This week, I actually managed to tie my favorite band into my Monday morning post over at BlackGate.com.
Included with the Beach Boys’ 1972 album, Holland, was an EP. For you youngsters, that stands for ‘Extended Play’ and it was a bonus record: less music than a regular album but more than on a 45. Mt. Vernon and Fairy: a Fairy Tale, was an odd piece of music, singing and spoken verse, telling the story of a young prince and a magic transistor radio.
I talk about this rather unique piece of Beach Boys history, so head on over to Black Gate and check it out.
The history of the Beach Boys is littered with unreleased and/or rejected albums that never made it to official status, though many of the associated songs found their way to the public. One such project has come to be known as Lei’d in Hawaii (get it?).
In 1966, Pet Sounds was a critical (if not commercial) success, Good Vibrations became a smash hit and Brian Wilson was famously working on the Smile album. However, as 1966 turned into 1967, Smile kept getting delayed, the band (foolishly) withdrew from the Monterey Pop Festival and Heroes and Villains was a disappointment compared to Good Vibrations. The Smiley Smile album (” a bunt instead of a grand slam”) barely dented the charts. Things had gone south for the band in America.
Editorial comment – I like Heroes and Villains and there is some terrific stuff from the sessions that got left out. I think it could have been almost as good as Good Vibrations.
In 1967, the band went to Hawaii and recorded and filmed two concerts, which were to be edited to form a live album for Capitol Records. The cherry on top of the cake was that Brian Wilson, who didn’t travel with the group in those days, was present. 1964’s Beach Boys Concert album had been a hit and another live album would buy the group some time as they worked on a studio recording.
I don’t know every Beach Boys-related song out there, but I’ve certainly heard an awful lot of them over the years, and this was a brand new discovery today.
Dennis Wilson was the first Beach Boy to cut a solo album – 1977’s Pacific Ocean Blue. But back in 1971, he actually recorded about 90% of a solo effort with the working title Dennis Wilson Poops (I’m hoping there was a change coming to that). It was shelved after he offered a pair of the album’s songs, Cuddle Up and Make It Good, for the current Beach Boys project, Carl and the Passions: So Tough.
While I LOVE River Song from Pacific Ocean Blue, as a whole, the 1971 album was much stronger. An unknown gem was It’s a New Day. Blondie Chaplin, who (along with Ricky Fataar) wasn’t officially a Beach Boy yet, was in the band’s orbit and he sang the lead.
I think this is a fine song and would have easily fit on So Tough or Holland.