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Behind the scenes: The making of the ‘Boys of Summer’ CD

“The Boys of Summer” is a 14-song CD collection that brings together Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Jan & Dean for the first time in their long history.

By David M. Beard


It was a rewarding experience to create “The Boys of Summer,” a 14-song CD collection that brings together Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Jan & Dean for the first time in their long history.

The complimentary disc is included in the Summer 2010 edition of Endless Summer Quarterly. For more information, visit

The initial plan for this project was to gather two songs from each of the surviving members of the original Beach Boys and Dean Torrence. Once that was accomplished, it was apparent that without Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson and Jan Berry the set wasn’t complete.

To achieve this, I reached out to Wilson family members and re-approached Dean. Everyone gave their thumbs up.

As it turned out I could only acquire one recording from Dennis’ catalogue due to the logistics of getting the music OK’d for use on the CD. For my money, I could have chosen any Dennis song and it would have been great, but I wanted to capture a part of his essence that casual Beach Boys fans might not be as familiar with. “Mexico,” a “Pacific Ocean Blue”-era recording, really speaks from Dennis’ soul.

The song sequencing process was both challenging and rewarding. The goal with this collection was to have the voices and talent represented throughout the listening experience.

Highlights include Mike Love’s timbre on “Love Like In Fairytales;” Brian Wilson and Carl Wilson on “Soul Searchin;’” the pure fun of Al Jardine’s “Honkin’ Down The Highway” and “Drivin’” (both featuring Brian); the great Harry Nilsson vibe in Dean Torrence’s take on The Kinks’ recording “Sunny Afternoon;” has a great Harry Nilsson vibe; David Marks’ guitarmanship on four tracks… and Carl Wilson’s closing dialogue about his brother Brian on “Like A Brother” is a moving tribute.

All in all, it’s a great collection, but I think it’s the opening line of Brian’s song, “The Spirit of Rock & Roll,” that sums it up best: “The memories still hold us together, no matter if we’re young or old ... As long as there’s music we’ll all live forever in the spirit of rock & roll.” He’s right, and that’s what this CD represents: the memories, the spirit and the incredibly unique blend and vibe that only the “boys of summer” can provide. Here’s a track listing.

Brian Wilson: “The Spirit of Rock & Roll,” from the hallmark album “Songs From Here & Back” (out of print).
“The Beach Boys actually performed ‘The Spirit of Rock & Roll’ live in 1985 in Hawaii at the Beach Boys 25th Anniversary Celebration. I wrote that with Gary Usher and Tom Kelly. Bob Dylan sang on it at my studio on Pico Boulevard, when I was with Gene Landy. I have three different versions. I like this version because it has better chord structure.”
— Brian Wilson, 2006
Mike Love: “Cool Head, Warm Heart,” from the hallmark album — “Songs From Here & Back” (out of print), from the forthcoming album “Mike Love, Not War”
Beckley-Lamm-Wilson (featuring Carl Wilson): “Run Don’t Walk,” from the Beckley-Lamm-Wilson album “Like A Brother.”
“Those who are really familiar the different qualities of the voices in The Beach Boys think of that overall sound, and it is one of the most distinctive signature sounds of the century. As you get below the layers, you start to become well aware of who sang what. I can tell you from doing many sessions over the years in L.A. that Carl and his vocals were held in the highest respect.”
— Gerry Beckley (America), 2000
David Marks: “Big Wave,” from David’s album “I Think About You Often.”
Jan & Dean: “Ocean Park Angel,” from Dean Torrence’s anthology album “Legendary Masked Surfer Unmasked.”
“I like the recording a lot. After Jan’s accident, ballads were easier for him to sing than up-tempo stuff. I was being flexible enough to know that under the new circumstances, that it was okay to be done by Jan & Dean at that particular point.”
— Dean Torrence, 2002
Al Jardine (with Brian Wilson): “Honkin’ Down The Highway,” from Al’s forthcoming album “A Postcard From California.”
“I think the songs speak for themselves. Richie Canatta livens up my new version of ‘Honkin’ Down The Highway’ with his Baritone sax solo, and the band has fun singing the a cappella ‘…way with girls...’ Queen style. Brian, Matt (Jardine) and Adam (Jardine) make up the background singers on ‘Honkin.’ Very solid! They sound just like the original, only better. They knocked it out in about 15 minutes. Also, I used the same Moog synthesizer we used on the original recording. This is a more solid, rock version and I enjoyed playing traffic cop warning the driver to, ‘slow it down, I clocked you at a 140 with the top-end floored’ reminiscent of ‘Little Deuce Coupe.’”
— Al Jardine, 2010
Al Jardine (with Brian Wilson & David Marks): “Drivin’,” from Al’s forthcoming album, “A Postcard From California.”
“I was working on this track at the piano and came up with a line based on the wonderful rhythm in “Tuesday Afternoon.” It came out more like a blues thing, but it gave me a tracking for the vocal. I used that rhythm pattern and it helped with the feeling of driving up and down the coast of California. David Marks is playing a very soulful guitar solo reminiscent of The Beatles’ ‘Get Back.’ Gerry and Dewey of America are my background singers and take us all the way up the coast from the Ventura County line to Big Sur. I especially like the way Brian phrases... ‘gone surfin.’”
— Al Jardine, 2010
Dean Torrence: “Sunny Afternoon” from the Jan & Dean compilation “Silver Summer.”
Brian Wilson (featuring Carl Wilson): “Soul Searchin,’” from the Brian Wilson album “Gettin’ In Over My Head.”
David Marks (with Al Jardine): “I Sail Away,” from David’s forthcoming album “The Circle Continues.”
Dennis Wilson: “Mexico,” from the Dennis Wilson album “Pacific Ocean Blue Legacy Edition.”
Mike Love: “Love Like In Fairytales,” from Mike’s forthcoming album “Mike Love, Not War.”
David Marks: “The Circle Continues,” from David’s forthcoming album “The Circle Continues.”
Beckley-Lamm-Wilson (featuring Carl Wilson): “Like A Brother,” from the Beckley-Lamm-Wilson album Like A Brother.
“This is a song for Brian. It’s one of the first songs that we worked on when we went into writing and recording rehearsals in Palm Springs. For me it’s the epitome of a Carl song.”
— Robert Lamm (Chicago), 2000

David M. Beard is the editor and publisher of Endless Summer Quarterly (The Beach Boys endorse ESQ as being the "World's leading Brian Wilson/Beach Boys publication). In addition to his 17-year tenure with ESQ, he has served as consultant for VH1’s “Jan & Dean — Behind The Music,” “Glen Campbell — Behind The Music” and A&E’s “Jan & Dean — The Other Beach Boys”; and co-written liner notes for the Dennis Wilson “Pacific Ocean Blue — Legacy Edition” and “Jan & Dean — The Complete Liberty Singles.”

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