Category: Beach Boys

Alan Jackson, Beach Boys, Neil Young chart with top 10 debuts

Alan Jackson's 'Thirty Miles West' album enters national sales chart at No. 2Adele, country singer Alan Jackson, the reunited Beach Boys and veteran rocker Neil Young all have noteworthy entries on the new Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.

In reclaiming the No. 1 spot after selling an additional 75,000 copies of her blockbuster "21" album, Adele has logged her 24th nonconsecutive week at the top, the most since Prince’s “Purple Rain” in 1984.  It will be a while, however, before she catches up to the next-longest run as the nation’s bestseller. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” stayed at the top for 37 weeks in 1983.

Meanwhile, Alan Jackson has proved that switching record companies after 20 years with the same label doesn’t have to slow a musician’s momentum: his new “Thirty Miles West,” the first for his Alan Country Records label, distributed by EMI Nashville, entered the chart at No. 2 with first-week sales of 73,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

That’s a smidge better than his final Arista album, “Freight Train,” did two years ago, selling 72,000 out of the gate for a No. 7 chart debut.

Right behind him are the Beach Boys and Young, both with their highest charting albums since the 1970s.

Coming in at No. 3 is the Beach Boys’ “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” the group’s first album of new music with creative leader Brian Wilson aboard in more than two decades. The new set sold 61,000 copies, giving the veteran Southern California band its highest chart debut ever and its best chart showing since the 1974 hits-compilation album “Endless Summer” went to No. 1, according to Billboard. The group is currently on a nationwide 50th anniversary reunion tour.

Another reunion -- this one between Young and his periodic collaborators in the band Crazy Horse -- has given him his highest charting album since “Harvest,” which went all the way to the top in 1972.  Young and Crazy Horse’s “Americana,” which digs into the treasure trove of traditional folk music with their versions of such songs as “Oh Susannah,” “Clementine” and Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” sold 44,000 copies and enters the Billboard chart at No. 4 this week.

In a recent interview with The Times, Young said the idea for the album was spurred by writing his first book, “Waging Heavy Peace,” which is scheduled for Oct. 1 publication.

“One of the things I remembered that I was writing about was that there was this musician Tim Rose, who was in a group [in Canada] called the Big Three, and after that he was in a group called the Thorns," he said. "I saw the Thorns in 1963 or ’64, and they were doing ‘Oh! Susanna.’ That arrangement blew my mind. That was Tim Rose’s arrangement of ‘Oh Susannah’ [used on ‘Americana’]. My band, the Squires, was playing folk-rock, which was kind of happening at that time. So I made a lot of songs that way in that time. That’s where we got to that.”

This week’s chart also includes two rap albums in the top 10: Big K.R.I.T.’s “Live From the Underground,” entering at No. 5 with sales of 41,000 copies, and Curren$y’s “The Stoned Immaculate,” bowing at No. 8 having sold 36,000 copies.

The final new top 10 entry is Brandi Carlile’s “Bear Creek,” at No. 10 with sales of 27,000.


Neil Young amps up his life

Album review: Alan Jackson's 'Thirty Miles West'

Album review: The Beach Boys' 'That's Why God Made the Radio'

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Alan Jackson performs in September at the Concert for Hope in Washington, D.C., marking the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. Credit: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press.

Album review: The Beach Boys' 'That's Why God Made the Radio'

One of the more difficult tasks for a critic is to assess an anticipated new work by a legendary act, one beloved by generations not only for its transcendent sounds but the ways in which it helped define an entire region at a key moment in its history.

To wit, the Beach Boys' “That's Why God Made the Radio,” the band's first new album in 16 years and one that celebrates the archetypal Southern California group's 50th anniversary. With 12 songs about life, love and the passage of time delivered through themes that the group has returned to repeatedly over the years — summer fun, perfect moments in the sun and co-founder Brian Wilson's odes to loneliness — the release is a Beach Boys album through and through. 

