"The state of the Beach Boys in 1988 was, in a word, shitty."
July 24, 2018 11:51 AM   Subscribe

If Brian Wilson was like Paul McCartney, pushing his bandmates to precisely render his sonic fancies, Mike Love was like … well, Paul McCartney, desperately trying to keep all the stakeholders happy and productive. He’s rarely given his due as a songwriter: He sued Brian in 1992 more or less for this reason, eventually winning co-writing credit for 35 Beach Boys tunes. The occasional “Good Vibrations” aside (a lyric written with McKenzie’s “San Francisco” in mind), his gift is punch-ups: tweaking phrases and adding earworms. He scrapped Phillips’ past tense. It sounded like regret, which is not Love’s bag. All he’s ever wanted to do is provide escape. So when it came time to write the chorus, Love sang Melcher a map.
"Kokomo” Is 30: The Strange Backstory To The Beach Boys’ Last Cultural Gasp [Brad Shoup, Stereogum] posted by Atom Eyes (88 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
The liner notes for the Smile Sessions box have Mike Love griping about being overshadowed by the perceived genius of Brian when HE had written Kokomo and sold millions of copies.

Except he didn't even write it, but just punched up someone else's song for a soundtrack?
posted by hwyengr at 12:11 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


You can hear Phillips’ version on the 2010 collection Many Mamas, Many Papas. (The set also contains the racist ditty “Chinaman,” as well as a song called, simply, “Yachts.”)

This is the best detail. And that original version of "Kokomo" was terminally bland soft rock without anything in particular to recommend it. The Beach Boys' version may be a mouthful of cotton candy, but at least it's something.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:12 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


hwyengr: *adds another reason to his list of reasons why Mike Love sucks*
posted by SansPoint at 12:15 PM on July 24, 2018 [11 favorites]


I am extremely orthodox about this. No set of musicians may be referred to as "The Beach Boys" if it does not include Brian Wilson.

That song? It's by a Beach Boys cover band. A successor cover band is touring right now, in fact. But without Brian, it's dead to me.
posted by uberchet at 12:20 PM on July 24, 2018 [27 favorites]


Except he didn't even write it, but just punched up someone else's song for a soundtrack?

Eh, I'd give him this one. It's barely the same song, and his version is much better.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:20 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I do not agree with what you say, uncleozzy, but I'll defend to Mike Love's death your right to say it.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:27 PM on July 24, 2018 [14 favorites]


“Yachts”
posted by q*ben at 12:30 PM on July 24, 2018 [10 favorites]


I vividly remember this song getting huge, and figuring it was an old Beach Boys song that had just been picked up for the soundtrack. And then I found out that the Beach Boys had actually made albums after, like, Pet Sounds, and I was just amazed.
posted by Etrigan at 12:32 PM on July 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


I love Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys (except "Kokomo", which is awful), but I have to completely block out everything I know about their history to get any joy out of their music. And don't get me started on John Phillips.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:33 PM on July 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


Checking the tags, I see Full House is properly accounted for.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:37 PM on July 24, 2018 [10 favorites]


I picked up a free or cheap copy of Kokomo in my early 20s just to play at random times to get it stuck in my housemates’ heads. I’m much kinder now.
posted by outfielder at 12:42 PM on July 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


The only tag missed is The Dead Milkmen:
"John Phillips of the Mamas And The Papas, whose hit “California Dreamin'” the Beach Boys had recently covered."
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:42 PM on July 24, 2018 [10 favorites]


Mike Love deserves a huge amount of credit as a visionary for hearing John Phillips's version of Kokomo and changing it from a 4-minute burning garbage heap and turning it into.... a catchy, vapid pop song.

Kokomo just might be the very best cover song ever, if you measure it purely by how much it improved on the original. Buckley's version of Hallelujah was a huge improvement only in execution, the core song is unbelievably good. Kokomo took something unlistenable and turned into something merely forgettable.
posted by tclark at 12:44 PM on July 24, 2018 [13 favorites]


Both versions on Kokomo are so awful that they seem like clever style parodies rather than the painfully earnest ramblings they are.
posted by AndrewStephens at 12:45 PM on July 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'd rather hang out with John Stamos than Mike Love.
posted by rhizome at 12:47 PM on July 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


Great, now I’ve got Kokomo stuck in my head. At least it pushed out the Billy Joel songs from a few posts down.
posted by TedW at 12:48 PM on July 24, 2018 [9 favorites]


MetaFilter: It pushed out the Billy Joel songs
posted by rhizome at 12:49 PM on July 24, 2018 [15 favorites]


This is a good article: it gets there fast and then it takes it slow.
posted by BeeDo at 12:55 PM on July 24, 2018 [38 favorites]


Looking at the timeline: this was happening right when the whole Brian Wilson/Eugene Landy thing was coming to a head. Brian didn't really start to get out of Landy's clutches for yet another year.

