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Author Topic: BW/VDP Sail on Sailor "Hypnotize Me" demo  (Read 10297 times)
tortapuerco
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« on: September 03, 2007, 01:39:34 PM »

I presume this has never shown up on bootleg; has there been any solid confirmation that it exists in collector circles?

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Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2007, 03:25:34 PM »

The original cassette was rediscovered a few years ago. It is not in circulation.
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tortapuerco
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2007, 10:41:01 PM »

Thanks. Not surprising of course that it would be held extremely close to the vest.
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James Hughes-Clarke
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 05:42:35 AM »

Ah yes... "Hypnotise me into thinking I'm not in Spain"
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2007, 02:53:38 AM »

Is the dialog there?
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Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2007, 04:44:59 AM »

When does the demo date from? At that stage, what were the lyrics like?  LIke the Ray Kennedy version?  I don't understand the genesis of this song.  I've read that a version was cut with a Dennis vocal but that said vocal was wiped when he felt he couldn't do it justice and it was replaced with Blondie's.  I've also read that another pre-Holland version was cut with a Carl lead, VDP lyrics and a different mix or perhaps different arrangement.
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2007, 08:38:59 AM »

The song originates from mid-1971 (is it germane that there's an "SOS" riff in Spring's "Tennessee Waltz" ?) and Brian recorded a partial version with Steve Desper in fall 1971. The famous cassette hails from fall 1972 when Reprise discrened no single on Holland and Van Dyke remembering the fragment he'd worked on with Brian a year previously (apparently unaware that Brian had done further work on it), showed up at Bellagio 10452 with a cassette recorder. The cassette is just under ten minutes long, all the dialog is present as reported (and some more), it stops and starts like a misfiring Chevvy and the lyrics are improvised on the spot. Brian, bless him, wasn't composing on the fly ("Brian, write a fuckin' middle-eight !"), he was recalling a song from his recent past. I doubt Van Dyke is aware of that to this day.

Dennis took a stab at the song, but half way through the second verse announced he was goin' surfin' and did just that. Carl took a swing, then asked Blondie to go for it. What you hear on the album is apparently take #2 (btw, Steve Desper told me in 1985 that the version on Holland "sure as hell sounds like the one I cut with Brian in late 1971").
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Roger Ryan
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2007, 09:36:34 AM »

btw, Steve Desper told me in 1985 that the version on Holland "sure as hell sounds like the one I cut with Brian in late 1971").

That mystery continues. Almost two years ago, Mr. Desper graciously called me and played (over the phone) what he believed was the 1971 recording of "Sail On, Sailor". To my ears it sounded exactly like the released version but with fuller, more "Beach Boys"-like backing vocals. The lead sounded identical to Blondie's and I told Mr. Desper that. He told me that would have been impossible since Blondie wasn't in the band at the time and that he persumed it was Carl doing the lead.
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2007, 01:22:38 PM »

Van Dyke Parks has claimed he wrote more of the song, musically,  than he got credit for, including the chorus hook (sail on, sailor).  So,  how much music did Van Dyke contribute to the song?
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c-man
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2007, 05:56:55 PM »

The song originates from mid-1971 (is it germane that there's an "SOS" riff in Spring's "Tennessee Waltz" ?) and Brian recorded a partial version with Steve Desper in fall 1971. The famous cassette hails from fall 1972 when Reprise discrened no single on Holland and Van Dyke remembering the fragment he'd worked on with Brian a year previously (apparently unaware that Brian had done further work on it), showed up at Bellagio 10452 with a cassette recorder. The cassette is just under ten minutes long, all the dialog is present as reported (and some more), it stops and starts like a misfiring Chevvy and the lyrics are improvised on the spot. Brian, bless him, wasn't composing on the fly ("Brian, write a fodain' middle-eight !"), he was recalling a song from his recent past. I doubt Van Dyke is aware of that to this day.

