C or D : Sail On Sailor

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I just heard this in my car tonight, never fails to make me happy. Not very "Beach Boys" in a lot of ways, what with the guy who wasn't in the Rutles on lead vocals. Yacht Rock for sure, amirite?? What's the deal with this song, didn't like 100 guys have a hand in the writing of this opus? And how could it have missed being a monster smash? Can we blame the failure of this song for the BBs descent into oldies hell - if so, I blame you, America. Classic!

timmy tannin (pompous), Thursday, 6 April 2006 05:50 (fifteen years ago) link


amateurist0, Thursday, 6 April 2006 05:53 (fifteen years ago) link

Not very "Beach Boys" in a lot of ways

I never even knew it *was* them until I got a CD reissue with that on it and heard it and went, "Whoa, that was them?"

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 6 April 2006 05:59 (fifteen years ago) link

That guy Was in the rutles.

mark grout (mark grout), Thursday, 6 April 2006 06:12 (fifteen years ago) link

yes, the rutles guy was in the lineup for this song, but it's the other new guy, Blondie Chapin (Chaplin?) that sings lead.

timmy tannin (pompous), Thursday, 6 April 2006 06:22 (fifteen years ago) link


A Viking of Some Note (Andrew Thames), Thursday, 6 April 2006 06:32 (fifteen years ago) link

last classic beach boys song

a.b. (alanbanana), Thursday, 6 April 2006 07:01 (fifteen years ago) link

hmmmmm - well I vaguely remember reading some naysaying - something like they overegged it, or it was too self-consciously trying to be a big hit. Fuck that, esp. now when the crushing pressure of living up to the glory years is ancient history. As long as it sounds this good, who cares about the backstory.

timmy tannin (pompous), Thursday, 6 April 2006 07:09 (fifteen years ago) link

Beach boys - Classic.
Bluetones - Dud.

danny boy, Thursday, 6 April 2006 08:20 (fifteen years ago) link

"Sail On Sailor" was played a lot on British radio at the time, but the hit single off Holland here was, curiously, "California Saga: California."

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Thursday, 6 April 2006 09:01 (fifteen years ago) link

Anyone got the boot with Van Dyke telling Brian he wasn't insane so he'd finish the damn song?

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 6 April 2006 10:57 (fifteen years ago) link

Classic. I have no idea why, but for some irrational reason I thought Dennis Wilson was singing this one, until I finally learned it was actually Blondie Chapin. This is a record that should have been a hit in the US but wasn't.

James, Thursday, 6 April 2006 12:18 (fifteen years ago) link

At the moment, I prefer Trader.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Thursday, 6 April 2006 12:53 (fifteen years ago) link

Not my favourite Beach Boys song. They were starting to lose it by the time of the "Holland" album. Only "California Saga" held up.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Thursday, 6 April 2006 13:19 (fifteen years ago) link

haha - I actually agree w/Geir! I like this song okay, but believe it or not my favorite moment on the album is courtesy of Mike Love (California Saga: Big Sur)

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 6 April 2006 14:57 (fifteen years ago) link

My fave is "Only With You". "Sail On Sailor" has always struck me as being a bit overrated (like the album as a whole).

Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 6 April 2006 15:03 (fifteen years ago) link

the bonus 7" is kinda depressing.

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 6 April 2006 15:13 (fifteen years ago) link

Exceedingly so

Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 6 April 2006 15:14 (fifteen years ago) link

The version of "Sail on Sailor" that BW wrote w/ VDP lording over him was apparently better and with different lyrics.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 6 April 2006 15:33 (fifteen years ago) link

i don't know the history of the song, but according to whitburn's "top pop singles," it was released twice as a single, and charted both times without making much of a dent. it topped out at #79 in 1973, and #49 in 1975. which means, i guess, that it really was destined to not be a hit.

fact checking cuz (fcc), Thursday, 6 April 2006 19:02 (fifteen years ago) link

I wonder if I know this song? (Not a huge BBs fan.) I know the TITLE, certainly, but I can't seem to conjure up the tune in my head - I keep getting "Ride, Captain Ride" instead.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Thursday, 6 April 2006 19:23 (fifteen years ago) link

I dig this track. In fact, I finally acquired Pacific Ocean Blue, and that has that same '70s Cali-funk, blue eyed soul, drunk beach bum thing going on. I'm digging it all.

