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Mark & the Escorts Meet the Beach Boys (1964)

by Mark Guerrero

            Once upon a time in early 1964, my teenage band, Mark & the Escorts, met the Beach Boys.  It wasn’t the whole band, Mark & the Escorts, but two of it’s members, me and Richard Rosas.  Richard was the bass player in the group and I played guitar.  Richard and I used to hang out a lot together outside the band in those days.  On this particularly day, I invited him to come with me to what turned out to be a serendipitous meeting with the Beach Boys at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California.  Here’s how we wound up at Western Recorders that evening.  My father, Lalo Guerrero, was hired to write a Spanish lyric for a song to be recorded by Trini Lopez, who was at the peak of his career at the time.  Trini’s producer, Don Costa, who had also produced Frank Sinatra, had called my dad with the assignment.  It was a great song with a cha cha beat, which my dad would name “Chamaka.”  My dad was asked by Costa to come to the studio since they were recording “Chamaka” that night.  My dad invited me to come with him.  I, in turn, invited Richard to come along.  We arrived at Western Recorders and were led into a big studio, where Trini was about to sing, accompanied a large orchestra.  We met Trini and Don Costa, which was pretty exciting for me and Richard.  We were only fourteen years old at the time and in some pretty impressive company and surroundings.

     After watching the session for awhile, Richard and I went wondering through the hallways of Western Recorders.  Coming out of a doorway of a smaller studio were two blond young men.  I asked them if they were Jan and Dean.  (Jan and Dean were a surf vocal duo who were very popular at the time with their hit “Surf City.”)  One of the men at the door replied, “no, we’re in the Beach Boys.”  Amazingly, they proceeded to invite us into the studio.  We went in and there were the Beach Boys about to overdub some vocals.  This story has gained more gravity for me over the years because of the legendary status and great musical legacy the Beach Boys went on to achieve.  We were invited to sit down on a couch in front of the mixing board in the control room, which provided us with an unobstructed view through a glass window into the studio.  From that vantage point we got to watch the Beach Boys, Carl and Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine, in a circle around a microphone recording vocals for their song “All Summer Long.”  Brian Wilson was at the board, producing the session.  As we realized later, the two we had met at the door were in fact Al Jardine and Mike Love.  We were there quite a while watching the session.  On a break, Dennis Wilson came over to us and opened an attaché case.  He reached in and pulled out a couple of 45 rpm singles with picture sleeves.  He gave us one each.  The singles just happened to be their brand new, as yet unreleased and soon to be #1 hit record, “I Get Around.”  (“I Get Around” topped the charts on June 6, 1964.)  Dennis signed the back of the record sleeves and Mike Love, who was standing nearby, did the same.  Richard and I didn’t think of asking the others to sign. Maybe we were just too young and shy to do so, but we were thrilled to get the records signed by two of the Beach Boys.  Eventually, we left the Beach Boys and returned to the Trini Lopez session, which came out great.  It was quite a night for a couple of teenage Chicanos from East L.A.

     I’ve been wanting to add this story to my website for a long time, not only because it was a great experience I want to preserve and document, but to give props to the Beach Boys for being so hospitable and nice to two young Chicano kids that they didn’t know from Adam.  To invite us in, let us watch them record, and give us signed records, shows what kind of people they are.  Sadly, as of this writing, Dennis and Carl Wilson have passed away.  Richard Rosas, my former bassist in Mark & the Escorts, and all my other bands through 1974, went on to play with Joe Walsh, Neil Young, and recently was the bassist on the 2006 Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young tour.  Trini Lopez and I both happen to live in the Palm Springs, California area where we met up again and are friends.  (He recorded one of my songs, “Oh Maria,” in 2004.)  To this day, whenever I hear the Beach Boy song “All Summer Long,” I can still see them standing around the microphone singing those great harmonies and it’s hard to believe I was there when they were being done.  I’m still a great admirer of the music of the Beach Boys and I’ll always have a warm spot in my heart for them because of that great night at Western Recorders way back in 1964.

Both Sides of Beach Boys "I Get Around" Picture Sleeve below:
 

 


The Black signatures above are printed on the sleeve.  The blue signatures of Mike Love and Dennis Wilson are the ones  they signed for me.

mp3 Sound Bytes

All Summer Long - The Beach Boys 1964

Chamaka - Trini Lopez 1964

 

 

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Mark Guerrero
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