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The Influence of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, Vol. 2



The Influence Of Brian Wilson And The Beach Boys Vol. 2 Volt and VolumeThis is a continuation of The Influence of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, Vol. 1. The following list consists of yet more songs that owe a huge debt to the wondrous music and harmonies of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Held in high esteem by countless songwriters, both past and present, Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys remain some of the most influential songwriters and harmony singers of all time.The group's discography count 29 studio albums and numerous classic compilations such as Endless Summer, The Sound Of Summer, The Warmth Of The Sun, and 50 Big Ones.


1.

Until In Excess Imperceptible UFO Album Cover The Besnard LakesThe Specter by The Besnard Lakes: This Canadian Alternative/Indie Rock band -– originating from Quebec, Montreal -– recorded a song titled Disaster (for their 2007 debut album The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse), which incorporated certain elements from The Beach Boys’ much-admired and frequently emulated style and sound, but the soulful The Specter (off 2013’s Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO) is vastly superior, much more elegant and sophisticated.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

2.
Below The Branches Album CoverEver Thought Of Coming Back by Kelley Stoltz: Although American singer-songwriter/Classic Pop-Rock revivalist Kelley Stoltz has never made a secret of the artists, who influenced him (The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Syd Barret, Nick Drake, early Pink Floyd, etc.), he’s always been very adept at putting his own distinct stamp on his music. On Ever Thought Of Coming Back, Kelley Stoltz opted to compose a song, which is overtly indebted to The Beach Boys: in particular 1968-single Do It Again. Lyrically, though, it reads more like a sequel to The Beach Boys classic God Only Knows. When Kelley Stoltz sings the line “…when the stars above you…”, it immediately brings to mind a line in God Only Knows that says “But long as there are stars above you”. In the Beach Boys song the narrator fears that his girlfriend might leave him one day (“If you should ever leave me…”), and in the Kelley Stoltz song she has. Unable to leave her behind, he’s still hopeful: “If you ever thought of coming back – well, now is the time”. Ever Thought Of Coming Back is available on the album Below The Branches.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

3.
Blood Candy Album Cover The PosiesAccidental Architecture by The Posies: Accidental Architecture is a charming little tune, even if The Posies don't exactly put their own stamp on The Beach Boys sound. If anything, it actually sounds a whole lot like XTC or Jellyfish emulating The Beach Boys. Regardless, this track is littered with little musical references to the iconic Californian band such as the harmonies and the unusual song structure. Accidental Architecture is available on The Posies album Blood/Candy, which was released in 2010.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

4.

Psonic Psunspot Album CoverPale And Precious by The Dukes Of Stratosphear: The pseudonym of a side project by XTC (see entry No. 10), The Dukes Of Stratosphear released two albums in the latter half of the 1980s, the mini-album/E.P. 25 O’Clock (1985) and the LP Psonic Psunspot (1987). The Dukes Of Stratosphear’s music pays tribute to 1960s Psychedelic Pop/Rock groups such as The Beatles, The Small Faces, The Zombies, The Byrds, Pink Floyd, The Kinks, Jefferson Airplane, The Pretty Things, and, of course, The Beach Boys. Pale And Precious is a lush and intricate ballad featuring Brian Wilson-like vocal arrangements, bells and a musical sword (as on the Beach Boys classic Good Vibrations).



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

5.
Veckatimest-Album-Cover-Grizzly-BearTwo Weeks and Cheerleader by Grizzly Bear: Beach Boys-like harmonies augmented songs such as Knife and On A Neck, On A Spit on Grizzly Bear’s second album, 2006’s Yellow House, but the Beach Boys influence became far more prominent with the release of Grizzly Bear’s 2009 album Veckatimest. Whereas the majority of the entrances included in this blog series are overtly inspired by The Beach Boys sound, these songs by Grizzly Bear represent a more modern update by way of Indie Rock. The insistent piano of Two Weeks is decidedly Brian Wilson-esque, and Cheerleader’s angelic innocence brings to mind the youthful song titles of early Beach Boys songs such as All Dressed Up For School, When I Grow Up (To Be A Man) and Graduation Day.





[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

6.

Freedom Wind Album CoverLost My Head and Safe Distance by The Explorers Club: This six-piece Retro Pop/Rock group from South Carolina released their charming debut album Freedom Wind in 2008. Heavily influenced by Brian Wilson’s genius, it sounded like a long lost unreleased Beach Boys album. While the album generally received positive reviews, it also had its detractors, who accused The Explorers Club of being mere copyists. Lead singer/songwriter/arranger/guitarist/pianist Jason Brewer: "Brian Wilson called me a few weeks ago. He said how much he loves our group. If the guy who I'm faithfully ripping off likes what I do, I don't care what other people say." And with a talent like his, he shouldn’t care one bit.





