No group has as consistently made music celebratory of sun, fresh air and youth as the Beach Boys and it is particularly appropriate that they should have two albums out during the present endless summer.
Hardly a June, July or August has passed since 1962 without a Beach Boys tune implanting itself in mind and heart, and 1976, what with bicentennial and all, will be no exception.
For me, this year's memory will be "It's O.K.", a Brian Wilson/Mike Love song from "15 Big Ones", which is vintage, euphoric, hot weather music….
"15 Big Ones" is not an "advanced" Beach Boys album. After a decade and a half of serious and immeasurably enjoyable progression they are putatively looking back to their earliest days in an attempt, perhaps, to rekindle the flame of youth, which is odd, for they have always had the touch of Peter Pan about them.
Their voices and music never grow old. Nevertheless, recreation is at the core of "15 Big Ones," with rearrangements (all by Brian) of oldies….
Of the new Beach Boys songs, two good Brian Wilson/Mike Love numbers eclipse the opening "Rock And Roll Music". They are "It's O.K." … and "Had To Phone Ya"…. It's a pretty song of love long distance….
The group is clearly building its energies before moving forward once more. As a new work "15 Big Ones" is no "Pet Sounds" or "Surf's Up", but it will most assuredly suffice for the present. Meanwhile, the album is important as a confident step in the rehabilitation of Brian Wilson, to whom—Welcome Back.
Geoff Brown, "Welcome Back to Vintage B.B.," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), July 10, 1976, p. 21.