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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