How the Beach Boys’ Lost Late-Sixties Gems Got a Second Life

Late last month, with little notice, three Beach Boys compilations appeared on Spotify and other streaming platforms: Wake the World: The Friends Sessions; I Can Hear Music: The 20/20 Sessions; and On Tour: 1968 (Live). Almost none of the recordings had been previously released. They include originals and covers, captured in live soundchecks, in-studio work tapes, instrumental backing tracks, and isolated a cappella vocal tracks, a number of which are revelatory.

The music from this period has generally been considered subpar by the impossible-to-match standards set by Pet Sounds in 1966. But these sessions,
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