Not that it's an unbiased perspective, but if you've seen Love and Mercy... then that means this song was going on concurrent with all the John Cusack parts, at about the point when Melinda Ledbetter finally alerted the family that "hey, this Landy guy's fucked up", and now I'm wondering if Mike Love wasn't sort of sitting on his hands while the rest of the family was trying to get Brian out of there because Landy was keeping Brian out of his hair.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:57 PM on July 24, 2018 [6 favorites]


So many choice quotes in the Entertainment Weekly article buried within the OP.
[Terry] Melcher invited [Van Dyke Parks] up to his house in Monterey, Calif., to help with the vocal arrangements. Parks chartered a small plane for the trip. On the way back, Love offered to share the plane and split the fare. "He gave me his card," recalls Parks. "When he got out of the plane, he INSISTED I call him to make sure he paid for the trip. So I called him the next day. He had changed his number."
Al Jardine: "I was thinking, Jeez, this is a difficult sell. Why are we doing this? But Love insisted. It just lay there like a flat tire. And frankly, it still does.''

...and, of course, the archetypal young hipster (Adam Green, in this case) lobbying to make a square song cool. It was ever thus.
posted by mykescipark at 1:00 PM on July 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's only one of many examples of the young bucks of the 60's easing into fat, contented, backwards-looking middle age.
posted by kersplunk at 1:11 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


No set of musicians may be referred to as "The Beach Boys" if it does not include Brian Wilson.

A few years ago*, I was in a hotel lounge (I think, Melbourne, maybe Sydney) where "The Beach Boys" were hanging around with their crew. I had to be physically restrained by my companions because I just kept muttering IF THOSE ARE BEACH BOYS WHERE THE FUCK IS BRIAN? over and over again.

* Yes, literally 2013 or so, which tells you what kind of roster the band would have had, then.
posted by rokusan at 1:13 PM on July 24, 2018 [6 favorites]


Kokomo was not the Beach Boys' "last gasp" for me. That honor goes to this trifle made for the soundtrack of the 1991 failed dystopian satire "Americathon".
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:14 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


"You won’t find many notable covers beyond, say, the Muppets."
posted by stevil at 1:15 PM on July 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


I came in to say, excuse you, the Muppets cover is sublime, but I see that this truth had already been accounted for so all is right with the world
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:22 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


I picked up a free or cheap copy of Kokomo in my early 20s just to play at random times to get it stuck in my housemates’ heads.

I always assumed that was its intended purpose to begin with.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:25 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


> That song? It's by a Beach Boys cover band. A successor cover band is touring right now, in fact.

I remember reading a review of Keepin' The Summer Alive in a "worst albums of all time" book (I'm pretty sure it was this one), which singled the cover out for particular scorn, saying that the image of them encased in a globe, impervious to changing conditions, could not have been a more perfect summary of where they were at as a band at the time. Well, that book came out in 1991, which means far more time has passed between its publication and now than between that album and the Beach Boys' salad days. And they're still touring, and Brian Wilson is still touring.

The Boomers will somehow outlive all other generations.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:26 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


A weirdly notable adjunct to this is that the only other true contender for "vaguely tropical song that kind of sucks and is kind of awesome but can get stuck in your head until you want to chainsaw your brain off" was also from the Cocktail soundtrack - Don't Worry Be Happy. I saw Cocktail in the theater when it came out, when I was in tenth grade, with my almost-but-never-quite girlfriend, and our friend Nathan, and when Don't Worry Be Happy came on he leaned over her to me and said, quietly and confidently, "Bob Marley."

Best part of the movie.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:27 PM on July 24, 2018 [14 favorites]


Kokomo was not the Beach Boys' "last gasp" for me. That honor goes to this trifle made for the soundtrack of the 1991 failed dystopian satire "Americathon".

Americathon came out in 1979.
posted by Etrigan at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


In November, “Kokomo” supplanted Phil Collins’ “Groovy Kind Of Love” at the summit. (Collins, however, got the last laugh when “Two Hearts” beat “Kokomo” for Best Original Song at the 46th annual Golden Globes.)

