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Author Topic: Sunflower Is 40 Years Old  (Read 9614 times)
davesixties
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« on: March 01, 2010, 09:23:51 AM »

Can't believe it's 40 years this year since the fabulous Sunflower album was first released.
It wasn't regarded very highly at the time by many critics, but I loved it the very first time I heard it, and still do.
It's nice to see its reputation has, quite rightly,  grown with the years.
For me, Tears In The Morning is the outstanding track, but This Whole World and Forever run it pretty close.
After Pet Sounds and Friends, I'd say it's one of my all-time top Beach Boys albums. Great stuff!
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slothrop
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 09:30:08 AM »

Eh, Tears in the Morning is awful, the real sore spot on the album. To each his own, however.

I personally think that Sunflower's reputation will continue to grow. "All I Wanna Do" to "Cool, Cool Water" is one of the most gorgeous and psychedelic pop sequences in all of recorded music. Lays waste to pretty much everything around it IMO.
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Big Bri
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2010, 09:37:54 AM »

I bought the LP in 1975.  Still a favorite.
"At My Window" is still to me the best song on there. Followed closely by "This Whole World", Add Some Music",
"Cool, Cool Water", "Forever" and of course "Our Sweet Love".

Big Bri
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Wrightfan
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2010, 10:03:15 AM »

Eh, Tears in the Morning is awful, the real sore spot on the album. To each his own, however.

I personally think that Sunflower's reputation will continue to grow. "All I Wanna Do" to "Cool, Cool Water" is one of the most gorgeous and psychedelic pop sequences in all of recorded music. Lays waste to pretty much everything around it IMO.

I flip flop on Tears. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. The tag is WAY too long that's for sure.

I think At my Window is the sore spot. Nice harmonies but it's kinda uninspired.
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Mike's Beard
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 11:13:17 AM »

Eh, Tears in the Morning is awful, the real sore spot on the album. To each his own, however.

I personally think that Sunflower's reputation will continue to grow. "All I Wanna Do" to "Cool, Cool Water" is one of the most gorgeous and psychedelic pop sequences in all of recorded music. Lays waste to pretty much everything around it IMO.

I flip flop on Tears. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. The tag is WAY too long that's for sure.

I think At my Window is the sore spot. Nice harmonies but it's kinda uninspired.
I have to be in the right mood for "Tears". Sometimes I love it, other times I groan as soon as the drums start. "Add some Music" is my favourite off this one. Although I must confess I really like "Deirdre" at the moment. I have not stopped listening to it this past week or so. Dare I say the Denny stuff on here is just a tad overrated. Many refer to Sunflower as his album but to me the BW owns this one!!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 02:17:47 PM by mikes beard » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2010, 11:19:57 AM »

Always been a huge fan of "At My Window", in terms of overall sound and production I think it's just gorgeous.

Sunflower as a whole strikes me as the one record in the group's catalogue where each members' individual personalities really come to shine: Brian's tunes are both incredibly catchy ("This Whole World") and experimental ("Cool Cool Water") here; Carl seems to keep it all together and adds some of the most incredible production touches ever heard on a pop record (IIRC he was largely responsible for "All I Wanna Do"); Mike is in very fine voice throughout and I hope he's real proud of what he contributed to "All I Wanna Do"; and so on... It really is a special album.
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BillA
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2010, 12:11:24 PM »

A few thoughts on Sunflower:

1.  It just came out at the wrong time.  If it had been released in 1974 , 75 or 76 it would have sold millions of copies.

2. As was their habit they selected the wrong song as the first single.  My choice would have been "Slip On Through" followed by "All I Wanna Do" followed by "Forever".

3. "All I Wanna Do" is Mike's best performance ever.

4.  If it had succeeded would Blondie and Ricky have become Beach Boys?  I suspect not.  Also, I suspect that 'Surfs Up',  "CATP" and "Holland" would have sounded very different.

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In 1974 Mike Love's concept album Endless Summer ignited a second generation of Beach Boys fans and stirred a comeback that rocked the music world.
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2010, 12:39:14 PM »

The baby talk in At My Window makes me cringe every time. But it has many fine attributes apart from that.

