Discussion in 'AK Polls' started by jdsalinger, Feb 26, 2016.
Well, the Beatles had multiple Brian Wilsons, so it wasn't a fair competition.
I voted for The Beachboys because I've never really liked The Beatles at all..
I'm not sure why, just never did, but I have found a new appreciation for their music, finally after 30years, lol
I've never really liked The Beachboys either, I'm my defence I never gave either band a chance to imprint on me, I felt every time I heard a Beatles song it always sounded like I was listening to an AM radio Stn.
As for the BB never gave them a chance either, always changed the Stn.
I just recently watched Love and Mercy a story about Brian Wilson and the BB's thought it was very good, and I actually heard some of their music and I really liked it..
So I bought a copy of Pet Sounds on vinyl and really like their style..
............ and they didn't need somebody like Carol Kaye to make hits out of their songs.
The Beach Boys, much more so than the Beatles
The Southern California Myth that the band helped established then, exists today emulated throughout the world today.
What does Carol Kaye say about Brian Wilson?
Carol Kaye on bass, Brian and the Beach Boys
Also Phil Spector, Sonny Bono, Barbra Streisand
and the life of a session player
I started playing guitar at age 14, had 3 months of lessons with Howard Roberts' teacher, Horace Hatchett, who hired me to teach with him then in 1949, also started playing semi-jazz jobs then. Played odd jobs with all kinds of groups, on the road with a big band at ages 19 and 20. Played bebop 1956 through about 1963 with the finest jazz groups in L.A. Mostly black clubs where the jazz was hottest. I was born in 1935 in Everett, Wash. Came to California in 1941. Lived in a housing project in Wilmington, Calif. Grew up poor. Accidently got into studio work in 1957 when Bumps Blackwell heard me at the Beverly Caverns with the Teddy Edwards jazz group (with Curtis Counce on bass, Billy Higgins on drums) and asked me to do recording sessions with Sam Cooke.
Did lots of record dates and did practically all of the Phil Spector 60's sessions. I accidentally picked up someone's Fender bass when the bass player didn't show on a record date at Capitol Records in 1963 and became quickly the first call bassist for all of the good lines I could create.
Think the record of being the most recorded bassist, male or female, will stand.
Just wanted to say that I thought it was great to work for Brian Wilson. He always was and always has been a good guy, musical genius (us studio musicans all admired him and still do), and a good commander-in-chief.
He wrote practically all the music (once in a while we'd get a lick in but all the notes came from his head), produced it all, and I thought he sung it all, well nearly all. Chuck Britz would just sit by after setting up the board at Western and Brian would also mix it.
Never saw drugs or booze in the studio (one beer one time that's all) and don't know where the dumb books and terrible lying TV stories get their stuff (probably from the same garbage the other music bio book writers get their dirt, so the public will spend good money to read trash), but it was so unlike Brian I almost laughed. You can believe that news media hype if you want to.
But you are right to believe in Brian. He is someone good to believe in. I'm not trying to whitewash anything, just relate the truth about him. What he did in his personal life is none of my business. We all have some tough times, but the fact is when I worked for him a few months ago, he was the same ole Brian, a pleasure to know and work for.
We all respected Brian. Yes, those were 99% his notes. Once in a while we got a lick in, but he arranged, wrote, produced (once the engineer set up the board Chuck usually just sat there) and experimented. This took the time and made the dates long, but it was our job and we liked Brian very much. Still do.
As for Brian Wilson, he's fine, doing well. We did a memorable session together a few months back (with he and his two daughters singing) and it was pretty emotional as it was the first time I've seen him in over 25 years. And while it was a little awkward talking at first, with so much to catch up on, it felt like old times. He's the same Brian I worked for before, cool, calm, very much the boss with the hugely talented ideas and musical genius. Hal Blaine, Tommy Morgan, Dennis Budimer, etc. a few of us oldies with some of the best new younger talents too, all nice great guys, and it was pleasurable. We all had been through the wringer in one way or the other and were glad to see each other. The music was pretty good, a good groove from the start like it was just last month that we last played together.
