Archive for the ‘Everything But The Brian’ Category

Everything But The Brian XVII: Disney Girls (1957)

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Bruce Johnston’s best known song may be I Write The Songs, but his best known Beach Boys effort is Disney Girls (1957), a song that still features in the Beach Boys setlists, including the 2012 reunion tour. A highlight of the well-rated Surf’s Up album, the song hearkens back to a “innocent”age of perfect love and family. With a great melody, and classic Beach Boys harmonies, this is certainly in the top tier of “non-Brian” Beach Boys songs.

Everything But The Brian XVI: Hold On Dear Brother

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

For today’s non-Brian song, we go back to 1972 and the South African Beach Boys influence. Hold On Dear Brother is a lesser-known song written by Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin, but is well worth searching out for it’s soulful melody and uplifting lyrics, much needed in these times.

Everything But The Brian XV: Time

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Another aching ballad from the brilliant Pacific Ocean Blue album, Time  combines an honest lyric with a beautiful melody and lovely arrangement sprinkled with some horns and violins. When Dennis sings “I’m the kind of guy who loves to mess around, know a lot of women, but they don’t fill my heart, with love completely free” , you know he is being honest and vulnerable.

Everything But The Brian XIV: Full Sail

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Our next “brianless” Beach Boys minor classic is from the generally critically disliked L.A. (Light Album). However, this album contains a number of good Dennis and Carl songs, not least of all Full Sail. Like much of Carl’s best work, this beautiful ballad has a yearning for peace and harmony, something which was missing in the turbulent late 70s Beach Boys world.

Everything But The Brian XIII: The Nearest Faraway Place

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

It’s Bruce Johnston’s turn to join Everything But The Brian, our series on Beach Boys-related songs that Brian Wilson didn’t write. Bruce’s first composition for the Beach Boys is now over 50 years old, being released on the 20/20 album.The Nearest Faraway Place is a lovely instrumental, coming out at a turbulent time, and interestingly, the string arrangement was done by Van McCoy, best known for the disco classic, The Hustle. The song title was also used for the title of the comprehensive Beach Boys biography.

 

Everything But The Brian XII: Thoughts Of You

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

As an outlet for Dennis Wilson’s creativity, Pacific Ocean Blue did not disappoint as the first Beach Boys solo record. Hints of Dennis’s talents were evident on many Beach Boys albums after Friends, let alone the many songs that were left off these records, but this was the first time we were exposed to a full record of his talents.

There are many minor classics on this record, but Thoughts Of You is one of the best, a beautifully tender love song , sung with heartfelt passion by Dennis.

Everything But The Brian XI: Leaving This Town

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

As a Beach Boys fan based in South Africa, the inclusion of two musicians from my own country as fully-fledged Beach Boys for a period in the 70s is a fascinating part of the history of the band. While Durban may be quite close to Los Angeles in spirit, it is geographically just about on the opposite side the world. Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar were not only a key part of the live band for a while, but also contributed musically to the band in their most soulful era.

Leaving This Town  is a centerpiece of the Holland album, and lyrically it could be seen as something of a thirtysomething Pet Sounds, with themes of choice and change, which resonate with many. The harmonies are typically Beach Boys, but the soulfulness and long instrumental break, with the release at the end, make this song distinct.

Everything But The Brian X: Celebrate The News

Sunday, March 24th, 2019


Just over 50 years ago, Dennis Wilson started becoming a serious creative force in the Beach Boys. It started with two songs on Friends, three on 20/20 (although one with a dubious co-writer..) and continued with the B-side of the last Capitol single of the original recording contract. Celebrate The News  is an ambitious production, featuring harmonies and melodic tricks that would make Dennis’s older brother proud, and showcases Dennis’s first great creative era.

Everything But The Brian IX: Long Promised Road

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Our first real “Carl” entry in this series is one of his signature songs. Carl Wilson made his big composing debut on Surf’s Up Long Promised Road with two of his classic songs. Long Promised Road talks to persevering through life’s roadblocks, and making new starts. With it’s engaging melody and rocking guitar solo, it has elements of both classic Beach Boys and classic rock, and remains both inspirational and very good music.

Everything But The Brian VIII: Holy Man

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Queen are very much in focus now with the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, so here’s a track with a Queen connection, even if a bit indirectly. Apparently Brian May and Roger Taylor were admirers of Dennis Wilson, and were involved in a re-recording of Holy Man, an incomplete track from Pacific Ocean Blue. It was re-recorded with a Taylor Hawkins vocal on the Pacific Ocean Blue 2008 re-issue,but apparently there was another unreleased version featuring the two Queen members.

Holy Man certainly showcases Dennis’s ability to create an atmospheric pop song, and in a perfect world, he would be remembered as a great hitmaker in his own right (and would still be alive and making music). But even with limited opportunity, the well of great Dennis songs has been shown to be very deep, with this another brilliant example.