‘Fun, Fun, Fun’

Beach Boys team up with Royal Phil­har­monic

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - BY GRE­GORY KATZ LON­DON

Sum­mer is com­ing and the sea­son in Bri­tain is be­ing marked by a re­turn to the air­waves of the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” with a new ver­sion fea­tur­ing the Royal Phil­har­monic Orches­tra.

The rau­cous teenage clas­sic has been re­born with a clas­si­cal twist, one of 16 Beach Boys tunes given a new lease on life on a CD recorded at Abbey Road, a Lon­don land­mark for­ever as­so­ci­ated with an­other great ‘60s band, the Bea­tles.

Beach Boys singer Mike Love seems some­what mys­ti­fied by the con­tin­u­ing ap­peal of tunes he helped pen with cousin and fel­low Beach Boy Brian Wil­son more than five decades ago.

“They’re play­ing ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ on the ra­dio these days, which is great,” says Love, who was in Bri­tain for days of live per­for­mances.

“Brian and I wrote that years and years ago. I said, Brian, ‘we ought to do a song about a girl who bor­rows her dad’s car and goes cruis­ing to it rather than to the li­brary.”’

The slightly pre­pos­ter­ous song (ro­mance de­vel­ops af­ter the girl’s fa­ther takes her Thun­der­bird away) had a first life as a hit, a sec­ond spell as a nos­tal­gic en­core at hun­dreds of Beach Boys con­certs, and now a third in­car­na­tion that com­bines the band’s early sound with a premier orches­tra.

“They’ve done a great job of hon­our­ing the orig­i­nal vo­cal per­for­mances and com­ple­ment­ing them with the or­ches­tra­tions,” said Love.

The pro­ject has been ap­proved by all the sur­viv­ing Beach Boys, in­clud­ing Brian Wil­son, who had re­cently been em­broiled in bit­ter law­suits with Love. Brian’s two broth­ers — Carl and Den­nis Wil­son — have both died.

Brian Wil­son is not tour­ing with the cur­rent in­car­na­tion of the Beach Boys - he’s been con­cen­trat­ing on solo projects for some 20 years - but he sees the Phil­har­monic pro­ject as val­i­da­tion of his be­lief that clas­sic com­po­si­tions like “Good Vi­bra­tions” are “pocket sym­phonies.”

“I al­ways knew the vo­cal ar­range­ments I did back in the 1960s would lend them­selves per­fectly for a sym­phony,” he said in a state­ment. “I am both proud and hum­bled by what they have cre­ated us­ing our songs.”

The al­bum, re­leased last week, is al­ready the Beach Boys high­est chart­ing al­bum in Bri­tain in 28 years.

The Royal Phil­har­monic has had suc­cess with this ap­proach be­fore, re­leas­ing ear­lier al­bums “with” Elvis Pres­ley, Roy Or­bi­son and Aretha Franklin.

Pro­duc­ers Don Reed­man and Nick Pa­trick use the orches­tra to set the stage with dra­matic in­tro­duc­tions to well-known songs, then add bits and pieces to high­light key pas­sages, but they don’t play with the vo­cal tracks or al­ter the mood of the songs.

For Beach Boy Bruce John­ston, the re­work­ing of his “Dis­ney Girls” — a nos­tal­gic paean to grow­ing up in the 1950s — is a rev­e­la­tion that breathes new life into a song he wrote for the band’s 1971 al­bum, “Surf’s Up.”

“They brought a dream to life,” he said.

“I never thought ‘Dis­ney Girls’ would ever get this treat­ment. I couldn’t even imag­ine it this way. It’s a sur­prise.”


In this photo taken on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, Beach Boys mu­si­cians Mike Love, left, and Bruce John­ston, right, dur­ing an in­ter­view with As­so­ci­ated Press at Spir­it­land in Lon­don. The Beach Boys have a new CD with the Royal Phil­har­monic Orches­tra that...

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