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670233 Posts in 26984 Topics by 3935 Members - Latest Member: Beryl_Parkey July 25, 2021, 08:43:23 AM
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Author Topic: The Beach Boys after Carl's death  (Read 1649 times)
juliansuess
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« on: July 20, 2021, 02:43:56 AM »

What exactly happened in the Beach Boys after Carl's death 1998? What I'd like to know is:

- who of the remaining members (Al Jardine, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Brian Wilson) decided that they didn't want to continue together anymore?

- what has Al Jardine been doing since 1998?

- when did Mike Love and Bruce Johnston decide that they would continue touring together? Why is it Mike and Bruce, and not Mike and Al?

- when did Brian start touring on his own? Are the albums he has recorded on his own any good and comparable to what the Beach Boys did?
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phirnis
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2021, 08:20:38 PM »

I'd say that there are some gems among Brian's solo albums. For me, the one that really holds up is his first one from 1988, which is strong from start to finish. Reimagines Gershwin is a latter-day favorite because of Brian's singing which is much sweeter here than on any of his other later albums.
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adamghost
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2021, 02:28:32 AM »

What exactly happened in the Beach Boys after Carl's death 1998? What I'd like to know is:

- who of the remaining members (Al Jardine, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Brian Wilson) decided that they didn't want to continue together anymore?

- what has Al Jardine been doing since 1998?

- when did Mike Love and Bruce Johnston decide that they would continue touring together? Why is it Mike and Bruce, and not Mike and Al?

- when did Brian start touring on his own? Are the albums he has recorded on his own any good and comparable to what the Beach Boys did?

To answer the last question, most fans feel that the 1988 BRIAN WILSON album and 2008's THAT LUCKY OLD SUN are the gems in Brian's solo discography, with opinions different on which is the best (I think it's the latter).  They're certainly as good as *some* Beach Boys albums, which ones would be up for debate.
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c-man
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2021, 05:32:38 AM »

What exactly happened in the Beach Boys after Carl's death 1998? What I'd like to know is:

- who of the remaining members (Al Jardine, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Brian Wilson) decided that they didn't want to continue together anymore?

- what has Al Jardine been doing since 1998?

- when did Mike Love and Bruce Johnston decide that they would continue touring together? Why is it Mike and Bruce, and not Mike and Al?

- when did Brian start touring on his own? Are the albums he has recorded on his own any good and comparable to what the Beach Boys did?

To answer the last question, most fans feel that the 1988 BRIAN WILSON album and 2008's THAT LUCKY OLD SUN are the gems in Brian's solo discography, with opinions different on which is the best (I think it's the latter).  They're certainly as good as *some* Beach Boys albums, which ones would be up for debate.

Echoing Adam's comments on THAT LUCKY OLD SUN - coincidentally, I got that one out for the first time in years, and listened to it both of the past two nights, on a really good stereo system. Man, what a wonderful listening experience! Sure, Brian sounds older, but he sounds engaged and enthusiastic, and the material is top notch. IMO, it's a major, major effort, and a top-notch piece of work. While I will always have a soft spot for his first solo album, I think TLOS and BRIAN WILSON PRESENTS SMiLE are the two finest albums in his solo canon.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 05:33:59 AM by c-man » Logged
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2021, 08:19:10 AM »

Agree with the thoughts on TLOS, it's a great album with a fully engaged and older Brian Wilson doing his thing in the studio. It's good that the new unreleased track surprises may lead to a re-evaluation of that album and others too.

I'd also add the Gershwin album to the list, I've been saying for years that the Gershwin album is also due for a revisit and re-evaluation because the quality of the tracks and the musicianship heard on those tracks are top-notch. I guess the fact they're not BW originals may keep it off some fans' lists, but what a terrific album it is.

Adding too, perhaps the most criminally overlooked or unheralded (IMO) album in Brian's solo catalog...is the Christmas album. Another great listen.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2021, 07:09:55 PM »

I gotta go with the solo debut, and Orange Crate Art. I don't feel any need to listen to BWPS (Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds, lol) now that we have the Smile Sessions.
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Tony S
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2021, 04:13:29 AM »

Along with that lucky old Sun my favorites would be no peer pressure and Imagination. I also have a warm spot for Gershwin and the Disney album as well
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juliansuess
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2021, 08:57:11 AM »

Thank you all for your excellent contributions. I will definitely check out some of Brian Wilson's solo albums.

So Brian's first solo album came out in 1988. Can anybody tell me why he put those songs out as a solo album and not for the Beach Boys? After all they might have needed some new songs, too. Or was Mike Love against new Beach Boys songs written by Brian? I've read that Mike Love preferred performing the older, surf themed songs.
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phirnis
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2021, 10:36:10 AM »

Thank you all for your excellent contributions. I will definitely check out some of Brian Wilson's solo albums.

