“Surf’s Up” Meets “Pumped Up Kicks”
The Beach Boys will perform on Sunday's Grammy telecast in a special performance with Maroon 5 and Foster The People. The Beach Boys never won a Grammy (if you can believe that), but they were voted a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Maroon 5 and Foster The People are competing this year for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, a category the Beach Boys should have ruled in the 1960s. Maroon 5 is nominated for "Moves Like Jagger," its chart-topping collabo with Christina Aguilera. Foster The People is nominated for its catchy pop smash "Pumped Up Kicks."
Sunday's telecast will mark the first live performance in more than two decades for the Beach Boys: Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks. (Two founding members have passed away: Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983. Carl Wilson died of cancer in 1998.)
Only one Beach Boys recording from the 1960s was even nominated for a Grammy. That was their 1966 masterwork "Good Vibrations," which was nominated for Best Performance by a Vocal Group (it lost to the Anita Kerr Singers, which are nearly forgotten today); Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording (it lost to New Vaudeville Band's "Winchester Cathedral," which is today considered little more than an appealing novelty record) and Best Contemporary (R&R) Group Performance (it lost to the Mamas & the Papas' "Monday, Monday," which is also considered a pop classic, though not on the order of "Good Vibrations").
Brian Wilson also received a Grammy nomination for his arrangement of "Good Vibrations." He lost to Ernie Freeman's arrangement of Frank Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night." "Strangers" is classy and ultra-romantic, but schmaltzy. That outcome, too, would probably be different if the voting were held today.
The Beach Boys were nominated for another Grammy for their 1988 smash "Kokomo," which they recorded without Brian Wilson. It was a finalist for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (it lost to Manhattan Transfer's album Brasil). Mike Love co-wrote the song for the movie Cocktail with John Phillips (from the Mamas & the Papas), Terry Melcher and Scott Mackenzie. It was nominated for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television, but lost that one too (to Phil Collins' "Two Hearts" from Buster).
Brian Wilson finally won a Grammy on his own for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow," a track from Brian Wilson Presents Smile.