Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Deep Thought

Why are there so few good Beach Boys/Brian Wilson covers?

Here's the only one I can think of top of my head -- Grant Lee Buffalo's heart-stoppingly beautiful grunge take on "In My Room," from the Friends soundtrack.





Damn -- I know there must be some others, but I'm absolutely drawing a blank.

16 comments:

Skip said...

petra haden - "god only knows"

Dave said...

I'd argue that the reason is that too many artists are intimidated, and for good reason. You aren't going to harmonize better than the Beach Boys. As brilliant as the Brian Wilson Band is, they can't outdo the vocal harmonies of the BBs.

Got to agree with Skip about Petra Haden. Here's a charming live version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XaPodrJJU8

The Queers get the BBs. Here's their power punk version of "Don't Back Down": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmzqTzEduAk

Just compare these covers, though, with some of the songs that Brian "gave away" but produced. It's hard to imagine a better version of "Guess I'm Dumb' than Glen Campbell's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5OXKRIyaxQ or American Spring's version of "Good Time" but then, the Beach Boys did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryg550esK48

MBowen said...

Kirsty MacColl did a lovely version of "You Still Believe In Me".

dave™© said...

Frank Black did a pretty good version of "Hang On to Your Ego" (aka "I Know There's an Answer") from "Pet Sounds"... and I seem to recall a compilation by a bunch of indie groups of songs from the "Smile" era a while back...

Mike said...

A few BB covers I love:

God Only Knows - Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet
Girl Don't Tell Me - The Smithereens
Little Honda - Yo La Tengo
Farmer's Daughter - Fleetwood Mac (srsly)

steve simels said...

There was some Brian tribute concert on tv a while back -- Kennedy Center Honors, maybe -- where Vince Gill did a quite lovely version of "Warmth of the Sun."

Don't know if he ever recorded it, tho....

Kid Charlemagne said...

I have a Beach Boys trib LP where the Records do an amazing version of "Darlin'". Email me if you want a copy.

steve simels said...

KC --

Now that you mention it, I've heard that Records cut and you're right, it's great.

Nickie said...

I love the Langley School Music Project's version of "God Only Knows" - so touching.

BrianC said...

I like the Dave Alvin (with the Calvanes) sort of singer/songwriter meets 50s doo-wop take on Surfer Girl.

Edward said...

Bryan Ferry's Don't Worry Baby is a hoot. Overshadowed by the truly fabulous It's My Party.

Of course, Jan & Dean did Wilson stuff, if not BB's

steve simels said...

Don't get me started on the Ferry version. That album is the work of Satan...
:-)

Edward said...

And Satna's a musical genius;>

When's the next bus to Oswego? said...

danny gatton did a fabulous slide guitar version of 'in my room'. it's on his '88 elmira st.' album.

When's the next bus to Oswego? said...

i second mike's nomination of yo la tengo's 'little honda' (currently playing)

Anonymous said...

http://www.amazon.com/Making-God-Smile-Artists-Tribute/dp/B000069RO6