Dennis took a stab at the song, but half way through the second verse announced he was goin' surfin' and did just that. Carl took a swing, then asked Blondie to go for it. What you hear on the album is apparently take #2 (btw, Steve Desper told me in 1985 that the version on Holland "sure as hell sounds like the one I cut with Brian in late 1971").

Van Dyke may have played the cassette for Warners in late '72...but I wonder if it was actually a year or two old at that point, and stemming from the original round of songwriting in '70 or '71...?   I dunno, just wondering...

Ray Kennedy said this: 
"Danny Hutton, one of the original singers of Three Dog Night, called
me in 1970 when I was singing with Jeff Beck and said, "Hey, we need a
hit song." So I went over to his house, and Brian was there in a
little room with a piano and they stuck me in that room with Brian. We
were there for three days and ended up writing "Sail on Sailor," which
was originally intended for Three Dog. We went in and cut the basic
tracks with Three Dog Night; we hadn't slept in about a week. Then
Brian got up with a razor blade and cut the tapes and said, "Only Ray
Kennedy or Van Dyke Parks can do this song." And he left. We all stood
there looking at each other going, "What?"

He called me every day after that, and I wouldn't talk to him. Three
or four years later, I heard it on the radio and went, "Who's that?"
It turns out the song came out on the Beach Boys' "Holland" album. "


As far as the finished track goes, Steve D. posted this on this board awhile back:

"For reasons unknown to me, SOS was re-vocalized in Holland using the instrumental tracks and some BG tracks from the original multi-track. (SWD)", then followed-up with this:

"Got a call from Alan Jardine last night. In the course of our conversation I told him I wanted to clear up some confusion in my mind about Sail On Sailer. I said I had this vocal only tape of many songs and the vocal only of SOS certainly sounds like Carl singing to the backing track we did at the house studio during the Surf's Up days. So I asked, was Blondie singing lead in the "Holland" release meaning that it was recorded again in Holland. So Al said that it was Blondie but that song was not recorded in Holland. It was done at Village Recorders when they returned from Holland, which accounts for the better production values heard in SOS over the stuff they recorded in the megshift (his words) setup they had in Holland. He and I both stated how Blondie had pulled off such a Carl-like sounding vocal, even to the pronunciation of the words. But he assured me it was Blondie. Some of the tracks were from before but the lead was re-sung. So, that ends that debate -- at least in my head. ~swd"

Blondie and Ricky remember laying down the bass and drums (respectively) and Carl playing the morse-code pattern on the guitar (which was Brian's idea).  They remember Carl calling Brian on the phone (Brian didn't attend, or wasn't allowed to attend, the session, supposedly because of his by-then neurotic studio habits), but Carl had to call him from the studio to get the chord sequence.   This makes it sound as if the original piano track and maybe some of the background vocals were kept from the Desper version, while other instrumental parts were added at the Village in '72. 

Too bad Carl's not around (for many reasons, obviously...the least of which is to clarify stuff like this for us).

 
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2007, 07:31:03 PM »

Here's Van Dyke's first (and probably only) public statement regarding the authorhip of "SOS", which seems to confirm that the writing session preserved on cassette was some time prior to Warner's rejecting of the "Holland" album:

Van Dyke Parks on "Sail On, Sailor"
"This is my first public comment on the authorship of this song.

Once upon a time, Brian Wilson owned a house on Bellagio Drive in Bel Air, California, (built by Edgar Rice Burroughs). I visited him there one day, with a trusty Sony tape recorder in hand, hoped to resurrect an aborted attempt at commercially successful song collaboration. Let me back-track.

I was working at Warner Brothers' Records at the time, both in A&R and in my newly developed office of "Audio Visual Services". The CEO of the company was Mo Ostin, the Executive V.P., A&R was Lenny Waronker. My influence on Mr. Ostin is best shown by a corporate "org.chart" of that period, which shows that my only superior officer was Mr. Ostin himself. I'd pressured Mo to sign the beleaguered Beach Boys to the label, in spite of industry-wide reservations about the group's ability to deliver. When I went to Bellagio Drive to work on a song with Brian, the entire group was in Holland, working on a record aptly titled "Holland" for delivery to the label.

