15 Big Ones
|15 Big Ones|
|Studio album by The Beach Boys|
|Released||July 5, 1976|
|Recorded||January 30 – May 15, 1976,
Brother Studios, California
|Genre||Rock and roll, baroque pop|
|The Beach Boys chronology|
|Singles from 15 Big Ones|
15 Big Ones is the twentieth studio album by American rock group The Beach Boys, released in July 1976. It was their first studio album in three years and the first Brian Wilson-produced album released by the band since Pet Sounds, ten years earlier. This is also the first album to feature the classic lineup of the Beach Boys (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Al Jardine) since the mid-1960s with Bruce Johnston's mild departure from the group.
Although Dennis Wilson suggested calling the album Group Therapy, and rejecting Pick Ya Up at 8(after the outtake "I Wanna Pick You Up"), 15 Big Ones was named for their fifteen years in the business and for the fact that it had the same number of tracks.
Background and recording
In the fall of 1974, sessions were held at Caribou Ranch studio (owned by James William Guercio) in Colorado and Brother Studio in Santa Monica for an album set to be released in early 1975. It was reported that Brian was actively involved in the proceedings but no release occurred. Many of the tapes were allegedly destroyed when the Caribou Ranch and its studio burned down, with only the tapes taken to Brother Studio surviving.
By 1975, The Beach Boys' Endless Summer compilation was selling well and the band (without Wilson) was touring non-stop, making them the biggest live draw in the US.
At the end of January 1976, The Beach Boys were back in the studio, with Brian Wilson producing once again. He decided the band should do an "oldies" album, but brothers Carl and Dennis disagreed, feeling that an album of originals was far more ideal. Mike Love and Al Jardine reportedly wanted the album out as quickly as possible to take advantage of their resurgence of popularity. At one point during the sessions, it was decided that a double album was to be released: one album of oldies and another of original material. In the end, a compromise of both new originals and covers was decided upon, though the younger Wilson brothers were displeased. Whatever the case, it was a radical shift from previous albums such as Sunflower and Holland.
A few of the cover songs are connected to record producer and composer Phil Spector, whose famous wall of sound production methods have been an enduring fascination to Brian Wilson. "Just Once in My Life" and "Chapel of Love" both carry Spector songwriting credits, and "Talk to Me" had been a relatively unknown 45 rpm single produced by Spector in the early 1960s for singer Jean DuShon.
With media coverage in high gear, The Beach Boys were given an NBC TV special heralding their return. One of the highlights of the special is a rendition of "That Same Song" with the Alexander Hamilton Double Rock Baptist Choir, where Brian looks to be more at ease than he really was. He appeared much less at ease as the center of a "Failure to Surf" comedy sketch in which "surf cops" Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi pull Brian out of bed and force him to ride the waves outside.
The group also embarked on a large US tour, with several performances including Brian.
It was released in late June, number 8 in the US during a chart stay of 27 weeks, went gold and became the last top 10 studio album for the band until 2012's That's Why God Made the Radio.
It had been the most commercially successful Beach Boys studio album in over ten years, though the critical reaction of the album was not strong. John Bush Allmusic wrote, "Most of the covers are mistakes, part of a misguided attempt by the aging Beach Boys to recapture the energy of their youth. The 'contemporary' production techniques and overly polished sound do nothing for these oldies, and effectively sap them of any energy they might once have had." He later adds, "The only one that succeeds is the closer, the lesser-known Righteous Brothers hit "Just Once in My Life," given an emotional reading by Carl and Brian. Of the band originals, the good-time standard 'It's OK' and the quirky, endearing 'Had to Phone Ya' are excellent, reminiscent of Brian's odd pop songs on late-'60s albums like Friends and 20/20."
7 of the 15 songs on the album have been played live by The Beach Boys. However only Rock and Roll Music has become a fixture in Beach Boys sets.
It's O.K., Everyone's in Love with You and Back Home were played following the albums release but not again until the 2000's. Back Home was played by Brian Wilson on his first solo tours in 1999 and 2000 but not since. Everyone's in Love with You was played by the Mike Love led Beach Boys several times on their 1004 and 2008 European Tours. It's O.K. has also been played many times by the Mike Love led Beach Boys and also on the bands 50th Anniversary Tour along with Rock and Roll Music.
