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Author Topic: Are there people here who still believe the David Leaf version of the story?  (Read 12321 times)
Bicyclerider
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« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2014, 08:41:44 AM »

After David got involved with Brian on a personal level, to what extent did his advocacy of Brian help get the Beach Boys more respect from critics and the general public, or help get Beach Boys projects like the 2fer bonus tracks, the Good Vibrations box set with Smile tracks released for the first time, the Endless Harmony documentary and CD, the Pet Sounds box set?  I suspect many of those might have never happened without David Leaf. 
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« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2014, 09:21:07 AM »

Just exactly what do you think David Leaf was wrong about? There might be some disagreement among fans based on how they interpret and expand on what he wrote, but I think his writings have proven more than 99.99% factually accurate.

Promulgating, if not actually orginating, the myth that the band played on very few of their pre-Smileey Smile releases, notably stating as a fact that Hal Blaine, and not Dennis, played in "LDC" ?

Out of curiosity, do we have a good list somewhere what details what they guys played on vs. the wrecking crew?
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« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2014, 09:54:44 AM »

One thing about David's book is that its views permeated subsequent biographies, including the Steven Gaines' book and Brian's ghosted autobiography. That may have more to do with the laziness of the subsequent authors than whatever David wrote, however.  They may have leaned on his research a bit too much and not worked hard enough to find fresh angles (particularly Brian's autobio, which is supposedly heavily plagiarized from it).
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« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2014, 10:26:36 AM »

One thing about David's book is that its views permeated subsequent biographies, including the Steven Gaines' book and Brian's ghosted autobiography. That may have more to do with the laziness of the subsequent authors than whatever David wrote, however.  They may have leaned on his research a bit too much and not worked hard enough to find fresh angles (particularly Brian's autobio, which is supposedly heavily plagiarized from it).

And, this is something I think about in addition to Bicyclerider's post above. David Leaf's book was kind of paradoxal. On one hand, it did help build (promote?) Brian's reputation as a genius, a continuing important artist, and a victim. At that time (1978), there were only maybe a handful of magazine articles that ever addressed Brian Wilson in that kind of detail.

At the same time, Leaf's book went places that nobody had previously gone, at least not in that depth. And, I believe it damaged the Beach Boys' reputation. The overwhelming image of harmony and good vibrations now had a documented sleazy side. And I think the group knew it, too. Do you remember that story about Mike running into David Leaf at some function and staring daggers through him. It just seemed that the band was never the same again. Not that Leaf's book was responsible entirely for that, but the proverbial cat was now out of the bag. Leaf's book was the first to air the dirty laundry, and as mentioned above, started a trend of future books which piggybacked on it.
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« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2014, 10:39:13 AM »

One thing about David's book is that its views permeated subsequent biographies, including the Steven Gaines' book and Brian's ghosted autobiography. That may have more to do with the laziness of the subsequent authors than whatever David wrote, however.  They may have leaned on his research a bit too much and not worked hard enough to find fresh angles (particularly Brian's autobio, which is supposedly heavily plagiarized from it).

And, this is something I think about in addition to Bicyclerider's post above. David Leaf's book was kind of paradoxal. On one hand, it did help build (promote?) Brian's reputation as a genius, a continuing important artist, and a victim. At that time (1978), there were only maybe a handful of magazine articles that ever addressed Brian Wilson in that kind of detail.

At the same time, Leaf's book went places that nobody had previously gone, at least not in that depth. And, I believe it damaged the Beach Boys' reputation. The overwhelming image of harmony and good vibrations now had a documented sleazy side. And I think the group knew it, too. Do you remember that story about Mike running into David Leaf at some function and staring daggers through him. It just seemed that the band was never the same again. Not that Leaf's book was responsible entirely for that, but the proverbial cat was now out of the bag. Leaf's book was the first to air the dirty laundry, and as mentioned above, started a trend of future books which piggybacked on it.

I think, though, the dirty laundry was going to come out eventually.  There were hints of a dark side in some of the press about the BB pre-Leaf (the Rolling Stone profiles, the Nik Kent articles). There was no way they could keep that bottled up forever.
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« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2014, 10:44:10 AM »

One thing about David's book is that its views permeated subsequent biographies, including the Steven Gaines' book and Brian's ghosted autobiography. That may have more to do with the laziness of the subsequent authors than whatever David wrote, however.  They may have leaned on his research a bit too much and not worked hard enough to find fresh angles (particularly Brian's autobio, which is supposedly heavily plagiarized from it).

