THE SURFER MOON: From the third Beach Boys album, 1963's Surfer Girl, this
track features the first orchestral arrangement used by Brian. Once again,
the surfing analogy hides something much deeper, the seemingly irrational
forces that make us fall hopelessly in love. A supremely romantic track.
THE BALLAD OF OLE' BETSY: The Beach Boy's fourth album, Little Deuce Coupe, was primarily a concept album dedicated to cars. This tribute to an aging vehicle fits into the scheme and must be the most moving song ever written about an inanimate object, yet you also feel a deeper devotion to something/someone that has meant a lot to you that you are about to lose.
PAMELA JEAN: The Survivors was a group consisting of Brian Wilson and some friends, and allowed him to experiment outside the confines of the Beach Boys. This was the A-side of the Survivirs single and although it was sunk by the sudden invasion of the Beatles in early 1964, it is a brilliant example of Brian's production vision. The song is actually a remake of Car Crazy Cutie, a song from the Little Deuce Coupe album.
KEEP AN EYE ON SUMMER: 1964's Shut Down 2 album was headlined by the massive hit Fun Fun Fun and the two classic ballads, Don't Worry Baby and The Warmth Of The Sun., but this was a hidden treasure as once again summer is used as a metaphor for the hope of a future romantic dream.
HUSHABYE: From 1964's classic All Summer Long album, this sees Brian take a 50s doo-wop tune and make it into his own romantic classic.
WE'LL RUN AWAY: Also from All Summer Long, this is an extraordinarily powerful song which contrasts youthful romantic dreams with the generation gap. The parents don't understand even though they've been there before.
WENDY: "I never knew a guy could cry" is the keynote of this deceptively simple lament of lost love, also from All Summer Long, as the Beach Boys show that behind the surf and car facade they are prepared to tackle the deepest hurts and fears of people.
I'M SO YOUNG: From 1965's Today album, Brian again makes a 50s doo-wop song his own and fits it into the general theme of romantic dreams versus reality.
IN THE BACK OF MY MIND: The Today album consisted of five ballads on Side 2, unprecedented for a mainstream rock-and-roll group. Three of them were on my first compilation, and then there was I'm So Young and this extraordinary song, as Brian contrasts an apparently ideal romantic life with his nagging insecurities, and comes up with a musical arrangement like no other.
SHERRY SHE NEEDS ME: 1965 was a prime year for Brian as a composer, so much so that this classic pop tune was not released then. In fact the vocal was only added about 1976, but this remains one of the greatest Beach Boys songs never officially released.
THAT'S NOT ME: From the classic Beach Boys album, 1966's Pet Sounds comes this catchy tune about personal growth and assessing one's priorities in life. Brian and his lyricist conclude that 'what matters to me is what I can be to just one girl."
I'M WAITING FOR THE DAY: A startling production from Pet Sounds with many changes of pace and a fantastic range of instruments including oboe backs another tune accepting the need to wait for true love. There is a warmth and a feeling here like no other music.
I JUST WASN'T MADE FOR THESE TIMES: The ghostly sound you here is a theremin, used here for the first time on a pop record. This is very autobiographical song of Brian's and many people who have felt rejected by the world, or betrayed by others can identify with it's simple but penetrating message. From Pet Sounds
PET SOUNDS: The title track of the classic album is a moody instrumental, featuring a production that was way ahead of it's time. There does seem to be an ominous foreboding to this music, coming just before the loss that is Caroline No.
OUR PRAYER: Possibly what would have been the opening to the legendary lost Smile album, this is a wordless invocation that evokes all the spiritual feeling of any other religious music.
HEROES AND VILLIANS: Possibly the central track of the Smile album and this version may have appeared on the album. With a vocal arrangement like no other, the track shows the duality and contrast of much of Smile...good and bad, heroes and villians.
CHILD IS THE FATHER OF THE MAN: This piece of Smile music has never officially been released but shows the ability of Brian to make sounds and create feeling like no other.
WITH ME TONIGHT: After Smile was abandoned, an album called Smiley Smile was quickly constructed, ,mainly consisting of re-recorded fragments of Smile, but often very under-produced. This simple but lovely refrain is typical of what Smiley Smile was like, and typifies that albums "do-it yourself doo-wop acid-casaulty music."
