Sunday Music – Back In The USSR And California Girls

Posted on Sun 10/10/2010 by


Today’s two music videos are ‘Back In The USSR’ from The Beatles, and ‘California Girls’ from The Beach Boys.

This video was posted to You Tube by jedaimanko

This video was posted to You Tube by BestMusicForYou

Had John Lennon not been so tragically taken from us, he would have celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday, and in this day and age where some singers have remarkable longevity, there would have been a wealth of music he might have given us since that fateful day in December 1980. What we do have however is all of the wonderful music he did give us up until that time. While this song we now know as being mainly a Paul McCartney song, when it did come out in 1968 it was credited to Lennon and McCartney, as were most of the songs from that wonderful English band The Beatles.

Sometimes, some songs have a closer relationship than we know, because all we really are aware of is the music itself, and those private things that musicians have amongst themselves are not really the province of music followers.

This Beatles song is one of those, and there is some history that goes back even further than this song.

These two bands, The Beatles and The Beach Boys, while separated by the vast Atlantic Ocean, were aware of each other more than just listening to each others music.

The driving force behind The Beach Boys was undoubtedly Brian Wilson. The second of these songs featured today, ‘California Girls’ was written in 1965 by Brian and his cousin, and fellow band member, Mike Love, and it was another of those monster Top Five hits for the band, now comfortable at the peak of their career.

The Beach Boys surf oriented music differed (a little) from The Beatles style, and even though competing for hits in the same overall music market, both bands were well aware of each others music. You might think of this as being a competitive thing, but there was obvious respect for each others music.

In fact, both bands thought similar things about each other. When The Beach Boys brought out their wonderful album ‘Pet Sounds’ in 1966, The Beatles thought that they could never produce anything as good as that album. Even though The Beatles were also at the zenith of their talents, they still thought that this was the best album to have ever been released, and that they could not equal anything of that nature. Brian Wilson made absolutely wonderful stuff during this time, and even though it was accepted as such, even he was looking towards the music The Beatles were bringing out and thinking the same of them as they were thinking of him.

The Beatles then came out with ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ in 1967, and this time it was Brian Wilson who thought the same thing about this album as The Beatles did with the release of ‘Pet Sounds’.

During the time after ‘Peppers’, The Beatles were in India learning TM (Transcendental Meditation) under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. At the same time, they were also working on their next album. While in India, Mike Love from The Beach Boys was also doing the same TM thing at the same time, and being fellow musicians, and with such respect for each others music, they ‘compared notes’, so to speak. Lennon and McCartney were working on a song that was a tribute to Chuck Berry’s ‘Back In The U.S.’  one of his big hits from 1959, only working it around to the title of ‘Back In The USSR’. Lennon and McCartney shared this with Mike Love because of the mutual respect thing, and how they wanted to include a Beach Boys style as part of the song. Love suggested something similar to what The Beach Boys did with ‘California Girls’, only translating it to some of the 15 separate Countries that made up the USSR.

This song, ‘Back In The USSR’ resulted and it was used to as the opening track from The Beatles next album, that fabulous two album set, which has come to be known as ‘The White Album’.

So, even though the two bands produced music from the same, but different genres, there is quite a close correlation between the two songs.

Originally, this Beatles song was done as a tribute to one of the early men who shaped Rock Music, Chuck Berry, who The Beatles claim as one of their early influences. That song was first released in 1959, and the clip we have below shows Berry performing this song live a lot later in his career, and with the help of the fabulous voice of Linda Ronstadt. One of the things worth noticing here is the distinct similarity between this and that Beatles song.

This video was posted to You Tube by davearies11

The original Beach Boys song was revived in 1985 when the lead singer of the huge band van Halen, David lee Roth set out on a solo career. He reworked ‘California Girls’, releasing it on his first solo venture, an EP titled ‘Crazy From The Heat’, made up of covers, and all four of these songs on this short EP made it into the Charts. Again, this song ‘California Girls’ shot to the top of the Charts, reaching as high as Number Two. This would have been mainly on the back of a very clever video clip for the song, shown as the clip below. All red blooded men stopped everything to watch this video. Roth brought a wonderful freshness again to a song that has always been fresh.

This video was posted to You Tube by Ryder276

Posted in: Music, Videos