Beach Boys Sound Check

The Beach Boys - Dorchester Hotel 1977

You could describe my life as pure luck, not in getting the picture each time, that part was relatively easy, but just in terms of who I got to see and the circumstances under which saw them. This photo definitely comes into that category. 

Back in the 70's the Record Companies were flush with cash and were happy spending it on themselves. CBS took this to the extreme with their Annual Conventions, these multi day events consisted of flying hundreds of Record Co Execs to some exotic location and then have their best Artists perform for them, Bruce Springsteen played the 1975 one in New Orleans. In 1977 they had it in London, on the morning of the first day Elvis Costello started busking on the street outside the Grosvenor Park Hotel, his hope was to get the attention of the CBS people, instead he became a person of interest to the Police and got arrested. Luckily he got out of jail in time to play Dingwalls later that night.

The highlight of the Convention was a performance by the Beach Boys on the final night. I was pretty good at sneaking into places unnoticed and so, along with my friend Kevin, we slipped into the Ballroom via the service entrance in mid afternoon. I did not know if we would see anything but it was worth a try. We were hiding behind piles of stacked chairs when the place started to get quite active. Then, in front of out star struck eyes, out came the Beach Boys to do a Soundcheck. Better yet, Brian Wilson was with them, he had not bern seen in public or performed with them since his breakdown and in NME land this was scoop central. 

I stayed hidden for the first three numbers, behind Brian was his Doctor/Psychiatrist who would massage his shoulders between numbers, he also shouted out the words to the songs acting as a sort of full time prompter to the shell shocked looking Brian. Figuring that they might only do four songs I took my chance and darted out from my hiding place, I scurried to the front of the stage and took five very quick frames before running out of the Ballroom, thru the Hotel Lobby and out on to Park Lane. 

I had my photo and nobody was going to take it away from me. After developing it I noticed the two teacups on the floor in front of their feet. To me it really adds to the impact of the image by adding just a hint of the surreal to it. As I said I was really fucking lucky, I really did have the best job in the world...