The Beach Boys – Endless Bummer Vol.3

Well, here we are with the third and final volume of ‘Endless Bummer’ the worst recordings of The Beach Boys. A quick recap first though. These collections was inspired by ‘Elvis’ Greatest Shit’ Bootleg and one dedicated to The Beach Boys called ‘Endless Bummer, The Very Worst of The Beach Boys’. As I said back in previous two posts on this topic, that Beach Boys sure does live up to its title. There is a drunk Carl Wilson trying to make his way through ‘Good Vibrations’, Mike Love making a quick buck on some adverts, a Spanish language version of their massive mid 80s hit, ‘Kokomo’ as well Brian Wilson’s father berating him in the recoding. However, all of these recording from this have not been released commercially as far as I can tell, and it is unlikely that they ever will be anyway. 

In these collections, I have only looked at songs that the band officially released with this collection looking at the period between 1980 and 1996.

As the Beach Boys entered the 1980s, they were doing well as a concert band but their records of new material were not. One of the reasons for this could date back to 1974 when the compilation ‘Endless Summer’ was released. It was a massive seller, especially in the USA. All of the songs on that record had all been released before ‘Pet Sounds’, so when the public came to watch the band, they wanted to hear those old hits. What were The Beach Boys to do? Play their new material which might lose them their audience, or play those old hits which might struggle to gain them a new one. With the newer albums, should they continue with the method of working that had been artistically satisfying (for most of the band anyway) but did not sell as many records as they had been doing before etc the ill fated ‘Smile’ sessions? They sort of came up with this hybrid of new material and covering oldies. The concerts still sold out but the albums started to flow the law of diminishing returns. 

This does not mean that there wasn’t quality material being recorded. Dennis and Carl Wilson put out solo albums with both either taking time out for the band or leaving, just not permanently. Mike Love was also recording plenty of material. He recorded two solo albums called ‘First Love’ & ‘Country Love’. Neither saw the light of day at the time as well as front another band called Celebration. Bruce Johnston who spent most of the 1970s out of the band also got in on the solo album act. Brian was going through a hard time due to his growing dependency on drink and drugs. He would become engaged in musical projects but he would not see them through to fruition. Dennis Wilson’s life was also spiralling out of control. Only Al Jardine seems to have taken a back seat when it came to putting out an album.

So, as we can see The Beach Boys were a bit of a mess but that does not mean they were going away. First up was the album ‘Keepin’ The Summer Alive’ as well as the only live performance with the six core members of The Beach Boys on stage when they played at Knebworth. Between that album and their next self titled album five years later in 1985, they struggled to escape their past. The band put out a best of compilation of music from 1970 to 1980. Capitol, their original label put out another best of compilation, a rarities album and a mash up single of loads of their  hits. These were all the rage in the early 1980s. 

‘The Beach Boys’ album followed by yet another best of in 1986, but it did at least have two new tracks on it. ‘Still Cruisin’ appeared in 1989 and was made up mostly of material that had been used in films, and could be argued to be a bit of a rip off. Out of the ten songs that made up this record, the last three were all from the 1960s that had been used in films produced up to six years earlier. We then get to ‘Summer in Paradise’. Arguably the worst record the band ever released, and one of the worst records put out by anyone. It is so bad, I could have included the whole record on this compilation and was very tempted to do so. It has been out of print for years and is noticeably absent from streaming services. There have been numerous podcasts and YouTube videos not his record, but this one by Todd in the Shadows is all you need to get an idea of how bad this record truly is (see below). 

The Beach Boys finished the century guesting on a record by Status Quo as well as putting out an LP of reworking of their earlier output with country starts singing the lead vocals. The output of the band significantly slowed after this but there was still enough to collect another worst of The Beach Boys and without doubt, this is definitely the worst of the three. 

Side A

  1. Wipe Out (With The Fat Boys) (Still Crusin’)
  2. Make It Big (Still Cruisin’)
  3. Rock ’n’ Roll To The Rescue – Percadella Mix (12’ Single)
  4. Crack At Your Love (The Beach Boys)
  5. Male Ego (The Beach Boys)
  6. California Calling (The Beach Boys)
  7. Happy Endings (7” Single)

Side B

  1. Problem Child (CD Single)
  2. Crocodile Rock (Two Rooms – A Tribute To Elton John & Bernie Taupin)
  3. Surfin’ (Summer In Paradise)
  4. Summer Of Love (Summer In Paradise)
  5. Remember “Walking In The Sand” (Summer In Paradise)
  6. Summer In Paradise (Summer In Paradise)
  7. The Warmth Of The Sun (With Willie Nelson) (Star & Stripes Vol.1)

Bonus 12” Single

  1. Here Comes The Night (L.A. (Light Album)
  2. Beach Boys Medley (7” Single)
  3. Rock ’n’ Roll To The Rescue – Beach Party Mix (12” Single)

Wipe Out – The story goes that this was originally meant to be recorded with Run DMC, but then Mike Love stuck a deal with The Fat Boys instead. A huge hit in the UK and a top twenty in the States, The Beach Boys seemed to be happy to trade on their past. The video was full of what could only be described as Beach Boys cliches as it includes women in bikinis, surf boards, opened topped jeeps and a trip to the beach. 

Make It Big – Used in the film ‘Troop Beverly Hills’ (yes I have not heard of it either), the song tries to inspire an aspiring actress to make it in Hollywood. As will become apparent in this compilation, the lyrics were written by Mike Love who has to put in some call backs to the bands 60s heyday, or the music that inspired them. In this case, Johny B. Goode is name checked. 

