The Beach Boys Raid The Vault For 'Made In California' Box Set
The Beach Boys are gonna make a lot of fans happy with the August 27th release of Made In California, the band's latest box set -- and the followup to the Grammy Award-winning 2011 box set, The Smile Sessions. The new career-spanning collection features over 60 previously unreleased songs, home demos, alternate mixes, and live recordings, and is presented in a "yearbook-inspired" hardbound book. The project was compiled and produced by the Beach Boys' archival team, producers Mark Linett and Alan Boyd, with the help of label exec Dennis Wolfe -- all three of which shared the Smile Sessions Grammy win with Brian Wilson earlier this year.
Beach Boys co-founder Mike Love personally had a hand in compiling Made In California and said of the new collection, "This box set captures the evolution of a dream which started with a family singing Everly Brothers songs around a piano, to creating the harmonies that fans would carry in their hearts for a lifetime. Seeing these photos and rediscovering some of this music, I'm reminded of the immense love I feel for Brian, Dennis, (and) Carl (Wilson), Bruce (Johnston), Al (Jardine), and David (Marks). I'm still floored that our stories continue to inspire new generations to catch a wave and ride it is long as it lasts."
Made In California features plenty of the Beach Boys' legendary hits, but its main draw is the release of numerous previously unreleased gems -- many of which have never been bootlegged before and only rumored about existing for decades. Highlights include the previously unreleased Dennis Wilson tracks "(Wouldn't It Be Nice To) Live Again," "Mona Kani," "Barnyard Blues," and "My Love Lives On," the band's original 1963 version of "Back Home," Brian Wilson's 1974 home demo of "California Feelin'," his one-man-band 1976 rendition of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "Sherry, She Needs Me" -- utilizing the 1965 track and 1976 vocals, 1979 outtakes featuring Carl Wilson's take on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and Mike Love's recently completed "Goin' To The Beach." Also making their first appearance on an official release are the two unfinished Beach Boys 1995 reunion tracks with Brian Wilson -- "Soul Searchin'" and "You're Still A Mystery." Previously unreleased live highlights include "Runaway" (1965), "Friends" and "Little Bird" (1968), "Wild Honey" -- featuring Blondie Chaplin on lead vocals (1972), "It's About Time" (1973)," "I Can Hear Music" (1975), "Wonderful" and "Vegetables" (1993), and a poignant 1995 performance of "Sail On Sailor by Carl Wilson shortly before his death. The collection also features numerous alternate mixes, BBC performances, and acapella mixes.
Beach Boys co-founder Al Jardine told us that ultimately, the group's biggest hits serve a bigger purpose than just entertaining fans: "Each song, or each track selection is a special little messenger. And they convey a certain optimism, I think. And collectively, they're extremely powerful and it reminds of a better time -- a more positive time of growing up and experiencing things as a culture."
Producer Alan Boyd says that his and Linett's primary public duties for the Beach Boys are locating the masters to the band's earlier work, and remixing them into modern stereo mixes for the band's numerous career-spanning compilations. On the new box set, for the first time, Linett and Boyd were able to utilize the master tape elements needed to produce the first official stereo mixes of 1967's "Country Air" the Beach Boys' 1968 Top 20 hit, "Do It Again": "The fans and the public at large really seem to like these new stereo mixes, and that was really apparent when Mark did Pet Sounds in 1997. And the reaction to that is so strong that he started looking at other albums and other tracks, so every time we have the opportunity -- we did a lot of this on the Hawthorne record -- we've been going back and doing that, 'cause there's so much pressure brought to bear, y'know, in the market, for things to be in stereo."
Photo Courtesy of Annie Liebovitz