, so fed up with Pet Sounds breaking from the formula, had left the Beach Boys immediatley thereafter? It would seem that the touring band, led by Carl and Al, could have continued (albeit without the odd chicken-dancing of Mr. Love). Would it have prodded Brian to remain more involved in the working? Would Smile have come out? Would the nostalgia thing have still happened in the mid-70s, or might they have continued down the way they began with C&TP:ST and Holland?

What do you think?
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2005, 09:17:54 AM »

Well Mike missed a few dates when he was fasting and talking to birds. For those few dates, Brian returned to the stage and Carl took over Mike Love's parts vocally. I'm not sure what the fans thought, but I can't imagine the band being very different at all actually. They'd be lacking that bass romping sound he added to everything but..eh.
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the captain
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2005, 09:20:24 AM »

Really? You think if Mike had left, the band would have continued as it did? I think it might have relieved a large part of the internal stress of which way to go--backward or in new directions. I'd like to think so, anyway...
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2005, 09:24:56 AM »

Well, it was never just Mike Love objecting to new styles or prompting them to do others. I honestly doubt things would've been much different.
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the captain
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2005, 09:30:49 AM »

I agree that Mike couldn't have possibly been so singularly responsible for the conflicts often attributed to him. But I'm sure that, as strong a personality and influence as he clearly had to have been, it would have removed a powerful force that leaned the way he did.

I really wonder how Bruce and Al, sometimes referred to as in the Love "camp," might have changed. Al, in particular, seems to me to have been on the fence all along. On one hand, he reportedly liked Smile, he clearly enjoyed bigger productions (although they leaned toward sound-effects laden, "humorous" ones), etc. On the other, he also allegedly sided with Love, and clearly was into revisiting nostalgic sounds in the later 70s.

I'd take a "Lookin At Tomorrow," or even a "Take Good Care of Your Feet" anyday over the trash like "Peggy Sue" remakes...
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2005, 09:35:08 AM »

Would the nostalgia thing have still happened in the mid-70s, or might they have continued down the way they began with C&TP:ST and Holland?

The latter, I think.  They wouldn't have become "America's Band," but if they had survived the 70's, they would have a less popular but more artistically recognized band.
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2005, 10:29:29 AM »

I think if Mike left the band, the vocal harmonies would have sounded VERY different. Not for the better, in my humble opinion.
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2005, 10:46:54 AM »

A non-Mike Love Beach Boys would be hard to imagine just as far as harmonies go. He has such a unique voice, especially his really deep bass vocals not necessarily his "nasal" voice, but his bass is so crisp (especially throughout the '60s) his bass is still in good shape now after watching them live last month.
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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2005, 10:53:48 AM »

I would really like to have heard Carl singing some of Mike's leads (bootlegs anyone?)
The harmonies would have suffered on stage without Mike though and I for one would miss his  showmanship.
On the other hand Mike's absence may have brought Brian back to participate more (if he was able) and to me that can only be a good thing.

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Jason
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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2005, 10:56:19 AM »

I would really like to have heard Carl singing some of Mike's leads (bootlegs anyone?)
The harmonies would have suffered on stage without Mike though and I for one would miss his  showmanship.
On the other hand Mike's absence may have brought Brian back to participate more (if he was able) and to me that can only be a good thing.



I direct you to a bootleg of a 2/28/70 performance in Seattle, WA. Brian, Dennis, Carl, Al, and Bruce are present. Carl takes Mike's leads with reasonable success. One of four full shows Brian played in 1970.

Sound quality, however, is a bit wanting.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2005, 10:58:20 AM by Jason » Logged
Count Takeshi
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2005, 11:32:30 AM »

Thanks for the info Jason.
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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2005, 02:33:53 PM »

I though Mike did leave, but came back for the Endless Summer tour
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« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2005, 07:19:18 PM »

We'd still have no dennis' tracks in Surf's Up.  Wink
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« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2005, 11:37:01 PM »

This is really a great question!  Good answers to this point as well!
Certainly things would have been emotionally easier for Brian.  Which may or may not have been the answer after all. 
I have always contended that Brian's foray into "psychedelic vocal music" was a grand idea, that Mike really didn't embrace, poetically, politically or the accompanying behaviors of style.
As to Mike as a bass singer, he understood Lieber and Stoller extremely well, and could clearly reproduce their bass vocal style from th Brill hits machine.  I always found tit smewhat funny that Mike always bragged "the (he) was the one that brough R&B/the black influence to the band, when in fact his embrace was two white guys from NYC "using" black artists to make campy, humorous records and Brian embracd far more adventerous black artists.
In fact last Nov. I went to the SMiLE show in San Francisco with Dave "the Duke" Sholin and he and my friend Sandy commented on Brian and his bands total embrace of "real street" doo wop of NYC from the '50's.  If you don't know who "the Duke" is/was, he at one point was the most powerful radio programer in the world for awhile durin the sixties, and both he and Sandy are HUGE R&B and Doo Wop fans and collectors, as well as having been in the biz from then to now.
Bizness would have  suffered pehaps, but I think the musical progress would have been amazing and perhaps the inevitable "name change" would have allowed Brian, Dennis, Carl, Al and Bruce to move more freely through the anti jock, anti straight, anti business era of the sixties and seventies. (though I always tired of Steven stills "power to the people" raps considering his $200 dollar a day "coke" habit in the seventies. 
Carl would have helped Brian keep it humble and "real", and Dennis' charisma powered by testosterone could have lit the San Fernando Valley, so we're safe that way.
You did say this was a "what if", I don't really have to make sense do I?
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Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2005, 03:17:16 AM »

Well, let's see.  No more cashing in on Endless Summer.  Mike, who would've formed a band with Dean Torrance, could've done that - possibly joined by Bruce, because, if memory serves, tentative moves were afoot to squeeze him out in 69. On the other hand, if Brian had stayed with it (see below), Bruce might have remained after Surf's Up) For Mike and Bruce, therefore, probably business as usual.