And though uneven, the group's 29th studio work (including 2011's “The Smile Sessions”) contains a number of elegant, shockingly beautiful moments that not only do justice to and expand on the sound of Southern California in the 1960s but serve as a bittersweet and at times heartbreakingly brilliant coda to five decades in music.

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Live: The Beach Boys at the Hollywood Bowl

  Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys opened their show Saturday night at the Hollywood Bowl with “Do It Again,” and if that slow-rolling single oozed nostalgia upon its release in 1968, you can imagine the note it strikes today.

A three-hour marathon of good reverberations, Saturday’s concert — part of a world tour that extends through late September — reunited Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys’ creative genius, with his two surviving original bandmates, Mike Love and Al Jardine; the L.A. group’s current lineup also includes a pair of longtime associates, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, as well as 10 backing musicians and video-screen representations of Wilson’s late brothers, Carl and Dennis.

All those voices were working to reproduce the astonishing harmonic complexity of the Beach Boys’ music, which throughout the 1960s did as much as the Beatles’ to expand the notion of what pop could be. At the Bowl, where Love thanked the capacity crowd for “coming to our hometown reunion,” songs such as “Surfer Girl” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” condensed worlds of emotion into a few melodic phrases.

But the voices also were combining in an effort to channel the wistful optimism of the days before drugs, mental illness and a series of internecine legal conflicts drove the Beach Boys apart. Prior to this trek — which comes accompanied by a new studio album, “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” due out Tuesday — the group hadn’t toured together for “more than two decades,” as a note on its website asserts. Out on the road at last, it’s using music to restart a once-endless summer.

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A Beach Boys homecoming at the Hollywood Bowl

The group’s trademark SoCal sound will be in full effect Saturday at the Hollywood Bowl. Here are a few points to ponder about Brian Wilson and the crew.

Original members of The Beach Boys, from left, Brian Wilson, David Marks and Mike Love, perform together during a concert at the Beacon Theater in New York. (AP Photo / Jason DeCrow)
Brian Wilson officially quit as a touring member of the Beach Boys in the mid-1960s and has only been on stage periodically with the band since. As for an album together? It’s been decades. But this week Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks stop at the Hollywood Bowl for a 50th anniversary tour which kicked off last month in Arizona. 

The Saturday night show — followed by the release of their new album together, “Why God Made the Radio,” on June 5 — is a homecoming of sorts for this quintessential SoCal band. In celebration of this landmark event, Pop & Hiss compiled a list of facts, stats and random bits of info associated with Beach Boys, Version 2012. 

Lies, damned lies and statistics:

For avid Beach Boys fans, no fact is too innocuous to share with the world, and thank God the Internet was invented for exactly this purpose. Helpful tidbits amid all the Beach Boys minutiae include lists of songs the group has performed since launching the anniversary tour.

Songs played at all 19 shows as of Friday include cornerstone hits from the Beach Boys songbook: “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls,” “I Get Around,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Help Me, Rhonda”; their last No. 1 hit, 1988’s “Kokomo”; and their newly written and recorded anniversary celebration single, “That’s Why God Made the Radio.” (Marketing lesson 101: Always plug the new stuff.)

Some surprises among the stats:

“All This Is That,” a relatively obscure song from the 1972 album “So Tough,” which was credited as Carl & the Passions, has been included nearly every night — as has “Don’t Back Down,” a song that never charted from 1964’s “All Summer Long” album. “This Whole World,” from 1971’s “Sunflower,” has turned up 10 times, according to the obsessive documentarians at

The group’s Top 10 hit that has surfaced least frequently? “Dance, Dance, Dance,” which has been played, played, played just five times so far.
New thoughts on old songs:

In Mark Dillon’s new book “Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys,” the Canadian author interviewed — yep — 50 different sources about their favorite songs from the group’s career. 

