In a Beach Boys state of mind

So who the heck was KGB, if not a Soviet spy agency?

brianwilson.tigerOf COURSE, I was going to link to God Only Knows – BBC Music with a whole bunch of folks, including Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell, Lorde, Dave Grohl, Kylie Minogue, Florence Welch, Chrissie Hynde, Queen’s Brian May, One Direction, Jools Holland, and many others; here’s a list of the participants. Also of interest is some background about the recording.

A lot of debate online about who “should have” been on the recording, starting with Paul McCartney, a huge fan of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album (perhaps he was sick or on tour), and who “should not have”, starting with One Direction. Frankly, I think the speculation is a bit silly/useless.

I did NOT know about Perfect Day- BBC Music with Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Emmylou Harris, David Bowie, Bono, Tom Jones, Joan Armatrading, Robert Cray, Dr. John, and others from 1997. Elton John is the only person I recognized from both recordings.

My blogging buddy Chuck Miller posted songs about sailing. He selected the Beach Boys’ Sloop John B but did NOT pick their Sail On Sailor, because he opted for a cover version by a group called KGB.

So who the heck was KGB, if not a Soviet spy agency? From HERE:

The K was for:

Singer Ray Kennedy, the least known member of the group, had an impressive resume of his own. He’d played sax for Gerry Mulligan, Otis Redding, Brenda Lee and Fats Domino, among others. Kennedy also co-wrote the Beach Boys’ “Sail On Sailor.”

On the KGB album, the song is billed as written by Brian Wilson and Kennedy, while the Beach Boys version had other writers listed.

The G was for:

Keyboard player Barry Goldberg had partnered with [Mike] Bloomfield in Dylan’s back up band, then in The Electric Flag and Supersession. He’d also worked with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Mitch Ryder.

The B, of course, was for:

Guitarist Mike Bloomfield had played with Bob Dylan and served as Paul Butterfield’s main axe man. He formed the Electric Flag in 1967 with Buddy Miles, Barry Goldberg and Nick Gravenites, but struck out on his own a year later.

The group also featured:

[Bassist] Rick Grech career had begun with British rockers Family. He was swiped from their U.S. tour in 1969 by Blind Faith. When Blind Faith crashed, Grech enlisted in Ginger Baker’s Airforce, another supergroup that included former Traffic members Steve Winwood and Chris Wood. When the reformed Traffic needed a bassist, Winwood contacted Grech… Grech went on to record with Rod Stewart, Gram Parsons and Ronnie Lane, among others.


Carmine Appice was one of hard rock’s prominent percussionists. He’d started in the legendary Long Island jam band the Vanilla Fudge, then formed Cactus with ex-Fudge bassist Tim Bogert. The duo hooked up with legendary guitarist Jeff Beck in 1972.

Though buddy Chuck prefers the KGB version of Sail On, Sailor, I am on record that this is one of my favorite Beach Boys songs, as sung by Blondie Chaplin. In fact, one of the very few BB songs I love better is God Only Knows.

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