Brian had his wife and mother there, very nice chatting with them. But I did bring up the fact about that terrible book, crazy phony TV thing about his life (such a pack of lies and slander), and how can people believe such things? But Brian just was unperturbed and kept working doing what he loves, getting the session going. He should be doing film scores with that huge talent he has.
I was told a little later that he hates interviews and will say anything to get rid of the interviewer, even to the point of making up stuff like, "Yeah, I used LSD," which is what they wanted to hear anyway. Just dirt stuff, not really anything truthful.
I never saw drugs with Brian, not even booze. (That's not to say that he didn't do drugs. He says he did some.) One time a beer. Hear that you sleaze rags out there?!!
He was always good to work for, but the dates were long. He loved to experiment, but always paid us well, on time, and joked with us, loved our company and we loved his, always the master at his craft, a really good person too. He ought to sue some of those awful rags for the crap they print about him.
Brian to me is the musical genius that everyone thinks he is. I worked for many many sessions for him. He is one of the greatest people in the world, very kind, very strong. Make that very very strong. And he should have his rightful place in the world amongst the geniuses of the music world. His beauty is apparent in his music, and that's a truth that no one, no matter how hard they try, can take away from him.
Since I hadn't seen Brian in about 25 years, and then to work with him again a few months ago, that was a very emotional time. It was hard to keep on an even keel at first. The emotions ran deep. We all felt the same way, Brian, myself, Hal Blaine, Tommy Morgan, Jay Migliori. It's as if we all had been to hell and back at the same times in our lives and we were still here to record again together. Brian took care of business as usual with his strong personality and self-confidence (fragile mind? are you kidding? Brian was the strongest I ever saw in the studios). There was a lot of chatting going on, his gracious wife and very nice mother were in the booth. We were pretty excited about being around each other again. And the love of his friends was so apparent. It was almost a party. All this and parking places too.
Hal Blaine lightened the mood with his usual jokes and stories. Brian and I awkwardly tried to catch up a little chatting too. Tommy kept saying, "This is the best I've ever seen Brian" and Jay kept smiling from ear to ear, that handsome Italian.
We recorded just one song for Brian and his daughters to sing on: "Everything I Need", but the groove was instaneous. It was like it was last month when we last recorded together, except this time it went through a digital board. It sounded a little different, but eventually Brian got his usual larger-than-life big sound. And then overdubbed accordian and harmonica. I felt like I was transported back to the 60s when we did a lot for Brian.
People ask how Brian communicated to us his ideas. First, he'd bring in music parts, then tell us what he wanted through the mike, or just sitting down and playing piano with us. He was always in total command.
About "Pet Sounds," Brian was in his glory when we first recorded this (Hal Blaine drums, Lyle Ritz on string bass on most, Chuck Berghofer on one, Ray Pohlman on Fender Bass on 4, Barney Kessell - Tommy Tedesco - Bill Pitman - Glen Campbell - Billy Strange are some of the guitarists, Jay Migliori on sax, others too, yours truly on Fender Bass on the rest of the tunes). Among some of my favorites I played on are: "Sloop John B.", "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "God Only Knows," "Caroline No," "Let's Go Away For Awhile," "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times," "Don't Talk - Put Your Head On My Shoulder," and "Pet Sounds." We knew this was going to be big. Brian had a certain love that was evolving with his talents and this was the best yet to date, something special was going on, we all felt it.
Chuck Britz, the engineer at Western, set up the board as usual, and the rest was done by Brian, who not only co-wrote the songs with Tony Asher, wrote the music parts, but then would proceed to produce and engineer. And sing. One time, he was so proud of a multi-voiced (about 12 tracks or so) thing he single-handedly cut, he played it for us and we were all amazed. Barney Kessel couldn't get over it (and this from a famous jazz man). Yep, we were in awe of Brian, he was scary with all that talent.
It was great to work for him, but it did get tedious at times with all the hours (Hal on his crossword puzzle) and I would chat with the guys etc. Even Lyle Ritz got bored and started a little fire with his music just for fun. Lots of coffee kept us going but Brian knew exactly what he wanted and kept us all going.
