Don't Worry Baby

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Mag 5 2009, 19:39

It occurred to me I haven't done one of these lists in a few months and I have a couple days to kill before my only final, so what the heck. I grew up on Garth Brooks and the Beach Boys, which explains my taste in music. Since I already covered Garth and Summer break starts for me on Thursday, it seems appropriate to cover my other all-time favorite now. When compiling this list, I also included solo releases by Brian Wilson and tried to avoid mentioning what a douchebag Mike Love is. Oops, just blew that one.

The Beach Boys were formed in 1961 in Southern California by musical genius Brian Wilson, along with his brothers, Dennis and Carl, cousin Mike Love and their friend Al Jardine. During their time together, the boys had 36 Top 40 hits (the most of any American rock group), including four number ones. They were America's answer to the Beatles, and according to Billboard, they are the best-selling American band of all-time.

25. Surfin' USA
Surfin' USA - 1963

One of several songs that borrowed heavily from Chuck Berry, Brian Wilson wrote this song to the melody of Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen." This lead to a brief copyright conflict, which was settled with Berry getting some of the royalties. According to Carl Wilson, the band later "ran into Chuck Berry in Copenhagen and he told us he loves 'Surfin' USA'." Peak chart position: 3

24. Do You Wanna Dance?
Today! - 1965

This song was originally a top five hit for soul singer Bobby Freeman in 1958. Today, the Beach Boys version is probably more well-known. Peaking at number 12, it was the highest charting song to feature Carl Wilson on lead vocals.

23. Help Me, Rhonda
Today! - 1965

Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, this is the first song other than their Christmas album to feature Al Jardine on lead vocals. The recording session of this song was infamously interrupted by the Wilson brothers' father, Murry, who openly criticized the Boys' enthusiasm. His criticisms drove Brian Wilson to the breaking point to where Brian screamed an expletive, removed his headphones and confronted his father. Shortly after defending his actions, Murry Wilson left the studio and The Beach Boys continued with the session. The recording reel continued to roll and recorded the entire confrontation. Peak chart position: 1

22. I Can Hear Music
20/20 - 1969

Originally recorded by The Ronettes, this song was produced by Carl Wilson rather than Brian and is generally considered to be Carl's first taste of being leader of the group. Peak chart position: 24

21. Come Go With Me
M.I.U. Album - 1978

This was originally a #4 hit for The Del-Vikings and was featured in the movie American Graffiti. Rolling Stone ranked the original version #441 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all-time. Peak chart position: 24

20. California Girls
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) - 1965

Number 71 on Rolling Stones list of greatest songs, this was the first Beach Boys recording to feature vocals from Bruce Johnston, who had joined the group to substitute for Brian Wilson on concert tours. The music for the song came about as part of Wilson's first experience with LSD. Peak chart position: 3

19. Fun, Fun, Fun
Shut Down Volume 2 - 1964

This song was based on a true story from the daughter of the owner of radio station KNAK in Salt Lake City. The Wilson's father denounced the premise of the song as immoral and tried to stop the group from recording it. Peak chart position: 5

18. In My Room
Surfer Girl - 1963

The B-side to "Be True to Your School" was #209 on Rolling Stone's greatest songs list. David Crosby later said of the song, "'In My Room' was the defining point for me. When I heard it, I thought 'I give up - I can't do that - I'll never be able to do that.'" Peak chart position: 23

17. Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl
Lucky Old Sun (Brian Wilson) - 2008

Arguably the highlight of Wilson's most recent solo album, the song echoes "Surfer Girl" and is injected with the maturity of a singer who is now 45 years older than he was back then. I'll take this opportunity to plug Wilson's solo work, because the man is still a musical genius and considering his age and everything he's been through, his voice is still very strong.

16. Good Timin'
L.A. (Light Album) - 1979

By the time this came out, the group was well beyond it's prime, yet it still managed to do well on the Adult Contemporary chart, peaking at #12. It topped out at 40 on Billboard's main Hot 100 chart.

15. That's Not Me
Pet Sounds - 1966

The first of several songs I'm listing from Brian Wilson's musical masterpiece. This is the only track on the album that features the boys playing their own instruments.

