In part two of The K-EARTH 101 Morning Show’s 50th anniversary interview with The Beach Boys, the group addresses the early years of balancing both touring and recording some of its biggest albums.
The group’s touring experiences in their youth were chronicled down in song, which turned in to The Beach Boys’ ode to California.
“We traveled all around the world and it came out in a song called ‘California Girls” – wish they all could be ‘California Girls.’ That was 1965,” said Mike.
On top of globe-trekking on tour, The Beach Boys were also recording new albums simultaneously. Bruce Johnston explains that upon his first year in the band, they churned out three albums, which would become some of the most critically acclaimed of the group’s career.
“Think about this; I joined the band accidentally just to fill in for a weekend. It gets extended, it’s fabulous, but in my first 12 months – Summer Days (And Summer Nights) album, the Party album and Pet Sounds. Three albums in one year plus touring,” said Bruce.
Mike explains that the amount of albums produced in such a condensed period of time was all due to pressure from the record label. Capitol Records was itching to release a new album, but Brian didn’t feel the production was ready for the Pet Sounds album, so the group got together in the studio, and in just days recorded Beach Boys’ Party album.
“We did it as a party. We just chose songs that everybody liked,” said Mike.
Soon after releasing the Party album, The Beach Boys put out what is widely considered their most pivotal album of their career, Pet Sounds, in 1966.
“Phil Spector’s ‘The Wrecking Crew’ played. Took us about three months to make it and each song was a different kind of song,” said Brian. “Absolutely one of my favorite albums I ever produced.”
Known as the “stone of the studio,” Brian perfected the harmonies and vocal arrangements on Pet Sounds, which meant sometimes having to do multiple retakes of each song until every pitch, note and tone was precise. What resulted was an album that has stood the test of time.
For avid Beach Boys fans, there’s even a box set of outtakes featuring just the vocal recordings on Pet Sounds that shows the supreme recording process of the group.
“When you listen to that, you can see the masterful vocal arrangements that Brian did and the great accomplishment of all of us together. It really shows the strength of the Beach Boys right there – the harmonies,” said Mike.
Fast forward 50 years later and fans are still enjoying the musical perfection of Pet Sounds.
Now having just released a brand new album, That’s Why God Made The Radio, The Beach Boys discuss coming back together to re-recorded “Do It Again,” a song from their 1969 album 20/20.
“That’s the first record we re-recorded when we first got back together,” said Mike. “Brian says, ‘how can a 70-year-old sound that good?’ and I said, ‘I’ve been practicing!'”
Hear more from The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Interview with K-EARTH 101 by watching part one here and check back tomorrow for part three of our interview!
Click here to see The OC Register’s great coverage of K-EARTH 101’s interview with The Beach Boys.