The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The Beach Boys are the latest artist to embrace (succumb to?) the orchestral album, with a new release, The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Like the Elvis and Roy Orbison sets, this album pairs original vocal performances with new symphonic arrangements, newly recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios.

The arrangements were recorded in March and conducted by Steve Sidwell and Sally Herbert, who also wrote several of the album’s new symphonic arrangements. The songs given this treatment go back to 1964’s Fun, Fun, Fun, and are recent as 1988’s Kokomo. On the way all the classics like Good Vibrations, California Girls, Wouldn’t It Be Nice and God Only Knows are present and correct.

Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson says, “I always knew the vocal arrangements I did back in the 1960s would lend themselves perfectly for a symphony and there is no better one in the world than the Royal Philharmonic. I am both proud and humbled by what they have created using our songs and I hope everyone falls in love with it like I have.”

I’m not normally a fan of these kinds of albums, and didn’t like the Roy Orbison A Love So Beautiful record at all, but I’ve heard this new Beach Boys album and it works really well. There’s something about the layered vocal arrangements of The Beach Boys music that makes it work beautifully with the orchestra, so this is one perhaps not to dismiss out of hand.

The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be released on CD 8 June 2018. A double vinyl pressing will follow in August.

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The Beach Boys Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The Beach Boys with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - 2LP vinyl


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The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - CD edition


1. California Suite
2. California Girls
3. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
4. Fun, Fun, Fun
5. Don’t Worry Baby
6. God Only Knows
7. Sloop John B
8. Heroes And Villains
9. Disney Girls
10. Here Today
11. In My Room
12. Kokomo
13. The Warmth Of The Sun
14. Darlin’
15. Help Me Rhonda
16. You Still Believe In Me
17. Good Vibrations

47 responses to The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

  1. Brian says:

    Worse CD i’ve ever bought…..waste of money

  2. Troy Gale says:

    Are kidding, most people’s comments are knocking this New Album and it’s not even out yet. I’m for one looking forward to hearing what they have done to The Beach Boys songs after all we are in 2018 now we not back in the 60s anymore, therefore Albums like these i welcome with open arms plus by doing these kind of Albums younger people start to become fans. I’m all for these Albums and Remixed Albums they keep older music fresh for a new generation to enjoy. Besides if you don’t like them you can always buy the originals that will never change.

  3. Albert Tatlock says:

    I’m just glad that horrendous ‘The Smiths with an orchestra’ idea was torpedoed very fast…..
    And what’s next for this crass modern version of ‘Hooked On Classics’? They’ll be doing The Clash or the Pistols next… Ah well, off to Rovers to play dominoes with our Ken…

  4. Albert Tatlock says:

    Is it me, or does Brian look like a cardboard cut out on the album’s cover?

  5. Jonny says:

    Does that mean they’ve finally found the multitrack vocals for Good Vibrations otherwise missing for decades?

  6. Daryl says:

    It always surprises me when people talk about ‘tampering with the originals’ or ‘messing with the memory’. The fact is, they haven’t recorded over the originals – they’re still available!
    Sets like this aren’t essential, no. But they are a nice addition to the collections of hardcore fans. Nobody has to buy them, but they can if they fancy hearing a slightly different take on the songs they know and love.
    I personally can’t wait to hear this – I have already ordered it. That doesn’t mean I will stop listening to my copy of Pet Sounds though – shock horror – I can listen to both of them at different times if I want!

  7. Ken Evans says:

    If Brian did the arrangements and was in the studio in 2017 directing the orchestra, then I would get this.

    But he didn’t. So no.

  8. MARK LEVY says:

    Give it time, they’ll be a Beatles one out with full Orchestra. It got pretty close with the Let It Be album in 1970. I reckon it will come out in time for the 50th anniversary in 2020

  9. Gareth says:

    Alas, Elvis and Orbison weren’t alive to refuse (although obviously permission would’ve been granted by their family/estate), but as Brian and co. are still alive, I would’ve thought they would turn down such an offer and not want their classic songs to be tarnished in this way. Then again, they didn’t have an issue teaming up with Status Quo or the Fat Boys, so I guess they’re not too fussy!

  10. Phil S says:

    These “….. with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra” releases are nothing more than a money-making scam.

    Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and The Beach Boys – and I believe Aretha Franklin has also jumped on the bandwagon – have never shared the stage or recording studio with The Royal Phil!!

    Just another way of keeping the money rolling in.

  11. Carol Foster says:

    The beachboys are my favourite group of all time and I’m pleased to say that I love the sound of the new cd what’s coming out. I’ve pre-ordered mine can’t wait to play the cd.

  12. Bill Hammell says:

    It’s all well and good, but seriously? Kokomo? Please, Caroline, No!

  13. Sowerby Bob says:

    Watch the promo clip with the subtitles on. At 30 seconds in Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has been auto translated as ‘raw for the money gogo strap’ ??! !
    Should I ever form a band, that’s what they’ll be called.

    • PC says:

      Well spotted, Bob. That’s hilarious. I’m looking forward to this release. If ever a pop band lent themselves to this treatment, the Beach Boys did.

    • Gav H says:

      Brilliant! That made my afternoon. :)
      I think I’d rather save my pennies for Raw Money Gogo Strap’s debut LP on ‘raw’ blue vinyl than buy this. Will obviously give it a listen on Spotify, though, just to be 100% certain.

  14. wem51 says:

    This could win a Grammy for “Most Unecessary Re-release Of The Year”!