What is Alice Cooper’s favorite number, you ask? In the book, they quote him discussing “In My Room”: “I was 15, I was the perfect age for that. Your room is your sanctuary. It’s your Batcave. It’s the only thing you own, so there’s a certain holiness to it. ‘Mom, Dad — don’t come in my room. It’s off limits.’”

As for the ubiquitous Zooey Deschanel? She cites “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” from the watershed 1966 album “Pet Sounds” album. “Talk about blowing my mind. I can listen to the song over and over again.” She’s also a big fan of the separate vocal and instrumental tracks that became available with the 1997 “Pet Sounds” box set: “Listening to just the vocals is really exciting. It still sounds fresh. It always makes me happy.”

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Live: The Beach Boys kick off 50th anniversary tour in Tucson

Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, with impressive backing musicians, bring a SoCal sound to Casino del Sol.


TUCSON -- Let's not make too much of the fact that the Beach Boys kicked off their 50th anniversary tour on casino grounds, nowhere near the beach, on a day that hit 105, with gusts of dry wind blowing in from the surrounding Arizona desert -- not a wave, T-bird or little surfer girl in sight.

After all, the band, touring for the first time in decades with co-founders Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, as well as longtime voice Bruce Johnston and early member David Marks, transcended the literal summer ages ago in service of the metaphorical kind, one that celebrated Southern California life and put sound to a cultural vibe.

This is one reason why at Casino del Sol on the Yaqui reservation, the band, augmented by a dozen instrumentalists and vocalists, was able to convincingly sing about summertime joys, fears and frustrations even though most of the remaining Boys have been doing this for four decades and are themselves approaching proverbial wintertime.

The first of a five-month, 56-show tour that would challenge a band half its age, the Beach Boys will travel the arenas, festivals and outdoor amphitheaters of America (and, later in the year, Europe and Asia) offering a version of this concert.

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Beach Boys to headline Hollywood Bowl

Beach Boys to headline Hollywood Bowl

The first Beach Boys live dates in years to feature core founding members Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine will include a headlining performance at the Hollywood Bowl. Tickets for the June 2 concert at the legendary venue will go on sale Feb. 26. 

The Beach Boys have reunited in celebration of the band's 50th anniversary. The tour will also include longtime members Bruce Johnston and David Marks. The latter was on the band's debut album, "Surfin' Safari." Tickets will range in price from $40.50 to $170.60, a total that includes additional fees. Starting Friday, there will be a pre-sale for those who hold American Express cards. 

Two members of the band's original lineup -- drummer Dennis Wilson and singer-guitarist Carl Wilson -- died in 1983 and 1998, respectively. Johnston joined the band in 1965 after Brian Wilson opted out of touring to focus on overseeing the group's recordings.

The surviving members of the Beach Boys reunited at this year's Grammy Awards, performing "Good Vibrations" with Maroon 5 and Foster the People. The band is also working on a new album, and the Hollywood Bowl date is one of more than 40 spring and summer performances. The 50th anniversary tour will launch from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on April 27.

VIP packages will also be available for many of the band's non-festival tour dates.  


Official version of Beach Boys' 'Smile' is released

Van Dyke Parks discusses 'Arrangements,' Skrillex collaboration

Grammys 2012: More Beach Boys, less Maroon 5, Foster the People

-- Todd Martens

Image: The Beach Boys perform at the Grammy Awards. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Beach Boys with Glen Campbell at Grammys--wouldn't it be nice?

Beach Boys with Glen Campbell at Grammys--wouldn't it be nice?The Grammy Awards telecast prides itself on creating unexpected or historic collaborations among performers, a tradition that’s led to some of the most memorable moments in Grammy night history (Eminem and Elton John singing “Stan” in 2001) and some we’re happy to forget (Paul McCartney, Jay-Z and Linkin Park on “Yesterday/Numb/Encore” in 2006).

This year’s show continues that practice with the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary reunion performance, during which the venerable sun and surf outfit will team up with the relative whippersnappers in Foster the People and Maroon 5.

