“Surfer Girl” (Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-10 02:26:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions!

Tonight, I give you one of the Beach Boys’ greatest and most famous songs, “Surfer Girl”!

Of course, the Boys’ version has those great harmonies, but imagine this version as if Brian Wilson was the only one singing. Plus, it’s fun to sing the harmony parts while listening back to it.

I love the chords- those old-fashioned chords that rock music just doesn’t have anymore. It was fun to learn and Chris and I have been playing this for months.

Actually, I love playing this on Chris’ Fender electric, but I think it translates well on the nylon strings.

Hopefully I do this song justice because playing a huge hit like this always means there’s pretty big expectations. Enjoy and stay tuned as the “Laptop Session a day” in 2008 rolls on!


“Do You Wanna Dance?” (Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2009-03-31 21:02:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Well, do you? :-)

Welcome to another Jim Fusco Tuesday here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog.  I can’t believe it’s been another week- here I am again to send a new cover song music video your way.

I realized I’ve only done one Beach Boys song so far in 2009 (and a quite unknown one, at that), so I decided to please the Beach Boys faithful (who’d have to be REALLY faithful to wait three months for another video) by doing a song everybody knows in “Do You Wanna Dance?”!

Originally written and recorded by Bobby Freeman in the late 50’s, the Beach Boys version is very far removed from the original recording.  Freeman’s version has a more bossonova feel to it and is a little slower-paced.  Brian Wilson, clearly budding into an ambitious producer at the time, took the song and turned it pure mid-sixties rock and roll.  It peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at Nubmer 12, and was the highest charting record with Dennis Wilson on lead vocals.

This was a great song for Denny to sing- I love the Beach Boys version so much more because Brian gave Dennis a chance to sing on it.  The production on the Beach Boys version is very Phil Spector influenced, so my acoustic cover version of it married the Beach Boys verison (in terms of style) without all the guitars, tympanies, etc.

I had to fight siging this song like Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys, as in concert he’s the one who sings Dennis’ lead vocals.  He sings much differently than Dennis normally would, so there’s different inflection to the words.  I sing more like Bruce than Dennis, so I was inclined to sing the Bruce version- but stopped myself and tried to stay true to Denny’s original vocal style, raspy voice not included.

Right after “Do You Wanna Dance?” was released, the Beach Boys came out with one of their Number One singles in “Help Me Rhonda”, a great song.  1965 was an amazing year for music, but especially for groups like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan.  It was also the break-out year for the Byrds.  The Beach Boys’ “Today” album has to be one of the best recordings ever, especially because it combines the happiness of earlier Beach Boys albums and (some of) the production value of later recordings like “Pet Sounds”.

I hope you enjoy my version of “Do You Wanna Dance?”.  On a personal note, I’m scheduled to receive my copies of my new album, “Halfway There”, tomorrow on CD, but the release date still stands for April 7th.  I hope you’re as excited as I am!  When I get the CDs, I’m sure I’ll get ambitious and do a ton of promotion, so stay tuned!  Have a great week- I’ll try to post an original, but I’m pretty tired, so we’ll see.  Talk to you again soon!



Ranking every Beach Boys song/album: “Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!!)” (by Songwriter Jim Fusco)

By Jim Fusco:

Hi Mike and hello to all other participators. Here is my weigh-in for the “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!)” album- a true classic.

SUMMER DAYS (AND SUMMER NIGHTS!!)

California Girls – 10 (An American classic- especially for a Beach Boys fan, it just simply doesn’t get much better than this. I have to rank this a 10, even though I believe God Only Knows deserves the undisputed highest spot.)
Salt Lake City – 7
*The Little Girl I Once Knew – 10 (A long-standing choice for my favorite Beach Boys song of all-time. It’s still gotta be in my Top 3)
The Girl from New York City – 6 (It’s okay, but very much under-produced compared to the rest of the album and they seem to be a bit more sloppy. I do like Mike’s overly-low backing vocals, though!)
Help Me, Rhonda – 10 (You know, it’s kind of expected that people will give songs like this a 10, but if you just sit back and LISTEN to this version of “Help Me Rhonda”, you have to realize it’s an incredible song. It’s catchy, but still has substance. It truly is that “Beach Boys” sound. I love Mike’s low part in this tune, as well.)
Let Him Run Wild – 10 (This is one of the best songs EVER- it’s unique and has that incredible chord progression. I think the bass line and the sound of the bass in this song is the best of any song I’ve ever heard. Brian’s vocals are perfect and the emotion is heartbreaking. I can’t believe I’m putting so many 10’s on this album!)
*Let Him Run Wild (alternate) – 8 (Brian’s vocals don’t have that edge like the final version)
You’re So Good to Me – 6.5 (Still a great song, but its simplicity just doesn’t match up with the rest of the classics. Also, those “la’s” in the background get annoying to anyone but true Beach Boys fans)
And Your Dream Comes True – 5
Then I Kissed Her – 6.5 (One of their best covers- a great lead by Al!)
Girl Don’t Tell Me – 8 (Catchy and a great little jab to the Beatles style of the period. Carl gives a great vocal performance, as well.)
Amusement Parks USA – 3 (All I can say is: eh)
Summer Means New Love – 3 (I like the tune and the production, but it’s kind of elevator-music sounding)
I’m Bugged at My Ol’ Man – 5 (This is a really cute song with great vocals by Brian, bad vocals by the others, and a truer-than-it’s-supposed-to-sound lyrics)

** This album IS the Beach Boys on record, as far as the 60s are concerned. This album is what “Sunflower” is to the 70’s Beach Boys. “Summer Days” defines the Beach Boys sound, especially on cuts like “California Girls”. I would challenge anyone to give this album a bad review. It still has that innocence I love so dearly, but pushes the musical envelope as far as it can go without getting too serious. This album is really the farthest Brian could go before getting into the emotions and themes he did on “Pet Sounds” and “Smile”. For me, this album marks the end of an era and the Beach Boys just wouldn’t be the same after this. That early-60s summer fun, teenager, innocence just evaporated when “Pet Sounds” arrived. Of course, I’m not saying that the music to come wasn’t some of the greatest ever, but looking back, I wish they could’ve stayed innocent for just a couple more years… **