A Beach Boy Goes Disco
He had a pretty hot career as a producer and writer outside of the Beach Boys, too, winning a Grammy for writing Barry Manilow’s song “I Write The Songs” (a tribute to Brian Wilson) and arranging vocals and singing on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and The Wall. And he had connections Van McCoy at some point, so maybe it rubbed off here. To think that this came from a Beach Boy is surprising, and to think that it’s the only jam like this he ever put out… that’s depressing.
Side note time: I met Johnston backstage after a Beach Boys show, along with Mike Love and then-Senator Max Cleland. Johnston was charming, kind, talkative, and pretty “with it” (we discussed Sigur Ros and Kid A, if I remember correctly). I drunkenly asked him if he ever felt like he never enough respect because he wasn’t a founding member of the band, and, instead of getting angry, he just said, “Hey, I’ve been with the band for nearly forty years, I have a great house, and I get to get up in front of audiences every night and sing ‘California Girls’. That’s a great job. Who cares what people think?” Had I heard “Pipeline” before he said that, I probably would have tried to hug him.
Instead, I saw Mike Love take a shower. I got glasses soon afterward. Coincidence?
BRUCE JOHNSON – PIPELINE [YouTube]