Musical palate cleanser, sandals dance at my feet edition

From their 1972 release, Carl and The Passions, here’s the Beach Boys, with “Marcella”.

There are two things in particular I love about this song.  (Besides the song itself, that is.)

First, it was written based on a massage therapist Brian Wilson was kind of fixated on at the time.  No, really.

“Marcella” was written about a real woman that Wilson knew. Music journalist Nick Kent explains that she “worked at a parlour just off the strip called Circus Maximus” and had allowed Wilson to “stay and talk to her even though she was aware most of what he said was crazy bullshit.” According to Jack Rieley:

About that time Brian began talking in detail about a massage parlour in West Hollywood and one of the girls who worked there. At first he spoke only of going there for massages. Some days later he began going on and on about the masseuse who he said was turning him on.… The only thing I could think of to quell Brian’s fixation was to channel it. Thus it was I who suggested Marcella as the title for a tune Brian had been working on. With my promise to write the Marcella lyric, he jumped into the project with immense enthusiasm. Brian, Carl, Desper and I worked hard on that record. Dennis helped too. The zither was a cool idea but it was mixed poorly. My lyric was minor… efficient at best.

Second, the musical influences!

Wilson later said that one of the lead guitar parts was inspired by George Harrison‘s playing,[5] namely, Harrison’s solo on “Let It Be” (1970).[6] On another occasion, Wilson said that the song “represents one of the first times we tried to emulate The Rolling Stones. In my mind, it was dedicated to the Stones, but I never told them that. It’s one of the rockingest songs I ever wrote.”

I admit you can hear Harrison on the guitar break, but the Stones? C’mon, Brian!

12 Comments

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12 responses to “Musical palate cleanser, sandals dance at my feet edition

  1. Illini84

    My sis lives in Hawthorne and my brother and nieces all went to Hawthorne High. I’ve never heard this song!

    https://www.laweekly.com/a-tour-of-beach-boys-haunts-in-their-hometown-of-hawthorne-california-with-pictures/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. akascuba

    The intro and break you can clearly find the Harrison influence. Around the 1-2 minute area to me it’s a lame attempt to mimic a Stones tune.

    Strange back story I had never heard before thanks always enjoy your musical musings.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I saw him do this on the SMiLE tour at Chastain, and what a pleasant surprise! His band was fantastic and he sounded great. I think on one of the CD versions of Carl & The Passions the liner notes were written by Elton John, and he said this was one of his favorite BB songs.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. muttleyagain

    The song had an early history in evolving from “I Just Got My Pay” (unreleased), which evolved from as early as 1964, I think, in “All Dressed Up For School”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not a fan, dialed up randomly to the 3:30 mark and immediately heard the Stones influence before reading further down your post. To each his own…

    Oh…gotdamn hippies!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I saw Joe Walsh made a TikTok happy birthday video to Brian Wilson yesterday…

    I think I enjoyed the backstory more than the actual song…who knows, it may influence me to sing about my sweet sweet massage therapist, I just don’t know the first thing about K-pop

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Russ

    I’ll admit I was never a Beach Boys fan until I saw “Love and Mercy”. Since then I’ve dug deeper into their music and Brian’s life. He really is a kind, musical genius. Glad he managed to survive all these years.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Morris Day

    “massage therapist Brian Wilson was kind of fixated on at the time”

    Deshaun Watson should start writing songs?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Russ

    Pretty good song, but I was expecting more of a happy ending to the song.

    Liked by 1 person

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