Stephen Kalinich goes inside one of the most intriguing rarities found on the Beach Boys’ new Made in California box set — a song he co-wrote with Brian Wilson in 1974, “California Feelin.’”
Included in the set are both a 1978 reading featuring Brian, Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston on vocals, as well as Brian Wilson’s initial 1974 demo, which features only his piano and voice.
“California Feelin’” had previous remained unreleased in any form until 2002, when Wilson re-recorded it with his solo band for Classics Selected by Brian Wilson.
Kalinich, in this clip with David Kessel, still remembers how resonant that original take was — but only after a few revisions to lines Kalinich had written after a surfing trip to San Onofre.
“I wrote that lyric and I brought it to Brian,” Kalinich says. “We went down to Western Recorders (the legendary independent studio in Hollywood), and Brian put it on a music stand. I had the lyric on a pink sheet of paper, I remember. I still have the original somewhere. He didn’t use every line, he picked the lines that he liked. Some of them, he skipped. And in one take, he did a version, without the Beach Boys, and that take was so magnificent. I called it white gospel. It gave you chills.”