Pacific Ocean Blue on Highway 1

It’s supposed to be the prettiest drive in the US of A, and I can confirm that it’s very special.  Celebrated Independence Day in fine style with Cameron and my friend Joanna Neborsky, who drove up from San Diego, swimming in the pool, drinking punch out of some elaborate drinking glasses Cameron’s grandma had sitting around, and making it up to the Malibu beach just in time to see the fireworks, peeking out from behind a cloud, reflected on the lapping waves.

Like I said, I’ve gone Hollywood.

On the way back, we had some nice three-part harmony to the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds going, and today Cameron and I were able to fulfill a month long plan, listening to Dennis Wilson’s solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, while driving up the winding Highway 1.


As you may know, Dennis Wilson was the Beach Boy who ran with Charles Manson and his “family” just before the killings.  His first solo album, released in ’77,  definitely fulfills some of the potential of the few Beach Boys tracks he orchestrated, such as the angelic “Wonderful,” but it’s also got a real dark edge to it.  Most unexpected are the fantastic horn sections that pop up for a moment, overwhelm the track, and then die down like a woozy brass band.  I’m not sur if Pacific Ocean Blue is consistent enough to merit the “lost classic” status that I’d give to something like Gene Clark’s No Other, but it has some transcendent moments.

While my favorite track is “Dreamer,” the track of the day is “Pacific Ocean Blues.” It’s just a killer song.  Whereas elsewhere Wilson’s earnest lyrics ring true, here they’re just comical — reminds me of the Beach Boys’ hilarious dissident anthem, “Student Demonstration Time.”  The chorus:

We live on the edge of a body of water
Warmed by the blood of the cold hearted
Slaughter of otter
Wonder how she feels mother seal
It’s no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue

See sidebar to listen to the most famous pro-otter song in the history of popular music.

Published in: on July 7, 2007 at 3:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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