AREN'T YOU GLAD: Despite the difficulties of 1967 including the abandonment of Smile, Brian was still able to record another album, Wild Honey, of joyous rhythym-and-blues, hearkening back to simpler days. This happy love song is one of the highlights of the album with it's soaring trumpet and solid melody that captures the joys of love.
WAKE THE WORLD: 1968's album "Friends" was a tranquil look at the joys of
life like the simple song celebrating the passing of day and night.
PASSING BY: Another cut from "Friends", this is a wordless mood piece, Brian again creating romantic magic without lyrics.
THE NEAREST FARAWAY PLACE: From 1969's 20/20, Bruce Johnston, who replaced Brian in the touring Beach Boys from 1965, showed that he could create magical musical moods almost as well as the Beach Boys' creative genius.
I WENT TO SLEEP: This is Brian's "I'm Only Sleeping", a lush fragment capturing those dreamy moments drifting off to sleep from a man gradually retreating from the world.
LADY LOVE: A tender little tune co-written by Brian and performed by Dino, Desi and Billy, Billy being Carl Wilson's brother-in-law.
DIERDRE: From 1970's highly-rated album Sunflower, this is the only colloboration between Brian and Bruce and shows the strength of Sunflower, making joyous pop music.
OUR SWEET LOVE: Sunflower was a generally optimistic, and at times romantic, album and both of these qualities come through in this "sweet" song.
LONG PROMISED ROAD: The 1971 albums Surf's Up was also generally higly rated by critics and saw the Beach Boys attempt to become more relevant. Written by Carl Wilson and the groups' then mangager Jack Reilly, this song addresses personal rather than political struggles and comes out inspiring rather than patronising, with some great guitaring to boot.
DISNEY GIRLS: Bruce Johnston had a knack with a great pop tune and the fact that this one was covered by the likes of Art Garfunkel bears testimony to his skill. An intriguing lyric balancing dreams with reality makes this a great peice of music. Also from Surf's Up.
CUDDLE UP: Dennis Wilson lived a pretty wild life but he had a tender and romantic soul that made some of his work extremely affecting and worthy of investigation. This was co-written with Darryl Dragon, later of Captain and Tennille and is a moving and emotional piece of music. From the 1972 album Carl and the Passions.
SAIL ON SAILOR: Bruce Johnston left the Beach Boys in 1971 and was replaced by two South Africans, Rikki Fataar and Blondie Chaplin, who have the group a soulful edge on their next two studio albums and 73 live album. The 1973 album Holland was recorded in that country but was rejected by Warners who were looking for a strong single. Brian, in a pretty bad way at this time, was virtually forced to write this song but his magic way with melody still shines through, with Blondie providing a powerful lead vocal.
ONLY WITH YOU: Dennis had the romantic soul, Carl the romantic voice and these two combined make this Holland track another Dennis Wilson composed winner.
THE NIGHT WAS SO YOUNG: After three unproductive years, Brian returned to producing and writing for the Beach Boys in 1976. The following year the Beach Boys released Love You!, an eccentric album which was almost entirely written by Brian. The album had a fun edge but also a sense of loneliness and a need for human companionship, perfectly highlighted on this, one of the album's standouts.
THOUGHTS OF YOU: Dennis's only released solo album was 1977's Pacific Ocean Blue and it showcased Dennis as a talented and soulful songwriter who could capture a romantic feelin perfectly as on here. You can just about hear the vast Pacific Ocean behind this track as a reservoir for all the feeling creted here.
MY DIANE: The Beach Boys' 1978 release, the MIU Album, is not universally loved by all Beach Boys' fans, but few could criticise Brian's aching lament to lost love coming at the tailend of his marriage. Dennis's soulful voice is again showcased.
AND YOUR DREAM COMES TRUE: We go back to 1965 and the album Summer Days (And Summer Nights) to close this complilation with a short a-capella lullaby to summer and again a hearkening to the romantic paradise at the core of much of the Beach Boys' softer side.