  15. Andy K says:

    I heard the version of Fun, Fun, Fun on Spotify. Quite good fun. I might pick up the CD…

  16. Adrian Grove says:

    I just hope the don’t take the Beatles catalogue and mistreat it this way. The only way it could have been done would have been with Sir George Martin writing the musical arrangements as he did in life for them.

  17. Gary C says:

    With the greatest respect to the musicians involved then/now, I really do think they’ve jumped the shark with this release. Hooked On Classis indeed

  18. Craig Hedges says:

    This has Mike Love’s grubby little fingers all over it. This is yet another attempt by him to undermine his cousin. Just look at the cover with him in the centre looming over Brian. Don’t believe me? Watch the awful 1988 Rock and Roll hall of fame speech where Mike interrupts Brian during his speech.

    The reason I like the Beach Boys is because of Brian’s beautiful arrangements and the sounds he created on the original recordings. This is another huge slap in the face for Brian. Yes I’ve seen the quote banded about from Brian but this is just PR and Brian putting on brave face. At least Brian hasn’t done what his cousin did and threatened to sue, which is what happened when Brian wanted to put out the Pet Sounds Sessions in 1996 delaying it by 12 months and when Brian wanted to release his version of Smile…. Actually how many times has Mike Love sued or threatened to his cousin now?

    Why didn’t they do Dennis’s beautiful ‘Forever’? Oh yes, Dennis hated Mike, I’m amazed his picture was allowed on the cover.

    I can understand the Elvis version, I raised my eyebrows at the Roy Orbison version but this is wrong (and pointless) on so many levels. God Only Know is the most beautiful moment in recorded music, why would anyone mess with it?

    If you hadn’t guessed…I don’t like Mike Love! Get Well Soon Brian.

  19. graham says:

    Next up Bowie?

  20. Brian says:

    I hope they don’t touch Bowie’s work

  21. Alan B says:

    The coloured vinyl version costs £8 more than the black vinyl edition. Record companies are at it again with coloured vinyl as the new “fleece the punter” option. The Killers box set has the same issue with an unbelievable premium for coloured vinyl.

    • RJS says:

      They know that there are plenty of suckers who will pay top dollar for a pretty piece of coloured vinyl!

  22. Malcolm Jackson says:

    At least Elvis and Roy Orbison had the integrity to be dead!

  23. Aaron says:

    even though I’ve been slating this since I first heard about it…I still think I might pick it up as I have everything else they ever did…including Summer In Paradise and Stars & Stripes Vol 1 (thankfully no Vol 2 ever appeared)…but that cover is appalling…I know they probably wanted to have a picture with all 6 BBs..and Brian and Bruce usually didn’t appear in pictures together esp in the 60s…but they could have come up with something better than this?

    Been trying to think of other acts who might work with the RSO…CSN(Y) spring to mind straight away…

    • The Golden Age Of _ _ _ _ `_ _ _ says:

      C, S, N & Y!?!? Are you mad? Yeah, I can just imagine `Almost Cut My Hair` with orchestra backing.

      • Aaron says:

        Ok – maybe not that particular song…but Deja Vu, Our House, some of the solo CSN stuff…could totally work.

  24. gwynogue says:

    My God, that cover picture! Methinks Mr Wilson has an addiction to Photoshop… “Help me render, help help me render…”

  25. Adam Shaw says:

    I’ve ordered this on what I’ve heard so far which are the Pet Sounds tracks . I know these tracks had part orchestration already but I think it works better with the Beach Boys than some others . I was sceptical at first at all these releases as it reminded me of the orchestral version albums of Beatles and Stones songs from the 60s and 70s that you could pick up in Woolworths !

  26. RJS says:

    At least they left my fave BB album (Friends) alone. Nothing against these sort of albums – they’re ideal stocking fillers for grandparents and as already mentioned, I’d also be interested in hearing the Disney Girls makeover.

  27. Jurgen says:

    As a Beach Boys fan I will buy this but it seems more like another way to resell the old familiar tunes. It’s not a bad idea (and thankfully not a remix album) though I wished they had finished the (still unreleased) “Adult/Child” album. In 1977 Brian reunited with Dick Reynolds, the arranger who worked on the group’s 1964 Christmas album to record new songs with an orchestra!

  28. Mike the Fish says:

    I’m really not one for these albums, but Disney Girls (swiped text put Horrors instead of Girls) and Heroes and Villains look interesting to me.

  29. John T says:

    The cover art is awful! Poor Brian…. his head is badly drawn.

  30. Johnathan says:

    Let’s not overlook the similar set for Aretha Franklin, which had its moments (though probably unnecessary in total).

    • Luigi says:

      Amen to that – Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Rick Hall and the FAME musicians would have wondered WHY?

  31. Tim Abbott says:

    This looks absolutely dreadful, from the cover on down. The clip I heard of Fun, Fun, Fun is even worse than the version they did with Status Quo.

    There are many many Beach Boys songs that would benefit from extra strings or a nice rearrangement, but none of them are on here. No sale.

  32. elliott buckingham says:

    also a coloured vinyl version available from universal’s own store

  33. Alan says:

    How could they sign off on that cover, just look at Brian!

    • bob says:

      Well presumably they also signed off the cover for Pet Sounds, one of the worst album covers if all time.

  34. Daryl says:

    I pre-ordered this the other day. I think it seems like a wonderful idea, and I am really looking forward to hearing it!
    If anyone’s music lends itself to an orchestra, it should be the Beach Boys! Can’t wait for this one!

  35. Leonardo Lotti says:

    Picture this: The Electric Light Orchestra with The Royal Philarmonic Orchestra! Layers and Layers upon layers (overdubs) of orchestra!

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