Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two More Reasons to Like Dennis Wilson

Exhibit A, from 1964 -- Dennis expresses what we all, not so secretly, would like to say to Mike Love. (Note brother Brian's look of mock horror.)

And Exhibit B, from 1965 -- a rough alternate mix (stereo, without most of the later double-tracking on the vocal) of Dennis singing Brian's heartbreakingly gorgeous "In the Back of My Mind."

This was Dennis' first big solo on a Beach Boys album (the great Today), and it's one my favorite things ever.

Seriously, when people tell you the Beach Boys were whitebread and lacked soul, make 'em listen to this.

[h/t Steve Schwartz]


Dave said...

Of all the bizarre "conventional wisdom" about the Beach Boys, none is more misplaced than the notion that "Pet Sounds" arose out of nothing that preceded it in the BB canon. The second side of "Today," from Capitol's point-of-view, might have been filler to accompany the hits on side one, but from a fan's perspective, it is a treasure, very much in the mode and quality level of "Pet Sounds."

Kind of scary that "In the Back of My Mind" might only be the third or fourth best song on that side, isn't it?

Steve Simels said...

On the nosey, Dave.

I think of "Today" as the Beach Boys "Rubber Soul," an album to which it compares quite favorably in terms of every song being a gem.

And what I wouldn't give for a "Pet Sounds" quality stereo remix....

Billy B said...

Never understood the white bread tag. Any group that sang like these cats is anything but.

They weren't too shabby on the instruments also, especially Brian and Carl.

ssspune said...

Ah, thanks, haven't heard this in a long time. And though it's not about flipping one, I like "Little Bird," too.

dave™© said...

I LOVE "In the Back of My Mind" - and if "Today" is Brian's "Rubber Soul," the incredible single "Little Girl I Once Knew" is his "Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane".

dave™© said...

Dood, it's MONO - and SUPPOSED to be!!!

steve simels said...

I dunno -- there've been a bunch of stereo remixes of stuff from that period, and they sound really really good.

"When I Grow Up," for example...Also
"Let Him Run Wild."

Faze said...

I'm thrilled by the pro-"Today" sentiment I'm reading here. I've always maintained that "Today" is the album everybody claims "Pet Sounds" is, a masterpiece without the pretension, the dog barks and train whistles. Plus it rocks. The mystery is how a brilliant album like "Today" could be followed by a dog like "All Summer Long".

TMink said...

I have a dvd-audio of Pet Sounds. It has the mono mix in higher resoloution, a surround mix that is forced and not that great, and I bet a stereo mix. Let me search.


Dave said...


Not to be pedantic, but I think you are confusing "All Summer Long" with "Summer Day (and Summer Nights!)"

I won't argue that SD&SN is anywhere on the level of "Today," but it did contain one certifiable masterpiece, "Girl Don't Tell Me," along with "Let Him Run Wild," 'And Your Dreams Come True," and one of Brian's best instrumentals. But it did seem like a retreat after "Today."

Faze said...

'Scuse my error on the title. And you are absolutely right about the greatness of "Girl Don't Tell Me" and "Let Him Run Wild". I'm all mixed up.

Anonymous said...

to me, the guy on the left looks like Carl.

I like "Today" over "Pet Sounds" the same way I prefer "Revolver" over "Sgt. Pepper." I always go with the underdog.

Dave said...


No harm, no foul. It's easy for us to forget how singles-oriented most music consumers were even in the mid-1960s. My head knows the running order of the BB albums, but it's still hard to believe that Summer Nights was stuck in between Today and Pet Sounds.

"Today" was an unintentionally perfect title. My guess is 90% of purchasers were buying it for the hits on side one, but side two was the glimpse into where Brian's mind was. With the huge success of Help Me Rhonda and California Girls as singles, an album to cash in was a necessity. I wonder if the other tracks were recorded in relation to the non-singles on Today.