4.5 4
by The Beach Boys

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This 29-track CD represents the final phase of the Beach Boys' first go-around with Capitol Records, as well as the tail end of their 1960s output. The two albums contained on it present vastly different ambience from the same decade. The Friends album wasn't thought much of by most listeners or reviewers in 1968 -- in an era


This 29-track CD represents the final phase of the Beach Boys' first go-around with Capitol Records, as well as the tail end of their 1960s output. The two albums contained on it present vastly different ambience from the same decade. The Friends album wasn't thought much of by most listeners or reviewers in 1968 -- in an era when most bands were adding layer-upon-layer of instrumentation, throwing on extended guitar or keyboard solos at the drop of a hat, pumping up the volume overall, and trying to describe the psychedelic experience from within, the Beach Boys put out an album of music that could've been played by five guys on mostly acoustic instruments, all of it written from what seemed like a pretty satisfied and peaceful place in the universe. Some of this reflected Brian Wilson's increasingly isolated approach to life, but he provided only part of the songwriting here, and the others seem pretty content to float along in good spirits as well. One of the most upbeat and genial albums ever released by this most musically good-natured of bands, it was ignored in 1968 but today seems like a beautiful, oasis-like corner of paradise in an era of discontent and strife -- it wasn't profound, but it is gorgeous. 20/20 was a pastiche of singles and leftover fragments of past projects (including the Smile album) that, understandably, seems a little disorganized -- radiant psychedelia like "Cabinessence" is juxtaposed with elements of '50s rock & roll ("Bluebirds Over the Mountain"), folk songs adapted to the group's style ("Cotton Fields"), and a brush up against the dark side of the '60s, in the form of "Never Learn Not to Love," a byproduct of Dennis Wilson's brief contact with Charles Manson and company. Somewhere in there is a veritable soundtrack for the 1960s, but at the time only "Do It Again," a retro-sounding piece of beach music that charted, was a selling point. This CD was originally issued in 1990 with five bonus tracks in addition to the two LPs' contents, the most important of which was the killer single "Breakway," a deeply personal yet catchy and memorable song done in the most accessible group style, which failed to find an audience; also present is a lost cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Walk On By," and the 1968 outtake "We're Together Again," an achingly beautiful song that was somehow forgotten in 1968. In 2001, a remastered edition was released that featured significantly improved sound, and that is the preferred edition of this disc.

Product Details

Release Date:

Related Subjects


  1. Meant for You
  2. Friends
  3. Wake the World
  4. Be Here in the Morning
  5. When a Man Needs a Woman
  6. Passing By
  7. Anna Lee, The Healer
  8. Little Bird
  9. Be Still
  10. Busy Doin' Nothin'
  11. Diamond Head
  12. Transcendental Meditation
  13. Do It Again
  14. I Can Hear Music
  15. Bluebirds over the Mountain
  16. Be With Me
  17. All I Want to Do
  18. The Nearest Faraway Place
  19. Cotton Fields (The Cotton Song)
  20. I Went to Sleep
  21. Time to Get Alone
  22. Never Learn Not to Love
  23. Our Prayer
  24. Cabin Essence
  25. Break Away
  26. Celebrate the News
  27. We're Together Again
  28. Walk on by
  29. Old Folks at Home/Ol' Man River

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beach Boys   Primary Artist,Vocals
Brian Wilson   Vocals

Technical Credits

Lead Belly   Composer
Beach Boys   Producer
Van Dyke Parks   Composer
Brian Wilson   Composer,Liner Notes
Lyle Ritz   Composer
Mike Love   Composer
Carl Wilson   Composer
Jim Ackley   Composer
Jardine   Composer
Larry Levine   Engineer
Mark Linett   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Diane Rovell   Liner Notes
Vescovo   Composer
Dennis Wilson   Composer
David Leaf   Liner Notes
Tommy Steele   Art Direction
Steve Kalinich   Composer
Gregg Jakobson   Composer
Reggie Dunbar   Composer