So you see, kids, the pop culture of the '80s was not, in fact, *totally* awesome.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:33 PM on July 24, 2018 [23 favorites]


As if him being terrible to Brian for all these years and his deranged rant at the 88 HoF ceremony weren't enough, there's always this to remind us just what kind of special asshole Mike Love really is.
posted by Salient at 1:38 PM on July 24, 2018 [19 favorites]


I gave a cursory listen to the recent Mike Love solo record referenced in this article.

I recommend it to anyone who wants to hear what I’ll call a “premium karaoke” rendition of “Fun Fun Fun”, replete with Auto-Tuned vocals and too-loud drums.
posted by tantrumthecat at 1:38 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Cocktail is such a weird movie.

It has sex wrestling, weird random time and space cuts, an old Australian guy (I think) who is improbably extremely handsome and rich but not rich but then really rich, and more time and space jump cuts and Tom Cruise fuuuuuuuucks and gets soup poured on him.

I just watched it less than a month ago so I think this is a pretty accurate representation.

Also a huge prison type bar where only two bartenders serve 5,000 horny women and a small coterie of besuited slam poets. That is my personal version of hell because I just want a drink, please.

Oh right, Beach Boys...
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:40 PM on July 24, 2018 [23 favorites]


I am extremely orthodox about this. No set of musicians may be referred to as "The Beach Boys" if it does not include Brian Wilson.

I mean compared to the original lineup of the three Wilson boys, Jardine, and Love, it's really difficult to consider any permutation of the three remaining members "The Beach Boys". Losing Dennis? Survivable. Losing Carl? That was a gut punch. Brian just isn't the same when it comes to God Only Knows. I mean, it's passable but that's all it is. Johnston? Just fuck off now. No. Stop. Please. Never sing it. This is Carl singing it just at a casual get together. It's fucking heavenly. Nobody will ever be able to sing that song as well as him. That's before we even get to him being missing on Good Vibrations or Darlin'.

Me? I sit back, listen to No Pier Pressure knowing that Brian and Al being awesome is about the closest thing we'll get to The Beach Boys in 2018 because The Beach Boys has been dead to me since Carl passed.

It's like Queen without Freddie.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:40 PM on July 24, 2018 [13 favorites]


> It has sex wrestling, weird random time and space cuts, an old Australian guy (I think) who is improbably extremely handsome and rich but not rich but then really rich, and more time and space jump cuts and Tom Cruise fuuuuuuuucks and gets soup poured on him.

Not to mention that the protagonist's goal is not merely to open a bar, but to franchise that bar.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:44 PM on July 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


God's, I remember that spring when every third song on the radio was "Kokomo." There was just no escaping it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:49 PM on July 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


Also, the shop where Cruise has a cup of coffee during his Long Dark Night of the Soul after his mentor commits suicide was actually a restaurant around the corner from my place named Jim's. A couple of years ago it was torn down and replaced by condos (of course), but before that I got my wife to take a picture of me cradling a coffee from about the same angle where the movie camera would have been.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:50 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


My dad had three CDs always in his car when I was growing up. Robert Palmer's Heavy Nova, Paul Simon's Negotiations and Love Songs greatest hits and the Cocktail soundtrack. I knew Kokomo before I knew what a Beach Boy was. So I have a bit of nostalgia for the song. But still haven't listened to it in years and don't really feel the need to.
posted by downtohisturtles at 1:58 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]




God's, I remember that spring when every third song on the radio was "Kokomo." There was just no escaping it I have distinct memories of this song, Don't Worry Be Happy and UB40's Red Red Wine being just huge that summer. It was like vacationing at Sandals without the beach.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:59 PM on July 24, 2018 [19 favorites]


"Kokomo” Is 30

This is the worst trip
I've ever been on.
posted by chavenet at 2:00 PM on July 24, 2018 [54 favorites]


The Boomers will somehow outlive all other generations.

Their hot air certainly will. Appropriately.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:02 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Other than the song, this is my one and only memory of the movie Cocktail.

I was working at the local movie theater as my after school/summer job when it was in theaters (it was my senior year of high school), and there was this big lifesize cardboard stand-up quasi-3D version of the poster we had in the lobby; it was like, a bit 9-foot-tall version of the poster printed on cardboard, with a stand in the back to support it, but with an extra bit built out to make the "bar" part 3-D; there was also an added cardboard attachment to make Tom Cruise's arm that was leaning on the bar look 3-D as well (if you took it off the arm was still printed on the poster behind it). And there was a guy that worked there that when he got bored, he'd go get that arm, shove it up in his sleeve, and then pose leaning against the concession stand grinning at us, the cardboard arm resting on the counter like Tom Cruise's arm on the poster.

