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.


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… **

“Bye Bye Love” (The Everly Brothers) Cover Music Video

By Jim Fusco:

Hey hey- it’s another Jim Fusco Tuesday here on the music video blog.  Hopefully over the next few weeks, we’ll be putting some more time into the site and getting our views back and rockin’ once more.  Tonight, I’m a little depressed because I have this great new HD video camera and can’t even use it for the Laptop Sessions yet.  Why?  Because I can’t get my microphone to work with it and it doesn’t work as a webcam.  So, I’m really stuck.  Turns out that the unit has a stereo microphone built-in, but the microphone input is only in mono.  What’s the deal with that?

The video quality is very nice, however.  It’s such a shame- I thought I had it all figured out.  So, it’s back to the drawing board for me.

Moving on to tonight’s video:

Chris and I performed “Bye Bye Love”, the classic song sung by the Everly Brothers- yet ANOTHER band we haven’t done yet here on the best music video blog ever!  Man, this is a good tune.  We kind of look the Everly’s, too, don’t we?  I’ve wanted to do this one for a LONG time now, but Chris and I operate on two different schedules and I never got the chance to grab him for the session.  Things have calmed down a bit on his end, so we’ve gotten to do a couple of duets.  This was a fun one, but I wasn’t in the greatest of moods after the whole camera thing.

It was going to be very poetic, as well, as this is one of the older songs I’ve done and we would’ve been in crystal-clear, state of the art, 1080p digital video.  So much for that!

This song has an interesting structure.  It’s not unlike other songs of the time- a very familiar tune to the chorus.  But, the verses have this very interesting twist.  They go to an E chord towards the end of each verse and it makes the song sound very unique when you compare it to other songs of the period.  What a cool twist!

Make sure to check out the video I did with Chris, as well, (see below) as for the first time, I’m playing my brand-new lap steel guitar!  The video came out great and I actually sound like I know what I’m doing on that thing!  What a great sound- I’ve been looking for that sound for a long time and can’t wait to incorporate both that and my new 12-string electric into some original tunes.

Finally, to echo Chris’ sentiment, a friend and fellow musician, Tony Persia, died yesterday.  He was one of the original members of Danny and the Juniors and played that great piano on ‘At the Hop”- one of rock music’s all-time classic songs.  He was a good guy and always enjoyed talking to us.  We even got to sing with him!  I loved hearing his stories and he will be missed by many of us that loved to see him and hear him play year after year.  I know he’s rockin’ somewhere with Elvis and John Lennon.

Have a great night, everyone, and I’ll catch you very soon for another Laptop Session.  Will it be a duet?  Will it finally be in HD?  You’ll just have to wait and see- talk to you then!!

“Temptation Eyes” (The Grass Roots Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Tonight’s video blog entry is from yet another “new” band to the Laptop Sessions: The Grass Roots.

Chris and I have loved this song since my mini-obsession with it back in mid-high school.  For some reason, we equated someone I had a crush on to this song.  It was when I was first learning piano and learned how to play this song, which I was pretty impressed with.

I actually got to see the Grass Roots in concert a few years ago at the North Haven Fair here in CT.  Actually, I’ve seen a lot of great bands there, including America and Herman’s Hermits.  I always love getting to see a show there- you get to see some great acts and it’s just part of the general admission.  During my schooling years, the North Haven Fair was truly the only good thing about September.

This song, “Temptation Eyes”, is a bit “campy”, but I still love it and think it’s got a great tune.  It’s always a candidate for getting stuck in my head at a moment’s notice.

I hope you enjoy tonight’s Laptop Session here on the Laptop Sessions music video blog.  We’re happy to have all of you new fans here to listen to us!  

“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” (The Monkees Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Friday edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!

Today, I’m doing a great tune written by Neil Diamond, but performed by the Monkees, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”. Not only does this song have a great message (like “it’s not all my fault, but SOME of it is”), but has a catchy tune and chord progression.

Actually, it’s that classic 3-chord Neil Diamond style, just shifted up a few frets on a capo.

I hope you like my whistling solo in the middle there! 🙂

BIG things are happening at Fusco-Moore Productions and I hope you’ll visit the blog (and our newly completed other suite of websites) today!