Sunday, June 30, 2024

The Beach Boys: Turn That Frown Upside Down, 1967-71

 Aloha, one and all!

    This month's post is just a bit of fun. I'd been listening to the Beach Boys lately and the story of their years as a band is at turns fascinating, infuriating and tragic. After hitting their peak in late 1966, at which point they were relatively successful in competing with the Beatles album to album, things came crashing down over the next few years. The following essay gives some insight into that period and the years that followed; by 1971, the Beach Boys were generally ignored in the press and struggling to keep things together. The years from 1967 to '71 were not kind to the group and they made a number of serious missteps--aborted albums, missed festivals, associations with convicted murderers--but despite this, they were still making some fantastic music well worth a listen. 

 After the article, I've put together a Spotify playlist featuring music from the years 1967 through '71, or you can jump to it HERE.

    For those not really familiar with the Beach Boys, the following links will give you a quick review of their pre-Good Vibrations hits. 'The Beach Boys Medley' (released in '81) features many of their hits from 1961 to 1966; a longer version with more songs can be heard here. As their primary songwriter (with various lyrical partners), Brian Wilson was the driving force and a lot of his musical and harmonic development can be heard in the 'Beach Boys Ballad Medley' released the same year. Notable in both of these medleys is that in the early days the Beach Boys played the instruments themselves for the most part, but as Brian's abilities and ambitions grew, he started bringing in session musicians particularly from the Wrecking Crew (such as Hal Blaine), who had worked principally as Phil Spector's house band, along with orchestral musicians. By the time of 'Pet Sounds', as the other Beach Boys were on tour, Brian worked in the studio writing, arranging and producing the band's new music--with the exception of brothers Carl, Dennis and Brian himself on a few tracks, session musicians played everything else. As ambitious as 'Pet Sounds' and the following single 'Good Vibrations', 'SMiLE' was intended as Brian's "teenage symphony to God," but things fell apart and neither the band nor Wilson ever truly recovered.

More than enough preamble! 

Enjoy, DH


1. "Brian is back!"     2. a TV program    3. this one    4. the most recent    

I will publish another page with the complete playlist and some brief notes on the albums and songs featured in the near future, but for now I hope you enjoy this musical exploration into this oft forgotten period of a significant band's history.

Until next time!

Friday, May 31, 2024

New from Hagen Music: "Ship of Fools"

Ship of Fools

(music & lyrics: Daniel Hagen)

Out at sea, I’m floating again
Away, away to where I don’t know
To my friends, I call you once more
To help me find that golden shore

Troubled times are with us this year
But when has this not been the case
All we need is a beacon of hope
To light our way down this road
     On a ship of fools


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

"An Inconvenient Earth" - A Poem

 'ello! 'ello!

Here for everyone's apocalyptic enjoyment are a few verses I tossed off back in March of 2020, right when pandemic lockdowns were taking hold across the globe. Perhaps, I was feeling a little more pessimistic than usual at the time ... just a little ... but then I quite forgot about the poem for some time--the title of which is an obvious play on the title of the climate documentary, An Inconvenient Truth

I'd recently started making an effort to collect my scattered song lyrics and poems into a single folder and had a devil of a time finding this one, to the point that I half-thought I'd imagined writing it in the first place! Fortunately, my marbles have not all entirely rolled out my brain pan and I found my original draft last week. I'd long had a concept for how I wanted to present it on a page and, while what you see here does not entirely match my original conception, it's pretty close. The only thing really missing is a pair of cut-out legs ala Terry Gilliam doing a stiff-legged silly walk across the beach ... but I thought they'd clutter up the page. And I couldn't find just the right pair. 

I've also liberally borrowed the Ship of Fools from Heironymus Bosch's eponymous piece. I don't think he'll mind. He's been dead for quite some time. Probably would be happy that his work is still living!

Anyhoo, without further ado, please enjoy "An Inconvenient Earth" and feel free to cry or dance or howl with laughter at the moon in response. Or all three at the same time.


- DH

Monday, February 12, 2024

The Old Hermit of Silesia, part II - A Short Story

 And here we are, the conclusion of the short story, 'The Old Hermit of Silesia'!

Greetings once again, everyone. If you read the first installment--and I thank you if you did--then here is final half of the tale of Mikhail Osterhoff and the strange old man who wanders the Silesian Mountains.

Thanks again to MD and also LG for revisions and feedback. Much obliged!

May love guide your actions and your words as I hope it has this little work of mine.


- DH

 Without further ado ...

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Old Hermit of Silesia, part I - A Short Story

     Salutations and season's greetings!

Just as promised, here is my short story, 'The Old Hermit of Silesia', just in time for Chri--Wait ... What day is this? The 31st of January, you say? Possibly, February 1st? (Depending on what part of the world you're in.) Possibly not even 2023 nor 2024, but some other year entirely?! Have we come untethered from time and space at long last?!?! 

Nah, I just am far later than I hoped in getting this story rough-finished, typed, edited, proofread, edited again, proofread again, formatted and posted, while simultaneously dealing with a sick child, a sick me, actual paying-work deadlines, and the various and sundry family business to take care of. (Including, I must confess, a lovely family trip to parts mountainous, forested, beflowered, oceanic, bespeckled with local culture, and becatted.)

Aaaaaaanyway, part I of the story is done and, barring any glaring but overlooked mistakes, I'm ready to bestow it upon the world. (Well, I'll be bedamned--I must stop doing that.)

Much thanks to MD for editing assistance and feedback!

Without further ado, enjoy The Old Hermit of Silesia', part I.

- DH