Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys (wish I still owned this album)
         Holy Crap ! 

Where do you start with these guys ?  

   Good Vibrations ? 

         Pet Sounds ?      

She's real fine, my 409 ? 

The Beach Boys are not only one of my personal all time favorite bands, they seem to be everyone else's as well. That includes not only critics but their peers as well.

The Beach Boys

Since I began writing and researching this blog I have seen a pattern among most of the pre-64 American groups. Be they rockabilly, doo wop, girl groups, stars or strugglers, hip shakers or whatever, 1964 was a turning point. When the Beatles came across the pond most American music careers took a nose dive.

No one, not even Elvis could weather the storm. Except, possibly, The Beach Boys. I think they could have continued on top and competed with the Beatles. What made them different from all the other great fifties and early sixties artists ?

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys had three things others didn't have. One, position, position, position. Being on top gives you the ability to fight from a position of strength. 

Two, they brought something other than neat tunes to the marketplace. They brought dreams of a life style the rest of the "kid's nation" wanted to be a part of.....pretty bikini girls, good looking surfer boys, hot rods, sandy beaches, parties, oceans, surfing and the ever mystical lure of California. They had a teenager's dream in every song. They'd captured a market with geography and lifestyle. 

The Beach Boys

The third asset, was L.A.'s immense musical talent pool. Jan and Dean told them to use the Wrecking Crew. Brian Wilson did just that. Brian was able to capitalize on the money their early hits were generating. He could use that money to hire the best L.A. had to offer. That went for production brains as well as musicians. 

The Beach Boys

By 1964, Brian was growing into an excellent producer but more importantly he listened to some great advice. As they developed material and method he continued to grow in studio technique. Unfortunately, he was listening to some really bad personal advice. 

There were a couple of little problems that would keep the Beach Boys from staying on top. I will probably differ with a lot of folks here. I think if they had continued the course with the type music they were producing while adding artistic growth slowly they would have been an unstoppable force for an indefinite time. But they had to bring the audience with them. You can't just change horses in mid stream and that is what Brian did.  

The Beach Boys

According to reports, Mike Love was against leaving the proven path. He was right. That's what brought them down. Not the Beatles or anything else.

The Beatles could not have driven these good looking kids out of the marketplace if they had stayed clean and continued to grow their art. I am convinced the Beach Boys had even greater things awaiting. The Beach Boys may have been one of the top ten rock and roll bands of all times. 

The Beach Boys

Here are some links and facts about this great, great band.

36 Top 40 hits...most by any American Band..(They could have done twice that many..they were on that kind of a roll).

56 Top 100 (could have done a 100).

4 Number 1 Singles   (They could have done 15 or more).

They were inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rolling Stone Magazine called the the #12 of the Top 100 Artists of  All Time.

Brian Wilson is in the U.K. Hall of Fame.

They were inducted into the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. (The one in Cleveland ?)

The are in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

The received  a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

Many critics have to called their album "Pet Sounds" the greatest album ever produced. Some people say "Good Vibrations" is the greatest Rock and Roll song ever recorded. That's a call I won't make on any group or song.

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