Sunlower was the first BB LP I bought at time of its first release. Still love it. Come to think of it, it was a gift at that time. Had no dough for records then. Still have that copy....but how can it be 40 years old?  Smiley
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oldsurferdude
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2010, 02:06:37 PM »

Bought the LP when it was released-Superb vocals and engineering. CCW, TITM, IAT all got significant airplay on FM. Probably the best singing in their history.
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 02:34:31 PM »

One of the most beautiful albums ever
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slothrop
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 03:47:35 PM »

Dare I say the Denny stuff on here is just a tad overrated. Many refer to Sunflower as his album but to me the BW owns this one!!

Agreed. "Forever" is a classic, along with "SoT"; "IAT" is a great performance but not the best song; and "GTKTW" is uninspired in my opinion. Brian's songs, however, are all top notch, and his voice saturates the record like it hadn't done in a while. If it had been successful, I'm sure we would've seen Brian come back full force. He was clearly into the project (heavy involvement, even taking pictures with the band!), but unfortunately it failed and he sunk further into his tortured psyche. I think "Sunflower" bombing worst than almost any other BB record was the final straw for the head Wilson.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 03:48:40 PM by slothrop » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2010, 03:57:48 PM »

Sunflower is my personal favorite of all Beach Boys albums unless we factor the Smile recordings in the equation. But that's another THREAD.

I can certainly understand why the album was a bomb in 1970 as I'm not some totally glossy-eyed fan who can't believe why even their most uncommercial stuff wasn't popular with the public, but that's not a bad thing per se. The band were just not in good standing with the public at the time. I consider it their version of a "singer-songwriter" album - a much more relaxed sound, predominantly acoustic, with an emphasis on the slow grooves. There are plenty of great production tricks, but also a whole lot of maturity in the songwriting, and the lyrics seem to fit the 1970 frame of mind even though the lack of irony certainly dated it from the start - the total abundance of irony in the lyrics on Surf's Up seemed to fit more with the times than Sunflower did. But that's nitpicking. It's the album that made me the fan I am today. I love it.

People seem to trash Bruce's songs on Sunflower, but...I don't believe they would have fit on any other album. Michael's lyrics were never better than on this LP. Dennis of course hit his first real artistic peak. Brian's songs are among his finest and most underrated. I like to think of it as one of those happy moments in the band's existence where the planets were in a rare state of alignment - they seemed to be in good spirits in 1969-70.

Of course there are so many woulda coulda shouldas with Sunflower - the material that was recorded during the sessions but passed over was also of a considerably high quality. Not that the band ever would have released a sort of White Album or anything, but it's always fun for the CD burner.
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slothrop
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2010, 04:02:45 PM »

Of course there are so many woulda coulda shouldas with Sunflower - the material that was recorded during the sessions but passed over was also of a considerably high quality. Not that the band ever would have released a sort of White Album or anything, but it's always fun for the CD burner.

Well said. Sunflower is even more of a "woulda coulda shoulda" album for me than Smile. Couple track changes and it's perfect, but either way should've made a much larger impact. And it is great for the burner--I made a mix with all the songs and outtakes in order of recording, good fun.
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2010, 04:19:44 PM »

Sunflower is my second favorite BB album after only Pet Sounds (maybe the greatest album ever made?), but it sometimes will revolve with Love You in that position. It's amazing, sonically and production wise. I feel that this is the strongest offering THE GROUP ever made, Brian's done better work elsewhere but his work here is still sterling. Lovely vocals throughout.

One point is that I know the BB were uncool and album sank like a stone (and the BB, aside from Dennis, were still not cool I will admit) but I think if you would've put out "Slip on Through" with good promotion as another artist it would've had a chance at a decent hit. Not a monster, but a decent hit. It's VERY in tune with what was popular and a very catchy song.
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2010, 04:56:06 PM »

Too... many... acronyms... can't... figure out... what's being talked about... *GUHHFFfff*...
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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2010, 05:08:32 PM »

2. As was their habit they selected the wrong song as the first single.  My choice would have been "Slip On Through" followed by "All I Wanna Do" followed by "Forever".