QuantumNoise (Justin Farrar), Thursday, 6 April 2006 19:33 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't love it but it is very enjoyable.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Thursday, 6 April 2006 19:36 (fifteen years ago) link

has anyone heard the LP by Blondie Chaplin's group The Flame?

mitch dub (ano ano), Thursday, 6 April 2006 19:53 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Ok, this is utterly bizarre:

Van Dyke Parks on "Sail On, Sailor"

"This is my first public comment on the authorship of this song.

Once upon a time, Brian Wilson owned a house on Bellagio Drive in Bel Air, California, (built by Edgar Rice Burroughs). I visited him there one day, with a trusty Sony tape recorder in hand, hoped to resurrect an aborted attempt at commercially successful song collaboration. Let me back-track.

I was working at Warner Brothers' Records at the time, both in A&R and in my newly developed office of "Audio Visual Services". The CEO of the company was Mo Ostin, the Executive V.P., A&R was Lenny Waronker. My influence on Mr. Ostin is best shown by a corporate "org.chart" of that period, which shows that my only superior officer was Mr. Ostin himself. I'd pressured Mo to sign the beleaguered Beach Boys to the label, in spite of industry-wide reservations about the group's ability to deliver. When I went to Bellagio Drive to work on a song with Brian, the entire group was in Holland, working on a record aptly titled "Holland" for delivery to the label.

Mo and Lenny had held great expectations for that record. They suggested that my working with Brian might goad him to similar creative heights reached in "Smile". Mo and Lenny were astonished that Brian wasn't participating in the album effort, and feeling somewhat deceived, thought I should step forward, as I was in large part, the reason for their commitment to the group.

Having only gotten a partial song out of that one meeting with Brian, I put the tape away, and lay low. I wanted to avoid getting involved with the internecine group dilemmas once again.

"Holland" arrived at the Burbank offices, DOA. It was the consensus of everyone in A&R, Promotion, and distribution, that "Holland" was "unreleaseable". Knowing the company's enormous investment, and the high stakes involved, I got out the tape cassette from my session with Brian that evening on Bellagio Dr., gave it a listen, and delivered it to the company with my assurance that it would solve all their problems.

On the tape (I gave my only copy to David Berson, Mr. Ostin's assistant), it's clear from the contents that I authored the words (and the musical intervals to) "Sail On Sail On Sailor". It's also clear that I composed the chords to the bridge, played them, and taught them to Brian.

Ecstatic, Mr. Ostin immediately messengered this tape (or a copy of it) to Amsterdam, and the Beach Boys were instructed to slap words on the verses and deliver it, as a pre-condition for their album's release.

When the song was delivered back to WB, it was designated as the single for the album. My name appeared as co-author on that first issue copy, with Brian's. After Ray Kennedy's lawsuit (claiming authorship of the lyrics), my name and participation diminished, and in some ensuing cases, I've been given no royalties or credit at all.

I understand that there was a general "feeding frenzy" around the tune's lyrics, as the Beach Boys regrouped back in L.A. I have no idea how many people may have been at those final vocal sessions, now claiming additional credit. That's none of my business. All I can attest to is my seminal contribution to "Sail On Sailor", and the authorship of that famous chorus.

Repeated questions about my role in this composition compel me to respond, as "history is written by the victors". I've always believed that honesty is the best course, and I'll be doing all I can to pursue this matter soon, to a just conclusion. I hope that the attorneys' fees don't outweigh the royalties involved. What can I say---it's a town full of heroes and villains!"

-- Van Dyke Parks.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 19 May 2006 03:39 (fourteen years ago) link

Wow. Well, um classic, anyway.

Although no one mentioned the best song on Holland: Carl Wilson's "Trader" (although the fairytale 7" is also great.. and probably the last gasp before the steady decliine for the group thereafter.)

((((((DOPplur)))n)))u))))tttt (donut), Friday, 19 May 2006 04:00 (fourteen years ago) link

Anybody own the Landlocked boot? Any good? bad?

QuantumNoise (Justin Farrar), Friday, 19 May 2006 04:05 (fourteen years ago) link

it's got Dennis's Lady, also known as Falling in Love by American Spring on the Brian's Pet Projects CD. Best...song...ever...

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Friday, 19 May 2006 14:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Dud. Doesn't sound like a typical Beach Boys song at all. The "California Saga" suite was the only good music on the "Holland" album.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 19 May 2006 16:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Yes. It's a BAD song because it doesn't sound like the Beach Boys.

