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Trivia / The Beach Boys

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  • Black Sheep Hit:
    • Though it only reached #49 on the charts, "Sail On, Sailor" got a fair amount of airplay on rock radio despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it sounds absolutely nothing like the rest of their catalog.
    • "Kokomo" hit #1 in 1988, mostly thanks to the Cocktail soundtrack. The Beach Boys set a new record for longest gaps between #1 hits (over 20 years before this song was released) thanks to this song (a record since surpassed by Cher, although the Beach Boys still hold the record for a band). Despite its success, it does not get much love from critics and hardcore fans alike.
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  • Breakthrough Hit: "Surfin' Safari".
  • Career Resurrection: They were one of the biggest bands of the 60s, coming about as close to surpassing The Beatles in popularity that a band could at the time. But after their groundbreaking 1967 album Smile was never released, coupled with Brian Wilson's notorious reclusion and drug abuse, they faded into obscurity, continuing to make music but failing to penetrate the charts as they once had. But then in 1974, they released a greatest hits album, Endless Summer, which went triple platinum and made the band a hot item again, leading to sold-out concerts for many years after that. But as time went on, and as a string of terrible/bizarre albums was released, and their beloved drummer Dennis Wilson drowned, this success faded as the group went into the 80s. However, they found themselves becoming suddenly successful again when they released their 1988 hit "Kokomo", from the Cocktail soundtrack, which gave the group a #1 record for the first time in decades. The band's third noteworthy spurt of popularity came with the 1993 release of the Good Vibrations: 30 Years of The Beach Boys box set, which yielded their most successful tour in 13 years. Their last came in 2012, when the group's first new album in twenty years, That's Why God Made the Radio, met with critical acclaim, as did the ensuing 50th anniversary tour.
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  • Creator Backlash: Carl and Dennis both hated M.I.U. Album with a passion. Dennis was so repulsed by the concept behind it (it was essentially Mike's paean to Transcendental Meditation) that he refused to participate in the recording sessions. He said of the album, "It should self destruct.. I hope that the karma will fuck up Mike Love's meditation forever."
  • Creator Breakdown: Brian Wilson is probably one of the most tragic examples in recent memory.
  • Defictionalization: "Kokomo" was not written about any real life tropical getaway spot. However, after the song became a hit, at least two resorts sprang up sporting the name.
  • Executive Meddling: At least half of the hardships Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys faced could've been avoided if Capitol Records would've been better team players.
  • Franchise Killer: The collective failures of 1992's Summer in Paradise and 1996's Stars and Stripes Vol 1. led to the shelving of any future Beach Boys projects (including a Stars and Stripes Vol. 2 and an Andy Paley collaboration album) until 2012's That's Why God Made the Radio.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes
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    • For decades after its original release, legal mumbo-jumbo prevented Dennis Wilson's masterpiece Pacific Ocean Blue from being reissued on CD. 2008 finally saw that happen, even including sessions and recordings from Dennis's unfinished follow-up album, Bambu.
    • The 1992 album Summer In Paradise was only given one print run, and with sales being extremely poor (and the distributing label being on the verge of bankruptcy), the record company didn't feel the need to make another batch. As a result, the album has been out of print essentially since the time it was released, and consequently is extremely rare to find. New copies currently sell for $100 and up on Amazon.com, and even used ones fetch upwards of $30. Too bad the actual music doesn't justify that hefty price tag.
    • Still Cruisin' is out of print as well; however, that one can still be found relatively cheaply used, and at any rate, the album's only hit, "Kokomo", is readily available on just about any compilation.
    • Smile was one of the first "holy grails" of music to surface on bootlegs.
    • Despite being well received, Mike Love's only solo album Looking Back With Love has been out of print for many years and is quite hard to find these days.
  • Missing Episode:
    • For over forty years, Dennis' "(Wouldn't It Be Nice to) Live Again" remained inexplicably unreleased and unheard, despite the remaining "vault" songs being gradually released over time. Gradually, it amassed mythical status amongst the die-hard fandom on par with Smile. It was ultimately released in 2013 as part of the Made in California box set, and is viewed as very much worthy of its legend.
    • They probably had more aborted albums than any other major artist. Besides Smile there was also the proposed 1967 live album Lei'd in Hawaii, a live album of their 1975 tour with Chicago, and two 1977 albums that got rejected by their label: Adult/Child (basically "Brian Wilson goes Vegas") and Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys. Except for the Chicago album, a good chunk of the material for these albums has been released on various rarities compilations over the years.
    • Capitol rushed 1967's "Wild Honey" out without doing a proper stereo mix (essentially the two versions were a mono mix and a fake stereo mix). In 2017, they finally produced a proper stereo mix from the masters, released as "Sunshine Tomorrow" along with a load of outtakes from it and "Smiley Smile" AND the unreleased live album "Lei'd In Hawaii".
  • Name's the Same:
    • The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson does not close games for the San Francisco Giants (or at the end of the 2013 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers), though he did at one point sport a rather scary-looking beard.
    • There's a Canadian music critic named Carl Wilson.
    • There was a Nashville session backing vocalist in the 80s and 90s named Dennis Wilson.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Jeffrey Foskett was a big fan of the band when he was young and was discovered by Mike Love in 1981. He performed with the band at Live Aid and also spent many years performing with Brian Wilson in his solo career. He eventually became a full time member of the band starting with the 50th Anniversary reunion.
  • Saved from Development Hell: Smile, after 37 years.
  • Similarly Named Works: "All I Want to Do" vs. "All I Wanna Do".
  • Stillborn Franchise: Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1, a 1996 album featuring them singing re-recordings of their hits as duets with Country Music stars, was supposed to be the first of a series (hence the title). After the album was ripped apart by critics, any future installments were scrapped.
  • Throw It In!:
    • "Here Today" has some background studio chatter that Brian Wilson apparently failed to notice. "Wendy" does, as well, including an audible cough. It was removed in the stereo mix.
    • Brian Wilson frequently incorporated suggestions from his backing musicians into his songs. A notable example is the staccato instrument break in "God Only Knows", which is one of the song's most memorable hooks. It came from pianist Don Randi.
  • What Could Have Been
    • Smile, of course, is arguably the greatest What Could Have Been in rock history.note 
    • Roger Waters was planning to have The Beach Boys sing backup vocals on several songs for The Wall, but the band declined after learning what the lyrics were about. He did get Bruce Johnston, though. (The other story is that the Boys were okay with it, but Waters cancelled the session for some reason and settled for just Johnston.)
    • In 1970 Brian wanted to change the name of the band to The Beach (since they weren't "boys" anymore), but the others vetoed the idea.
    • Brian Wilson and Andy Paley were working on a Beach Boys album together in the mid-to-late 90s. Unfortunately, due to numerous factors, it was shelved. It was the last album that Carl Wilson worked on before he died.
    • They were asked to play Woodstock, but there's never been a specific reported reason why they turned it down. However, 1969 was a terrible year for the band all around. They were badly in debt and manager Murry Wilson had just sold the rights to their song catalog behind their backs, devastating Brian. They may have just wanted to take a break from the spotlight.

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