A Cork on the Ocean: Beach Boys and Wilson Brothers song-by-song

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Jul 16, 2023.

  1. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    His parts are fun to sing along with but I love Carl’s voice in that “that early morning hike, the rented tandem bike” part.
  2. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    I'm with Lance on this one. Honestly I am a bit baffled by the rock-centric disdain for this lovely jazz ballad. I would think if you love the Beach Boys' vocal blend, you would appreciate the great jazz vocal harmony groups too (Four Freshmen, etc). Apparently not!
  3. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    I can relate, I am similarly dismayed by the general disdain for Jacques Brel songs in the Bowie thread. Honestly, I do not feel disdainful to the Four Freshman or others of the genre, or BBs covers of the same. I respect it all, I just find it doesn't suit me for whatever reason. Though I do love a lot of other pre-rock popular music, particularly of the 20s and 30s.
  4. SMRobinson

    SMRobinson Forum Resident

    United States

    A nice reminder of the debt the BB and Brian in particular owe to the Four Freshman and earlier tight harmony groups of their type. And a nice reminder of those cross genre cross generational connections.

  5. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I absolutely adore Jacques Brel. I had to drop out of that thread because I have too many going on, but I’m shocked that people feel differently. But that’s the way it goes we all have different taste.
  6. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Things We Did Last Summer

    Everything about this sounds like it was recorded way before 1963. The arrangement, even the vocal sound - it all reminds me of my mother’s records from the 1950’s. Even the fact that they performed this on the Red Skelton show harkens back to my parents’ generation. This is not really my thing, but it’s pretty good for what they tried to do here.



    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I always thought that “I Only Have Eyes For You” sounded futuristic, as if Brian Eno was beamed back to 1959 to produce this song.
  8. Piiijiii

    Piiijiii Hundalasiliah

    Ruhr Area, Germany
    Things We Did Last Summer

    Charming, great vocals ... 4/5
  9. HawthorneCalifornia

    HawthorneCalifornia Forum Resident

    Brian had an affinity for standards, being a Four Freshman fan you could not help it.
    He expressed his affection for another standard
    "Stella By Starlight" with Tony Asher.
    Being born in 1942, he heard these songs, in his childhood on the radio.

    I like this song performed by Dean Martin on his 1966 Christmas album, and now it's on my Christmas playlist.
    The strings are syrupy but the harmonies are very good, by the Beach Boys performance.

    Myself being born in 1957 I also heard these types of songs on TV variety shows.
    Also being a fan of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, I welcome a good standard, mixed with 1960s pop.
    I like the variety of sounds.

  10. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Senior Member

    Toronto, ON, CA
    The Four Freshmen made some incredible music. I love when Brian pays direct homage. It’s also a nice time capsule and reminder that rock’n’roll was a small part of the landscape. How many records did Herb Albert sell? :)
  11. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Senior Member

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I like standards played with some swing and liveliness (see avatar). This would have sounded dull pre-rock too.
  12. HawthorneCalifornia

    HawthorneCalifornia Forum Resident

    Rfreeman, that's a great avatar. I love that album, and love Louis and Ella together and separately.
    Also I love dreamy ballads too. We all have different tastes and have to respect that.
    We can't all love the same things. Would you like this song better with a small jazz group?
    Or is it just the song that doesn't do it for you.
  13. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Senior Member

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I called it "a pretty song" and I am sure that Ella & Louis and their band on that album could have done a version that I would have enjoyed greatly and I expect Sinatra could have brought some life to it too. The phrasing on the BBoys version is plodding and lacks spark. They do not sound joyful singing it.

    Admittedly it is a lot harder to give a song that rhythmic verve when you have multiple singers harmonizing. But the BBoys certainly pulled it off countless times.
  14. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo, Endless Mikelovemoney

    "Things We Did Last Summer": I'm a fan of that era of pop and jazz, as I have most of the Your Hit Parade CDs. This song is not cool, fun, or even good in a wistful sentimental way. Sounds generic and trite. Bruce Johnston slays Cahn/Styne in the sentimental and wistful department. 1/5
  15. HawthorneCalifornia

