Archive for the ‘Everything But The Brian’ Category

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.

Everything But The Brian VII: Cuddle Up

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

The ultimate romantic Beach Boys song from the Carl and the Passions-So Tough set sees Dennis Wilson creating five minutes of romantic bliss, including “wall of sound” harmonies and orchestra that showcase Dennis’s ability to create a mood was different, but often just as effective, as Brian’s.

Dennis was in prime composing form in the first few years of the 70s, and this is up with his best, even it does take a few listens to appreciate its true beauty.

Everything But The Brian VI: You Are So Beautiful

Monday, October 15th, 2018

As a concert staple for Beach Boys shows from 1975 to 1983, You Are So Beautiful would qualify for inclusion in our series of non-Brian Beach Boys songs. But this wedding standard has an even more important Beach Boys connection – the persistent if unproven view that  Dennis Wilson is a co-writer of the song.  It is certainly no stretch to believe that the writer of Forever and Thoughts Of You could at least be partially involved in the familiar melody, and also not much stretch to believe that Dennis would not pursue a co-writing credit. We will probably never know the truth, but most Beach Boys fans will claim this song as one of their own, and a song with a direct Wilson touch.

Everything But The Brian V: Big Sur

Friday, October 12th, 2018

It may sometimes be easy or convenient that Mike Love is a cousin of the Wilson brothers, but at his best, he is perfectly capable of crafting a great pop song by himself. Big Sur  is the first part of the California trilogy released as an integral part of the Holland album, although a first version of the song was recorded in the Landlocked/Surf’s Up era of 1970. One of the few songs with music and lyrics by Mike Love alone, it is a stately reminder of the beauty of the Beach Boys home state.

Everything But The Brian IV: Heaven

Friday, September 21st, 2018

If there was any doubt that there were three musically talented Wilson brother, Exhibit A is this song by Carl Wilson. Released in 1980 on Carl’s first solo album, this song showed that the ability to write emotionally resonant songs was not restricted to Brian and Dennis. One of Carl’s songwriting strengths was songs showing the power and solace of true love, and this is probably the best example.

Everything But The Brian III: All This Is That

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

All This Is That  is widely regarded as one of the strongest Beach Boys tracks in which Brian or Dennis had absolutely no environment. Clearly influenced by transcendental meditation, and with contributions from Carl, Al and Mike, it is Carl’s production that takes this song to a different league. Harmony, melody and production are all hallmarks of a track which show that brothers, family and friends can take Brian’s vision and make it their own.

Everything But The Brian II: Be Still

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Be Still is unique in being the only lyric with two different musical interpretations by two different Wilson brothers. It’s actually a Stephen Kalinich poem, with the full poem being released on A World Of Peace Must Come with light musical touches by Brian. However, the real musical version comes courtesy of Dennis Wilson and the Friends album, where Kalinich’s words are put to a lovely , peaceful musical accompaniment and vocal by Dennis.

Everything But The Brian I: Little Bird

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

We’ve still got a lot of Brian’s Hidden Beauties to go, but as we get to celebrating 50 years of Beach Boys albums where other band members made significant songwriting contributions, it is appropriate to start a new series. Everything But The Brian will include songs that are associated with Brian and the Beach Boys, but not written by Brian.

Of course there will be a lot of Dennis, and it is appropriate to start with another song from the golden anniversary of Friends. In fact, this could have been in Brian’s Hidden Beauties, as Brian is generally acknowledged as an uncredited composer. But this song was also historic as the first substantial Dennis song on a Beach Boys album, as well as the first evidence of Stephen Kalinich’s collaborations with the group. It’s a peaceful, contemplative song that fits in with the peaceful nature of Friends,  as well as the Beach Boys era celebrating beauty in nature and simple joys.