Spirit of America

Spirit of America

by The Beach Boys
     
 

The follow-up to 1974's incredibly popular Endless Summer -- which gave the Beach Boys their highest chart placement for an album (at number one, no less) in a dog's age -- Spirit of America was a similar attempt to mine the group's classic Capitol Records catalog, with odder and somewhat less satisfying results. But some of the less than wholly…  See more details below

Overview

The follow-up to 1974's incredibly popular Endless Summer -- which gave the Beach Boys their highest chart placement for an album (at number one, no less) in a dog's age -- Spirit of America was a similar attempt to mine the group's classic Capitol Records catalog, with odder and somewhat less satisfying results. But some of the less than wholly satisfying moments were more a reflection of the woeful state of Capitol's A&R department than they were any black mark against the Beach Boys' music. And the album did have its unexpected joys, as well as a few lessons to teach a lot of bands from the 1970s. Endless Summer had, indeed, mined the lion's share of big hits associated with the band, but Spirit of America, which was more hooked around the band's car song repertory than its surf music output, had its familiar moments -- "409," "Dance, Dance, Dance," "Little Honda," "Do You Wanna Dance," and "Barbara Ann" were great selections (and perfect to reach out to a teenage/early-twenties listenership attuned to -- if not always fully enamored of -- oldies and early-'60s nostalgia), and most of what surrounded them was a good match. And there was a serious, unexpected twist in the range of the content going right into the second song on side one, the repertory making a sudden leap across five years to the end of the 1960s and the group's then all-but-forgotten late-era single "Break Away." The latter song, which probably came up too early on the album to generate its maximum impact, did fit with the rest of what's here and helped direct a few otherwise unsuspecting low-level fans toward the group's then-overlooked late-'60s psychedelic-era output. On the minus side, however, the overall sound was rather indifferent on the original double-LP edition, which contained only 23 songs. And as this wasn't intended as a serious retrospective, there were, of course, no notes whatsoever (which no one minded at the time). There was also a highly instructive lesson to be gleaned from listening to this collection, however, and realizing that the four-sided double LP ran less than 50 minutes, without leaving anyone feeling cheated -- at a time when most bands this side of the Ramones and maybe the Flamin' Groovies seemed incapable of recording songs that ran less than five or six minutes, Spirit of America was downright refreshing in its succinct, bracing brevity, singles and album tracks alike. The 1975-vintage Beach Boys themselves could have taken a lesson from that aspect of this collection and its predecessor.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/16/1996
Label:
Dcc Compact Classics
UPC:
0010963108927
catalogNumber:
1089

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Dance, Dance, Dance
  2. Break Away
  3. A Young Man Is Gone
  4. 409
  5. The Little Girl I Once Knew
  6. Spirit of America
  7. Little Honda
  8. Hushabye
  9. Hawaii
  10. Drive-In
  11. Good to My Baby
  12. Tell Me Why
  13. Do You Remember?
  14. This Car of Mine
  15. Please Let Me Wonder
  16. Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
  17. Custom Machine
  18. Barbara Ann
  19. Salt Lake City
  20. Don't Back Down
  21. When I Grow up (To Be a Man)
  22. Do You Wanna Dance
  23. Graduation Day
  24. Darlin'
  25. I Can Hear Music

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beach Boys   Primary Artist
Glen Campbell   Guitar
Leon Russell   Piano
Brian Wilson   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Frank Capp   Percussion
Barney Kessel   Guitar
Don Randi   Piano
Jerry Cole   Guitar
Lyle Ritz   Bass
Julius Wechter   Bass
Bruce Johnston   Vocals
Mike Love   Vocals
Carl Wilson   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Billy Strange   Guitar
Jim Gordon   Percussion
Hal Blaine   Drums
DeLory   Piano
Gene Estes   Percussion
Jardine   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Carol Kaye   Bass
David Marks   Vocals
Bill Pitman   Bass
Ray Pohlman   Bass
Tommy Tedesco   Guitar
Dennis Wilson   Vocals

Technical Credits

Beach Boys   Producer
Brian Wilson   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Frank Capp   Executive Producer
Bruce Johnston   Contributor
Mike Love   Composer
Carl Wilson   Composer,Producer
Murry Wilson   Producer
Chuck Britz   Engineer
Steve Desper   Engineer
Jim Lockert   Engineer
David Marks   Contributor
Joe Sherman   Composer
Keith McConnell   Illustrations
Noel Sherman   Composer
Reggie Dunbar   Composer

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