Friends is the fourteenth studio album by American rock band The Beach Boys, released on June 24 1968 on Capitol.
As work on the album began in February 1968, Mike Love, who had learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) in December 1967, departed on a two week trip to India (alongside The Beatles and Donovan) to study TM further with his new master, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In his absence, the remaining Beach Boys – Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, and (now an official member) Bruce Johnston – recorded the bulk of Friends along with selected members of The Wrecking Crew.
Friends was the first Beach Boys album to feature significant songwriting contributions from Dennis Wilson, "Little Bird" and "Be Still"; the former's bridge incorporates elements of "Child Is the Father of the Man", a then-unreleased song from the aborted Smile. Although production was credited to the group as a whole, this was the band's last album until 1976's 15 Big Ones to feature Brian Wilson as a dominant creative force, writing, co-writing and/or producing every song with the exception of "Be Still." Brian Wilson received no credit on the song "Little Bird," allegedly so that Dennis Wilson and Stephen Kalinich, could collect more royalties.
In mid-March, Mike Love returned from his TM retreat and contributed to the subsequent vocal sessions, with leads on the brief "Meant for You", which opens the album, and "Anna Lee, the Healer," which was inspired by his time in India. Immediately afterward, The Beach Boys embarked on two US tours, one with the Strawberry Alarm Clock (resulting in the California Girls reprise at the end of the song "Small Package"), and another, most controversially, with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi himself, who lectured the audience before performances. Both tours were commercial failures and were swiftly canceled. The Maharishi tour ceased after The Beach Boys famously drew only 200 people in New York City).
The first Beach Boys album to be released only in stereo (and their first release in true stereo since 1964's The Beach Boys' Christmas Album), Friends was issued in June. It reached only #126 on American charts, as an indication of the band's depleted commercial fortunes at the time, but its later UK release was more popular, reaching #13.
User Album Review
External Album Reviews