Rock ’n’ Roll To The Rescue (Percadella Mix) – As I mentioned in the notes to Volume 2, The Beach Boys were once setting the trends. By the 80s, they were following them and this is a case in point here. The production screams 80s which might have seemed modern at the time, but now sounds more dated than the records they put out in the 60s and early 70s. More references to the past in Mike Love’s lyrics with a mention for surfer girls as well as the songs Tutti Fruity and Blue Suede Shoes. The video once again includes surf boards, women in bikinis and a singer in his mid 40s ogling women young enough to be his daughter. You can work out whom. 

Crack At Your Love – not the worst song on here, but this sounds more like a demo than a fully produced record. The drum machine sounds so dated and the rest of the production has not aged well either. 

Male Ego – A bonus track on the CD version of ‘The Beach Boys’ album, the lyrics are all about a man who is all about the ladies and the potential for one night stands. In fact, he is so sure of his prowess as a ladies man that believes he will still be wooing the ladies well into his eighties. Oh dear. 

California Calling – This is most 60s sounding Beach Boys track in, except for the 80s production that is. More call backs to their heyday with references to surfing, woodies and custom cars. I was surprised to find that Mike Love had nothing to do with writing this. It would seem the other Beach Boys were getting in on the act. 

Happy Endings (7” Single) – ‘Still Crusin’ was meant to be an album of songs that The Beach Boys had produced that were used in films. That album came out in 1989 but this track which was used in the 1987 film ‘The Telephone’, which I have only heard of because it was written by Squire favourite, Harry Nilsson. Why wasn’t this used on ‘Still Cruisin’. Could it be that Little Richard who shares vocal duties on this record seems to ruin it with a performance that does not suit the sentiments of the record. Shocking.

Problem Child – This is also another song from a film, the title of which is the same as the tune. The film was a big hit, but this single was not. By the looks it, but only came out on cassette and promo CD. Once again, the production is so of its time, it has dated quite badly. The call back to previous music seems to be Da Do Ron Ron

Crocodile Rock – A band who have spent the previous five years or so writing loads of lyrics referencing the rock and roll era covering a song written in 1972 doing exactly the same thing. You could not make this up. 

Surfin’ – The next four songs come for the ‘Summer in Paradise’ album and I cannot stress enough that I could have included the whole album, it is so bad. This song was their first ever single and the original recording is basic, and so is the song. However, this update has some of the worst programmed drums you can get and why would you want this old song on your album? Surely they could have written something newer? This is so overtop, I am sure that someone on the albums personal list miss being credited with playing the kitchen sink. 

Summer Of Love – Mike Love raps. Now I know that Brian Wilson did the same thing a few years before but that remains unreleased. This however escaped. There should be a bingo card for anyone listening to this song, the amount of references there are to old hits by not only The Beach Boys, but The Mamas & The Papas. This was written as a potential duet between Bart Simpson and Mike Love, but the producers of the TV show wisely turned it down. The producers of Baywatch did not, and the video of this is full of more women in bathing suits, a beach and a surf board. This is getting beyond a joke. 

Remember “Walking In The Sand” – An absolute classic mid 60s pop record, ruined by the production on this record. How not to produce a cover. 

Summer In Paradise – The parent album was said by Mike Love to be a record about environmental protection. Well, ‘Summer in Paradise’ did do its bit for the environment as it reportedly sold less than 1000 copies in the USA and led to the company that distributed it to go bankrupt. This song about environmental protection starts of with a verse about having fun, fun, fun, singing about surfing and rocking with Rhonda and Barbara Ann. Recycling lyrics, that’s environmentally friendly isn’t it. 

The Warmth Of The Sun (With Willie Nelson) – Written in response to the assignation of John F Kennedy, ‘The Warmth of the Sun’ is a beautiful song. The harmonies are great, the production subtle but perfect. The voices of The Beach Boys on the original 1964 recording are an example of harmonies done brilliantly. Well, Willie Nelson has written some great songs but a great vocalist, he is not. It is almost as though he is talking through this rendition. 

Here Comes The Night – Originally released on the ‘Wild Honey’ album, this recoding was made in 1979 when The Beach Boys were releasing disco records, two years later than its heyday and just before the Disco Sucks movement kicked into gear. The original version was just under three minutes but this breaks the ten minute barrier. Sometimes less is more people. 

Beach Boys Medley – Medleys were big in the early 80s. Even The Beatles released one even though you would be hard pushed to find one on a singles collection from after 1982. Anyway, the idea was to take lots of songs, edited them down and then put them to make continuous listening experience. This one made the top 20 in the USA, but really is a novelty that soon wore out. 

Rock ’n’ Roll To The Rescue (Beach Party Mix) – The same as above really, but with more of it. 80s production has a lot to answer for. 

The cover for this was taken from the ‘Keeping The Summer Alive’ and/or ‘Living With A Heartache’ (depending on where in the world you lived) single picture sleeve. It perfectly sums up the band at that time. Bruce Johnson and Mike Love seem to very happy to be there. Brian Wilson looks ill and Carl Wilson looks like he would rather be anywhere else. Possibly where ever Dennis is as it looks like he is off having fun somewhere else. Al Jardine, well I’m not sure. The title and a different logo were added. 

The YouTube video by Todd In The Shadows regarding the ‘Summer In Paradise’ album is well worth a watch.

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