Elsewhere on the show, country-pop singer and guitarist Glen Campbell will be joined by the Band Perry and Blake Shelton for a segment celebrating the Lifetime Achievement Award being given to Campbell, who has seen an outpouring of affection and support from fans since he announced last year that he is living with Alzheimer’s disease and has embarked on a series of live shows that is being billed as his farewell tour.

PHOTOS: Grammy Awards: 10 burning questions

Given the players involved, it’s hard not to yearn for a spot that would put Campbell together with the Beach Boys one more, and one last time.

Longtime Beach Boys and Campbell watchers know that Campbell played on many of the group’s studio recordings and actually became a Beach Boy for a time, taking over on bass for Brian Wilson when he decided to abandon touring to focus on his increasingly sophisticated ideas about the group’s records, which he produced and arranged as well as wrote or co-wrote and sang on.

Wilson has been making a steady comeback for more than a decade from a couple of nervous breakdowns, drug abuse and other issues that interrupted his once-brilliant career, and now Campbell is gracefully—and bravely—closing out a career that’s had many ups and a few downs.

Bringing these two battle-scarred, ‘60s survivors together would be more than sweet nostalgia. It could yield a powerful testimonial to perseverance against extraordinary odds, the kind of once-in-a-lifetime musical moment millions of viewers would be able to cherish.

How moving would it be to see Wilson and Campbell, with a lot of help from Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, harmonize on the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” or maybe Campbell’s 1969 hit “Try a Little Kindness”—and let Campbell flex those still nimble fingers on an electric guitar solo, as he did so confidently Monday night at the Grammy Museum?

The odds are against it—with so many moving parts, it’s unlikely Grammy show coordinators would be able to toss another variable into the mix.

But, as someone once sang, wouldn’t it be nice?


Fading with grace

He can't suppress a 'Smile'

Official version of Beach Boys' 'Smile' is released

--Randy Lewis

Photo of Carl Wilson, left, and Glen Campbell on tour with the Beach Boys in 1964. Credit: Unknown.

Grammys 2012: Beach Boys reunite for rehearsal

Grammys 2012: Beach Boys reunite for rehearsal
After hearing "Good Vibrations" for the third time Thursday, Grammy Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich finally let himself smile. "That was pretty great, right? I think that was pretty great." Up on stage, five members of the Beach Boys -- Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine and David Marks -- were stepping away from their instruments and microphones and there were sunny expressions all around, which is a big deal when you're talking about the Beach Boys.
Nothing comes easy with the Beach Boys, a group that only specialized in harmony when they were actually singing. Like so many signature Los Angeles groups -- the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Van Halen, the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- the history of the Beach Boys is defined by dysfunction and discord between the seasons of platinum. But Wilson said Thursday that none of that matters now, especially since the Grammy appearance is the kickoff to larger reunion this year for the group's 50th anniversary.
"I'm very excited," Wilson said. "We just had to make our minds up to do it. It's a thrill, I like being with the guys. I didn't see them for a long, long time and then I've been seeing them recently because we're getting ready for our tour. The music is going very well. We really put a lot into our music."

PHOTOS: Grammy Awards 2012 rehearsals
Johnston, sitting down to lunch before Thursday's rehearsal, said that he's been surfing this late-career surprise but he knows at some point, when audiences are paying for tickets, the group will have to live up to their own legend. 
"I never hoped for [a reunion] because I never thought any of us wanted to do it," the 69-year-old said. "So it's kind of cool, I'm looking forward to it. We have probably, you know, the presidential honeymoon of six months but then we have to show something to keep it going. The challenge is going to be the set list [for the tour shows] and choosing the songs that reflect our sort of simplicity and our more complex stuff. We have to make sure we have a great flowing song list but also make sure we don't sound like a greatest hits band. We have a lot to balance."
For the Grammys, Erhlich was trying to find that balance by coming up with a sequence that meshed the past and the present. That's why Maroon 5 will perform "Surfer Girl" and then hand off to newcomers Foster the People for "Wouldn't It Be Nice" before the Beach Boys step to center stage for "Good Vibrations." For the younger artists, there was a giddy excitement to the cross-generational exercise even in the rehearsals.
"It's a total dream come true, it's one of my all-time favorites," Maroon 5 lead signer Adam Levine said after snapping photos with the elder musicians. For Erhlich, the three acts were linked by harmonies, falsettos, layered approaches to music and their Southern California heritage. That made the sequence easy on paper, at least.


