Holland (album): Wikis


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Studio album by The Beach Boys
Released January 8, 1973
Recorded June - September 1972
Except "Sail On, Sailor" & "Leaving This Town": November 1972
Genre Rock, soul, blues, progressive rock, sunshine pop, psychedelic pop, waltz, art rock, skiffle
Length 48:33
Label Brother/Reprise
Producer The Beach Boys
Professional reviews
The Beach Boys chronology
Carl and the Passions - "So Tough"
The Beach Boys in Concert

Holland is the sole 1973 studio release by The Beach Boys, their nineteenth studio album. It was famously (and expensively) recorded in Baambrugge, The Netherlands over the summer of 1972 using a reconstructed studio sent from home, and with two Brian Wilson tracks rush-recorded in Los Angeles and added to the album at the last minute.

Just as Carl and the Passions - "So Tough" was coming to print, The Beach Boys, at manager Jack Rieley's urging, decided to pack up and record their next album in the Netherlands, feeling the change of scenery would add some inspiration to the sessions, and, over-optimistically, they also hoped that it would snap former leader Brian Wilson out of his deep depression.

By mid-1972, Wilson was well into mental illness. Keenly aware that he was creating less music than ever before, The Beach Boys were hoping to jump-start Brian's creative juices. Although he did make the trip (after three separate attempts to get on the plane), Wilson contributed little to the album, concentrating his musical efforts on "Mount Vernon and Fairway", a ten-minute long "musical fairy tale" which was later included with the album as a bonus EP. As a consequence, with Carl Wilson taking charge, the rest of the band had to carry the album, and as it turned out, Holland ended up as one of The Beach Boys' most respected 1970's releases.

Due to homesickness, Al Jardine and Mike Love conspired to create a three-part ode to California, resulting in a song cycle that ranks among both Jardine's and Love's best works. Mike donated the country-laced "Big Sur" (written three years earlier and here presented in 3/4 waltz time), while Mike and Al delivered the partially spoken-word of Robinson Jeffers' poem "Beaks of Eagles" and the shuffle-arranged "California", which features Brian on its first two lines. A remix of "California" was issued as the second single from the album and retitled "California Saga (On My Way To Sunny Californ-i-a)". Dennis, who was not given a lead vocal on Holland, offered up "Steamboat" and "Only with You". Carl included "The Trader": an anti-imperialist two-part epic that starts with a gleeful "Hi!" from his 3-year-old son, Jonah.

Upon the band's return from The Netherlands in the fall, Holland was rejected by Reprise Records for not having a potential hit single. It was decided to add an old unfinished Brian Wilson song, "Sail On, Sailor", which he had co-written with Ray Kennedy. After some re-working, Brian delivered what would become Holland's most famous track. "Sail On, Sailor" was one of two songs recorded at home (the other was Ricky Fataar's and Chaplin's soulful and moog-tinged "Leaving This Town") and added at the last minute to a re-sequenced and re-submitted Holland. One of the casualties of this tracklist reshuffling proved to be another Fataar/Chaplin tune, written with Mike Love, called "We Got Love", which would resurface later in 1973 in a live context.

Early test pressings of Holland, made in the USA and in the UK feature the album in its original group-intended running order. Side one kicks off with "Steamboat", then the three-part Saga, followed by "We Got Love". The German distributor for Reprise records failed to implement the changed side-one line up correctly and mistakenly pressed 300-400 copies with the earlier running order. Early French and Canadian pressings of Holland still mention "We Got Love" on the sleeve, although the song is not on those albums.

Holland's bonus EP, entitled Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale), was based on the intersection where the Love family lived in Los Angeles, and was primarily composed by Brian Wilson. Wilson originally intended it to be the centerpiece of a new Beach Boys album, consisting of the tracks from the EP and "Funky Pretty". It was initially rejected by the other band members, which effectively caused Brian to quit the sessions until Carl decided to include it as a separate EP. However, by that point, Wilson had lost interest in both the project and the Beach Boys; reportedly for denying his artistic output towards the group. Wilson would not record with the Beach Boys again as a group until 1974 for the aborted Caribou sessions. While narrated by Jack Rieley (as it was mostly unfinished when Wilson effectively walked away from the project), the voice of the Pied Piper was supplied by Brian.