That is my one and only memory of the movie Cocktail.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:05 PM on July 24, 2018 [13 favorites]


Is it wrong that this thread is making me want to listen to the Bee Gees?
posted by clawsoon at 2:05 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


There's a bar in Hyde Park called Jimmy's (although that isn't its real name) where we used to torment one of the bartenders by constantly asking him to "mix drinks like Tom Cruise!" (but he started it). Anybody reading who knows this bar now knows I'm a horrid person.
posted by lagomorphius at 2:11 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Anybody else remember when the Beach Boys were going to play on the National Mall on the 4th of July? Interior Secretary James Watt said no way, rock music is of the devil. Then Nancy Reagan defended them, and somebody else said "I don't consider the Beach Boys to be rock music."

It's like the four most embarrassing things that could happen to a rock band, and then to top that off Mike Love was like hey I'm a republican now.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:22 PM on July 24, 2018 [40 favorites]


The DW/Charlie M link is one of my favorite bits of the secret history of the 20th Century, or was before it got the mass-media treatment a few times over. (For some values of “mass,” anyway, since I think about eight people ever saw Aquarius.)

But, yeah, I used to be able to blow minds by telling people Charlie wrote lyrics for the Beach Boys: “Mike Love insisted on changing ‘cease to exist’ to ‘cease to resist’!”) And then you get the neat second-order shoutout in “Wave of Mutilation.” Won’t get that with “Kokomo,” no siree.

If this pop deconstruction keeps happening to all my favorite secret-history tidbits, BTW, eventually we’ll only be left with Jack Parsons and the JPL. Sigh.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:28 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


hydrophonic, yes, leading to the immortal Washington Squares lyrics “James Watt, so what – the Beach Boys are working, you’re not.”
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:29 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Not to mention that the protagonist's goal is not merely to open a bar, but to franchise that bar.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:44 PM on July 24
[+] [!]


“Cocktails & Dreams”, if memory serves, which is only slightly below John Stamos’ mullet haircut as far as Peak 1988 goes.
posted by tantrumthecat at 2:30 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


At least we'll always have Kevin Love.
posted by gucci mane at 2:33 PM on July 24, 2018


*an old Australian guy (I think)

That would be the magnificent Bryan Brown, who deserves serious respect for performances going back at least to Breaker Morant. If he has worked lesser gigs for money, I have no problem with that. (Other than that lesser gigs were all that were on offer. He deserves better.)
posted by BWA at 2:57 PM on July 24, 2018 [9 favorites]


Gotta agree with AndrewStephens on this one. Kokomo is just a horrid, treakly thing. My great fear is that it will be the background soundtrack being pumped throughout the building when I end up in assisted living. It’s instant muzak.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:10 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


"... eventually we’ll only be left with Jack Parsons and the JPL. Sigh."

I have bad news.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:18 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Mike Love once put up $5,000 seed money for Tipper Gore’s Parent’s Music Resource Center (P.M.R.C.) to censor and label records that had sex, violence or drug-related lyrics.

Mike was an ass long before he put on a MAGA hat.
posted by curiousgene at 3:29 PM on July 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


Here is Mike Love being totally selfless, recounting his following the Beatles to India.
posted by rhizome at 3:42 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


who deserves serious respect for performances going back at least to Breaker Morant

F/X was a solid thriller too. Watched it recently and it holds up.

And, of course, he was in the best miniseries ever made, The Thorn Birds.
posted by maxsparber at 4:10 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


An impressionable friend went and bartended for a year in...Grenada? Somewhere in the Caribbean, anyway, based solely on his impression of what that would be like, having seen this movie.
posted by maxwelton at 4:17 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


(adamgreenfield, I take it you haven't seen this?)

Mike Love always makes me doubt the effectiveness of meditation. Then again, maybe without TM he would have been an even bigger asshole?
posted by queensissy at 4:22 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


You're leaving us hanging, maxwelton. How did it go for this guy?
posted by Chrysostom at 4:27 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


"You won’t find many notable covers beyond, say, the Muppets."

