I've been listening to The Beach Boys quite a bit over the best week, so I thought I'd share with all of you.
For those who think the Beach Boys were just a silly AM pop band, in the mold of various other sixties band like "Paul Revere and the Raiders" or "Merman's Hermit's" or "Gary and the Playboys" nothing could be further from the truth. True, they started out as a fun-in-the-sun surf band, but thinks to the incredible genius of Brian Wilson, they created some of the most amazing (and forward thinking) music of all time. The multi-tracking, and layering that Brian used was beyond what anyone else had attempted at that time and even now, the richness of it just amazing. Couple that with the Beach Boys exquisite harmonies and you have music for the ages.
Here are five of my favorite songs with commentaries:
Good Vibrations. This might very well be the greatest pop song of all time. The video shows a "live performance" but in reality the song was recorded over a period of six weeks. If you listen closely you can hear cellos. The weird woo sound is a theramin.
Surf's Up. IMO, one of the most beautiful and haunting songs ever recorded. This version is from "The Smile Sessions" with Brian on lead vocals. The version on the album of the same name has Carl Wilson singing lead. The ending always sends shivers down my spine.
G-d Only Knows. That's Carl doing the lead vocals. Brian is singing the high parts at the end. The song was recorded with a full 23 piece orchestra, highly unusual for those days.
I Get Around. I can't imagine any group did harmony vocals better or more imaginatively than The Beach Boys as this song highlights. And if you listen closely, you can see even in those early days, the music was already interesting and different.
For number 5 - well, truthfully, I could easily list 20 great somgs. But I will close out with Sail On, Sailor. I've always liked that one.
If you're looking for a Beach Boys collection, I recommend "Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys". It contains 30 classic songs.