Newmarket: Have fun, fun, fun with The Beach Boys at racecourse

The Beach Boys, playing Newmarket Racecourse. Photo: David McClister

The Beach Boys, playing Newmarket Racecourse. Photo: David McClister - Credit: Archant

The Beach Boys’ Mike Love sounds surprisingly relaxed when I get him on the phone. A few hours earlier they’d played a private party in Florida, a few hours later they were heading to Las Vegas. Then it’s off to LA, London, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, home to America, back to the UK, Spain...

“We get around as the song goes,” he laughs, adding what’s really nice is five decades on people are still coming to see them perform.

“Our songs, in many cases I co-authored with my cousin Brian back in the 1960s, is appreciated as much as it ever was, possibly even more because there are multiple generations - we’ll see entire families turn out.

“They all seem to be able to co-exist and appreciate the music, it’s a special thing and that’s what inspires us to go on year after year, as long as there are people who want to hear our music live it’s a blessing.”

One of the featured artists at this year’s Boston Pops, attended by hundreds of thousands, there’s a particular gig I’m interested in - their Newmarket Nights debut on July 18.

Visiting quite a bit of England this summer, The Beach Boys have always enjoyed a love affair with the country. In 1966 Good Vibrations went to number one, with the band also voted the number one group in Great Britain - beating the Beatles into second and the Rolling Stones into third.

“It just demonstrates how much The Beach Boys have been held in such high regard in England and of course we’ve always loved performing in England,” says Love, who will be joined by Bruce Johnston alongside supporting musicians John Cowsill, Tim Bonhomme, Randell Kirsch, Scott Totten and Christian Love.

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There’re nobody more successful or prolific though, he laughs, than Sir Paul McCartney and co; the Beach Boys have often been known to perform the Fab Four’s songs at concerts.

Their mutual admiration goes way back, says Love, telling me about spending spring in India with them in 1968.

“Paul came down to the breakfast table one morning playing Back in the USSR on his acoustic guitar,” he recalls.

“I wrote a reminiscence of that time, a tribute basically to George Harrison and his contribution to music. I call it Pisces Brothers because we’re both pisces, he on February 25 and I on March 15. We had our birthday that year in India so I wrote this sentimental reminiscence and released it on his birthday this year. It gets a great reception... we perform it in concert nowadays and it really gets a wonderful reception. I’m looking forward to doing it in England.”

Fans can expect all The Beach Boy hits with Love preferring to start off retro; going back to the beginnings and their surfing and car songs. Then it’s on to God Only Knows, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Sloop John B from Pet Sounds...

“This year is the 50th anniversary of Fun Fun Fun, we most often end our encore with that which is a really neat song. I came up with the concept, wrote the lyrics and Brian did the track. We did the vocal together and he came up with the amazing falsetto part at the end, it’s one of my favourite parts of any song we ever did,” laughs Love.

“We’ll do 20 top 10 hits,” he laughs, “or there abouts in our show - plenty of songs. Anybody comes out to hear The Beach Boys, we do not want to disappoint, we want to do the songs for which we’re known and the songs people hope to hear. I’ve always been of the mind to give the audience what they want, interspersed with perhaps more subtle, more esoteric songs like Pisces Brothers.

“If you close your eyes to California Girls it could be 1965 again,” he laughs. “The band sounds as good as its ever sounded, maybe even better.”