Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Beach Boys ... America's Band

In honor of The Fourth of July Weekend ... and Y103.9's BEACH BOYS Weekend ... we've decided to rerun a piece that we first did back in 2003, spotlighting what was AT THE TIME some GREAT, overlooked BEACH BOYS Music. Be sure to tune in to JIM SHEA's Morning Show on Thursday, July 3rd, to listen to us feature some of these tunes on the air. You can listen live here:
Click here: Y103.9 - The Greatest Hits of All Time - Listen Live to WWYW ...
and then KEEP listening all weekend long as Y103.9 salutes America's Band ... THE BEACH BOYS!


There probably hasn't been another band in rock and roll history that has fallen in and out of favor with the music-buying public more often than THE BEACH BOYS. The so-called "America's Band" may just as well be known as the "are we hot or are we not" band. Although they've never really stopped recording new music, by 1969 their California surfin' sound had grown passe in comparison to some of the harder rock and more meaningful lyrics by the singer / songwriters of the day. During their hey-day on top, however, they managed to hit the U.S. Top 40 thirty times with timeless classics like SURFIN' U.S.A., SURFER GIRL and SURFIN' SAFARI, car tunes like FUN FUN FUN, I GET AROUND, DON'T WORRY BABY and LITTLE DEUCE COUPE and California anthems like CALIFORNIA GIRLS and DO IT AGAIN, not to mention rock and roll standards like GOOD VIBRATIONS, HELP ME RHONDA and WOULDN'T IT BE NICE. Inexplicably, they became hot again in 1974 when Capitol Records released their ENDLESS SUMMER album, a compilation of earlier hits that actually topped the Billboard Album Chart. In fact, a year later they were back in The Top Ten on the Singles Chart as well, with their version of the CHUCK BERRY classic ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC, and playing to sold out crowds on tour with CHICAGO after collaborating on CHICAGO's hit WISHING YOU WERE HERE. Forays into disco (HERE COMES THE NIGHT, 1979) failed miserably yet another taste of nostalgia (THE BEACH BOYS MEDLEY, #8 in 1981) kept the magic alive. Their return to the #1 spot in 1988 with KOKOMO, a 22 year gap since they last topped the pop charts with GOOD VIBRATIONS, earned them a whole new fan base. In between (the "off again" times), they continued to record some GREAT music ... but no one was listening. As lifelong BEACH BOYS fans, FRANNIE and I have put together a week of "must-hear" BEACH BOYS songs that WE believe would have been hits had they been released during one of their "on again" periods ... or, at the very least, are essential listening to fully appreciate the depth of the band. And I don't just mean the obvious stuff like SAIL ON SAILOR, which probably gets played more TODAY than it did when it was first released (and bombed) as a single in 1973. (Upon its initial release, it peaked at #79 ... a re-release in '75 fared a little better, reaching #49 ... but today it's part of the classic rock rotation on many of the better stations.) Some of these you'll know ... some you may not ... and others may jar a memory or two. So give us a listen ... indulge us for a week of lost BEACH BOYS classics ... grab your surfboard and hit the high tide as we remember some of our favorites ... all week long in FORGOTTEN HITS.
After KOKOMO topped the charts in 1988 (it eventually spent six months on the charts), THE BEACH BOYS re-signed with CAPITOL RECORDS and a new LP was commissioned. (Well, ONE-THIRD of an LP anyway ... four new songs were recorded, their ridiculous pairing with THE FAT BOYS on the WIPE OUT remake was added and the rest of the album was filled out with what was advertised as BEACH BOYS "Movie Music" ... songs featured in films like GOOD MORNING VIETNAM (I GET AROUND), THE BIG CHILL (WOULDN'T IT BE NICE) and SOUL MAN (CALIFORNIA GIRLS) ... songs that were already 20+ years old from movies that were then about TEN years old! Another new single was released (STILL CRUISIN' ... very similar sounding in arrangement to KOKOMO, and featured in the MEL GIBSON film LEATAL WEAPON 2) and, despite constant rotation on VH-1 (including a HUGE sports car giveaway tie-in), it stopped at #93 on the charts. Too bad ... once again, THE BEACH BOYS were out of fashion. But the REAL shame is that their NEXT single, SOMEWHERE NEAR JAPAN, didn't get played at all ... and it's a pretty good song. We're kicking off this new special series with this track ... a song many of you may have never even heard before ... thus illustrating the very point of what we'll be doing here all week long!