People try to compare Brian to Phil Spector, but the two were as different as night and day. And while they both are talented men, just very different in the way they worked too. Phil was more into the whole "spectre" of sound (excuse the pun). He utilized the great echo chambers (designed by Dave Gold) at Gold Star Recorders (Dave Gold & Stan Ross partners) and used Stan Ross at first, but then Larry Levine did all the engineering. Phil would drive him nuts at first, requiring all the levels full blast. Many an ear would ring after hearing a playback. But we knew Phil was after "something" and being the wit he was, it sometimes was "group therapy" night as he'd pick on someone's Achilles heel all in fun. You couldn't take anything Phil did or said to you with great seriousness.
It was also long hours with Phil, 29 long takes, 35 long takes, one song 3 hours and then he'd cut a B side with either Howard Roberts, Tommy Tedesco or Barney playing a jazz guitar solo in one take.
On the Righteous Bros. records, Ray Pohlman (who was the #1 studio recording Fender Bassist in L.A. since the mid-50s, the very first electric bassist) played bass on all those fine hits (I did get to play electric bass on "Soul And Inspiration" though) and Ray did a fine job on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", "Unchained Melody" etc. I played guitar on those. The room would usually hold a crowd of musicians, Sonny Bono would sit in with the percussion section playing tambourine until Phil would call him saying, "Telephone, Sonny" then as soon as he was out the door, we'd do the take (to the gratefulness of the percussionists). The booth was constantly crowded with people. What a scene, but fun!
We knew as soon as we played them that those tunes would be big hits easily. There were arrangements (usually from Jack Nitzsche who used to work for H.B. Barnum while honing his arranging skills), but we also put a little of our stamp on them, a few licks here, some rhythm patterns there. "Don't move the mikes," Phil would warn if we got up to take our 5-minute break which we were lucky to get. He didn't want anything to touch the "sound-waves" of that room once he had gotten balance. "DON'T MOVE THE MIKES," so we were very careful. The whole band was in the room. Some were playing chess, or throwing darts to naked ladies drawn on the walls. Phil would sometimes dress in outlandish costumes and then use his psychological tricks on us. We were ready for him.
The Blossoms did most of his tracks (didn't matter who the group was) and Larry would shudder when we all got pregnant at the same time but kept on working. You sure saw a lot of Darlene Love, a great person, happy personality and loaded with talent. Us girls would kid a lot, but we all knuckled down to take care of business.
Not enough credit is given to these fine men at Gold Star, Dave Gold, Stan Ross, and Larry Levine, who had a lot to put up with during the heat of those early dates.
While most of the guys loved Phil (I did too, back then), he's called me for work a couple of times, but I had to refuse for various reasons. Just didn't feel right at the time, but I still respect what he did. About that term "Wrecking Crew". Tommy Tedesco and I were talking about that when we made a filmed interview together talking about the "good ole days" in the studios. It sounds like we're all lumped together as one band, but that's not true. We were all independent. It's just Hal's (editor's note: drummer Hal Blaine) pet term of description.
The film we cut should be about done now and should be very entertaining, the four of us: Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Plas Johnson, and myself talking about so many producers, record dates (not so much about film calls), some of the stars, and what we remembered about those times, especially about Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, Sonny & Cher, other very important dates, incident with the stars, the record companies etc.
We were called "studio musicians" and all belonged to the Local 47 Musician's Union which at that time had about 17,000 members alone in the L.A. area (it's quite a bit smaller now). We worked as "independent contractors", that is, we booked ourselves via having an "answering service" a phone exchange listed in the Union book printed every year, still is reprinted every year.
While it sounds glamorous, it was hard work, and fairly closed to outsiders too. But we all tried to encourage good new talented people when we could. You wanted to surround yourself with the best. A lot more than musicianship was at stake, though. You had to get along with people, be on time, be professional in every way. No soreheads allowed. No one held your hand or played your instrument for you either. You were on your own, but we did have a close-knit feeling among us all. We got hired by word of mouth mostly.
