was a journalist until he became manager of the Beach Boys
. Between 1970 and 1974 he contributed much to their critical renaissance.Revamping the band's image and turning their attentione to political and environmental issues (a concern for the environment stayed with the band until their last album Summer In Paradise
) he did what seemed the unthinkable and made the band 'hip' and 'relevant' again.
Rieley started managing the group just after the Sunflower album came out, but his effect was really felt for the first time on the Surf's Up album. This album featured Rieley's lyrics on Feel Flows and Long Promised Road, two gentle ballads with rather incomprehensible new age lyrics co-written with Carl Wilson, and Rieley both co-wrote (with Brian Wilson) and sang lead on A Day In The Life Of A Tree, a quite remarkable song which depending on how you choose to look at it is a marvellous deadpan joke a la Jonathan Richman, a beautiful song about the environment, or an absolutely haunting piece about Wilson's own mental breakdown (an impression increased by its placing next to Til I Die on the album). The entire album revolves around the themes of personal, political and emotional breakdown, and is a quite stunning achievement.
Shortly after this album was finished Bruce Johnston, unhappy with Rieley's business methods, quite the band. The band replaced Johnston with Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar and made Carl & The Passions (So Tough), for which Rieley contributed lyrics to two reworkings of old Brian Wilson unreleased songs - You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone and Marcella
On the album's follow-up, Holland (recorded in Holland at Rieley's suggestion), Rieley was one of several people who contributed lyrics to Sail On Sailor, co-wrote the astrologically based lyrics to Funky Pretty (with Brian Wilson and Mike Love) and wrote two full lyrics - Steamboat (music by Dennis Wilson) is an imagistic portrait of the old west, while The Trader (music by Carl Wilson) is astonishing for this band, being an attack on the capitalist imperialism that destroyed the lives and culture of native Americans before once again taking a turn into spiritual imagery.(Both those songs have paralells with Van Dyke Parks' lyrics for the band's unreleased Smile album).
On the Holland album Rieley also helped out with the writing of Brian Wilson's odd fairy tale Mount Vernon And Fairway (released as a bonus EP with the album), which Rieley also narrated. Around this time Rieley also wrote the words to Fourth Of July, a Dennis Wilson song that was unreleased until the band's box set in 1993.
Shortly after this album, and the In Concert album that followed it, Blondie Chaplin left the band due to disagreements with Rieley, and Rieley was fired soon after that. There seems to be some dispute over why he was fired - some say he wanted to live in Holland and continue managing the band from there. Others claim he conned the band (he does have a reputation for dubious business dealings, but probably did the band more good than harm). There are also suggestions that a certain nasal-voiced member of the band was uncomfortable with Rieley's homosexuality.
After parting from the Beach Boys, Rieley recorded a solo album, whose name I have been unable to track down (although I have heard it sounds much like the Holland album). Since then he has produced the album We Are the Majority for his partner Jaye Mueller, with whom he also formed a software company called J2 Global Communications. The two are working on a new album. According to an interview with Mueller, Rieley also worked with Prince and Kool And The Gang, but I have seen no other evidence of this. Rielley did however co-write the track Only Now on the Carnival Of Light album by Ride.