The featured album of the day is the first live album the band ever released, simply called Beach Boys Concert (later re-released with the title Wow! Great Concert!). It hit stores in 1964, shortly before Brian Wilson quit touring with the band to stay home and begin work on what would become Pet Sounds. It is the only live album featuring only the 5 original band members and was their first #1 album in the U.S. Most of the project was recorded live in Sacramento, CA. It featured a few classic BB tunes, like I Get Around, Hawaii, Little Deuce Coupe and In My Room. It also had some wonderfully energetic covers of great songs such as Graduation Day, The Little Old Lady From Pasadena and Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow- and a fabulous Denny Wilson rendition of The Wanderer. It had two really fun novelty songs, Long Tall Texan and The Monster Mash. And finally it has thousands of really loud screaming girls. It's still a great listen. No songs made my list from this album, but Graduation Day was a last minute cut and Long Tall Texan was a serious "blow their minds" temptation. But anyway- on with the songs that DID make my countdown!
22) Only With You (1973) - From the album Holland. In my humble opinion one of the greatest love songs ever written- and almost no one has ever heard of it. Judge for yourself by listening below. And just try not to be moved... Favorite Lyric: "I know one thing for sure I wanna' do- I want to spend this life with you. Only with you."
20) Surf's Up (1971) - From the album of the same name. Few songs endured the journey this one did before finally landing on an album. Originally intended to be part of the legendary SMiLE album, the complex song took on a particular mystique after Brian was heard singing it on a documentary about the new music revolution of the late 60s. His solo recording of the song on the SMiLE Sessions is simply gorgeous. The record company wanted Brian to add it to an album called Landlocked, which after some hesitation he did. Landlocked became Surf's Up. The title is meant to be ironic- the days of surf music for this band were indeed "up." Favorite Lyrics: "A choke of grief, heart hardened I, beyond belief a broken man too tough to cry."
19) Little Deuce Coupe (1963) - From the album of the same name. In my humble opinion this is the greatest 60s hot rod song and a national treasure. It also gets bonus points for spawning the Christmas classic, Little Saint Nick. In the early years this was the song used to introduce the band to the audience in concerts. Favorite Lyric: "And if that ain;t enough to make you flip your lid, there's one more thing- I got the pink slip, daddy!"
18) Fun, Fun, Fun (1964) - From the album Shut Down Vol. 2. This song taught an entire generation that losing your car for bad behavior was not the worst thing that could happen. So live it up! The "immoral" tone of the song led to conflict between the band and Murry Wilson and eventually to his dismissal as their manager. For many years this was the song that closed their concerts. Favorite Lyric: "Well the girls can't stand her 'cause she walks, looks and drives line ace now..."
17) Help Me Rhonda (1965) - From the album Beach Boys Today! This long-time favorite of fans was the second #1 song for the band and the first single to feature a lead vocal by Al Jardine. Little known fact- the original version was called Help Me, Ronda, and was reworked by Brian into the version we know now when it was decided to release it as a single. Favorite Lyric: "Well Rhonda you look so fine, and I know it wouldn't take much time for you to help me Rhonda, help me get her out of my heart."
16) Heroes and Villains (1967) - From the album Smiley Smile. Few songs in the history of pop music have as many versions available as this one, including the one from Smiley Smile that reached #12 on the Billboard charts. But having recently heard on the SMiLE Sessions the original vision of Brian and Van Dyke Parks, I can tell you that we missed out on a true masterpiece. And don't miss the video for this one! Favorite Lyric: "My children were raised you know the suddenly rise, they started slow long ago, head to toe, healthy, wealthy and wise."
15) Winds of Change (1978) - From the M.I.U. Album. From an album almost no one liked but that I still love, this song is at once thoughtful, introspective and hopeful. It holds special meaning to me because I used as the closing song for the soundtrack to the 1983 Quaker Lake Camp slideshow. Favorite Lyric: "Winds of change are here at last, the clouds have lifted the storm has passed. Nights we known are on the run and there's a bright and shining sun for everyone to see."
15b) Our Sweet Love (1970) - From the album Sunflower. Ok, so I'm cheating again- but there was no way I was leaving this song off the list! Another gorgeous love song sung by Carl Wilson, it is yet another high point on one of the best albums of all-time. Soooo sweet it makes my diabetes flare up! Favorite Lyric: "Lord knows I love her so, I feel it down inside my soul. A precious love like this can flower, there's nothing in this world like our sweet love."
14) Surfer Girl (1963) - From the album Surfer Girl. One of the first songs to show off Brian's skill as a composer, not just a write or during songs. He paints an image with lyric and melody that made us all we we could find our Surfer Girl. If I were writing on a different day this could easily have been Top 5... Favorite Lyric: "We could ride the surf together while our love would grow, In my woodie I would take you everywhere I go."
13) In My Room (1963) - From the album Surfer Girl The song that warned the world what Brian Wilson was capable of as a songwriter. Childlike but yet exceptionally deep, the song captures so many feelings of the teen years when your room in indeed a fortress of solitude. The number of classic rock stars who list this among the songs that influenced them is simply staggering. Favorite Lyric: "In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears, In my room...In my room."
12) Add Some Music To Your Day (1970) - From the album Sunflower. A stunning song with complex vocal harmonies and the simplest of messages- music makes the world a better place. The performance of this song on the live recording from the 50th anniversary tour just blew me away. Favorite Lyric: "Music, when you're alone, is like a companion for your lonely soul."
So we head down the home stretch and into the last eleven. Any predictions for #1? I can promise I still have a surprise or two up my sleeve. And speaking of surprises, here's today's Almost Song. You're So Good To Me- how come you are? Enjoy, and we'll see you tomorrow!