Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Great American Work of Art Has Just Turned 50

Specifically, The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's first album masterpiece; The Beach Boys Today.

Originally released on March 8, 1965.

I've nattered on about this album -- the band's Rubber Soul, IMHO -- on numerous prior occasions in the several centuries I've been posting at this here blog, so I won't bore you with any lengthy exegesis at this juncture.

That said, however, those that know me best are aware that finding true stereo versions of the songs from Today -- the official release of which has always been in mono, for well known reasons -- has been something of a Holy Grail for me. And that a few years ago, after haunting various illegal download sites, I was able to actually construct a complete true stereo edition. (Some of the tracks were from official Beach Boys compilations; others were from early or not quite finished mix versions leaked online for hardcore fans. And no, I didn't bother to find a stereo version of "Bull Session With the Big Daddy." I may be obsessive, but I'm not nuts).

In any case, because I love you all more than food, here are genuine stereo versions of two of the most exquisite (if not the most celebrated) songs on the album, both of which provide ample proof of Brian's early songwriting prowess and studio mastery.

"Kiss Me Baby."

"Please Let Me Wonder."

Words, as I am often wont to say, fail me about the sheer gorgeousness of those two. Suffice it to add that anybody who listens to them and doesn't grok that Brian is my generation's Gershwin really needs to have it looked at.


Anna said...

OK, I took issue with your praise of Brian's new single a week ago, with the "my generation's Gershwin" used there as well.

When talking about "Today" (50 years old! Oy!) however, I'm in total agreement. I came to it late, but fell deeply in love with it. The songs on that album are the work of a master songwriter/arranger every bit Gershwin's equal.

steve simels said...

It's really a magical record.

Ken J Xenozar said...

Great stuff. Not very Irish though...

FD13NYC said...

Super fan that I am, I'm in full agreement. a terrific album. And the two songs here are some of Brian's best. Then came Pet Sounds, wow!

pete said...

I usually say he's our Mozart, because in both composers, at their best, the works' surface perfection plays off their inner emotional truth.

Anonymous said...

Capitol finally issued a mono/stereo combo in October of 2012. I think it's all true stereo except for Bull Session with Big Daddy.

I bought all the early records in mono back then. That Duophonic stuff was totally bogue and bunk. It sounded like sheeet, mon.

My quibble with the album, other than Big Daddy, is that I prefer the 45 version of Rhonda. But it hadn't yet been recorded at the time of it's release. The guys re-recorded it when the Rhonda LP track started getting AM airplay around here.

Having Beach Boys albums was de rigueur in Southern California. This was the time of endless partisan and unresolved quibbles in schoolyards as to whether the K-F-W-Beach Boys or the K-F-W-Beatles were the best band ever. What a waste of time! They both ruled!

But the Stones owned my black heart of innocence. I mean, "Play With Fire" had just come out and the band up the street already knew it and the A-Side. Nevertheless, I was still deeply in love with Beatles '65 and the "Eight Days a Week" single, not to mention the flip side of "Do You Wanna Dance", when I bought the new Beach Boys album.

I bought my copy of "Today" at Harris' department store in Berdoo when my mom took me out shopping for new bras and bikinis. My boobs were blossoming like crazy around then. My mom and I became very close during that special time and stayed so ever since I entered womanhood.

The first time I played the album was through a band's P.A. There was this exotic long-haired Junior High guy that lived up the street from my friend Sandy's place. He had a band named Taro and they practiced in the rec room that his parents had built in their back yard by the pool. His dad was a shrink so they were pretty well off. His mom was a gorgeous brunette. The parents were extremely cool. Probably wife-swapping swingers, not unlike our parents.

Sandy and me went to this guy's place with our towels, tanning lotion and the new Beach Boy album. Even though we were only fifth graders he tolerated us because we dug music, his band, and, we had pretty nice "teenage titties" already.

For our part, we found him most attractive. He wore tight white denims nearly all the time. This was a California thing during that era. He was one of the few guys I knew back then who didn't wear underwear. Well, ... I couldn't help but notice the quality merchandise. And Bobby played lead guitar too! Can you say wannabe groupies?

I can't tell you how great that album sounded coming through his band's Altec Voice of the Theater speakers as we lounged by the pool. Brian had set it up with a Rock Side and a Dreamy Side, like the Oldies But Goodies records. Up to that point, this was by far the best Beach Boy album. And I close danced with Bobby during side two. We kissed real good and our warm blood rushed into each other's during "I'm So Young".

Mmmmmmm..... purrrrr..... he was the first guy to grab both my buns and tenderly pull me into him. It was perfect.

Vickie Rock - But I still liked "The Rolling Stones, Now!" better. Two totally different and wonderful experiences, really. Apples and Oranges. Such times.

Anonymous said...

Brian took control of that wrecking crew; and made musical history.