No, wait. It's a great song. No matter who it sounds like.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Friday, 19 May 2006 16:56 (fourteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
"sewer rat"

dave q (listerine), Thursday, 15 June 2006 15:48 (fourteen years ago) link

SO FUCKING CLASSIC. Comaprable only to "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone".

Anybody own the Landlocked boot? Any good? bad?

I love it, but you get overlap (San Miguel, etc.)

has anyone heard the LP by Blondie Chaplin's group The Flame?

I only sought out an mp3 of "See the Light" after it was touted as "the best thing on their album". It's just okay.

Didn't they hire the two Flamers due to Dennis breaking his arm?

PappaWheelie 2 (PappaWheelie 2), Thursday, 15 June 2006 16:54 (fourteen years ago) link

great great song

Dominique (dleone), Thursday, 15 June 2006 17:03 (fourteen years ago) link

My impression was that Carl enlisted Chapin and Fataar to make up for the absence of Brian and the departure of Bruce Johnston. Dennis' drumming has always seemed incidental to the BB's anyway, so I doubt some temporary injury would be enough to spur the inclusion of new members...

"You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone" is great great great.

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 15 June 2006 17:15 (fourteen years ago) link

best dodgy beach boys hits:
1. Sail On Sailor
2. Do It Again
3. I'm Bugged At My Old Man
4. Kokomo

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Thursday, 15 June 2006 17:54 (fourteen years ago) link

the best tune from the Brother era...Classic

New Media Intern (New Media Intern), Thursday, 15 June 2006 18:29 (fourteen years ago) link

best dodgy beach boys hits:
1. Sail On Sailor
2. Do It Again
3. I'm Bugged At My Old Man
4. Kokomo

But "Sail On Sailor" isn't even dodgy. It is just different, and basically just a plain normal MOR song sounding like it could have been made by almost any act at the time. (You forgot "Student Demonstration Time" in your list btw)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Thursday, 15 June 2006 20:46 (fourteen years ago) link

I love "I'm Bugged at My Old Man". Dunno if I would call it a hit exactly.

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 15 June 2006 20:54 (fourteen years ago) link

I love, love, love "Do it Again". That snare sound is just so cool, and that guitar solo is one of the best to appear on a Beach Boys' record. That groovy, patient tempo is tops, as Love sings, "It's automatic..." In my opinion, 20/20 has one of best 1-2 opening combos ever: "Do it Again" to "I Can Hear Music". The 20/20 CD has some bonus tracks and one is that single, "Breakaway", which has become a heavy rotation jam this year.

QuantumNoise (Justin Farrar), Friday, 16 June 2006 00:02 (fourteen years ago) link

I love, love, love "Do it Again". That snare sound is just so cool

As sampled by Air in Remember

PappaWheelie 2 (PappaWheelie 2), Friday, 16 June 2006 13:33 (fourteen years ago) link

best dodgy beach boys hits:
1. Sail On Sailor
2. Do It Again
3. I'm Bugged At My Old Man
4. Kokomo

I'd replace "Kokomo" with "Good Timin'" - despite its dated production, it's a great "Surfer Girl"-esque track (and one of the only Brian/Carl collaborations).

mike a (mike a), Friday, 16 June 2006 16:17 (fourteen years ago) link

Do It Again is probably my favorite BB song, but their coolest use of guitar may have been on Steamboat. Holland was one of those albums I bought having heard only one song and it was, of course, SOS. So classic for getting me into a pretty good record, which I've beaten to near death after 34 yrs. Yikes!

jim wentworth (wench), Sunday, 18 June 2006 01:26 (fourteen years ago) link

fourteen years pass...

Uninspired, drenched and tired

buzza, Monday, 5 April 2021 07:37 (one week ago) link

Blondie Chapin guested on Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds (50th Anniversary?) tour and sang "Sail On Sailor" in force of nature level vocals. his guitar playing/soloing was a wall of dissonance like Scary Monsters era Fripp. all the more impressive as he seemed quite petite and aged!

Paul, Monday, 5 April 2021 13:59 (one week ago) link


Paul, Monday, 5 April 2021 14:00 (one week ago) link

haha Chaplin

Paul, Monday, 5 April 2021 14:01 (one week ago) link

it’s a pretty cool song. I group it with their cover of “I was made to love her”, which is also good..

brimstead, Monday, 5 April 2021 15:15 (one week ago) link

I haven't seen The Departed in a while but I recall it felt like an uninspired sync. Good song tho.

billstevejim, Monday, 5 April 2021 15:20 (one week ago) link

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