Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Summer Love Songs and Dennis Wilson documentary

Beach Boys - Peter Blake, 1964

by Howie Edelson

Out today (May 19th) is the Beach Boys' Summer Love Songs, the group's latest compilation featuring newly-remixed stereo versions of some of their most beloved tracks. Among the classic hits found on the set are "Don't Worry Baby" and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" -- featuring revamped stereo mixes utilizing the songs' long-lost masters, "Surfer Girl," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "God Only Knows," California Girls," "Girls On The Beach," and "Help Me, Rhonda," among others.

Summer Love Songs features tracks from the band's earliest days up through the late '60s and early '70s, well after they had outgrown their classic "striped shirts" era. Mike Love was asked if after the Beach Boys' initial successes, he ever considered that the group was evolving from pop stars into actual artists: "Oh no, never thought of it that way. I knew that we were musically endowed by, you know, our families and stuff like that, because we grew up in a musical environment, so music was second nature to us. I mean, it was something that we would've done as a hobby if we never made a transition to a hugely popular group. But we never thought, 'Oh my gosh, we're 'artists'' -- we didn't have, at least I didn't have, that perception."

One of the highlights on the set is a remixed version of the 1970 Dennis Wilson rarity "Fallin' In Love" which was B-side side to Wilson's first solo single "Sound Of Free." The European release has been out of print for nearly three decades and remains one of the most collectible Beach Boys-related vinyl releases.

Official Beach Boys archivist Alan Boyd compiled the new collection with Grammy award-winning producer Mark Linett. The pair experimented on creating what many fans are calling the definitive mix of the Wilson classic: "Obviously we had the original 16-track master and we did a new mix for that. Dennis had doubled his vocal and so we used some elements of that, sometimes using the double and sometimes focusing on the other track this time. At the very end of the mixing process, we decided to do an isolated mixdown of the string parts just to have it. And as we were listening to it we were commenting on how 'Beatle-esque' it sounded. And we decided to try putting a string intro on the song, using the actual string part from the song's second verse."

Wilson's biographer Jon Stebbins, who played a crucial role in the return of the session masters for "Don't Worry Baby" and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," says that "Fallin' In Love" is yet another of Wilson's forgotten evergreens: "I think 'Fallin' In Love' kinda represents when Dennis was first considering a run at a solo record. He released it in Europe as a solo single in 1970 under the title of 'Lady.' This is kind of a new version -- or a version that has elements that we've never heard before. 'Fallin' In Love' was the original working title for it, so maybe it's appropriate that they go back and call it that. But I believe that the song was written about Dennis' wife Barbara, who he was married top at the time. (It's) very typical of the things that Dennis was writing around that time, especially about Barbara."

The full tracklisting to Summer Love Songs is: "Don't Worry Baby" (new stereo mix), "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" (new stereo mix), "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "God Only Knows," "Surfer Girl," "California Girls," "Please Let Me Wonder," "In The Parkin' Lot," "Your Summer Dream," "Kiss Me, Baby," "Hushabye" (new stereo mix), "I'm So Young" (new stereo mix), "Good To My Baby" (new stereo mix), "Fallin' In Love" (new stereo mix of Dennis Wilson solo track)," "Time To Get Alone" (new stereo mix), "Our Sweet Love," "Help Me, Rhonda," "Keep An Eye On Summer," "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)," and "Girls On The Beach."

Wrapping production now for BBC TV is the first major documentary on Dennis Wilson. The film, which will air on Britain's BBC 4 this summer features in-depth interviews with Wilson's sons Michael and Carl Wilson, former Beach Boys David Marks and Blondie Chaplin, producer and songwriting partner Gregg Jakobson, engineers John Hanlon and Tom Murphy, former touring Beach Boy Jeff Foskett -- now of the Brian Wilson Band, the Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins, and Wilson's confidante Ed Roach, whose footage and stills are featured throughout the piece -- including Roach's never-before-aired footage of Wilson recording Pacific Ocean Blue.

Legends: Dennis Wilson is directed by Matt O'Casey who is best known for his recent award-winning Blondie documentary One Way Or Another. Biographer Jon Stebbins is producing the doc with Howie Edelson serving as the primary creative consultant. There's no word on a U.S. air date yet, but a DVD version is in the works.


  1. Pretty original title.

  2. My wife forced me to release the album. I'm frightened of her and I hear voices. My favourite song is 'Be My Baby.' I jog to keep fit. I hear voices...