Mo and Lenny had held great expectations for that record. They suggested that my working with Brian might goad him to similar creative heights reached in "Smile". Mo and Lenny were astonished that Brian wasn't participating in the album effort, and feeling somewhat deceived, thought I should step forward, as I was in large part, the reason for their commitment to the group.

Having only gotten a partial song out of that one meeting with Brian, I put the tape away, and lay low. I wanted to avoid getting involved with the internecine group dilemmas once again.

"Holland" arrived at the Burbank offices, DOA. It was the consensus of everyone in A&R, Promotion, and distribution, that "Holland" was "unreleaseable". Knowing the company's enormous investment, and the high stakes involved, I got out the tape cassette from my session with Brian that evening on Bellagio Dr., gave it a listen, and delivered it to the company with my assurance that it would solve all their problems.

On the tape (I gave my only copy to David Berson, Mr. Ostin's assistant), it's clear from the contents that I authored the words (and the musical intervals to) "Sail On Sail On Sailor". It's also clear that I composed the chords to the bridge, played them, and taught them to Brian.

Ecstatic, Mr. Ostin immediately messengered this tape (or a copy of it) to Amsterdam, and the Beach Boys were instructed to slap words on the verses and deliver it, as a pre-condition for their album's release.

When the song was delivered back to WB, it was designated as the single for the album. My name appeared as co-author on that first issue copy, with Brian's. After Ray Kennedy's lawsuit (claiming authorship of the lyrics), my name and participation diminished, and in some ensuing cases, I've been given no royalties or credit at all.

I understand that there was a general "feeding frenzy" around the tune's lyrics, as the Beach Boys regrouped back in L.A. I have no idea how many people may have been at those final vocal sessions, now claiming additional credit. That's none of my business. All I can attest to is my seminal contribution to "Sail On Sailor", and the authorship of that famous chorus.

Repeated questions about my role in this composition compel me to respond, as "history is written by the victors". I've always believed that honesty is the best course, and I'll be doing all I can to pursue this matter soon, to a just conclusion. I hope that the attorneys' fees don't outweigh the royalties involved. What can I say--it's a town full of heroes and villains!"

-- Van Dyke Parks.

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Dancing Bear
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2007, 08:19:56 PM »

As far as I know, the Beach Boys came back from Europe with some tracks still unfinished, working on overdubs in LA studios.

Ecstatic, Mr. Ostin immediately messengered this tape (or a copy of it) to Amsterdam

I know Van Dyke wrote this decades after the fact and memories can fail. But it's weird that he remembers Warner being disappointed about an album that was still unfinished. Did the Beach Boys intend to release the album as it was before the LA overdubs? Was there a misunderstanding with the record company taking a work in progress as a delivered album?
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« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2007, 09:54:06 PM »

That song isn't much without the "sail on, sail on, sailor" hook or the bridge, so what exactly was it that Desper recorded, and why did it sound so similar to those who were there in 1970 and heard it later?  I suspect some things got changed in some people's telling, who knows whose.   Though it is odd that Brian did it at that early date, then said only Ray Kennedy or Van Dyke could do the song, and this was before Van Dyke had the writing session at Brian's house.  Maybe Van Dyke somehow contributed to it earlier?
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Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2007, 09:56:07 PM »

Holland was mastered and, in one tiny instance, pressed up, minus "SOS" plus "We Got Love". Much as I respect Van Dyke, his recollection here is not entirely accurate. The album was presented to Reprise fall 1972, after extensive additional recording in LA and seems to have been initially accepted, as the lyric sheet attests, before someone had second thoughts. Enter VPD with the original 1971 cassette, which he plays to the board and is promptly told to get his ass over to 10452 and get Brian to finish it.

