Our featured album this week is the 1980 gem (and their 29th studio album) Keepin' the Summer Alive. This was the their last album with Dennis, who would drown in 1983. Another outstanding album that was initially greeted with a lukewarm response from both fans and critics, it nonetheless quickly became one of my favorites. The title cut just ROCKS, aided by some guest guitar work from the great Joe Walsh. Both it and another of my favorites, Livin' With a Heartache, were co-written by Carl and Randy Bachman of the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Mike and Brian wrote a several new songs for the project. Oh Darlin' and Sunshine are sweet songs with a classic sound, and Goin' On and Some of Your Love appear in today's countdown list. Another beautiful piece is the Brian/Al composition, Santa Ana Winds. A little trivia for you- this album was recorded at the studio of a long-time keyboardist in The Beach Boys touring band, Daryl Dragon. You may know him better as The Captain. As in The Captain and Tennille. Now on with our countdown - and remember, every song title is also a link to a YouTube video of the song!
33) Honkin' Down the Highway (1977) - From the album Love You. One of the great on-the-road songs you'll find anywhere from the drum opening right through the infectious chorus. Just try to stay under the speed limit when this song is playing... Favorite Lyric: "Who cares if I gotta spend my money, even if if I have to act funny to go and steal her heart away."
32) Then I Kissed Her (1965) - From the album Summer Days (and Summer Nights!). This song was a cover of an old Crystal's tune called Then He Kissed Me, but the guys definitely made it their own. It was released as a single and was a huge hit pretty much everywhere in the world- except the U.S., where it was never even released. From the album that paved the way for Pet Sounds, you can hear it below. Favorite Lyric: "When we danced I held her tight, and then I walked her home that night. And all the stars were shining bright, and then I kissed her."
30) Goin' On (1980) - From the album Keepin' the Summer Alive. An electric opening, soaring vocals by Carl and a truly awesome bridge make this one of my most listened to songs on the old iPod. Favorite Lyric: "I know what is missing, 'cause since you've been gone, My mind keeps on reelin' and my heart keeps on feelin', why is my love goin' on?"
29) Surfin' U.S.A. (1963) - From the album of the same name. A friend of Brian's gave him a list of the hot surfing spots, Dennis helped him with lingo like "baggies," "huarache sandals" and "bushy bushy blonde hairdos" (Brian didn't surf) and when the oldest Wilson added in the music from Chuck Berry's classic Sweet Little Sixteen history was made. The #2 song of 1963. Favorite Lyric: "We'll all be gone for the summer, we're on surfari to stay, just tell the teacher we're surfin', surfin' U.S.A."
28) Some of Your Love (1980) - From the album Keepin' the Summer Alive. Another "later" song by the boys that recaptures much of the early magic. The do-wop "Some-some-some of your love" opening feeds into an upbeat love song, and features some amazing piano work in the backing tracks. Just try to sit still when you hear this one! Favorite Lyric: "There's nothing like a-romancin' in the stands. walking down the hallway holding hands, punching up our jukebox favorite band, cuddling up in summer moonlight in the sand- kiss me, baby!"
27) Don't Worry Baby (1964) - From the album Shut Down Vol. 2. This amazing ballad was an early harbinger of the complexity that was ready to show up in Brian's songwriting. Tender, yet a bit dark, it was a huge hit and is listed by Rolling Stone Magazine as the 176th greatest song of all-time. Favorite Lyric: "Well it's been building up inside of me for oh I don't know how long, and I don't know why but I keep thinking something's bound to go wrong. But she looks in my eyes and makes me realize...don't worry baby."
26) Sloop John B (1966) - From the album Pet Sounds. This traditional folk song from the West Indies was suggest by Al and then given new life and spirit by Brian while working on Pet Sounds. It was released as a single 2 months before the album dropped and went as high as #3- the best selling single off the greatest album ever made, despite being the one song that really didn't quite "fit in" with that concept album. Life is funny. Favorite Lyric: "The first mate he got drunk and broke in Cap'n's trunk, the constable had to come and take him away." Bonus: Click here to see a promo video for this song- basically The Beach Boys first music video!!!
25) Break Away (1969) - From the album Spirit of America. Although it didn't appear on an album until the 1975 compilation noted above, the single was released around Christmas of 1969 and hit the Top 40. Two interesting notes- the lyrics were partially credited to Reggie Dunbar, who in fact was Murry Wilson (father to Brian, Denny & Carl). And secondly, Brian has said that The Monkees inspired him to write this song. Favorite Lyric: "When I laid down in my bed I heard the voices in my head tellin' me now, hey, it's only a dream."
24) Funky Pretty (1973) - From the album Holland. Another great song from the album actually recorded in the Netherlands, Funky Pretty has the unusual distinction of having 5 different lead vocalists listed- on the same song! Another eclectic song that was never a hit except among the hardcore fans- but Steve and I both love it! Favorite Lyric: "She values flowers more than gold, thinks of her men as knights of olde, she's very spiritual I'm told, Whoa."
23) I Can Hear Music (1969) - From the album 20/20. Originally recorded by The Ronettes in 1966, this song marks a change in the leadership of the band. With this cover Carl took over both the mic and the studio. His vocal is brilliant and the arrangement- especially the acapella section- is stunning. A hit around the world! Favorite Lyric: "I never had a love of my own, maybe that's why when we're all alone...I can hear music."
Words cannot express how much fun this is for me- and you have no idea how hard it is to limit both the number of songs and the number of words! I'll be back next Thursday and I trust you will be too. In the meantime, here's one of the songs I had to leave off my list- our Almost Song of the Week. It's one of the great car songs I hated to omit. Check out the link to "my 4 speed dual quad posi-traction 409!" See you next Thursday AND Friday as we finish up the countdown!!!