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Friends/20/20 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Friends is a little known gem in the Beach Boy's works. It was released at a time after their initial success and before they were rediscovered. It contains some great little gems and a couple of masterpieces, and one of the best falsetto vocals ever (Be Here In The Morning). It's up there with Wild Honey in my books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This 2 album set offers you an insight into Brian Wilson's late 60's creative brilliance. Friends is the final coherent Brian Wilson produced Beach Boys album, and as such is a must for any fan. It opens with ''Meant for You'' (a haunting snippet that sounds like a 'Smile' leftover), before moving on to other Brian classics such as ''Busy Doin'Nothin'',''Be Here in the Morning'' and ''When a Man Needs a Woman''. The whole album has a feeling of calm that may explain why Brian has often claimed it is one of his favourite Beach Boys albums. Added to this you also have the birth of Dennis and Carl as songwriters, with ''Little Bird'' being one of the most gorgeous tracks that Dennis would ever write. 1969's 20/20 is a totally different proposition to 1968's Friends. Even though it is a mixed collection of odds and ends it is every bit as important and valuable it's predecesor. The album contains recent hit singles (''Do It Again'', ''I Can Hear Music''), a couple of classic new Brian Wilson compositions (''I Went To Sleep'' , ''Time To Get Alone'') and a new Dennis classic ( the beautiful ''Be With Me'' ). But what makes this album indespensible, is the addition of two previously unreleased Smile songs. ''Cabinessence'' gives you a teasing glimpse of the Brian's lost masterpiece Smile, whilst ''Our Prayer'' is the greatest piece of acapella in 60's pop music. If you are a Beach Boys fan and do not own these albums, you collection is not complete !
Guest More than 1 year ago
Friends is a collection of lovely simple pleasantries, highlighted by Brian's excellent ''Busy Doin' Nothing'' and beautiful ''Passing By,'' and Dennis' great songs, ''Little Bird'' and ''Be Still.'' 4 stars out of 5. 20/20 shows the entire band contributing fine cuts, such as Dennis' ''Be With Me'' and ''Never Learn Not to Love,'' Bruce's wonderful instrumental ''The Nearest Faraway Place,'' Mike and Brian's fun cut ''Do it Again,'' Brian and Carl's beautiful ''Time to Get Alone,'' Al's ''Cottonfields,'' and two amazing Smile-era pieces, ''Our Prayer,'' and the phenomenal ''Cabinessence.'' 4 stars out of 5.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mmmmm, nice. 'Friends' is one of the most blissed out, joyous records ever, but this isn't an album that's about to get overexcited. It's also one of the most chilled, easy-going, sweetest things I've ever heard. There's the same kind of thinking going on here that David Bowie and Brian Eno would mess about with on the former's masterpiece, Low, in that some songs are really, really short. Why make them long? They say what they have to say and they do it directly and utterly beautifully. Saying that, nothing on Low was as short as 'Meant For You', which is only thirty seconds long! But what an intro. So nice and beautifully tender. 'Friends' is almost hilariously sentimental, but it just strolls along wonderfully. Repeat theme and tone for all the tracks up until the last two: 'Diamond Head' is pretty trippy and takes the relaxing theme to gorgeous heights. Then there's 'Trancendental Meditation', which rocks out a bit and is, for me, an unwelcome way to end the album. Still, I aways stop the album after 'Diamond Head'. Dennis Wilson's talents become more telling here, with 'Be Still' and 'Little Bird' delivering slight but ever so slightly brilliant results. 'Wake the World' is spellbinding, 'Passing By' is an instrumental to rival 'Let's Go Away for a While' from Pet Sounds, and as for 'Busy Doin' Nothin''. Wow. Brian Wilson scores again. Such a gorgeous song. You can practically feel the summertime glittering from the speakers with this one. And 'Be Here in the Morning' is really pretty, with some lovely falsetto vocals. No doubt, Friends is another classic Beach Boys LP. Its follow up, 20/20, is all over the place! Whereas Friends mostly had a relaxed theme running throughout, you can tell 20/20 was made up out of odd songs here and there, including recent singles and Smile (the legendary lost BB album) songs. Luckily, nearly everything on here is absolutely terrific, and the versatility and surprising genre-hopping throughout makes 20/20 one seriously enjoyable listen. 'Do It Again' was a hit for the band during this, their wilderness period, and it's a nice bit of retro-pop, but the real gems here include Dennis Wilson's amazing 'Be With Me', which turns up the orchestras up to 10, the brilliantly evocative 'I Went to Sleep', the mindbending psychedelia of 'Cabinessence', Bruce Johnstone's cute instrumental 'The Nearest faraway place' and Brian's astonishingly lovely 'Time to Get Alone'. Yet another Beach Boys classic. And their next album was probably my favourite, the gorgeous Sunflower. Despite the fact that barely anyone was listening to the band during this stage, they were delivering the goods and then some.