I'd like to think the others (with or without Bruce but with Rickie and Blondie, who, after all, wouldn't have been physically intimidated) would've gone down the Holland?Surf's Up avenue, but a lot would've depended on Brian and Dennis staying comaparatively clean and reasonably sensible and while you can blame Mike for many things, he wasn't to blame there. 

His voice would've been missed in the mix, but we would hve got used to it.  Those rasping vocals that we know and love come largely from the pre-SMiLE era anyhow (though his contiribution to some late-era tracks is priceless).  Of course, how do we know that Blondie or Carl couldn't handle those vocals?  Agree totally about his bass voice - it's still very good - AND his rock voice isn't always nasal; just depends on the night you see him.  Last time I saw him, he was great until about 2/3 of the way into the show when he lapsed into total nasality.  Where the hell does that come from anyhow? It's only in the mid-late 70s when it becomes unbearable. It's almost like no-one in the band said, "Uh, Mike... that's not good, you know..."  Let's not discuss his ballad voice. If Everone's in Love with Love doesn't put you off then for a real low, try Battle Hymn of the Republic (see  http://blogs.citypages.com/amadzine/2005/01/worst_beach_boy.asp )

As for his writing contribution... Well, after Sunflower there's very little of note and Big Sur (either version) is the only thing great song (and it is!) he wrote on his own.

Nice webpage, Chuck.
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« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2005, 04:55:41 AM »

Nice webpage, Chuck.

thanks!
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the captain
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« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2005, 09:06:40 AM »

Nice work quoting my local alternative paper, Smilin Ed H! (City Pages, Minneapolis' own...)
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« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2005, 09:29:16 AM »

Not sure what you mean there.  I ripped the name off an 'underground' comic character and the great Ernest H.

Anyhow... another key point: on top of a relatively clean Dennis and Brian and an Al who fell off the fence on the side of his California folkie type songs instead of the summery fun stuff, would the Boys be able to find a decent manager?  Like him or loathe him, you'd need a Jack Rieley or someone with a more progressive outlook to take charge of their affairs, otherwise the temptation to stick with the Travelling Juke Box might be too strong.

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the captain
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« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2005, 09:53:50 AM »

The link to Battle Hymn that you included comes from my local alternative paper, The City Pages.
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Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2005, 10:41:17 AM »

Ah, got ya.  Terrible, isn't it?  The version of the song, I mean. A candidate for their worst. Brian production too...
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the captain
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« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2005, 10:55:08 AM »

Doesn't matter -- it's unreleased. (See my most recent post in the Desper thread for context...)
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« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2005, 09:35:15 PM »

If Mike had left the smart thing to do would have been to move Dennis off the drums and have him take Mike's place.  The fact is that for most of the songs that Mike sang lead on the lead vocal is the least important part of the song. 

As for what would have happened.  Hopefully SMiLE would have been released then after that who knows - no Smiley Smile for sure but then Wild Honey would have been alot different as well.
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« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2005, 09:57:11 PM »


Wild Honey sure would have been different!  Mike says he saw a jar of wild honey in Brian's kitchen and told Brian he (Mike) was "going to write a song about a wild little thing", so that song wouldn't exist.  Would it?  At least not as the same song anyway.  The groove and the melody and the chord progression may have been created by Brian but context would certainly have changed and that was my point earlier in this "speculation". 
It's a great thread and the questions and answers are GREAT too!
Battle Hymn of the Republic.....YIKES!
Running Bear....YIKES!, YIKES!
"produced by Brian", well officially, but just the tracks and they are really sparse IMHO.  Seems to me I was told that Mike wanted to cut those particular "oldies" among others that we like a lot more.
Mr. Custer-Mike and Dean....YIKES x 10!
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« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2005, 05:30:03 AM »

I doubt much of anything would have changed except for some lyrics and a reduction of Brian's and the other Boys' vocal pallette as a producers of music that wasn't that popular anymore anyway. I don't see where Mike had any extraordinary influence over what did happen and therefore wouldn't have any extraordinary effect on what would have happened without him it seems to me. Brian may have bottomed out earlier without Mike's encouragement to avoid certain drugs and those who may lead Bri astray but on the other hand he may have gotten more of that if Mike were off the road too and Brian might have bottomed out a little later or a little less deep.  The live show would have suffered some without a confident MC I suppose.
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« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2005, 07:14:15 AM »

Would have allowed for SMiLE to come out for sure. Brian would probably go back to touring for a bit. In my opinion it would have been better because he wouldn't be put in a box anymore. It would have been more freeing to do other things. I could see them change the name to Beach before the 70's. What a difference that would be!



PS: I have heard 2/28/70. I would like to rattle the neck of whoever recorded that thing   Angry
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