Rock's Backpages
Rock's Backpages
Aug 23, 2021
E108: Richard Williams on Laura Nyro + Beach Boys audio interviews
Play • 1 hr 15 min

In this episode — the first we've recorded in our London office for over 18 pandemic months — we persuaded long-time RBP contributor Richard Williams (far left) to make his second appearance on "the show", principally so we could pick his brains on two of his favourite musical subjects. We start with a conversation about Laura Nyro, of whom both he and co-host Barney are besotted devotees (fellow co-hosts Mark & Martin can't get past the voice), then move on to the Beach Boys of 1970's Sunflower & 1971's Surf's Up. Richard is particularly fascinating on the role on the latter masterpiece of manager/co-writer Jack Rieley... and at least Martin likes the Beach Boys!

The BBs discussion provides the perfect cue for three clips from the week's new audio interviews: John Tobler's conversations with Mike Love (1976) & Bruce Johnston (1980), both of which prompt further thoughts on the quintessential California band & the doomed "Brian Wilson Is Back!" campaigns of the mid-'70s. We then segue into the work of a quintessential California writerDeanne Stillman, and her featured RBP pieces about Surf culture & Tom Wolfe's 1965 Phil Spector profile "The Tycoon of Teen".

After paying our respects to Texan country-folk icon Nanci Griffith – with quotes from interviews conducted with her in 1988 & 2012 — Mark talks us through his favourite new additions to the RBP library, including interviews with John LennonSid Vicious & Nancy Spungen & Madonna producer Pat Leonard, while Barney rounds things off with remarks on a 2007 interview with Raymond "Gilbert" O'Sullivan.

Many thanks to special guest Richard Williams; find his blog at

The Rock's Backpages podcast is proud to be part of the Pantheon podcast network.

Pieces discussed: Laura Nyro by Richard Williams, Laura Nyro by Ian MacDonald, Laura Nyro by Rob Steen, Mike Love audio, Bruce Johnston audio, Surf culture, Phil Spector, Nanci Griffith by Adam Sweeting, Nanci Griffith by David Burke, Paper Lace, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, Bow Wow Wow, Pat Leonard, Sandy Bull, Hair, John Lennon, Buck Owens and Gilbert O'Sullivan.

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