The Beach Boys :: That Same Song (with Gospel Choir)


This clip, from an NBC special on connection with the release of the 15 Big Ones album, featuring the Beach Boys singing “live” with the Alexander Hamilton Double Rock Baptist Choir, is eyebrow-raising for many reasons, most obviously Brian’s physical appearance as he was clearly struggling with health issues connected to his “prescribed” public re-emergence from the reclusive lifestyle he adopted in the late 60s and early 70s following his retreat from live performance. The marketing tagline for album was “Brian Is Back!”, which arguably didn’t ring fully true until fairly recently; nevertheless, it’s a treat to see him and the rest of the band (including Mike Love in full-on TM turban mode) in this setting, complete with obvious lip-synching and the haphazard editing job (watch the piano play itself at 2:50). Dated? Yes. An improbable combination? Perhaps, but like the Grateful Dead, whose name carries a heavy stigma to the uninitiated, the Beach Boys (especially the post-1970) consistently struggled to re-define themselves beyond the trappings of their original incarnation (hot rods, teenage love, surfing, etc) while managing to deliver some of the most soulful, spiritual music of their time. Surf’s up!   words / r wilson

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