Lost in the ’70s: The Beach Boys, “Here Comes the Night”

lit70s

Of all the artists who jumped on the disco bandwagon in the late ’70s, one of the most unexpected (and unwelcome) this side of Ethel Merman, was the Beach Boys.  Who thought it would be a good idea for the progenitors of surfin’ music to crank up the drum machine, put the foot to the wah-wah pedal, and cue the orchestra for a ten-minute plus disco opus?  Well, whoever it was, you better stay in hiding, lest you face justice.

Originally recorded in 1967 for the Wild Honey album, “Here Comes the Night” was re-recorded for the L.A. (Light Album) record and expanded to a full-fledged, nearly 11-minute disco opus, complete with a 12″ version (download). Released as a single edit, it actually came close to scraping the bottom of the Top 40, a sign of how much disco had permeated the charts.  Beach Boys fans who heard it were aghast, however, and after making only a few live appearances during a 1979 tour, the song was quickly and quietly dropped from the set, despite being the lead single from the album the tour was supporting.

So, is it really that bad?  Yes.  “Here Comes the Night” is the sound of a irrelevant group straining desperately to glom on to any hot trend, no matter how misguided.  Since he co-wrote it, I can say without hesitation, fuck Mike Love.  Seriously.  To be fair, it was written in 1967, but really, any excuse to say “Fuck Mike Love.”

L.A. (Light Album) was salvaged from complete commercial failure by the second single, a complete throwback to the doo-wop surf sound that made the Boys famous, “Good Timin’,” which peaked at a massive #40 in 1979, just barely disqualifying itself from making an appearance in Bottom Feeders.  And since “Here Comes the Night’ peaked at #44 that same year, you dodged that bullet as well, Steed.

Lucky bastard.

“Here Comes The Night” peaked at #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and at #48 on the Club Play Singles Chart in 1979.

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  • jbacardi

    Aw, c'mon, beating up on the Boys for this song is like beating a child because it's stupid. It's not like anyone was clamoring for what they had given us on the M.I.U. Album, or hell, even the wonderful Love You. I don't blame them for trying to cash in on Disco…but eleven minutes was really pushing it.

    And yeah, Love has proven himself an asshole time and time again over the years, but I liked “Sumahama” from this album, so sue me.

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Confucius say “Man who write 'Mike Love' and 'sue me' in same sentence will lose half his shit in court.”

  • jbacardi

    Holy cats, you're right! I better watch that!

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    And Mr. Love replied, “Keep the halos, they my cats now!”

  • http://www.bullz-eye.com DavidMedsker

    Six and a half minutes in, I suddenly thought of Jason Hare's video of himself listening to Metal Machine Music. Dear God, this is dreadful, and the singing hasn't even started yet!

    Oh, wait…there was no singing. Wow. That's some bad hat, Harry.

  • JohnHughes

    There is a vocal version, but I found this one to be much more dreadful and useful for the prosecution's case.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Lucky, lucky bastard I am.

  • MatthewF

    So imagine, there you are browsing the record racks in 1979, you see the hot pink record cover and think nah, I don't like the Beach Boys, all that surf music. Then you read the slogan across the middle and think, well in that case I'm gonna buy it because who can resist a 'disco single'.

  • kingofgrief

    The Beach Boys are my favorite band in the history of things and even I can't stomach the bulk of their post-Love You output (“Good Timin'” being the #1 exception). To be fair, you should offer a chance to at least hear the Wild Honey version just to make the disco atrocity suck that much harder to neophytes.

    Still, better this than the 1992 rap remake of “Surfin'”. Intercourse Mike Love, indeed.

  • kingofgrief

    The Beach Boys are my favorite band in the history of things and even I can't stomach the bulk of their post-Love You output (“Good Timin'” being the #1 exception). To be fair, you should offer a chance to at least hear the Wild Honey version just to make the disco atrocity suck that much harder to neophytes.

    Still, better this than the 1992 rap remake of “Surfin'”. Intercourse Mike Love, indeed.

  • kingofgrief

    The Beach Boys are my favorite band in the history of things and even I can't stomach the bulk of their post-Love You output (“Good Timin'” being the #1 exception). To be fair, you should offer a chance to at least hear the Wild Honey version just to make the disco atrocity suck that much harder to neophytes.

    Still, better this than the 1992 rap remake of “Surfin'”. Intercourse Mike Love, indeed.

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  • Mark

    I can’t help thinking of a chase scene from CHiPs, the old California motorcycle cop show, when I hear this song. The chase scenes always had disco type music, and HCTN would have fit perfectly. For a disco song, I don’t think it’s that bad, just WAY too long, even the ‘short’ version. It’s still better than kokomo. By the way it was Bruce Johnston who had the idea to do the disco remake.