Sunday 7/3/22 1pm ET: Feature LP: Beach Boys – 15 Big Ones (1976)

15 Big Ones is the 20th studio album by the American rock band the Beach Boys, released July 5, 1976 on Brother/Reprise. It includes a mix of original songs and renditions of rock ‘n’ roll and R&B standards. The LP was the band’s first album produced by Brian Wilson since Pet Sounds (1966), and as such, its release was accompanied by a controversial media campaign that declared his comeback as an active member of the Beach Boys’ recording and touring group.

Following their previous album, Holland (1973), the band had focused on touring and attracting bigger concert audiences, especially after the unexpected success of their greatest hits compilation Endless Summer (1974). They attempted to record a new album at Caribou Ranch studio in late 1974, but it was soon abandoned, partly due to Wilson being unable or unwilling to participate. At the end of 1975, his bandmates and manager Stephen Love prevailed upon him to produce the group’s next release, hoping that a new album bearing his production label credit would prove lucrative.

Most of 15 Big Ones was hastily recorded in early 1976 at the band’s Brother Studios. The project was marred by disputes, as Carl and Dennis Wilson felt that the production quality was substandard and that an album of originals was more ideal, while Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Stephen wanted new Beach Boys product rushed out in order to capitalize on the group’s continued resurgence in popularity. Further tensions arose from the interference of Brian’s psychologist, Eugene Landy. One of the proposed titles, Group Therapy, was rejected in favor of a title that referred to both the number of tracks and the group’s 15th anniversary. To support the album, Brian joined his bandmates on a major concert tour for the first time since 1964. The group also commissioned an NBC television special, titled The Beach Boys, that aired in August.

Despite mixed reviews, 15 Big Ones went gold and became the Beach Boys’ best-selling album of new material since 1965. It peaked at number 8 in the U.S. and number 31 in the UK. Three singles were issued: a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Rock and Roll Music” and the originals “It’s OK” and “Everyone’s in Love with You”. The first two charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at numbers 5 and 29, respectively, and ultimately became their only top 30 hits during the 1970s. Brian later referred to 15 Big Ones and its 1977 follow-up, The Beach Boys Love You, as his life-defining albums.

  1. “Rock and Roll Music” 2:29
  2. “It’s O.K.” 2:12
  3. “Had to Phone Ya” 1:43
  4. “Chapel of Love” 2:34
  5. “Everyone’s in Love with You” 2:42
  6. “Talk to Me” 2:14
  7. “That Same Song” 2:16
  8. “TM Song” 1:34
  9. “Palisades Park” 2:27
  10. “Susie Cincinnati” 2:57
  11. “A Casual Look” 2:45
  12. “Blueberry Hill” 3:01
  13. “Back Home” 2:49
  14. “In the Still of the Night” 3:03
  15. “Just Once in My Life” 3:47
  16. “Let Us Go On This Way” 2:01
  17. “Roller Skating Child” 2:19
  18. “Mona” 2:09
  19. “Johnny Carson” 2:49
  20. “Good Time” 2:52
  21. “Honkin’ Down The Highway” 2:52
  22. “Ding Dang” 0:59
  23. “Solar System” 2:50
  24. “The Night Was So Young” 2:19
  25. “I’ll Bet He’s Nice” 2:40
  26. “Let’s Put Our Hearts Together” 2:16
  27. “I Wanna Pick You Up” 2:42
  28. “Airplane” 3:08
  29. “Love Is A Woman” 2:58

Al Jardine – backing and lead vocals, guitar
Mike Love – backing and lead vocals, arranger

Brian Wilson – backing and lead vocals, organ, piano, Moog bass, ARP synthesizer, ARP String Ensemble, bass guitar, harmonica, chimes, bells
Carl Wilson – backing and lead vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer, Jew’s harp, percussion
Dennis Wilson – backing and lead vocals, drums, percussion, vibraphone
Ron Altbach – piano, harpsichord, accordion
Ed Carter – guitar
Billy Hinsche – guitar
Daryl Dragon – clavinet, vocal arrangement
Dennis Dragon – drums
Ricky Fataar – drums, percussion
Bruce Johnston – backing vocals, piano
Charles Lloyd – flute
Toni Tennille – backing vocals
Marilyn Wilson – backing vocals
Roy Wood (credited as “Roy Wood and Wizzard”) – saxophone
Mike Altschul – saxophone, clarinet
Ben Benay – guitar
Hal Blaine – drums
Jerry Cole – guitar
Steve Douglas – saxophone, horns, flute
Dennis Dreith – saxophone, clarinet
Tim Drummond – bass
Gene Estes – percussion
Carl L. Fortina – accordion
James D. Hughart – string bass
Jules Jacobs – clarinet
Plas Johnson – saxophone
John J. Kelson, Jr. – saxophone, clarinet
Jack Nimitz – saxophone, clarinet
Jay Migliori – saxophone, horns, flute
Carol Lee Miller – autoharp
Ray Pohlman – bass
Lyle Ritz – bass
Bobby Shew – trumpet
Thomas J. Tedesco – guitar
Julius Wechter – percussion, bells
Maureen L. West – harp
Murray Adler – violin
Arnold Belnick – violin
Henry Ferber – violin
Lou Klass – violin
Bernard Kundell – violin
William Kurasch – violin
James Getzoff – violin
Henry L. Roth – violin
Sidney Sharp – violin
Tibor Zelig – violin