Released in January 1973, Holland received mostly encouraging reviews and helped The Beach Boys improve their critical standing further. Reaching #36 in the US and #20 in the UK, the album still failed to go gold. At the end of the year which saw their US shows grow consistently in audience size, Rolling Stone named Holland as one of their picks for "album of the year", and The Beach Boys moved closer to widespread public re-acceptance.


Front cover artwork

The photograph on the front sleeve of the "Holland" album is an upside down image of the Kromme Waal, a canal that runs through the center of Amsterdam.

Track listing

  1. "Sail On, Sailor" (Brian Wilson/Tandyn Almer/Ray Kennedy/Jack Rieley/Van Dyke Parks) – 3:19
    • Features Blondie Chaplin on lead vocals
  2. "Steamboat" (Dennis Wilson/Jack Rieley) – 4:33
    • Features Carl Wilson on lead vocals
  3. "California Saga: Big Sur" (Mike Love) – 2:56
    • Features Mike Love on lead vocals
  4. "California Saga: The Beaks of Eagles" (Robinson Jeffers/Al Jardine/Lynda Jardine) – 3:49
    • Features Mike Love on narration [1st and 3rd verses], Al Jardine on lead vocals and narration [2nd verse]
  5. "California Saga: California" (Al Jardine) – 3:21
    • Features Mike Love on lead vocals
  6. "The Trader" (Carl Wilson/Jack Rieley) – 5:04
    • Features Carl Wilson on lead vocals
  7. "Leaving This Town" (Ricky Fataar/Blondie Chaplin/Carl Wilson/Mike Love) – 5:49
    • Features Blondie Chaplin on lead vocals
  8. "Only with You" (Dennis Wilson/Mike Love) – 2:59
    • Features Carl Wilson on lead vocals
  9. "Funky Pretty" (Brian Wilson/Mike Love/Jack Rieley) – 4:09
    • Features Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, Blondie Chaplin, and Mike Love on lead vocals

Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale)

  1. "Mt. Vernon And Fairway (Theme)" (Brian Wilson) – 1:34
  2. "I'm the Pied Piper (Instrumental)" (Brian Wilson/Carl Wilson) – 2:20
    • Features Jack Rieley on narration
  3. "Better Get Back in Bed" (Brian Wilson) – 1:39
    • Features Jack Rieley on narration, Carl Wilson on lead vocals
  4. "Magic Transistor Radio" (Brian Wilson) – 1:43
    • Features Jack Rieley on narration, Brian Wilson on lead vocals
  5. "I'm the Pied Piper" (Brian Wilson/Carl Wilson) – 2:09
    • Features Jack Rieley on narration, Brian Wilson on vocals and as Pied Piper's voice
  6. "Radio King Dom" (Brian Wilson/Jack Rieley) – 2:38
    • Features Jack Rieley on narration


  • "Sail On Sailor" b/w "Only with You" (Brother 1138), 29 January 1973) US #79
  • "California Saga (On My Way To Sunny Californ-i-a)" b/w "Funky Pretty" (Brother 1156), 16 April 1973 US #84; UK #37
  • "Sail On Sailor" b/w "Only with You" (re-release) (Brother 1325), 10 March 1975 US #49

Holland is now paired on CD with Carl and the Passions - "So Tough".

Holland (Brother/Reprise MS 2118) hit #36 in the US during a chart stay of 30 weeks. In the UK, it reached #20.

Early version

An early version of "Holland", scheduled to be released in November of 1972, was to have included the following songs:

  1. "Steamboat"
  2. "California Saga: Big Sur"
  3. "California Saga: The Beaks of Eagles"
  4. "California Saga: California"
  5. "We Got Love"
  6. "The Trader"
  7. "Leaving This Town"
  8. "Only with You"
  9. "Funky Pretty"
  10. "Mount Vernon And Fairway"

Warner Bros. rejected the album for being too weak, and had "We Got Love" replaced with "Sail On, Sailor".


  • Carl and the Passions - "So Tough"/Holland CD booklet notes, Tom Petty and Scott McCaughey, c.2000.
  • "The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience", Timothy White, c. 1994.
  • "Wouldn't It Be Nice - My Own Story", Brian Wilson and Todd Gold, c. 1991.
  • "Top Pop Singles 1955-2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002.
  • "Top Pop Albums 1955-2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002.
  • Allmusic.com

External links

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