If you think that was a questionable choice, what do you think about the follow-up choices of "Tears In The Morning" and "Cool Cool Water"; not exactly singles material. Does anybody think "Cool Cool Water" is slightly overrated?
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2010, 05:09:26 PM »

I agree with most of what's been stated here, except that I absolutely cannot stand Tears in the Morning.  To me, it is just not a well written song.  It's whiney, not vocally phrased well, and it's repetitive.  I usually skip it.  

Another one I skip occasionally (depending on my mood) is At My Window.  It's cute and silly...sometimes it works for me, sometimes I find it annoying.  

My own theory on why Sunflower flopped....one possible reason, anyway....is that 1970 was a relatively bum year in rock, overall.  I remember reading an article in an issue of Stereo Review from 1971, where it itemized all of what made '70 such a lousy year.  The breakup of the Beatles, the deaths of Hendrix and Joplin the previous year;  it was pretty depressing.   I think if Sunflower had been released any other year, it would have been more successful.
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the captain
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2010, 05:19:37 PM »

Does anybody think "Cool Cool Water" is slightly overrated?
No ... I think (among the sort of serious fans who grace this board with their presence) it's significantly overrated. It's nice. Pretty. Ranks among the band's top 75 tunes or so for me, I suppose.
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2010, 05:23:18 PM »

One compendium of best albums of 1970....I haven't plowed thru all 100 yet but there is some good stuff, including Sunflower at #27.  It's not contemperaneous though, I don't think.

http://www.besteveralbums.com/yearstats.php?y=1970
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2010, 05:29:04 PM »

I wish they had hooked up with Rielley a couple of years sooner and he had had two big effects on Sunflower:

1. He had started to get the group back in vogue with the hip crowd before Sunflower came out, so it would have had a chance with the masses.

2. He could have convinced the Boys to withhold Breakaway and Celebrate the News from a the final Capitol single that was bound to go nowhere and have them give lesser songs like We're Together Again and Games Two Can Play for the single.

Then you add Breakaway and Celebrate the News and take off At My Window (definitely the weak link) and either Tears in the Morning or Got to Know the Woman and you've got one of the greatest albums EVER by ANYONE and a million-and-two seller.

Even so, it's a terrific album.
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sockittome
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2010, 05:29:25 PM »

Does anybody think "Cool Cool Water" is slightly overrated?
No ... I think (among the sort of serious fans who grace this board with their presence) it's significantly overrated. It's nice. Pretty. Ranks among the band's top 75 tunes or so for me, I suppose.

What makes Cool Cool Water such a great tune is that it works in the contexts of both the SMiLE (or BWPS) and SUNFLOWER versions.  In other words, it works with or without the "Is it hot as hell in here" lead.  Just my own observation.
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2010, 05:42:18 PM »

It's certainly ok with me that you feel that way, but "Cool, Cool Water" is actually one of my favorite Beach Boys tracks, ever. Different stuff reaches different people.
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the captain
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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2010, 05:51:32 PM »

I appreciate your blessing.  Grin
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2010, 06:07:37 PM »

I was thinking about this the other day... what if you made Sunflower a more Brian-centric album? It would look something like this:
This Whole World
Add Some Music
All I Wanna Do
Good Time
Take a Load Off Your Feet
At My Window
Loop De Loop
Our Sweet Love
Soulful Old Man Sunshine
When Girls Get Together
Cool, Cool Water

I didn't put "I Just Got My Pay" or "Games Two Can Play" on the list because the production values were too low compared to the rest of the material. This material makes his Love You persona seem like a natural extension of where he was at in '69/'70. The only difference is that the production values were higher back then.
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2010, 06:14:48 PM »

Love this album, too.  You get the best representation of Dennis as the rocker & balladeer. 

In relation to this thread, Brian or his management just posted on Twitter & Facebook the following:
 
'I think "Add Some Music To Your Day" was my best lyric.'
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