I’ve now hit a spot in the third Beach Boys book which I’ve known for years was coming, but which I still am not sure how to deal with, so I’d like people’s opinions.
In the ten-year period after Summer In Paradise, there were quite a few albums released by the Beach Boys or their members. Three of them — Beckley/Lamm/Wilson, Orange Crate Art, and The Wilsons — are outside projects, primarily led by people other than Beach Boys, and so not in the scope of the book.
One — Imagination — is a Brian Wilson solo album of new songs, so easy to deal with.
But then there’s the other stuff. The two rarities collections, Hawthorne, Ca and Endless Harmony can be dealt with in full. The Pet Sounds Sessions box set will get a thousand or two words, though it’s got no previously unreleased songs. The Good Vibrations box set will have all its unreleased material discussed, but not the previously released stuff. That’s OK.
But then there’s I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times, and Stars & Stripes vol 1. And Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks of the Beach Boys Salute NASCAR and Union 76 Gasoline. And Symphonic Sounds: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Play The Music Of The Beach Boys. And Brian Wilson Live at the Roxy. And Al Jardine, Family & Friends, Live In Las Vegas. And Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds Live In London.
That’s seven CDs, ranging from the very good to the utterly terrible (you can probably guess which is which just from the titles). And the number of songs (as opposed to recordings) on them that haven’t been released on earlier CDs (and thus covered in earlier volumes) is six — the Brian Wilson songs “The First Time” and “This Isn’t Love”, Al Jardine’s “California Energy Blues”, Brian’s cover versions of “Be My Baby” and Brian Wilson”, and Mike Love’s cover version of “Little GTO”.
So my normal song-by-song analysis won’t really work for this huge patch of the band’s career.
What do people think — should I try to cover the albums in individual essays but not do the song-by-song thing, should I do one big compare-and-contrast post on all of them (even though some come before, and others after, Carl Wilson’s death and the band splitting, thus making the historical story a mess), or something else?
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