You NEVER turned a record date down, or a movie/TV film call for that matter either or tried not to, and you rarely announced an "out-of-town" vacation too. I remember a particular time when I had to get away, took the kids and housekeeper up to a houseboat in the Bay area, then made it up to a Northern California lake area, just a gorgeous place for the kids. But a movie contractor found me with a well-placed phone call and insisted that I have to come back for a movie score "NOW", and that meant you had to obey. There was a lot of competition out there ready to take your place if you didn't take care of business.
I have in the past recommended several musicians, and only one or two couldn't cut the mustard. One was mostly a record date person and couldn't read well, didn't have the correct instruments, was late, etc. and I was told by the contractor NEVER to recommend that person again or my career was threatened. That's how strict the work is in the movie studios, but this is to be expected. It costs a lot of money to cut a film score.
About "Smile," I was listening to some tapes recently and found my voice all over that, laughing teasing the guys, etc. But Brian, that will give you goosebumps any day, no wonder his fans are so fanatical, that music is direct from heaven, the big guy is something else alright.
Some of the "Smile" tracks I played on: "Good Vibrations" (all but one version with string bass), "Do You Like Worms," "Surf's Up," "Heroes & Villains," "Child Is Father Of The Man," "Cabin Essence, "Wind Chimes," "I'm In Great Shape," "Vegetables," "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow," "Love To Say DaDa." I think "Smile" is even deeper than "Pet Sounds" now. He was sure into something.
On one take of "Good Vibrations," you hear me play with Brian during that organ quiet middle part and it's a bass with fuzztone. I used the Maestro box, the same fuzz I used on "In The Heat Of The Night" movie cues with Quincy Jones, but that didn't make to the final version. Brian has a PERFECT sense of time, much better than me, and you hear him play the middle part of "Good Vibrations" on organ. You cannot beat his fine sense of time on the bass pedals. There's even one "Good Vibrations" just with the string bass (by Lyle Ritz).
I've worked with probably the finest drummers in the studios, and was spoiled to some of the finest playing I've ever heard from the likes of: Shelly Manne, Louie Bellson, Earl Palmer, John Guerin, Paul Humphrey, Jack Sperling, Sharky Hall, Charley Blackwell, Jesse Sailes, Frankie Capp, Hal Blaine, Jeff Porcaro, Larry Bunker, Nick Ceroli, Ed Shaughnessey, Jake Hanna, Ed Thigpen, Mel Lewis, Roy McCurdy, James Gadson, Nick Fatool, Alvin Stoller, Panama Francis, Harold Jones, Jim Keltner, Sol Gubin, Harvey Mason, Irv Cottler, Ron Tutt, Jackie Mills, Jim Gordon, to name just a few.
Being an experienced musician and loving Latin music, it was easy to make up good samba or conga type bass lines which made the music kind of funky. The lines I came up with in the Cosby "Hikky Burr" have samba, conga and a few blues fills in it too. It's a good study of a good rhythmic piece for bass, but there are many more I played on records, too, such as "Feelin' Alright" with Joe Cocker.
"Feelin' Alright" was cut late in 1968 at Sunset Sound with just Paul Humphrey on drums (and he was wearing his metrenome in his ear too), Artie Butler (who later wrote many fine arrangements and movie scores) on solo piano, David Cohen on guitar, and Lauder on congas in a separate room and Joe in the studio singing. We quickly picked up what they wanted, a latin-soul type of rhythm (there were no charts, it was a two-chord tune only), quickly worked out the verse and chorus parts and the famous instrumental break that Artie played. The great background voices were overdubbed later by sisters Brenda and Pat Holloway and Clydie King.
Paul immediately struck up a semi-samba funk drum part and I went a contrasting way with a rhythm for a bassline. The chorus features the bass playing mostly down beats while Paul was accenting up beats, then we switched places for the verse. It was that simple. Joe had a lot to do with the feel though. He is a very soulful guy and we got along instantly. It was a great date. But the real take (I thought) was the take before the one you hear. I always thought that was the better take, but something happened, erased, or not recorded or something like that. But "Feelin' Alright" was a big hit twice, so I guess that's pretty good.
