Classic acts celebrate golden anniversaries

Once viewed as the disposable purview of youth, pop music like the Beach Boys and the Monkees are now celebrating the fiftieth anniversaries of their work.

AP
Beach Boys members (clockwise from top left) Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, Mike Love, and Carl Wilson in London in 1966.

Fifty years is an impressive milestone in any context. But when golden anniversaries are being celebrated in popular music – once viewed as the disposable purview of youth – it’s even more impressive.

“Music up to that time had a life span of about ten years,” bass guitar legend Carol Kaye recently told journalist Phoebe Reilly in a New York Magazine profile. “We’re shocked those lived on.”

Kaye and her studio musician colleagues in the so-called Wrecking Crew were part of the marathon recording sessions for the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds,” which was released on May 16, 1966. Beach Boys architect Brian Wilson is marking the anniversary of “Pet Sounds” with an extensive world tour that includes North American legs in the summer and fall during which the seminal album (which included “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows”) will be performed in its entirety. The stops in Britain in particular are almost all sold out.

Co-founding Beach Boy Al Jardine and longtime member Blondie Chapman are taking part in what's being billed as "Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds: The 50th Anniversary celebration & final performance in its entirety along with rare cuts and greatest hits."

(Subsequent generations are honoring this rock & roll masterpiece album, too. On May 15, The Echo club in Los Angeles' Silver Lake neighborhood hosted a multi-artist 50th anniversary "Pet Sounds" tribute concert. )

About five months after the release of “Pet Sounds,” the Monkees debuted with a self-titled album that boasted “(Theme from) The Monkees” and “Last Train to Clarksville.” The surviving three members begin a North American tour on May 18 in Fort Myers, Fla. that runs through late October.

Later this month, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork are releasing the first new Monkees album in 20 years. “Good Times!” features recordings of new songs written by the likes of Rivers Cuomo (Weezer); Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie); Noel Gallagher (formerly of Oasis); Paul Weller of The Jam; and Andy Partridge (XTC).  

Golden anniversary celebrations also extend into popular international musical styles. Sérgio Mendes debuted his Brasil ’66 band 50 years ago with “Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66”. By combining Brazilian musical styles with hits such as “One-Note Samba/Spanish Flea” and the Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” Mendes was able to further popularize bossa nova and samba in the Northern Hemisphere.

The pianist/bandleader/composer will bring his “A Celebration of 50 Years of Brasil ’66” show to various cities, including Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, and Seattle over the next few months. The tour will include a pair of 2016 Summer Olympics tie-in shows this August at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles with Alpert and alumni of Mendes' bands, including vocalists Lani Hall and Dianne Reeves.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.