Oh No.. Mike Love's Crashed The Party at Number 6!
The Beach Boys - Holland (Capitol, 1973)
The Beach Boys - Only With You
Many people see The Beach Boys are this horribly misinformed dialectic of Brain, the genius, vs. the rest of the group: the cynics, the unenlightened heretics to the gradiose aesthetic that Brian so rigorously sought. This has led many to brand Mike Love as a self-righteous prick, scorn the band's Brother output (other than THOSE Van Dyke Parks collaborations), and go back to listen to Pet Sounds or Smile for the umpteenth time. Of course, Mike Love is an arrogant prick but then again so are most rock stars and they're often applauded or encouraged in their endeavours (*cough* Pete Doherty *cough*). Yeah, he was the man behind a hell of a lot of crap sometimes with my most personal grievance being that his California Saga knocked Fataar and Chaplin's superior 'We Got Love' off the Holland album into an undeserved obscurity (if you've not heard it, check pout the live cut on 'In Concert', it's a definite highlight) but too often others have been forced to share the backlash to his various follies.
People also forget that Love's defining nasal whine graces many of the band's earliest and best known hits, something that may not have happened if Brian or even Carl had taken over that particular duty. Another thing, you're prepared to do harmony on a track after just returning from a long world tour and a fireman's helmet is thrust into your hands with the earnest proclamation that it must be worn during the recording. If it was me, I'd have laughed too. Too many times people are placed on this false pedestal where they are expected be exemplary human beings in order to pursue their art. In my opinion, that's a crock and has led to alot of The Beach Boys output to be scorned due to some absurd personal vendetta against a nitwit with a gigantic ego and a unhealthy interest in the teachings of the Maharishi. How come Lennon never had to put up with this shit?
Onwards to the actual song. Co-written by Love and the group's fatalistic romantic, Dennis Wilson, with the main vocal duties handed to the group's best singer, Carl, it's probably only the third best track on the album behind the South African imposters' 'Leaving This Town' and Carl's composition, 'The Trader'. However, its lyrical kick, accompanied by Carl's immaculate performance, mean that it will always have a special importance to me. "Loved so many things/that I feel that I've only felt with you/only with you", what a kick off. I'm already getting a little blubbery so I'm going to have to turn the song off before this becomes a Defcon Four Tissue Alert. Yes, it's sentimental. Yes, it's a little bit corny. However, it also honest, direct, and just plain gorgeous with its simple piano chords and the usual trademark harmonies that he band are so well known for. Put your prejudices aside and just dive on into its cool, cool waters.
Next week: I'm goin away on the Thursday so have not yet put together a plan as to what I'll do with this series. I may take a week off to work on my Otis Guide. I may receive my Not Lame CD in the post and write about that. Also, I want to revamp the site first and the first thing that has to go is that awful header. So anyone who wants to do a new one for me with the name simply being 'Adventures..." and maybe utilising this heaven theme, send them to email@example.com and you will get a goodie bag from me filled with lots of tasty musical treats. I'll make the deadline next Sunday and if no one fancies the challenge then I'll accept my fate as one of the less beautiful blogs and get back to my writing.
Buy - The Beach Boys - Carl & the Passions/Holland
Buy - The Beach Boys - I Can Hear Music (a superior compilation of Beach Boys tracks that feature Carl as the lead)
Buy - VA - Caroline Now! (Marina Records' Beach Boys tribute album with Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake doing a magnificent take on 'Only With You'