Palisades Park, A Casual Look and Susie Cincinnati were all played following the albums release however have not been played live by the band since. Al Jardine has said he doesn't play Susie Cincinnati live anymore due to the drug references in the song.
|1.||"Rock and Roll Music"||Chuck Berry||Mike Love||2:29|
|2.||"It's O.K."||Brian Wilson/Mike Love||Love/Dennis Wilson||2:12|
|3.||"Had to Phone Ya"||B. Wilson/Love||Love/Al Jardine/D. Wilson/Carl Wilson/Brian Wilson||1:43|
|4.||"Chapel of Love"||Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich/Phil Spector||B. Wilson||2:34|
|5.||"Everyone's in Love with You"||Love||Love||2:42|
|6.||"Talk to Me" (On the back sleeve titled "Talk to Me (Medley)", referring to the interpolation of the 1959 Freddy Cannon song "Tallahassee Lassie")||Joe Seneca||C. Wilson||2:14|
|7.||"That Same Song"||B. Wilson/Love||B. Wilson||2:16|
|8.||"T M Song"||B. Wilson||Jardine||1:34|
|1.||"Palisades Park"||Chuck Barris||C. Wilson||2:27|
|2.||"Susie Cincinnati"||Al Jardine||Jardine||2:57|
|3.||"A Casual Look"||Ed Wells||Love/Jardine||2:45|
|4.||"Blueberry Hill"||Al Lewis/Larry Stock/Vincent Rose||Love||3:01|
|5.||"Back Home"||B. Wilson/Bob Norberg||B. Wilson||2:49|
|6.||"In the Still of the Night"||Fred Parris||D. Wilson||3:03|
|7.||"Just Once in My Life"||Gerry Goffin/Carole King/Phil Spector||C. Wilson/B. Wilson||3:47|
- The Beach Boys
- Al Jardine - vocals, guitar (on "Susie Cincinnati")
- Mike Love - vocals
- Brian Wilson - vocals, organ, piano, Moog bass, arpeggiator, string ensemble, bass guitar, harmonica, chimes, bells
- Carl Wilson - vocals, guitar, bass, synthesiser, harp, percussion
- Dennis Wilson - vocals, drums, percussion, vibraphone
- Session musicians and production staff
- Murry Adler – violin
- Ron Altbach – piano, harpsichord, accordion
- Mike Altschol – saxophone, clarinet
- Arnold Belnick – violin
- Ben Benay – guitar
- Hal Blaine – drums
- Eddy Carter – guitar
- Jerry Cole – guitar
- Steve Douglas – saxophone, horns, flute
- Daryl Dragon – clavinet
- Dennis Dreith – saxophone, clarinet, clavinet
- Timothy Drummond – bass
- Gene Estes – percussion
- Ricky Fataar – drums
- Henry Ferber – violin
- Carl L. Fontina – accordion
- James Getzoff – violin
- Billy Hinsche – guitar
- James D. Hughart – string bass
- Jules Jacobs – clavinet
- Plas Johnson – saxophone
- Bruce Johnston – background vocals, piano
- John J. Kelson Jr. – saxophone, clarinet
- Lou Klass – violin
- Bernard Kondell – violin
- William Kurasch – violin
- Charles Lloyd – flute
- Jay Migliori – saxophone, horns, flute
- Carol Lee Miller – auto harp
- Jack Nimitz – saxophone, clarinet
- Ray Pohlman – bass
- Lyle Ritz – bass
- Henry L. Roth – violin
- Sidney Sharp – violin
- Bobby Shew – trumpet
- Thomas J. Tedesco – guitar
- Toni Tennille – background vocals
- Julius Wechter – percussion, bells
- Maureen L. West – harp
- Marilyn Wilson – background vocals
- Wizzard – saxophone
- Roy Wood – saxophone
- Tiber Zelig – violin
Album cover, art direction and logo was done by Dean Torrence and Jim Evans.
Sales chart positions
|1976||US Billboard 200 Albums Chart||8|
|1976||UK Top 40 Album Chart||31|
- US Singles
|1976||"Rock and Roll Music"||US Billboard Singles Chart||5|
|1976||"It's OK"||US Billboard Singles Chart||29|
- UK Singles
|1976||"Rock and Roll Music"||UK Top 40 Single Chart||36|
Chart information courtesy of Allmusi c and other music databases.
- Kempke, Erik. "15 Big Ones". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- Christgau, Robert. "The Beach Boys". Robert Christgau. Archived from the original on 06 June 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- "The Beach Boys Tour Statistics". setlist.fm. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- "The Beach Boys Tour Statistics". setlist.fm. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- Album liner notes.
- "UK Top 40 Hit Database". EveryHit.
- Surf's Up: The Beach Boys On Record Brad Elliott
- 15 Big Ones/Love You CD booklet notes, Dennis Diken and Peter Buck, c.2000.
- "The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience", Timothy White, c. 1994.