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Good, good, good vibrations

The Beach Boys, back on tour in their jubilee year

Tim de Lisle | May/June 2012

At first, in the Fifties, the pop world was ruled by male solo artists. In 1962, three great groups made their mark: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys. Fifty years on, the best bet for a jubilee tour seemed to be the Stones, but then Mick and Keef took too long to bury their latest hatchet. Instead we have the Beach Boys, reunited with their frail genius of a songwriter, Brian Wilson, for the first time in 20 years. Two of the original boys are dead, and the other three are 70ish, but they will have Wilson’s bracing band to prop them up—and the hits remain forever young. With their blend of innocence and sophistication, songs like “Good Vibrations”, “California Girls” and “Do It Again” bring a tear to the eye now—and show why Lennon and McCartney looked over their shoulders at Wilson even more than at Jagger and Richards. The Beach Boys are even working on an album: expect songs about surfing with artificial hips. ~ Tim de Lisle

Beach Boys world tour, April 24th to August 19th; more dates may be announced

ROCK AT A GLANCE

Sweet Billy Pilgrim (album, April 30th). Shortlisted for the Mercury music prize in 2009, this little-known band from Buckinghamshire could well win it in 2012 with “Crown and Treaty”, a set of art-folk songs that are subtle, intricate and deliciously soulful.
Madonna (world tour, May 29th to November 20th). Her latest album, “MDNA”, is mdningly lazy, but she tends not to cut corners in concert.
Cold Specks (North American tour, May 1st to June 2nd; album, May 21st in Britain, May 22nd in America). Hearing her, you’d think she was an Alabama cotton-picker recorded by Alan Lomax in about 1937. In fact, she’s a young Canadian, living in London, singing with raw power.
Paul Buchanan (album, May 21st). The leader of The Blue Nile makes a solo album. Sparse and spare, mostly voice and piano, the songs are like demos – but classy ones.
Tom Petty (world tour, April 18th to June 30th). Rare chance to see the Heartbreakers, a band so tight that they give conservative rock a good name. ~ TDL

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