Tag Archives: Beach Boys

Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

June 24, 1966
Not from June 1966: Beach Boys live, “God Only Knows”
Beach Boys Summer Spectacular Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

1 or 2?

            Today's blog is a bit confusing for me as I thought this "festival" was a one-day event, yet some sources suggest it was two days in two different places with nearly the same line-up. I am going to treat it as a two-day event, but with a grain of salt. The second poster with the "KRLA Presents" (as opposed to the first day's "KFRC Presents") suggests the two-day two-venue possibility. And I can find no information to distinguish things.

            Here we go!
 Friday 24 June (San Francisco)

  • Beach Boys
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Chad & Jeremy
  • Percy Sledge,
  • The Outsiders
  • The Leaves
  • Sir Douglas Quintet
  • Jefferson Airplane,
  • The Byrds
  • The Sunrays
  • Neil Diamond
Saturday 25 June (Los Angeles)

  • Beach Boys
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Chad & Jeremy
  • Percy Sledge
  • The Outsiders
  • The Leaves
  • Sir Douglas Quintet
  • Love
  • The Byrds
  • Captain Beefheart
            First of all, this was not a 1969 festival and perhaps was not even a festival, but it was a rock music event that was held by an FM-rock radio station in San Francisco that featured some groups that were emerging on the new FM-rock scene.

            The sponsor of the event, KFRC-FM (and RKO-owned station) had joined the growing number of FM stations that saw rock music as a profitable format. Bill Drake, the RKO General's national program director, created a system that meant a fewer records, but heavier rotation of the biggest hits, very short jingles, and less DJ talk.

            One can see the seeds of the "underground" style and album-oriented selection in Drake's so-called "Boss Radio" style. 

            The selection of groups that perform is an interesting mix of styles: the jug band bent of the Lovin' Spoonful, the soul of Percy Sledge, the San Francisco Jefferson Airplane, the LA folk-rock of the Byrds, some British Invasion with Chad and Jeremy, Cleveland rock with the Outsiders (their big hit, "Time Won't Let Me," a bit of Texas/San Francisco mix with the Sir Douglas Quintet,  and of course the surfin' Beach Boys.

Hey Joe           

            The Leaves are historically interesting as they were the first rock group to release what would in a year become Jimi Hendrix's signature song, "Hey Joe."

            I am surprised to see Captain Beefhart and his Magic Band (and you should be, too), and Love. 

            With so many bands (either way), the sets must have been short to accommodate so many groups in what was likely a 3 or 4 hour window.

            The ticket prices were $2, $3, $4, and $5 for the first night; $2.75, $3.75, $4.75,  and $5.75 for the second night. The more expensive tickets seem too expensive for 1969. I assume there was no meet-and-greet with the highest priced tickets.

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Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds

Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds

“Let’s Go Away for Awhile”

Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds

For five years Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys had given us fun (fun fun) songs. As an East Coast kid, the sunny surfing imagery intoxicated me: girls in bikinis, the Pacific Ocean, funny cars...and did I mention girls in bikinis.

Little did we realize Brian's internal turmoil, that he had to endure paternal abuse. The loss of hearing in one ear may have been the obvious physical result, but the psychological impact would be life-long.

We likely also didn't realize the Brian had left live performances up to the rest of the group. Various fears and a need to create led to his decision to stay in LA.

1965’s tipping point

Bob Dylan had gone electric in 1965. He'd declared that he wasn't goin' to work on Maggie's farm no more. Little did this 15-year-old realize what that change meant. Dylan and the Beatles met and while the Beatles were already electric and in 1965 they went Dylan: writing songs that meant something to them as well as, hopefully, something to us.

That was the Beatles' Rubber Soul with songs like "Norwegian Wood," "Girl," "I'm Looking Through You," and "In My Life" fans heard something different than "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

So did Brian Wilson and he decided he'd up the ante and create something even better. Many say he did, but not right away. Mike Love for one felt Brian Wilson was heading in a nowhere direction. Sales of the album, while good, were not what their previous albums had done. Even the single "Caroline No" was released as a Brian Wilson song, not a Beach Boy song.

Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds

It took Wilson months to produce Pet Sounds. With his band mates on the road, he used LA's famous Wrecking Crew to create the sounds he wanted. And they, despite an often meandering search, helped him find and create that sound.
Side one: 

  1. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
  2. You Still Believe In Me
  3. That’s Not Me
  4. Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder
  5. I’m Waiting for the Day’
  6. Let’s Go Away for Awhile
  7. Sloop John B
Side 2:

  1. God Only Knows
  2. I Know There’s an Answer
  3. Here today
  4. I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
  5. Pet Sounds
  6. Caroline No
 May 16 is the anniversary of its release

Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds

Today the world acknowledges Pet Sounds as a masterpiece [Rolling Stone magazine article]. Just as Rubber Soul had inspired Wilson, Wilson in turn inspired the Beatles whose barking dogs on Sgt Pepper's echo and acknowledge Pet Sound's influence.

Much later, in Barry Miles' Many Years From Now, Paul McCartney said about Sgt Pepper: "We were fed up with being Beatles. We were not boys, we were men... artists rather than performers."
So too Brian Wilson and we are forever indebted to him for that artistry and inspiration.

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Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

On December 10, 1966 the Beach Boys'  “Good Vibrations” was the #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. It had been released two months earlier on October 10. That may seem like a long time for such a great song to reach #1, but it wasn't nearly as long as it took for Brian Wilson to make the song.  According to Rolling Stone magazine, "It took six months and cost $16,000 to make, with several distinct sections and such exotic instruments as Jew's harp, sleigh bells, harpsichord, and theremin."
He had started it on February 17, 1966 of that year while creating his masterpiece Pet Sounds album. At the time of its release, Billboard magazine wrote: Penned by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, group has a sure-fire hit in this off-beat and intriguing rhythm number. Should hit hard and fast.
Beach Boys Good Vibratons
cover for Good Vibrations single
A film showing some of the ongoing recording of the Beach Boys Good Vibrations.

Read more from Rolling Stone magazine, which ranks Beach Boys Good Vibrations as the fifth best single of all time >>> Rolling Stone article

Beach Boys Good Vibrations
Brian Wilson producing Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

"Good Vibrations" was intended to be part of the "Smile" album, but  Wilson, suffering from depression, stopped work on the it in May 1967. A New York Times article began about that album began: "I'm writing a teen-age symphony to God," Brian Wilson announced to a magazine writer some months ago. At the time, an album lay half-completed on spools of black acetate. The rest existed only in spurts of rhythm and harmony in Brian Wilson's head.  (click for rest of article>>> NYT article)
The song ended up on a makeshift version of the original Smile, called Smiley Smile.  According to Phillip Lambert's book, Inside the Music of Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson said that compared to what Smile would have been Smiley Smile was  "a bunt instead of a grand slam."
Sometimes you get Beach Boys Good Vibrations.
Sometimes you don't get Beach Boys Good Vibrations.