We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I was in 7th grade at the time. I didn't understand about such things as "arrangements" of music. There were styles, which one liked well or didn't, and were done well or weren't. That was all. I medium-liked the Beach Boys, because I very much liked harmony, but I disliked vapidness in lyrics. Other kids may have envied a surfer, SoCal culture they couldn't have, but I just disliked it. I guess I was defensively a NewEnglander even then.
But "Good Vibrations" changed that forever. The harmony was so marvelous that I started to listen closely to the arrangements, learned what Wall of Sound was, and forgave the Beach Boys every "Barbara Ann" and "Little Deuce Coupe" lyric.
Yogi Berra once said "You can see a lot just by looking." Similarly, with Brian Wilson "You can hear a lot just by listening."
Assistant VIllage Idiot
Like AVI, I was an adolescent New Englander who didn't fall in love with the Southern California surfer culture the Beach Boys sang about, though my having cousins in LA probably made me more neutral than AVI. We saw ourselves in NE as being more serious than the HAVE FUN culture of the Beach Boys. It wasn't being defensive, it was that we thought we had more on our mind than just HAVING FUN. Such as the Young Citizens for Equal Voting Rights group that was generated at our school around the time of the Selma marches- no teacher input whatsoever. A friend of my sister pilloried them in the student paper as the "We don't have anything to do on Friday afternoon so let's do it" group. THAT didn't go over very well with the YCEVR crowd. Not well at all.
In retrospect, having fun has its merits.
When I first met my cousins in LA when I hitched out to California when I was 18, I saw that to a big degree they reflected the HAVE FUN culture that the Beach Boys sang about. Though neither of my cousins did much surfing. OTOH, one of my cousin's husbands still surfs- and he is pushing 60.
Oh, the Beach Boys harmonies. Divine. Nowadays, even though my adolescence concurred with the British Invasion and with psychedelic music, I am now more attracted to the vocal harmonies of previous groups, mostly Doo Wop. In addition to Beach Boy harmonies.
Also to the credit of the Beach Boys was that they did a calypso song, something outside the rock genre. I found a version of Sloop John B done by Dwight Yoakum, a version which also has its merits.
Wow - talk about a wildly unappreciated vocal talent - he's the penultimate country/western (yeah, I know - I still think of it as country/western rather than country) talent - guy has a set of pipes and that nasal twang that is perfect for the genre.
Never understood how such a prolific talent (21 albums, 30 singles on Billboard, 25 million records sold, five #1, 12 Gold, and 9 Platinum Albums) could be so under recognized. Try it sometime - ask somebody who Dwight Yoakum is. :>)
He's at his best when doing covers. He's also at his best when he's singing duets - everybody from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to Sheryl Crow - there's something about his voice that just adds rather than detracts.
One of my favorite Yoakum covers is Kinky Friedman's "Rapid City, South Dakota". He takes that song to places Kinky never even thought of. Amazing talent.
They were ahead of their time with female empowerment - look at "Fun, Fun, Fun" - "the girls can't stand her
Cause she walks looks and drives like an ace now" or "She makes the indy 500 look like a roman chariot race now" or "A lotta guys try to catch her But she leads them on a wild goose chase now". I would posit that this one song ignited the whole feminism movement!!
You (all) make me recall parts of my youth – born and raised on the shores of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.
I recall hearing the Beach Boys in the early 60’s. How different and amazing I found Brian Wilson’s words, and the boy’s harmonies! Heck, I may have even paid attention to Geography in school (for the first time) just to find out where California was, and ponder why that coast was so different from where I lived and what I experienced.
I wouldn’t wish Brian’s travails on anyone, and I am sorry for his suffering. Yet, I still enjoy his compositions – fun, sun, girls, and American life so much.
Honors for him like: R ‘n’ R Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Kennedy Center Honors for a lifetime of contributions to American Culture, and the UCLA George and Ira Gershwin Award give some indication of what he is to us.
Thanks for the post.