“Lady (Fallin’ In Love)” (The Beach Boys Cover)

By Jim Fusco

Welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!  It’s been a long time since my last video blog post.  Before my new season of cover song videos begins, I decided to post a few leftover cover songs that I recorded a few months ago.  I guess I never got around to posting them!  Life can get busy…

Now that school is starting up again (my wife is a teacher, so she’s really busy 10 months out of the year)I should have a bit more time to focus on my musical endeavors.  I’m excited to bring The Laptop Sessions Acoustic Cover Songs Music Video Blog to new heights this year!  I just signed an agreement to promote my existing cover songs and I hope that these efforts will allow me to expand the website even further.

Tonight, I bring you an obscure song from The Beach Boys.  Well, it’s not really The Beach Boys- this is a Dennis Wilson solo project put under the Beach Boys’ name.  In the early 70s, Dennis Wilson was creating music at a very fast pace.  “Sunflower”, one of the Beach Boys’ best albums, shows a large contribution from Dennis.  In my opinion, his songwriting was second to only Brian Wilson in the band and after Brian slipped away from participating in the band, Dennis filled the void the best.  I think there was a time when the band decided to push Dennis as the front man of the band.  But, Dennis’ songs didn’t catch on commercially and eventually, they went back to the Brian Wilson formula once again (before he was ready, but that’s a whole different story).  Honestly, I’m not sure if the move away from Dennis as the face of the Beach Boys was due to his songs not receiving critical acclaim, or because of Dennis’ lifestyle.  Like Brian, it’s been said that Dennis had a hard time seeing projects through to the end.  Even though he was prolific during this period, I have a feeling he would get bored with projects very quickly and either not finish them or simply get them done and move on.

“Lady (Fallin’ In Love)” is an interesting song.  Dennis had a great way of taking a simple sounding song and making it lush and beautiful.  “Lady” isn’t the hardest song to play or sing, but the string orchestration (most likely done by Daryl Dragon of Captain & Tennille fame) is breathtaking.  That’s one of the reasons, though, that I wanted to do a solo acoustic cover version of “Lady”.  I wanted to show people what the song would sound like in it’s bare-bones form.  I think it’s still a really moving song.

Dennis’ voice on the original recording is so nice- it’s such a shame that he let it deteriorate so much.  I can only imagine the songs he could’ve come out with if he didn’t allow his personal demons to overtake him.

“Lady (Fallin’ In Love)” was actually the flip side of a solo Dennis Wilson single, which is fascinating to me.  “The Sound of Free” was the A-side.  Of course, the single didn’t go anywhere, but up to that point, only Brian had released a solo single in “Caroline, No” four years earlier.  I’m glad the Beach Boys and Capitol Records finally got it together to release “Lady” on their Summer Love Songs compilation.  This song deserved a new audience.

Enjoy tonight’s Dennis Wilson/Beach Boys cover song music video here on the Laptop Sessions video blog!  Stay tuned for more videos very soon with me, Jim Fusco!

“You and I” (Dennis Wilson Cover)

As the biggest Beach Boys fan (I mean, a true lover of their music- not just a big collector) under the age of 30, I pride myself on being a complete Beach Boys fan. Some people on Brian Wilson’s message board are JUST Brian Wilson fans- they only consider the golden years of the Beach Boys to be when Brian was writing the songs and calling the shots.

For me, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Yes, of course, I love the early Beach Boys music. I also love Pet Sounds. And, I’m even “okay” with “Love You” and “15 Big Ones”.

But, my favorite Beach Boys albums are the ones where everyone contributes. Nothing gets me excited than to find a new Bruce Johnston song, a Carl Wilson song, or especially a Dennis Wilson song. In fact, my brother Mike considers Dennis Wilson to be the best songwriter of all time. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t have an extensive enough catalog to prove that claim, but just one listen to songs like “Forever”, “Thoughts of You”, and “Cuddle Up” make the claim all the more believable.

I can sit here all night and rant about how much I love Dennis Wilson’s music. When I found out about the “Pacific Ocean Blue” album re-release for June of 2008, I was ecstatic, even though my family is one of the lucky few with both a CD and vinyl original version that we’ve had for many years. I’m always a fan of remastering old songs and I was especially excited about hearing a true release of his unreleased “Bambu” album. Of course, I even had a bootleg- I’ll admit- that I bought for Mike one year at Christmas. I considered it one of my greatest presents for him and he was so excited.

One thing I can say about Denny during his late 1970s period is that I get really sad listening to how much his voice deteriorated. He had a very nice, yet not perfect, voice in the late 60s and very early 70s. I just couldn’t believe that he had let life ruin his voice like that. Although, his scratchy voice really did lend itself to some powerful and emotional renditions of his solo work.

Tonight, I bring you the first of MANY Dennis Wilson solo songs to grace the Laptop Sessions. I’m very proud of this one, not only because it’s one my favorites off of “Pacific Ocean Blue”, but because I’m doing an acoustic guitar version of this otherwise keyboard-based song. It has an interesting new sound and the lyrics really stand out. Plus, isn’t that tune just infectious? This song, as simple as it is, seems to transcend time- it sounds new now, as I’m sure it sounded innovative then.

I hope you enjoy my first Dennis Wilson solo acoustic cover song here on the Laptop Sessions music video blog. My only hope is that this version can start to give Dennis’ songs the attention they’ve always deserved.