Now don’t get me wrong, friends. I certainly know that with the song Sloop John B, the Beach Boys didn’t create it. Indeed, it has been at least credited as far back as 1916. It is of course assumed to be far, far older than that. In fact the original song wasn’t known as Sloop John B. The tune originated in the Bahamas and was known as The John B. Sails.
[Via] Marcel San Miguel
Naturally more than a few singers and bands have tried their hand at the song. One of my favorites happens to be by The Kingston Trio. The band was quite known for their folk and pop music ballads. Including a 1958 recording of The John B. Sails version under The Wreck of the John B.. Moreover it has been said that Al Jardine had heard the song and actually took it to the rest of the Beach Boys.
Which is how the band ended up writing and singing Sloop John B on Pet Sounds in 1966. While it was Brian Wilson who would alter some of the original songs lyrics. Al Jardine is credited with changing the chord progression of the song. Furthermore in The Pet Sounds Sessions: “The Making of Pet Sounds”, Jardine has stated about demonstration the song to Wilson:
“So I put some minor changes in there, and it stretched out the possibilities from a vocal point of view. Anyway, I played it, walked away from the piano and we went back to work. The very next day, I got a phone call to come down to the studio. Brian played the song for me, and I was blown away. The idea stage to the completed track took less than 24 hours.”
Now then, that leads us to how Sloop John B landed on The Wild Wild West. Pet Sounds was released in March of 1966. With the episode of the western sci-fi series airing on September 30th of the same year.
Not very hard to see why the show wouldn’t add a little nod to theBeach Boys. Especially considering they had both Michael Dunn and Phoebe Dorin to sing the song. While both played villains on The Wild Wild West as Miguelito Loveless and Antoinette. In real life they had become a singing duo thanks to Roddy McDowall. Who after seeing them perform suggested they become a nightclub act.
Ready to be charmed by Dunn and Dorin’s version of the Sloop John B?
You will notice they use both the Beach Boys lyrics mixed with The John B. Sails version.
[Via] John Thompson
But wait, friends. Did you also know that Bil Mumy and Marta Kristen also tackled The John B. Sails in an episode of Lost in Space?
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