    HawthorneCalifornia Forum Resident

  16. Jasper Dailey

    Jasper Dailey Forum Resident

    Southeast US
    The Things We Did Last Summer: I've always liked this song and it makes for an interesting Beach Boys curio. I love how the Boys are spot-on on the 4 part harmonies and blend better there than the unison bits! They probably tossed this off in an afternoon, already being on to much bigger and better things.
  17. HawthorneCalifornia

    HawthorneCalifornia Forum Resident

  18. KaBluie

    KaBluie Forum Resident

    From Jimmy with Tears - The Honeys (1963 B-Side) = 4
    Raindrops - The Honeys (Rec: 1963 / Rel: 1990) = 3
    Barefoot Adventure - Gary Usher (1963) = 3
    Lollipop - The Chordettes = 5
    The Things We Did Last Summer (Sammy Cahn, Jule Style) (recorded April 1962, released on Good Vibrations, 1993) = 4
    The Things We Did Last Summer (actual TV performance) = 4
    The Things We Did Last Summer - The Lettermen = 4
    That Warm Summer Night - Ricky Nelson = 5
    The Things We Did Last Summer - Toshiko Akiyoshi = 3
    The Beach Boys Singing On The Red Skelton Show (1963-09-24) = 4
    The Things We Did Last Summer - Frank Sinatra = 5
    The Things We Did Last Summer - Dean Martin = 5
    I´ll Always Remember Being Young - The Dellwoods = 5

    Note: from Mad “Twists” Rock ‘N’ Roll.
    Lars Medley, Mr. D and Lance LaSalle like this.
  19. Boulder Bob

    Boulder Bob Forum Resident

    Boulder, CO
    Things We Did Last Summer

    Man, the unison bits are not great - I don't think The Four Freshmen would have put this out...

    Good for Brian to do this arrangement, the harmonies are great

    them putting this out made me think of The Beatles putting out "Yesterday" or "Eleanor Rigby" - stepping outside what might have been expected

  20. lou

    lou Fast 'n Bulbous

    Great harmonies - if you like Their Hearts were Full of Spring, the Boys' version of the Lord's Prayer, can't see why you wouldn't like this. Would have been better a capella - those horns and strings are actually obtrusive and annoyingly cliched - I give it a 2.5/5.
  21. knotley

    knotley Forum Resident

    The Things We Did Last Summer

    4/5 Great great great vocals. The Beach Boys were almost untouchable with their vocals.
    Mr. D, Stone Fox, BeSteVenn and 3 others like this.
  22. Past Masters

    Past Masters Beatles Fanthologist

    Things We Did Last Summer [TV spot]

    Since this was broadcast on TV in 1963, I can listen to it! I'll save the box set version until 1993, though I'm guessing it's the same recording (mimed on tv?) Only a handful of BB recordings that I have heard (I'm only up to 20/20, so there could be more later on) are in this jazz / vocal style. I don't think it really suits the Beach Boys, though I do have a soft spot for Graduation Day which I've only heard on the live record.

    Even though I think it sounds dated compared to their 'own music', I can still appreciate that they are paying homage to an earlier time. A jazz vocal arrangement like this is a lot more sophisticated than most of the stuff on Surfer Girl. Not better, just more complicated harmonically. I could be wrong but I don't think John, Paul and George could arrange harmonies like this without some help.

    Is this Brian's own vocal arrangement?

    I give it a 2.5/5, only because of the style mismatch between artist and music. It's amazing how important context is. Had they been the originators it would be higher.

    I like the other TV spot where they are selling the album, quite funny.

    Mike's voice destroys on some of the faster songs that will be coming up, but it's nice to hear him 'croon' once in a while. He actually has a nice voice for that too, and you don't get to hear him do it too often.
  23. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Past Masters likes this.
  24. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Senior Member

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Thanks for posting a couple other versions. I found this one by Nancy Wilson which more exemplifies the way I enjoy this kind of material.

    Rating 4.5
  25. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn FOMO Resident

    The lyrics to "Things We Did Last Summer" end on a sad note, that sad note making it a little bit of a surprising choice for the Beach Boys at this point in their career. Compare it to "Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring", where at least they had a whole lifetime together before the song hits the sad part, more wistful and poignant than sad. I like this type of song from an earlier era, but "Things We Did Last Summer" was from only 16 years earlier when they did it on the Red Skelton Show. 3.4/5

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