So Brian's first solo album came out in 1988. Can anybody tell me why he put those songs out as a solo album and not for the Beach Boys? After all they might have needed some new songs, too. Or was Mike Love against new Beach Boys songs written by Brian? I've read that Mike Love preferred performing the older, surf themed songs.

According to this video from 1987, he had "a little bit of an argument with the Beach Boys" at the time: https://youtu.be/XZhOB6vm9xw

I love BW88 the way it is but what a Beach Boys album this could've made - with lead vocals by Alan, Carl and Mike this could've been a huge critical success for them.
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Emdeeh
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2021, 11:13:51 AM »

As best as I understand it, Brian put out that first solo album because that's what Eugene Landy wanted him to do.
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juliansuess
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2021, 12:08:56 PM »

Quote
I love BW88 the way it is but what a Beach Boys album this could've made - with lead vocals by Alan, Carl and Mike this could've been a huge critical success for them.

I absolutely agree!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 12:09:57 PM by juliansuess » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2021, 12:12:44 PM »

As best as I understand it, Brian put out that first solo album because that's what Eugene Landy wanted him to do.


Well, Brian had a contract for a solo album, that's why he wrote and/or finished songs for a solo album instead of for a Beach Boys album.
And yes, I do think that a song like "There's so many" would probably not be something that Mike would care very much about for a Beach Boys album. But I don't think he was in a position to single-handedly veto a song. If Brian had wanted the Boys to record this song and had Carl on his side, I guess they would've done it.
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2021, 01:00:49 PM »

That "The Wilson Project" book detailing Gary Usher's 1986-87 work with Brian not only does a good job of documenting *those* sessions, but it also provides some insight into what Landy was angling at as far as doing a Brian solo album.

I think Landy wanted to get Brian solo as much and as quickly as possible simply because he then didn't have to deal with compromising or negotiating with the other Beach Boys. But Landy also knew he and Brian still needed an attachment to some BB projects to keep a high profile. Thus, Brian would show up for some high profile gigs, TV show tapings, etc.

My recollection is that both a BB and solo album were being considered during those Usher sessions. Indeed, Usher seems to be angling (by his own admission) to be "the guy" to produce the "next" Beach Boys album, at one point acknowledging he was sort of competing with Terry Melcher for that potential role. Obviously, that BB album kind of never happened, and Brian got the solo deal which kind of used the Usher project as the training ground.

The end of the Usher book is Usher sort of reviewing the '88 BW album; he not surprisingly is pretty critical of it, which is the one area where I can't agree with Usher. The stuff Usher cut with Brian circa '86 is not as strong as what ended up on the '88 album.
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twentytwenty
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2021, 01:59:16 PM »

I always categorized that lucky old sun as Brians smile after smile.

You can definitely hear that they did the smile thing right before this album.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2021, 06:31:47 PM »

The impression I got  about the solo album - at the time - was that the group just wanted to do the same  old surf, cars and girls songs, they were holding back Brian creatively, so he made an album without them. You know, like how the group didn't want to do Pet Sounds, or Smile, and then Brian retreated to his bedroom for 10 years.

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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2021, 08:35:05 AM »

The impression I got  about the solo album - at the time - was that the group just wanted to do the same  old surf, cars and girls songs, they were holding back Brian creatively, so he made an album without them. You know, like how the group didn't want to do Pet Sounds, or Smile, and then Brian retreated to his bedroom for 10 years.



You should check out the "Wilson Project" book. Brian didn't start cutting solo material because the rest of the band rejected his material. Landy was angling to get Brian solo, mainly so he wouldn't have to share control (or money) with the rest of the band.

The band was only being given sporadic "visits" from Brian during this time frame. In particular, Al Jardine recalled only being "given Brian" by Landy for a few hours for Brian to sing some backing vocals on "Island Girl."

And of course Landy rather infamously didn't get Brian to the "Kokomo" session.

I'm not saying the band would have been a-okay with just being given those '88 Brian tracks and just singing backing vocals on them and calling it a day. But no, the politics involved with Brian's solo stuff versus group projects in the mid-late 80s was about far more than the band just wanting to do the "same old" surf and car stuff. It's not like "Make It Big" or "Somewhere Near Japan" were more "surf and car" songs.
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2021, 11:29:34 AM »

Landy was angling to get Brian solo, mainly so he wouldn't have to share control (or money) with the rest of the band.

That's it in a nutshell -- well put, HeyJude.
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« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2021, 12:16:09 PM »

And this is all not to say that there wasn't or shouldn't have been room for Brian to do solo albums. The Beach Boys were clearly not interested in churning out albums regularly after 1980. Brian certainly had an excess of songs by the end of the 80s that never would have fit on BB albums, assuming other members also contributed songs.

