Friday

The Beach Boys

20/20 - 1968

The Beach Boys' 20th and final LP under their original Capitol contract was one that felt much like the odds n' sods collection that it was at the time of its release. Thankfully, the passage of time has worked in the band's favor, and 20/20 is now looked upon fondly as the LP that forecasted the band's early 70s reinvention and the emergence of Carl and Dennis Wilson as the driving forces behind it. 20/20 is notable for containing a couple of tracks from the aborted SMiLe project (what was to be the album's opener "Our Prayer" and the bizarre "Cabin Essence") as well as "Never Learn Not to Love" a composition by none other than Charles Manson. Here's the lowdown, straight from Wikipedia:

Before the album commenced recording, Dennis had befriended a struggling musician named Charles Manson
and decided to help him in the music industry by recording his song "Cease To Exist" for the Beach Boys, under the new title Never Learn Not to Love. Manson explicitly told Wilson that the words were not to be altered, though he could do what he liked with the music (in the event, the basic melody was largely unchanged). When "Never Learn Not to Love" was first released by the Beach Boys as a B-side in late 1968, and credited solely to Dennis Wilson - with altered lyrics and a new bridge - Manson threatened Wilson with murder. According to Brian's collaborator, Van Dyke Parks, when Manson once showed up to make good on his threat, Dennis beat him up.

All told, 20/20 is a fantastic, fun album. The highlights are numerous, but my favorites include the Phil Spector-penned "I Can Hear Music" wrapped in a warm blanket of sunny California, and Brian's prophetic "Time to Get Alone", his sole contribution to the album.

6 comments:

alvega said...

Sweet! What are tracks 13 to 17 if you please ?

alvega said...

Never mind, got it (from the iv tags) .
Thanks :)

JBL said...

The Friends/20-20 2fer may be my favorite BBs disc of the lot--so many great songs, and all the best Dennis material.
Plus, being the first albums they did in stereo, the sound is vastly improved, and the arrangements come to the fore.

The bonus stuff on that disc is pretty good. "Celebrate the News" and "Walk on By" (brief though the latter is) are as good as anything the Boys put out.

Wayne said...

Didn't Brian also contribute "I Went To Sleep"?

Anonymous said...

At this stage of their extraordinary saga a Beach Boys odds'n'sods collection was streets ahead of 99.9% of what was going around in terms of creativity and pure listening pleasure. This wonderful album is the perfect proof. Most bands would try and build a whole career around any one of these tracks. You haven't got a decent BB collection if this one ain't in it.

JR HeatWarp said...

Nice catch Wayne. Brian did indeed write "I Went To Sleep" with brother Carl.