"SOS" was recorded 11/28/72.
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2007, 04:31:42 AM »

Sounds like VDP rides to the rescue...
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« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2007, 06:23:06 AM »

I think the key to detemining who wrote which part of "SOS" (or at least getting as close to that as is possible today) is that cassette tape.  Basically, there are five musical parts to the song:  (A) the opening piano riff which continues through the verse & the melody attached to it, which Van Dyke says was Brian's initial idea...(B) the transition (the part under the lyrics "Often frightened, unelightened"), (C) the chorus hook, which is Van Dyke's creation musically & lyrically ("Sail on, Sail on, Sailor"),  (D) the first bridge section (under "Caught like a sewer rat, alone but I sail"), and (E) the second bridge section (under "Seldon stumble, never crumble").  Van Dyke composed one or both of the bridge sections, but what was Tandyn Almer's contribution? 

If Tandyn Almer actually contributed something, it would almost have to be the B, C, or D section, and we know that one or both of the C and D sections were actually written by Van Dyke.  Andrew, do you recall how many of these parts were there on the original cassette?  If any of these parts were missing at that point, logic would dictate that Tandyn provided them at a later date.  If something more than the A section was present at the start of Brian & Van's writing session, then that was probably provided by Tandyn PRIOR to the date of Van Dyke sitting down with Brian to finish the song with the cassette recorder.   

Lyrically, it seems from Ray Kennedy's recollecton that the music was provided by Brian in a complete form during their three days together.  Ray filled in the lyrics to the verses (as Van Dyke alludes to), then sometime prior to the Boys recording it, Jack Rieley rewrote the lyrics.  I've never heard KGB's version, but it reportedly features Kennedy's original lyrics completely intact.

As for WHEN Rieley made those lyrical adjustments...Roger, on the version that Steve played to you over the phone, were the lyrics identical to the released version?  If so, that would indicate that Rieley made his revisions in 1971, for that version would've been recorded by Desper in '71...
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Roger Ryan
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« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2007, 09:12:41 AM »

As I recall, the version Mr. Desper played over the phone to me featured the same lyrics as the released version (it certainly wasn't Ray Kennedy's lyrics). The lead vocal sounded exactly like Blondie's lead to me. Mr. Desper said he compiled the song on a tape featuring some vocal-only performances shortly before leaving the Beach Boys' employ in '71, prior to Blondie officially joining the group (but after Carl, Blondie and Mr. Desper had worked together on the Flame albums). For this reason, Mr. Desper assumed it was Carl performing the lead on his tape which is possible (although Mr. Desper was under the impression that Carl sang the lead on the "Holland" version until Al confirmed it was Blondie). Unless I'm misremembering, all five musical segments were in place on Desper's tape; the one thing that truly distinguished it from being just a vocals-only mix of the released track were the fuller backing vocals which I thought were good and should have been used in the final version.
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Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2007, 03:26:20 AM »

I found this in the notes to a boot of various versions of Sail on Sailor:

Iíve heard Carl do it on stage many nights.  To my ears, the first version was more polished with more production value.  What came out was more funky-downhome.  Only the basic bass parts are heard.   The track is only the original piano and drums with a new guitar part. I remember the song being a tad slower.  I think some of the background parts were lost or not included.  I miss a vocal background that moved along with the song like a wave lapping against a boat.  There was more there than oohs and aahs in the version I remember.  There were Breakaway-type inversions in the harmonies - like the inversions in the Hey Stevie version before the guitar vamp  (Great version! Love the vamp!).  I had a delayed echo flap thing going on the snare Ö.  A lead vocal fugue answer part is gone.  The horn section is inaudible with the trombone moots going boo-oop.  The backgrounds that did get recorded sound thin to me.  There was more to the song before it left these shores. None of that is in the released version.  The words on the one I recorded were by, I thought, Van Dyke Parks, not the Jack Rieley and Ray Kennedy re-write.  Carl sang a hefty, full-bodied lead.  Except for the words, it was more like the version cut by Hey Stevie.  SOS on Holland sounds tired and like a ďWe already did this onceĒ overworked feel. Blondie sings the lead... so it seems that Jack got them to take a perfectly good song and put his words over others to a new lead.  Undoubtedly, one thing led to another and soon the entire song was changed around.  These things happen.  Iím not a big Tandyn Almer fan either and credit him with contributing to many of Brianís drug problems - so I donít know how his name got attached to the song, but - I guess - Brian gave him an income for life on that one. Nevertheless, someone knew what they were doing because it made them money and was a hit for them.