On the other hand, there's at least one notable answer song.
posted by multics at 5:32 PM on July 24, 2018


The very weird thing about this song for those of us growing up in a certain part of the midwest is that there IS a Kokomo. It's in Indiana. So when we first heard this song, we were like, "We're going to Kokomo? WHY THE HELL WOULD WE DO THAT?"
posted by Orlop at 6:06 PM on July 24, 2018 [26 favorites]


I've always felt that Bowling For Soup's "1985" was based on "Kokomo," which is appropriate for a song about '80s music.

Bruce Springsteen
Madonna
way before Nirvana
and Bermuda
Bahama
come on pretty mama

...which reminds me of how much that song sucks, because they can't get two name-drops in without skipping to the '90s. Maybe it's indicative of how forgettable '80s pop was.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 7:21 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


Just in case you never understood why some people think the Beach Boys were special:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 featuring paul mccartney eating a carrot
posted by KBGB at 7:46 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


This is the place to share my pride and joy: an airbrushed t-shirt I got at a county fair that says "Hate Mike Love". I wear it to county fairs when I see the "Beach Boys" (this picture was from the Marin County Fair this year), and I mostly just loudly talk shit about Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. Or yell, "Where's Brian!", "Where's Al?", and "You're no Carl!" I don't know why, but being an asshole to the "Beach Boys" on the county fair circuit is fun. (Except for the time at the Kern County Fair where the people behind me were mad and let it be known they had guns. We also got kicked out for dancing...)

Most people seeing them just wanna be drunk and have fun on nostalgia. They don't want to hear "The Beaks of Eagles" but I keep requesting it. When"Kokomo" is played towards the end, it's just a fun drunken sing along and it even warms my grumpy heart. I make a point of playing "Kokomo" on the radio once a year just to make somebody's day and irritate everybody else. It's so bad it's wonderful.
posted by kendrak at 8:25 PM on July 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


No one gives this song its due, which is that it was the inspiration for the secret missing final verse of "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" which is that it is the island destination that the adultering couple go to kill their clones
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:37 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


(also the worst thing about Kokomo is that long vocal echo. it's not just me, right?)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:38 PM on July 24, 2018


UB40's Red Red Wine

Fun fact, literally my earliest memory of really and truly hating something is about that song.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:40 PM on July 24, 2018 [12 favorites]


My very first "concert" was seeing the Komomo-era, Brian Wilson-less Beach Boys playing after an Atlanta Braves game on the 4th of July.
posted by thecjm at 9:29 PM on July 24, 2018


> “Yachts”

"ohmygod yachts

these yachts suck
these yachts rule
these yachts suck
these yachts rule"

"I think you have too many yachts."

"SHUT UP!"
posted by komara at 10:05 PM on July 24, 2018 [6 favorites]


This is Carl singing it just at a casual get together . It's fucking heavenly.

Holy shit, Definitely Not Sean Spicer. You weren't kidding. That is gorgeous.
posted by misfish at 12:21 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I love Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys (except "Kokomo", which is awful), but I have to completely block out everything I know about their history to get any joy out of their music. And don't get me started on John Phillips.


For rather opposite reasons, though. John Phillips was (allegedly) an evil motherfucker. The Wilsons it's just hard not to feel sad for and about them.
posted by atoxyl at 12:51 AM on July 25, 2018


shapes that haunt the dusk: "UB40's Red Red Wine

Fun fact, literally my earliest memory of really and truly hating something is about that song.
"

I actually saw UB40 at some outdoor pavilion near Philly during the Red Red Wine tour. They were so terrible but concerts were so cheap back then that you could go to bad ones and get drunk and not feel like you were ripped off.
posted by octothorpe at 4:09 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, I saw the Beech Boys sometime in the late eighties too but it was before Kokomo; Southside Johnny opened and was 10x better than Mike and the boys.
posted by octothorpe at 4:12 AM on July 25, 2018


> This is Carl singing it just at a casual get together

Ohhhhhh, thanks, I needed that today. Any idea when that was and for what occasion?
posted by desuetude at 7:52 AM on July 25, 2018


They're both bad, but I actually prefer John Phillips' stripped-down original. The Beach Boys' version is unlistenable.
posted by rocket88 at 8:09 AM on July 25, 2018


Anybody else remember when the Beach Boys were going to play on the National Mall on the 4th of July? Interior Secretary James Watt said no way, rock music is of the devil. Then Nancy Reagan defended them, and somebody else said "I don't consider the Beach Boys to be rock music."

It's like the four most embarrassing things that could happen to a rock band, and then to top that off Mike Love was like hey I'm a republican now.


