The Get Down never heard with Murray Saul and Dennis Wilson

Top: Murray Saul begins his “Get Down” with Dennis Wilson in the WMMS production studio.

Bottom: Dennis Wilson, moments after his breakdown, with Murray.

 

It was one of our best kept secrets.

In 1976 when Beach Boy Dennis Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown while doing a “Get Down” with Murray Saul, we agreed to keep that news under wraps.  

Murray and I had gotten to know Dennis Wilson.  He’d stop by WMMS whenever the band was in town. 

The Beach Boys had a special relationship with us since we continued to play their music at a time when most album rock stations had erroneously written them off as a top 40 band.

I had come up with a bizarre proposal to cut a WMMS TV spot with Murray and Dennis doing a “Get Down” in unison.  Dennis was up for it and we planned to put it together on his next visit to Cleveland.

In between tours, Dennis Wilson was recording his first solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, and he brought along a few completed tracks.   Just a few weeks earlier, Dennis married Karen Lamm, the former wife of Chicago keyboardist Robert Lamm.  

It appeared that Dennis’ often unsettled life was on an upswing.

The “Get Downs” were usually performed live – but on rare occasion, such as this one, which required additional takes for the TV spot, we decided to cut this one in advance. 

Dennis arrived at WMMS, which at that time was at 50th and Euclid, with a gallon jug of scotch.   After a quick herb break in the parking lot, the production room was configured for the filming and recording.  The Get Down audio would run at 6 PM and the film would be edited for the WMMS TV spot.

Murray opened the Get Down with a challenge to Southern California, which Dennis Wilson represented.  “You people with your endless summers, beautiful women wearing less than the law allows, and surfing…” he began. Murray continued to tirade for another minute or so before setting up Dennis’ cue, which was “…and I love it all.”

And that’s when things went terribly wrong.

For more on the Murray Saul/Dennis Wilson Get Down, please turn your The Buzzard book to Chapter Nine.

Join Murray Saul – live – for a very special 80th Birthday Party Get Down this Friday night at 8 PM at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland.  For more information, click here.

For The Free Times story on Murray, click here.  For the Plain Dealer story, click here.  For the North Coast Voice story, click here

Murray Saul’s The Get Downs, Vol. 1(TaurusGold) is available from Amazon.com, LittleFish.com,  and select retail outlets. Distributed by Traditions Alive, Lakewood, OH 216.226.6200

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One Response to “The Get Down never heard with Murray Saul and Dennis Wilson”

  1. Mike Eder Says:

    I am writing a book on the Beach Boys and feel this footage would really give me a perspective on Dennis I couldn’t get otherwise. Please get in touch if you can help me locate it.
    Mike Eder
    edermike@msn.com

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