Stephen Desper on The Beach Boysí Sail On Sailor.
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« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2007, 05:07:47 AM »

I found this in the notes to a boot of various versions of Sail on Sailor:

Iíve heard Carl do it on stage many nights.  To my ears, the first version was more polished with more production value.  What came out was more funky-downhome.  Only the basic bass parts are heard.   The track is only the original piano and drums with a new guitar part. I remember the song being a tad slower.  I think some of the background parts were lost or not included.  I miss a vocal background that moved along with the song like a wave lapping against a boat.  There was more there than oohs and aahs in the version I remember.  There were Breakaway-type inversions in the harmonies - like the inversions in the Hey Stevie version before the guitar vamp  (Great version! Love the vamp!).  I had a delayed echo flap thing going on the snare Ö.  A lead vocal fugue answer part is gone.  The horn section is inaudible with the trombone moots going boo-oop.  The backgrounds that did get recorded sound thin to me.  There was more to the song before it left these shores. None of that is in the released version.  The words on the one I recorded were by, I thought, Van Dyke Parks, not the Jack Rieley and Ray Kennedy re-write.  Carl sang a hefty, full-bodied lead.  Except for the words, it was more like the version cut by Hey Stevie.  SOS on Holland sounds tired and like a ďWe already did this onceĒ overworked feel. Blondie sings the lead... so it seems that Jack got them to take a perfectly good song and put his words over others to a new lead.  Undoubtedly, one thing led to another and soon the entire song was changed around.  These things happen.  Iím not a big Tandyn Almer fan either and credit him with contributing to many of Brianís drug problems - so I donít know how his name got attached to the song, but - I guess - Brian gave him an income for life on that one. Nevertheless, someone knew what they were doing because it made them money and was a hit for them.


Stephen Desper on The Beach Boysí Sail On Sailor.


I take it that none of those"various versions" on the boot are the original BW/VDP demo or the original studio version Mr. Desper speaks of here...?
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Glenn Greenberg
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« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2007, 09:50:05 AM »

<<<Brian didn't attend, or wasn't allowed to attend, the session, supposedly because of his by-then neurotic studio habits>>>


Can you elaborate on that?  What habits?
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« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2007, 10:24:25 AM »

"I take it that none of those"various versions" on the boot are the original BW/VDP demo or the original studio version Mr. Desper speaks of here...?"


If only.  They were cover versions; hence the reference to Hey Stevie's cover (with Al on bvs).
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« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2007, 10:25:20 AM »

I've heard two, entirely contradictory, stories about this.  Roll Eyes

1. Brian couldn't be enticed down to the session, so he phoned in his ideas instead.

2. The rest of the band were so afraid Brian would keep tinkering with the track forever that they purposely didn't invite him down.
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« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2007, 10:50:13 AM »

<<<Brian didn't attend, or wasn't allowed to attend, the session, supposedly because of his by-then neurotic studio habits>>>


Can you elaborate on that?  What habits?

Can't remember where I read that...maybe Gaines, and if so, that should be taken with a grain of salt...but the inference was that Brian was known to take too long on his productions, tinkering with them until he tinkered himself into a corner, and they were on a production deadline, so Carl took charge and got it done.  A fine production job, in my opinion. 
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« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2007, 11:13:34 AM »

Carl took charge and got it done.  A fine production job, in my opinion. 


Agreed!
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« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2007, 09:34:33 PM »

I think "Brian" wrote that he couldn't finish it because his consintration was shot so they finished it. I personally think that was made up by good old Todd. I think the Brian not wanting to attend story is far more credible.
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