Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Beatles vs. The Beach Boys

Back in 'the day', I wasn't too keen on The Beach Boys. Compared to The Beatles, they seemed dorky. I didn't hate them. But I didn't buy their records. Even 'Good Vibrations'.

Then, over the years, I would hear the famous story of how 'Rubber Soul begot Pet Sounds begot Sgt. Pepper'. And Paul McCartney would always mention Pet Sounds as being a great album and 'God Only Knows' was 'the greatest love song ever'.

And I once read, I don't remember where, that The Beatles thought of The Beach Boys as 'peers' because they existed before them. Whereas they considered The Rolling Stones and The Who and the other British Invasion groups as riding their coattails.

I eventually got Pet Sounds and started to listen to friends about how great the Beach Boys were. I got converted and became fascinated with their music and their story. There is a aura of mystery about them. The whole Brian Wilson thing and how he wrote and produced but stayed behind the scenes. It's as if John Lennon stopped appearing with The Beatles, but still wrote songs and sang on their records.

Their use of studio musicians is odd. Bass players, drummers...positions that bands don't normally fill with other players. And unlike The Beatles, where I can always tell who's singing, I still have a hard time differentiating who sings what. I can recognize Mike Love, but that's about it.

I'm currently really digging some of their later albums. Friends, 20/20, Sunflower...and what is perhaps one of the strangest, 'love it or hate it' albums ever, The Beach Boys Love You.

I only really 'discovered' The Beach Boys about 20 some years ago. And I'm so glad I did. The amount of material and the crazy soap opera story of the band is endless fun fun fun.


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