Whatcha Gonna Do by Pablo Cruise (A&M, 1977)

Pablo Cruise, the quartet from San Francisco, finally hit it big in 1977 with the first song off their 3rd LP, A Place In The Sun. Whatcha Gonna Do slowly climbed all the way up into the Top 10, peaking at #6, 34 Augusts ago. This 45 typifies the burgeoning at the time West Coast scene, laid back with an undercurrent of funk. You gotta dig that flangy Rhodes after Bud Cockrell kicks the groove in with that high bass lick. There’s definitely a smooth sheen to this song, but I wouldn’t call this soft rock by any means, even though that’s how they get tagged. It’s just a great slice of California pop.

Any time I hear this song I think of that late 70s period of Hawaiian shirts, anything tropical, best exemplified by watching an episode of Three’s Company. Ferns and wicker, suntans and swingers. This is what would blasting from Larry Dallas’ convertible as rides down the PCH on his way to the Regal Beagle.

Lyrically it’s a simple tale of a guy kicking his friend in the ass, a friend that’s bitching about his girlfriend. The guy poses the question, so when’s she gone, whatcha gonna do? Now for all we know the girl is a lunatic. Hell she could be sleeping with the band and their just covering their ass. Then again the friend might be an uptight jerk and all he needs is something smooth from Pablo Cruise….

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