14. Darlin'
Wild Honey - 1967

This is a rewrite of a song Brian Wilson and Mike Love had written before called "Thinkin' 'Bout You Baby." Wilson originally intended to give this song to Three Dog Night to record, but the other Beach Boys insisted they should record the song. Peak chart position: 19

13. Wendy
All Summer Long - 1964

I didn't realize until just now this song was never released as a single. That surprises me, because I'm sure it would have been a hit.

12. Getcha Back
The Beach Boys - 1985
The band's first single after Carl Wilson's drowning in 1983. It does a nice job of recapturing the feel of their earlier hits. Peak chart position: 26

11. Kokomo
Still Cruisin' - 1989

Brian Wilson was not involved at all in recording this song, as he was given short notice of the recording and wasn't able to attend. In A&E's Biography on Wilson in 2008, Brian said this song resulted in Mike Love bragging about having a #1 hit without Brian's help. Peak chart position: 1

10. Your Imagination
Imagination (Brian Wilson) - 1998

The biggest hit of Wilson's solo releases. Peak chart position: 20 (Adult Contemporary chart)

9. Wouldn't It Be Nice
Pet Sounds - 1966

One of the group's most well-known songs. Brian Wilson described the song as "what children everywhere go through… wouldn't it be nice if we were older, or could run away and get married." Peak chart position: 8

8. Island Girl
Still Cruisin' - 1989

I don't really have much to write about this song, other than it has always been a personal favorite of mine.

7. Surfer Girl
Surfer Girl - 1963

The first song Brian Wilson produced for the group, and one of the first he wrote. He explains: "Back in 1961, I'd never written a song in my life. I was nineteen years old. And I put myself to the test in my car one day. I was actually driving to a hot dog stand, and I actually created a melody in my head without being able to hear it on a piano. I sang it to myself; I didn't even sing it out loud in the car. When I got home that day, I finished the song, wrote the bridge, put the harmonies together and called it 'Surfer Girl'." Peak chart position: 7

6. God Only Knows
Pet Sounds - 1966

The B-side to "Wouldn't It Be Nice," this was one of the first pop songs to use the word 'God' in the title and one of the most musically sophisticated songs anyone in any genre had recorded at the time. Rolling Stone ranked it #25 on their all-time list. Peak chart position: 39

5. I Get Around
All Summer Long - 1964

This is one of those songs that pretty much everyone knows. It's structure is a bit unusual as it starts with the chorus then has two short verses. Peak chart position: 1

4. Good Vibrations
Smiley Smile - 1967

This "pocket symphony" was to be the crowning moment of the SMiLE Album, which never materialized. Instead it was issued as a stand alone single and later placed on Smiley Smile. Brian Wilson later rerecorded it when he revived SMiLE as a solo album. #6 on Rolling Stone's greatest songs. Peak chart position: 1

3. Barbara Ann
Beach Boys' Party! - 1965

This song was originally recorded by The Regents in 1961, but no one cares because the Beach Boys version was so good. This has been the song I have most closely associated with the group all my life. It was also featured in the movie Surf Ninjas, which was one of my favorites when I was younger.

2. Caroline, No
Pet Sounds - 1966

Oh. My. God. This is an awesome song. It was originally released as a solo single for Brian Wilson and later included on Pet Sounds. Wilson is the only Beach Boy who appears on the track. It was originally called "Carol, I Know" but Wilson is deaf in one ear and heard it wrong. After getting that corrected, Wilson and writing partner Tony Asher decided to keep Wilson's title. Peak chart position: 32

1. Don't Worry Baby
Shut Down Volume 2 - 1964

The B-side of "I Get Around". It has been called the group's best song by many, ranging from Tony Kornheiser to Mike Love's nephew, (Minnesota Timberwolves forward) Kevin Love. Now it's also on top of my list. #176 on Rolling Stone's greatest songs list. Peak chart position: 24.

Commenti

  • young_wives

    nice list

    Mag 16 2009, 19:02
  • Bastard1

    Cool list, just wish it was a bit more detailed as to how the songs sound...like, instrumentally. And structure and that. Heh, not as if I don't know it already, but you know, it's the little things. Also, cool to see someone not bitching about Kokomo.

    Set 23 2009, 19:02
  • meanmrmustard

    Carl didn't sing lead on Do You Wanna Dance, Dennis did.

    Ott 5 2009, 18:35
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