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Music / Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"

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I need a spark by a fire/ To stop the cold of my winter/ I need a burst of your raindrops/ To keep a flow in my river/ I need a call for my phone will ring/ I need your song for my voice will sing.

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" is the eighteenth studio album by The Beach Boys, released in 1972. It is their first album with Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar, and the first since the departure of Bruce Johnston — although he appeared on "Marcella" before he quit. As a result, this is the Beach Boys album with the most members, with every member they ever had bar David Marks officially appearing on this album. Johnston would rejoin The Beach Boys permanently in 1978. This album is a major New Sound Album, to the point where the casual fan would not realise this is The Beach Boys if they are not told who this is by. Elton John is a known fan of this album, citing it as his favourite by The Beach Boys.

The title of this album is a Shout-Out to a band Carl Wilson was in when he was a teenager (although he didn't recall such a band to exist). Upon release, this album was a moderate success commercially and received generally positive reviews. However, in the US it was paired with Pet Sounds, which indicated the lack of confidence their record company, Reprise Records, had with this album. Reprise would later reissue Pet Sounds on its own.

Fan favorites include "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone", "Marcella", "All This Is That" and "Cuddle Up".


Side One

  1. "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone" (3:27)
  2. "Here She Comes" (5:10)
  3. "He Come Down" (4:41)
  4. "Marcella" (3:54)

Side Two

  1. "Hold On Dear Brother" (4:43)
  2. "Make It Good" (2:36)
  3. "All This Is That" (4:00)
  4. "Cuddle Up" (5:30)

Principal Members:

You Need A Mess Of Help To Trope Alone:

  • Darker and Edgier: "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone" is very powerful heavy rock by the Beach Boys' standards.
  • Ethereal Choir: "All This Is That" has harmony singing that sounds much like this. The religious texts, "Jai guru dev, jai..." only add to the atmosphere.
  • Genre Roulette: Includes Roots Rock, Hard Rock, Gospel, Soul, Blues Rock, Rhythm And Blues, etc.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: "He Came Down" is a song that praise God, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Krishna.
    People have you heard of the world plan
    To know the inner nature of every man
    Jesus came down to save the world from sin
    Sayin' "Seek ye first the kingdom within"
  • Mythology Gag: This album partially gets its name from one of the bands Carl Wilson had formed in school prior to The Beach Boys.
  • New Sound Album: The album! A complete change of sound to a style not so different from the likes of The Band, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac.
  • One-Woman Song: "Marcella".
  • Pep-Talk Song:
    • "Make It Good", where the protagonist cheers a sad woman up and tells her he'll stay with her.
    • "Hold On Dear Brother"
    What can I love that isn't you
    But you never understand inside of me
    Till you realize a look
    You never get more than you took
    Won't you please
    Hold on dear Brother
  • The Power of Love:
    • "All This Is That"
    Golden auras glow around you
    Omnipresent love surrounds you
    Wisdom warming as the sun
    You and I are truly one
    • "Cuddle Up"
    I know a man who's so in love ... the night has come.... cuddle up to me
    Keep warm, close to me
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • It is widely believed that "Hold On Dear Brother" was written in tribute to Brian Wilson, who was mentally going through a severe breakdown at the time.
    • The reason why Pet Sounds was included on the US release was solely because the only widely-available version at the time was the Duophonic (fake stereo) version of the album. It's even pointed out on the labels:
      This recording is pressed in monophonic sound, the way Brian cut it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The album title to a band which a teen-aged Carl Wilson was a member of.
    • Saint Etienne named their 1993 album So Tough as a homage to The Beach Boys. That same year, they named their compilation You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone.
  • Special Guest: Daryl Dragon — best known from Captain & Tennille, as well as a former touring member of The Beach Boys — co-wrote some of the ballads on this album with Dennis Wilson.