"It was hard to get it done," Erhlich said. "We started talking to the Beach Boys months ago. We were hoping to announce it at the nominations show [in November], but there were a couple of hitches and we weren't able to do it. Things were resolved on both sides and we worked it out. We wanted to do this from the beginning. If feels right when you see it and I think it's going to be worth all the work."


Grammys 2012: A record of the year word cloud

Grammys 2012 notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

Surviving Beach Boys will reunite for Grammy Awards performance

--Geoff Boucher

Photo: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs a sound check before his group's rehearsal with the Beach Boys. Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.

Surviving Beach Boys will reunite for Grammy Awards performance

The Beach Boys will reunite for 2012 Grammy Awards show
The surviving members of the Beach Boys will reunite for their first public performance in more than two decades Sunday at the 54th Grammy Awards ceremony at Staples Center.

Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, who previously announced plans for a 2012 reunion tour to mark the Southern California group’s 50th anniversary, are slated to be joined by nominees Foster the People and Maroon 5 during the performance segment.

The Beach Boys have never won a Grammy, although Wilson picked up the rock instrumenal award in 2004 for the track “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” from “Brian Wilson Presents Smile,” his latter-day completion of the Beach Boys project that was shelved in 1967.

Grammy show producers had hoped to trumpet the Beach Boys’ performance in November when nominations were announced, but details had not been finalized at that point.

Two members of the band's original lineup -- drummer Dennis Wilson and singer-guitarist Carl Wilson -- died in 1983 and 1998, respectively. Johnston joined the band in 1965 after Brian Wilson opted out of touring to focus on overseeing the group's recordings.

Before Johnston came on board, Wilson had been replaced briefly on tour by a recording session guitarist who had worked on some of their recordings: Glen Campbell, who will appear Sunday to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy. Campbell is scheduled for his own performance with nominated country acts Blake Shelton and the Band Perry.

Other performers who have been added to Sunday’s show include the alt-country duo Civil Wars, jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall, funk musician Maceo Parker and rock singer-guitarist Joe Walsh. Previously announced performers include Adele, Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Tony Bennett, Bruce Spingsteen & the E Street Band, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift.

The show will air from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS-TV.


Grammys: Is a Beach Boys reunion in the works?

Official version of Beach Boys' 'Smile' is released

The Beach Boys announce 50th anniversary reunion

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of the Beach Boys in 1963, from left: Dennis Wilson, David Marks, Carl Wilson, Mike Love and Brian Wilson. Credit: Pendleton Woolen Mills 1963.

She & Him's holiday nod to the Beach Boys

She & Him She & Him

This is the 15th year I’ve sorted through the annual deluge of holiday releases to assemble The Times' roundup of the new and most noteworthy additions to the ever-expanding universe of yuletide music. Among the most refreshing to my ears is “A Very She & Him Christmas,” the duo with singer-actress Zooey Deschanel and guitarist-singer-songwriter M. Ward.

Their new album is sweetly down to earth, sounding as if they recorded it in someone’s living room or basement, and the tracks are primarily seasonal classics, including “Sleigh Ride,” “Silver Bells,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Blue Christmas” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

One act that’s represented more than once is the Beach Boys, from which Deschanel and Ward drew “Little Saint Nick” and the less-frequently covered “Christmas Day,” both from “The Beach Boys Christmas Album” originally released in 1964.

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