Back in October 2016 I wrote a post about Jan and Dean. They were big in the mid-60s with songs like Surf City, which was written by Brian Wilson, and other surfing, car and teen songs. But I have not written yet about The Beach Boys, who were founded by Brian Wilson and among the most revered bands of their time. The Beach Boys still tour today, but without four of the five founding members: Carl Wilson died of cancer in 1998; Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983; and Brian Wilson and Al Jardine left the group years ago and now tour on their own. Only Mike Love still tours with The Beach Boys.
Brain Wilson had a number of issues at the end of his time with The Beach Boys. Those are well documented in a movie called Love & Mercy, which I highly recommend. But Brian's talent is undeniable, and he's been writing new music and touring over the last several years. I saw him twice a few years ago: Once at the 2015 NonComm-vention at World Cafe Live, and then again in 2015 at a full concert at The Mann Center. He was amazing both times.
Joining Brian at The Mann Center was Al Jardine, along with a very talented and very large band, which also included Al Jardine's son. Al Jardine was the rhythm guitarist and mostly a harmonizing background singer for the original Beach Boys, although he was the lead vocalist for The Beach Boys on a few songs, including the hit, Help Me, Rhonda. After leaving the touring version of The Beach Boys in 1998 (after Carl Wilson died), Al was involved in a number of projects, including the release of his only solo album, A Postcard from California, in 2010.
In 2015, Al Jardine joined Brian Wilson's band for the Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary World Tour. And what an amazing tour that was! Brian Wilson, still quirky and still a genius after all these years, led the group, and seeing this iconic figure in Amercian music was an unbelievable treat. And Al Jardine looked like he hadn't aged much at all since the heyday of The Beach Boys in the 1960s.
Among the songs on Pet Sounds, which was released in 1966 and which many consider the best Beach Boys record, is Sloop John B. Sloop John B is a traditional folk song also known as The John B. Sails. And it was recorded under the name The Wreck of the John B by the Kingston Trio in 1958. But The Beach Boys version, which Al Jardine arranged and recommended to Brian Wilson, is by far the most popular and recognized version.
In 2016, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine (along with a talented band) recorded this version of Sloop John B. Fifty years later, and Brian and Al still sound amazing. And the song is simply timeless.
Bonus coverage: On July 21, as part of the Bryn Mawr Twilight Concert Series, Nick Gunty, Matt Lyons and I did our version of Sloop John B. Nick took the lead on the vocals. I joined in on the chorus. Matt's lead guitar is, as usual, amazing. Pat ourselves on the back. We did pretty good work. So here it is. Take a listen. Thanks!