[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

7.
A Midsummers Day Dream Album CoverDon’t Cry Over Me and Take Me With You by Mark Eric: Despite all of the Surf-related songs on The Beach Boys’ early albums, drummer Dennis Wilson was the only member of the band, who actually knew how to surf. Blond-haired, typically Californian L.A. native Mark Eric also knew how to surf. And he also knew how to write songs that sounded a lot like The Beach Boys. Unfortunately, Mark Eric only ever released one album, 1969's A Midsummer's Day Dream, which since then has become a bit of a cult classic. In 1968, one of his songs, When School Is Out This Year, was recorded by none other than The Four Freshmen, the very group that had a great influence on Brian Wilson’s vocal arrangements.





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8.
Introducing Sparks Album Cover SparksOver The Summer by Sparks: As enjoyable as Over The Summer is, the song sort of sounds like a rather peculiar homage to The Beach BoysDo It Again by way of Roxy Music’s Glam Rock. Just like early Beach Boys songs, the lyrics celebrate the innocence of youth culture, depicting the flighty nature of the juvenile mind (“You know, the records that I got in June don't sound good no more / And all the clothes I bought in june are now rotting in my drawers”). Over The Summer is from Introducing Sparks, their seventh studio album.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

9.
Plugged In Album Cover Dave EdmundsBeach Boy Blood (In My Veins) by Dave Edmunds: A huge Beach Boys fan, Welsh singer/songwriter and guitarist Dave Edmunds recorded Beach Boy Blood (In My Veins) on a 4-track in his house. Playing all the instruments, he multi-tracked his vocals to recreate the classic Beach Boys sound. Featured on Dave Edmunds’ 1994 album Plugged In, Beach Boy Blood (In My Veins) is a triumph of a tribute and even far superior to any song The Beach Boys themselves had recorded since the 1970s. The lyrics are a declaration of love for the music of The Beach Boys (“I wish I was a Beach Boy, too”), a couple of lines referring to their 1969 hit Add Some Music To Your Day ("Add some music / Add some music / Add some music / Add some music to my day”). There’s a short instrumental section at 1:17 that’s very reminiscent of the overall sound of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, and the last 51 seconds of the song emulates the outro of the achingly beautiful Til I Die.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

10.
Oranges-And-Lemons-Album-Cover- XTCChalkhills And Children by XTC: As noted in the previous blog post The Influence of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, Vol. 1, XTC recorded a couple of Beach Boys-inspired songs for Nonsuch, the group’s 1992 album: the songs in question are Humble Daisy and Wrapped In Grey. But Brian Wilson’s influence on main songwriter Andy Partridge’s songwriting manifested itself prior to Nonsuch, for example the enchanting Chalkhills And Children, the closing track on the band’s previous album, 1989’s Oranges And Lemons.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

11.
Mind If We Make Love To You Album Cover The WondermintsRide by The Wondermints: Ride is a track from L.A. retro Pop/Rock group The Wondermints’ 2002 album Mind If We Make Love To You. Not only is it a thoroughly accomplished Beach Boys tribute, it even features backing vocals by Brian Wilson himself, who acknowledged the band’s skillful homages by appearing as a “Special Guest” at one of their concerts in Los Angeles. The Wondermints eventually signed on to be a part of Brian Wilson’s touring band. The group is featured on Brian Wilson’s Live At The Roxy, Pet Sounds Live, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, and the 2004 solo version of his masterpiece Smile.



[Purchase from Amazon]

12.
Maroon Album Cover The Webb BrothersAll The Cocaine In The World by The Webb Brothers: The song title might very well refer to Brian Wilson’s cocaine binge in the 1970s, when he reached his lowest point, having lost his wife Marilyn (they finally divorced in 1979) and -– to a certain degree -– the pressure of living up to being the creative mastermind and main songwriter of The Beach Boys. But then again, the lyrics are more likely dealing with The Webb Brothers’ own father Jimmy Webb, who likewise was left by a woman he was in love with, causing him to abuse cocaine and alcohol for several years. The song is featured on the album Maroon.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

 

Also see The Influence of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, Vol. 1

 

Posted by Thomas Thomsen on Monday, May 27, 2013
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