My radio just played "Sloop John B," one of my favorite records. I loved it when we cut it, and even today just the same. That's Billy Strange playing guitar you hear a lot on it. Brian Wilson asked me to use a lot more treble sound than I ordinarily did (my Fender 4-10 open back amp was miked), but that's where I came in isn't it. Brian Wilson, the best of them all, the kid did good.
Thanks for writing. Carol Kaye.
At least, the Beatles played their own instruments on their own albums. The Beach Boys used studio musicians on many of their earlier works, including PET SOUNDS.
Beatles vs Beach Boys...
Beatles vs Rolling Stones....
Beatles vs Elvis...
All valid comparisons and make for interesting conversation. But it seems, to me at least, that the Beatles are the standard against which other greats are usually measured. Has anyone ever asked... Rolling Stones vs Elvis?
I love all of the above, and many more. But the Beatles have no equal IMO. And not likely to ever happen because musical genres are so split up now, each group has access to a much smaller percentage of the total number of listeners. I can't see how that would change.
Hummm….Didn’t know the Beatles played the strings in all of those later songs & it is pretty well know fact that it was Eric Claptons guitar weeping on “While Guitar Gently Weeps”
McCartney much like Wilson is a one man band excellent composer, singer, drummer ,bass,guitar & piano/keys player!
Both bands were amazing…Debating who was better is like debating is Red or White wine better?
Depends whats on the menu,your mood & who you’re sharing it with at the time and just plain old personal preference.
Fortunately we don’t have to chose one or the other & can enjoy both!
The Beatles were and remain the best pop/rock group of all time. I truly love the Beach Boys but they were done as a musical force in 1968, despite having some good later output. Who knows what would have been their story had Brian Wilson not had his problem?
Neither band had really "talented" musicians IMO but you don't have to be a great musician to create good music. You just need a hook
These are two of my favorite bands so I cannot pick one over the other. I have every Beatle album excluding the compilations or greatest hits albums. Loved the Beach boys back in the 60's I mean fast cars, girls, what more can a young teenager want? I rediscovered the Beach Boys when Surfs Up came out, what a masterpiece, and had to have every album from them before that. Tough question.
I was there from '63 on listening to every new song that came out and every style of music that came out due to living in the San Fransico Bay Area. I'm not saying I'm an expert, but there were certain groups that over shadowed the Beatles in the late sixties. Even though so many younger girls pushed up sales of Beatle records, the Rolling Stones using a different approach was equally skilled as the Beatles. Credence Clearwater Revivial was equal in creativity and technic. Janis Joplin with The Big Brother Holding Company loomed over the top of the Beatles. Jimmy Henbrix was considered the generations guru and above the Beatles in accomplishments. Jim Morrison and The Doors live in concert was a life changing experience after I saw the Beatles at Candle Stick Park in '66, what a difference. James Brown had just as much going on as the Beatles and he was more original. But, he was still sitting in the back of the bus. Carlos Sanana in genius and style was equal to the Beatles. I think the media has idolized the Beatles when anyone suggests something about the sixties because there were pop festivals that happen all over the country at that time and the Beatles were not even half of it.
You know who I would compare the Beach Boys to.....Frankie Valley and The Four Seasons !
But, I do know that Midwesterners loved the Beach Boys in the sixties and seventies and they are a good band !
- This is like comparing a Bodington's ale or St. Peter's to a good California IPA - Anderson Ale, or Sierra Nevada.
I've always gravitated to the Beach Boys. Sunflower is a great album, 20/20, Holland, Smiley Smile. They have great tracks, and then they have some novel tracks. (aka duds).
apple records and oranges...
Most great Bands had that sound but not good Musicans! That was and is the heart of a good Band,lesser Musicians who come together and sound GREAT
When the Beatles released a new album EVERYONE stopped and listened and copied...
They were 'progressive pop' (you can quote me on that one!) and their albums, fashions and 'attitudes' shaped modern pop music.
The true testament, for me, is that every generation seems to 'discover ' them and become seduced by their music.
I have to go with I own 10 Beatles cd's to the Beach Boys 1 so have to go with the Beatles.
Separate names with a comma.