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I guess I just like liking things

Today’s guest writer is a repeat offender: David. He is one of my oldest friends, both in the “time known” and “how old he is” categories, and he’s probably responsible for a lot of things I like.


As Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, James Brady, came to understand, a Beach Boys concert is an essential part of any Independence Day Celebration.  But, since the Boys won’t be on any stage this 4th, and even if they were, most Zwolanerd readers wouldn’t be able to make it, we’ve made it possible for you to experience the next best thing.

O yez O yez O yez, zwolanerd presents: a virtual YouTube Beach Boys concert for the 4th of July!

But there’s a twist.  With a few exceptions, you’ve likely heard none of these songs. Many people don’t realize that although the Beach Boys popularity went on the wane after 1966’s Good Vibrations, they still made a lot of great music. This concert features some of those songs.

Here’s how this works.  There’ll be 5 segments to the show: A guest artist opening act, three sets (The Fun, The Art, The Melancholy), and an encore (also by guest artists).  Each segment will include a live performance, and although most of the tunes were recorded between 1967 and 1976, you’ll also hear music from the Boys’ very first album as well as their most recent studio effort.   And, yes, I know you’ve heard the songs the guest artists perform, but you likely haven’t seen these performances.   I’m hanging my hat on that.  Below the embed you can find song by song commentary.

No further ado.



  • Surfer Girl (as performed by Paul Simon)-Would it set the wrong tone for me to say this might be the best version of this song in existence?  Oh, thought so.  But it’s true.


  • This Whole World-A great rocker under-appreciated at the time of release. (Brian Wilson fans may note the ah-oom-bop-ditty tag he recycled on 1998’s “Imagination”.)
  • You Need a Mess of Help-Ditto (to the under appreciated rocker part, not the recycling part).  Plus this is at least partly live.
  • Add Some Music to Your Day-Each Beach Boy sings at one point or another here.  It’s fun to try to follow the “hand-offs”.
  • Little Girl (You’re My Miss America)-From the Beach Boys first album, with Dennis Wilson on lead.
  • Country Air-For some reason the wordless vocals on the verse section sets up the exuberance of the chorus perfectly.
  • Big Sur-One of the few times in his life Mike Love wasn’t so totally, well, Mike Love.
  • Feel Flows-Cameron Crow fans have heard this one before.  Faux existentialist wordplay and a great lead vocal by Carl Wilson highlight this playful anthem.


  • That’s Not Me-This and the following song are perhaps the best tunes on Pet Sounds not released as singles.
  • I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times-Live from . . . Brian Wilson’s living room?  Anyway, the forum reveals some nice nuance to the arrangement.
  • Cabinessence-from Brian’s live Smile video.
  • Let the Wind Blow-From Brian’ “Expend No More Production Effort Than Absolutely Necessary” period.  Still, fun and somewhat wild.
  • Wind Chimes-This and the next two are gems from Smile.  Sit back and bask in the beauty.
  • Wonderful-Still basking?  I sure hope so.
  • Surf’s Up-Listen, I’m telling you to bask!


  • Fourth Of July-Dennis Makes a political statement, with some nice production by Brian; vocal by Carl.
  • Disney Girls-Live.  The opening banter reveals what mad Mike Love so (simultaneously) awesome and terrible.  If I could tell who made the “Kokomo” crack, I’d send him a crisp hundred.
  • Kiss Me Baby-Brian Wilson at the height of his powers.  ‘Nuff said.
  • The Night Was So Young-Brian Wilson doing his best at the ebb of his powers.  Every move is totally intentional.
  • Hold On, Dear Brother-In 1973, the Beach Boys integrated the South African group Flame.  This is largely the work of the latter, and a great song.
  • Til I Die-Sometimes I know just how this guy feels.  The harmonies on the fade are exquisite.
  • Summer’s Gone-The Boys’ 50th Anniversary album may have been a bit of a let down (autotune must die!), but this song, co-written by Jon Bon Jovi (!!), has the classic Beach Boys sound, and some real emotion.


  • Good Vibrations (as performed by Heart, et al.)-Ok, the Wilson (no relation) Sisters, a baritone from the Met, and a gospel choir.  Awesome, right?  But, amazingly, even greater than the sum of its parts.  By the way, that’s George Martin introducing them.

Well, thanks for stopping by the show folks!  Please be patient in the parking lot, and have a safe drive home.  Oh, and Happy Fourth!

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