December 2, 2006

al It’s great to hear that former Beach Boy Al Jardine has joined former BB producer and creative leader Brian Wilson on the latter’s “Pet Sounds” fall tour, and, from the sounds of it, his “Brian Wilson Band” for certain future tours and engagements.

This is wonderful news for Beach Boys fans who, wishing to see and hear any kind of “combined creativity” involving the surviving members of the group, have had to settle for the so-called “Beach Boys Band” fronted by former members Mike Love and Bruce Johnston currently touring around the country – which, to be frank, is nothing more than a creatively-spent and pathetic money-grabbing rolling “greatest hits” package masquerading itself as a legitimate concert event. Hurts me to say it, but that’s the unvarnished truth.

(Ed. note: While “The Beach Boys” as a group has never been formally “dissolved” – in fact, the surviving members recently reunited, albeit briefly, atop the Capitol Records tower this past summer to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their landmark “Pet Sounds” album and the recent double-platinum certification of their 2003 “Sounds of Summer” compilation – it is generally conceded that the group ended as a creative, united entity upon the death of guitarist and vocalist Carl Wilson back in 1998.)

Jardine was one of the founding members of the group, having been an acquaintance of Brian’s while the two attended Hawthorne (CA) high school; the story goes, it was his mom who sprung for the cost of renting an upright acoustic bass for the group’s initial “formal” practices in the Wilson brothers’ family room while their parents were away on a weekend trip. After the group’s initial success, he went away to Ohio to attend dental school, but Brian thought enough about the sonic quality of his voice to call him back into the band in 1962 after the Wilson’s neighbor (and Jardine’s replacement) David Marks was fired from the band.

I’ve always been a big fan of Alan Jardine and the critical role his voice played in the Beach Boys harmonic vocal mix. Back in their hit-making heyday, Al’s voice usually sat between Brian’s magnificent falsetto and (drummer) Dennis Wilson‘s husky tenor. Some of the finest examples of their classic harmonic sound with Al’s voice present are “Fun, Fun Fun”, “Don’t Worry, Baby”, “California Girls”, and “Sloop John B”. If you’re looking for a clearer example of Al’s fine voice, his best-known lead vocal was undoubtedly “Help Me, Phonda”, and less so, on “Then I Kissed Her”. He was also responsible for suggesting Brian cut the Beach Boys’ hit version of “Sloop John B.” and, later in their career, Huddie Ledbetter’s “Cotton Fields”, which became a huge hit in Europe when the band’s American popularity was at a low ebb at the close of the Sixties.

Another critical role played by Jardine in the band was in concert, where, following Brian’s departure from the touring band in 1964 after his first breakdown, he took over Brian’s falsetto part and most of the songs where Brian originally sang lead. It was in this way that the concert version of “Heroes and Villains” came to be “owned” by Al, and rightly so. Don Cunningham, publisher of Add Some Music, the excellent, now-defunct Beach Boys “fanzine”, wrote that Jardine’s voice “is complex in its geographic allusions – country/urban/eastern/western – so that he lends additional support to the song’s referral to the Americam experience.”

Michael Bocchini, in an essay originally published in Add Some Music’s September, 1981 issue, characterized Jardine’s importance to the Beach Boys and their overall sound as follows:

The importance of Alan Jardine to the Beach Boys’ sound, and perhaps its’ psyche, was recognized early on by Brian. Alan’s stay at dental school ended when he was aked by Brian to embark on the group’s first major American tour, and to replace David Marks, who had replaced Alan after the group’s early and modest success.

Brian Wilson was creating a lasting metaphor for contemporary America from the momentary icons of the 1960s: surf, cards, and the California youth cult. Alan Jardine’s roots were in an older and more established form of American music – folk. In the Beach Boys, Jardine found a vibrant link in the progression of “peoples’ music.” In Jardine, the group found a link to America’s musical past.

Like most of the Beach Boys, Jardine became estranged from Brian during the post-SMiLE era when the latter struggled mightily with personal, psychological, and health problems. It has been only recently – actually, in the past year or so – that the two appear to have been able to put the personal and artistic conflicts over the years behind them. While it doesn’t look as if their combined tour will make it to the Phoenix area, just knowing the two of them are sharing the music of their lives together once more, in a spirit of friendship, is enough to warm the heart of this fan. Good for both of them.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:55 | Comments Off on In Praise of Al Jardine
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info