“California Girls” is one of my favorite songs.
It loses its appeal, thinking that Brian Wilson may be on tour when he’s 95 in 2037 holding a microphone in one hand and holding on to his walker in the other.
Obviously I’m not jazzed or thrilled about the upcoming Beach Boys 50th reunion tour.
With all due respect to Brian Wilson, at age 70 it’ll seem more like my grandfather singing than someone whose music and songs were the gospel to California sand and surf aficionados in the 1960s.
There’s nothing wrong with singers continuing to ply their trade as they age. But it does tarnish the image of both their songs and their stature when their voice and bodies no longer fit their old standards.
If I had to pick one singer who has more songs than anyone else that I list among my favorites it would be Frank Sinatra. That said when I had the chance to attend a Sinatra concert in the 1970s it was a huge disappointment.
By then Old Blue Eyes wasn’t singing as much as he was belting out songs. It worked for songs like “New York, New York” but when he sang “Summer Wind” at age 62 it sounded like a cat on painkillers. There were a lot of folks at the concert in Sinatra’s age bracket who didn’t seem to mind. It was his presence that enthralled them, certainly not his voice, as it had pretty much left him when it came to his old standards.
Then again, singers eroding picture perfect images in the minds of music fans by not letting go of the thing of their youth aren’t as bad as Madison Avenue types who think it is OK to hijack great songs to hawk everything from financial planning to feminine hygiene products.
It falls in the same category as Bob Dole appearing in commercials a few years back pushing Viagra. Why would a World War II hero, and someone whose leadership skills almost made him leader of the Free World, stoop to being a pitchman for an erectile dysfunction drug?
Making it worse, he did it just as his wife Elizabeth Dole was running for president.
Of course, it probably has a lot to do with the almighty dollar.
That’s not saying all aging singers are in a fantasy world. Santana, as an example, got better because he kept changing and building on his base as he aged.
Then there are other groups, such as the Grateful Dead, who build a cult-like following. But they don’t drop out of sight for 20 years or so and then get the gang back together after they start collecting Social Security to try and bring back that magic feeling of their youth.
And heaven forbid some gangsta rapper group when they turn 70 - assuming they live that long - decides to do a reunion tour. Sorry, but someone gasping for breath, rapping, while their sagging pants droop down showing crack would be a bit over the top.
If you get a ticket to the 50-year Beach Boys reunion tour you’d need to be in a complete fantasy world to think what you hear won’t be put to shame by a digitally restored recording of 1965’s “California Girls.”
Enjoying memories is one thing, watching Garth Brooks at age 90 smash a guitar is another.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.