Friday, November 29, 2013

40 Year Itch: Happy Times Together


   In November of 1973, The Beach Boys released a critically acclaimed double live album that would  thrust them back into the Top 40. It comes at an interesting point in their career. Although they're still making great music ( Holland had come out earlier that year), the fans were pushing to hear the old favorites. Eventually the fans would win out . The next five charting albums were all greatest hits compilations ( Endless Summer would hit #1 in 1974; Spirit of America #8 in 1975) or live albums.

    Of the twenty songs on Beach Boys In Concert, twelve are from albums dating back to 1967 or earlier. ( Check out the stripped down Pet Sounds tracks like "Caroline No" and the Wild Honey nugget "Let the Wind Blow") The album went Gold and The Boys saw increasing ticket demand for the concerts. Rolling Stone Magazine called the Beach Boys its "Band of the Year" for 1974.

Beach Boys In Concert is the last album to feature Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin. That's Blondie singing the lead off track, "Sail On Sailor", the last Beach Boys tune FM radio could play with confidence. This is the only place you'll hear "We Got Love", the tune that got tossed off Holland to make room for "Sail On, Sailor" .The entire live album has the relaxed vibe of a band at its peak. The Beach Boys probably never sounded this good before, and never would sound this good again. But they'd be playing those golden oldies for the next 40 years.

Of course Brian is a no-show. The surprise is Dennis Wilson never gets a featured vocalist spot . Maybe that's why he's the only member on the cover.  And , no, he's not peeing on the audience; he's just suggestively holding a microphone.

1 comment:

  1. These performances by Beach Boys is great. It really is the best they have sounded in their career.