However, the band, up to a point anyway, was clearly willing through the end of the 80s to take any Brian they could get, and to work within conditions (e.g. LANDY) that they didn't like for many reasons. Carl specifically singled out disliking Landy's lyrics for "In My Car" ("I'm master of my fate, when I accelerate"), yet even in that case, they (or, at least Carl and Al) sang on "In My Car" and agreed to put it on a BB album. And they managed to get Brian on several other songs from the period, including "Make It Big" and "Island Girl", as well as work at that time circa 1989 on "Don't Fight the Sea."
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2021, 12:27:53 PM »

And this is all not to say that there wasn't or shouldn't have been room for Brian to do solo albums. The Beach Boys were clearly not interested in churning out albums regularly after 1980. Brian certainly had an excess of songs by the end of the 80s that never would have fit on BB albums, assuming other members also contributed songs.

However, the band, up to a point anyway, was clearly willing through the end of the 80s to take any Brian they could get, and to work within conditions (e.g. LANDY) that they didn't like for many reasons. Carl specifically singled out disliking Landy's lyrics for "In My Car" ("I'm master of my fate, when I accelerate"), yet even in that case, they (or, at least Carl and Al) sang on "In My Car" and agreed to put it on a BB album. And they managed to get Brian on several other songs from the period, including "Make It Big" and "Island Girl", as well as work at that time circa 1989 on "Don't Fight the Sea."

I can only imagine the hostility and resentment that Carl would've had against Landy, but objectively speaking those lyrics aren't so out of left field and are certainly not worse than anything Mike would have written for the Beach Boys.
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tpesky
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2021, 07:16:27 PM »

I never got the hatred toward In My Car . It not as bad as most of SIP and Carl and Al sound great .
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twentytwenty
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« Reply #20 on: Yesterday at 09:28:45 AM »

I never got the hatred toward In My Car . It not as bad as most of SIP and Carl and Al sound great .

That song would have been so amazing if it was recorded in the 60s/early 70s. It's so catchy
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Jim V.
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« Reply #21 on: Yesterday at 10:22:02 AM »

I never got the hatred toward In My Car . It not as bad as most of SIP and Carl and Al sound great .

That song would have been so amazing if it was recorded in the 60s/early 70s. It's so catchy

I admit i can't really imagine it in late '60s/early '70s vibe, but regardless I too have a soft spot for "In My Car." I think the lyrics aren't terribly obtrusive, and it's great to hear Carl and Al on a late '80s Brian tune. Kind of a peak into what the Brian Wilson album coulda been if it were instead a Beach Boys album.

And to Julian, seems like you are just getting into the whole Beach Boys scene. You have a lot of cool stuff in front of you if that's the case!
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Greg Parry
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« Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 10:36:30 AM »

Perhaps the most criminally overlooked or unheralded (IMO) album in Brian's solo catalog...is the Christmas album. Another great listen.

Seconded. I'd go as far to say it's the most 'Brian' of all his solo albums. Apart from BWPS it's definitely my favourite.

For me, the magic of a Brian Wilson piece happens at the arrangement level. It is what draws me to his music the most.  Of course, the other aspects are important, such as production, performance and song-writing, and it is when all four of these elements align that we get a true masterpiece such as Pet Sounds, Today, or Smile.

But it is in his arrangements that his unique musical talent really shines. From the tiny flourishes to the grandiose, left field voicings, they all combine in counterpoint to create these wholly (holy!) unique wholes. Whether it's two instruments or twenty, something amazing happens when Brian is in charge of the arrangements. This is why I value Smiley Smile so much, the 'Die Kunst der Fuge' of the Beach Boys catalogue. This is why I can't stand the lifeless, unimaginative, middle-of-the-roadkill style of the Joe Thomas Trilogy of albums. I hear nothing in those albums which suggest Brian Wilson to me. Why? Because Brian's arrangement ideas get lost, ignored, or redesigned by committee, under the helm of a man who scoffed at the suggestion that Brian was of the Avant Garde.  

The 2005 Christmas album however is littered with those wonderful little arrangement ideas that tell me the master was fully present for those sessions. The instrumental tracks are just as much a part of the performance as vocals, just like a BW recording should be. No one interfering, or projecting their ideas of what a Brian Wilson record should be like. The Christmas album is the 'Love You' of his solo career.

The best thing  about Brian Wilson / the Beach Boys of course is that one listener may place more value of Brian Wilson the Producer, or Brian Wilson the Song-Writer, or Brian Wilson the Performer, and they will hold things to be of different value to me. We're lucky to have such a rich and varied catalogue. Something for everyone.

 

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