January 13, 2012

Not by The Beach Boys, but these songs are BB-esque in terms of feel and style to various degrees. All are excellent tributes to the classic Brian Wilson style and a testament to their unique blend of voices.

Chicago, “Wishin’ You Were Here” – Recorded in 1974, this song features solid backgrounds throughout by BBs Alan Jardine (who helped with the arrangement), Carl Wilson, and Dennis Wilson.

Elton John, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” – Also from 1974, this song (my favorite EJ tune, BTW) features Carl Wilson very prominently on background (his voice is hard to miss) as well as former BB (at that time) Bruce Johnston. A great track.

David Lee Roth, “California Girls” – my all-time favorite MTV music video, featuring a cast of characters that wouldn’t look that much out of place at a Goodboys Invitational weekend (without the Viking hats, of course). Another song that features Carl prominently. He had a gorgeous voice.

Johnny Rivers, “Help Me Rhonda” – From 1975. The otherwise-reclusive at that time Brian Wilson, and former BB at that time Bruce Johnston are on background vocals.

First Class, “Beach Baby” – From 1974. No BBs at all on this one, but a fine tribute to Brian and the Boys. This song brings back many memories of me, my brother Mark, and his friend Doug Luciano driving up to Hampton Beach.

Henry Gross, “Shannon” – From 1976, this song was written about the passing of Carl Wilson’s dog (really!). No BBs on this, but Gross was a huge fan of Brian’s falsetto during their heyday and it shows in both the background vocals and arrangement.

Lobo, “I’d Love You To Want Me” – not that close BB-style wise, but I always liked the Brian-esque falsetto in the chrous. Dig his hair and the clothes in the video – hard to believe we used to dress like that. A wicked cool ’70s tune that reminds me of high school.

Lorrie Morgan, “Don’t Worry, Baby”, from The Beach Boys’ “Stars and Stripes” CD, in which they back a bunch of country and western artists singing their hits. Morgan has a great voice, and the Boys do a great job on the backgrounds.

Kathy Trocolli, “I Can Hear Music”. From the same collection above.

…and my personal favorite:

B.J. Thomas, “Rock And Roll Lullaby”. I remember hearing this song back in 1972 and the DJ saying the BBs sang background. Not true. Nevertheless, that’s a very BB-like sounding chorus with an arrangement right out of the Brian Wilson playbook.

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