Although Brian Wilson had effectively left the well-storied Beach Boys by 1988, their recording efforts still enjoyed a certain vogue, and so they were recruited to pen a single for the Tom Cruise film, "Cocktail." The result of this effort, the song, "Kokomo," was essentially a last gasp of newness for this well-worn group. (The official story is that Wilson was invited to the sessions as a last-minute gesture, but claimed that prior commitments prevented his appearance; he would perform the song with the band at a few live shows before completely severing ties with the outfit). But the Beach Boys were not short of personnel for their later taping the video of the song; pink-shirted fanboy/actor John Stamos was on hand to bang the bongos.

As for the song itself, it is perhaps the ultimate in breezy, relaxed, low key numbers. It's all about kicking back and 'getting away from it all' in the Caribbean, in this case in a fictional island somewhere in the vicinity of the Florida Keys. The song, with a calypso-ish beat, progressively rhymes island names with corresponding sentimentations, such as "Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take you" and "Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go." Although the song is long on chorus repetitions and comparatively short on other lyrics, in those that are there, there is no scarcity of references to drinking, laying out on the sand, and having sexual intercourse (including some shipboard Afternoon Delight). And there's a pretty sweet saxophone solo about two thirds of the way through the song, courtesy of ought-to-be-famous session player Joel Peskin. As a whole, its rhythm and feel is more in line with Jimmy Buffett hits than with earlier, more upbeat Beach Boys hits like "Surfin' USA," "Barbara Ann," "Good Vibrations," and "I Get Around."

The song was an endlessly played hit upon its introduction, the first to top the charts for the group in over two decades (marking, as well, the first time a group had a new number one song over twenty years after their last number one). Interestingly, 1988 must have been a bellwether year for kicked back music, other songs topping the charts that year including Bobby McFerrin's even more calypso "Don't Worry, Be Happy," and Phil Collins' molasses-slow "Groovy Kind of Love."

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