Fun fact: James Watt eventually apologized for this. At the White House, Ronald Reagan was like, "Beach Boys, James Watt did you dirty. Let me know if you ever need a favor." The Beach Boys called in this favor and when Dennis Wilson died and they needed Reagan's help to bury him at sea. This really happened.
posted by compartment at 9:04 AM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


At least we'll always have Kevin Love.

I would truly despise Mike Love, but I'm a Cavs fan, and all we got left now is Kevin Love, so out of respect for his nephew I give the guy somewhat of a pass.
posted by e1c at 9:28 AM on July 25, 2018


a #1 hit off the soundtrack to a forgettable film about bartending.

How DARE you, sir! If I had an Alabama Slamma, I would throw it in your face!
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2018


and I mostly just loudly talk shit about Mike Love and Bruce Johnston

Dennis was a mad fuckin drummer.
Carl could play a 12 string guitar (!) and had a voice like a saint.
Brian was a compositional master than would never settle for anything less than perfection.
Al Jardine was flexible and could switch between rhythm guitar and upright bass whenever you needed him to

And then we have Mike and his fucking tambourine stealing the group after Carl dies.

I mean 50 years in the business you'd think he'd at least learn guitar eventually but nope. He's still up there with his fucking bells while his "band" massacres the songs of their former bandmates.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:09 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


I don't get it. Why did you post a link to a video of the Chuck E. Cheese animatronic band?
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:15 PM on July 25, 2018


[looks at Youtube comments]

So, is Mike Love "BeachBoysfan4ever MLP2"?
posted by clawsoon at 1:41 PM on July 25, 2018


You're leaving us hanging, maxwelton. How did it go for this guy?

Reality vs. expectations:

< "Hot Chicks"
> Rain
< Money

Plus he hadn't yet realized that on a day-to-day basis, living in Exotic Locale is not much different than living in East Bumcheek when you have to work most of the time.
posted by maxwelton at 1:55 PM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


I think someone on this site once sent me a link to the nü Beach Boys performing “Do It Again” with that guy from Sugar Ray singing lead. I just realized I’ve had that version of that song in my head since I saw this post yesterday. Whoever sent me that link, I want you to know that you are on my enemy list.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:31 PM on July 25, 2018


Not to be confused with amazing Hawaii musician Mike Love.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:05 PM on July 25, 2018


I am extremely orthodox about this. No set of musicians may be referred to as "The Beach Boys" if it does not include Brian Wilson.

That's kind of a shame because you're denying yourself some very good music from albums released around 1970 that have a very minimal Brian Wilson presence. Brian may have been the genius, but his brothers learned some things from him and Bruce Johnston was no slouch, either. Remember, it was called "The Beach Boys", not "Brian Wilson & Some Guys."
posted by frodisaur at 9:27 PM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Seconding frodisaur on "don't knock the early-70s incarnation". One of my favorite Beach Boys songs ever is Sail On Sailor, which doesn't have any of the original people we know as "The Beach Boys" singing lead even - Brian was in his early days with Eugene Landy so he was pretty messed up, Carl Wilson couldn't hit all the notes, and Dennis Wilson did only take before saying "fuck it" and going surfing, so they gave it to a new session guitarist they had named Blondie Chaplin. That's who's singing it.

Then again, Brian was one of the people who co-wrote it. Lyrically it's incredible, and musically, it quickly became a standard.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:05 AM on July 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


Surf's Up from 1971 is another great album* from that period.
Just listen to "Feel Flows", "Til I Die", or the titular "Surf's Up".

*With the major exception of "Student Demonstration Time"— Mike Love's clunky re-imagining of "Riot in Cell Block Number 9" in which he addresses police crackdowns on campus protests (including the recent killings of four Kent State students by the National Guard) by basically placing the blame on the protesters themselves. (lyrics)
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:21 AM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


“Love You” from 1977 is a mostly Brian Wilson album, and it is weird and good, with a lot of synthesizer stuff. It’s song “Solar System” can sound kind of like a parody of a Brian Wilson song, yet it still has the wonderful, soaring quality of any of his best work.
posted by chrchr at 9:37 AM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


My wife and I listed to Love You last night. I can appreciate the oddity of it, and there are some well-written songs on there, but the chintzy minimoogs and the strain in Brian's voice aren't exactly fun to listen to. It really foregrounds a lot of the problems Brian's had, which is the opposite of my usual approach to this band. Reading some of the praise for the record, I wonder if its champions are mainly it in for the iconoclasm.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:44 PM on July 27, 2018


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