And, this is something I think about in addition to Bicyclerider's post above. David Leaf's book was kind of paradoxal. On one hand, it did help build (promote?) Brian's reputation as a genius, a continuing important artist, and a victim. At that time (1978), there were only maybe a handful of magazine articles that ever addressed Brian Wilson in that kind of detail.

At the same time, Leaf's book went places that nobody had previously gone, at least not in that depth. And, I believe it damaged the Beach Boys' reputation. The overwhelming image of harmony and good vibrations now had a documented sleazy side. And I think the group knew it, too. Do you remember that story about Mike running into David Leaf at some function and staring daggers through him. It just seemed that the band was never the same again. Not that Leaf's book was responsible entirely for that, but the proverbial cat was now out of the bag. Leaf's book was the first to air the dirty laundry, and as mentioned above, started a trend of future books which piggybacked on it.

I think, though, the dirty laundry was going to come out eventually.  There were hints of a dark side in some of the press about the BB pre-Leaf (the Rolling Stone profiles, the Nik Kent articles). There was no way they could keep that bottled up forever.

Absolutely, and I was just going to edit my above post to ask that question. If Leaf's book didn't come out in 1978, how long do you think it would've been before the sh-- eventually hit the fan?
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« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2014, 10:55:13 AM »

One thing about David's book is that its views permeated subsequent biographies, including the Steven Gaines' book and Brian's ghosted autobiography. That may have more to do with the laziness of the subsequent authors than whatever David wrote, however.  They may have leaned on his research a bit too much and not worked hard enough to find fresh angles (particularly Brian's autobio, which is supposedly heavily plagiarized from it).

And, this is something I think about in addition to Bicyclerider's post above. David Leaf's book was kind of paradoxal. On one hand, it did help build (promote?) Brian's reputation as a genius, a continuing important artist, and a victim. At that time (1978), there were only maybe a handful of magazine articles that ever addressed Brian Wilson in that kind of detail.

At the same time, Leaf's book went places that nobody had previously gone, at least not in that depth. And, I believe it damaged the Beach Boys' reputation. The overwhelming image of harmony and good vibrations now had a documented sleazy side. And I think the group knew it, too. Do you remember that story about Mike running into David Leaf at some function and staring daggers through him. It just seemed that the band was never the same again. Not that Leaf's book was responsible entirely for that, but the proverbial cat was now out of the bag. Leaf's book was the first to air the dirty laundry, and as mentioned above, started a trend of future books which piggybacked on it.

I think, though, the dirty laundry was going to come out eventually.  There were hints of a dark side in some of the press about the BB pre-Leaf (the Rolling Stone profiles, the Nik Kent articles). There was no way they could keep that bottled up forever.
I'm guessing the 80's when Gaines put out Heroes and Villains which still would have happened if there was no David Leaf.  FWIW, even the Osmonds couldn't keep their dirty laundry private forever.

Absolutely, and I was just going to edit my above post to ask that question. If Leaf's book didn't come out in 1978, how long do you think it would've been before the sh-- eventually hit the fan?
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« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2014, 11:13:44 AM »

stating as a fact that Hal Blaine, and not Dennis, played in "LDC" ?

Yes, the .01 percent he got wrong.  Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2014, 12:09:04 PM »

Wasn't he the one who lobbied hard for "Fairy Tale Music" to be included on the Good Vibrations box set? I've never read his book and know basically nothing about him but that seems like another good instance of +1 for Leaf...
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« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2014, 04:05:02 PM »

stating as a fact that Hal Blaine, and not Dennis, played in "LDC" ?

Yes, the .01 percent he got wrong.  Smiley

Nice creative editing - what I actually posted was that he promulgated, if not actually originated, the myth that the band barely played on ALL their pre-1967 releases. Speaking of creative editing, he also manipulated the BWPS footage to make it seem - entirely inaccurately - that Macca attended the opening night of the RFH premiere.

Better try harder, Brad.
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« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2014, 04:08:46 PM »

Just exactly what do you think David Leaf was wrong about? There might be some disagreement among fans based on how they interpret and expand on what he wrote, but I think his writings have proven more than 99.99% factually accurate.

Promulgating, if not actually orginating, the myth that the band played on very few of their pre-Smileey Smile releases, notably stating as a fact that Hal Blaine, and not Dennis, played in "LDC" ?

Out of curiosity, do we have a good list somewhere what details what they guys played on vs. the wrecking crew?

Yes, Jon's FAQ book, which everyone on this forum should have as a matter of course.
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« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2014, 04:17:20 PM »

Better try harder, Brad.

Hmmmmm. So we still think it's really him, eh?  Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: March 28, 2014, 10:08:48 PM »

Better try harder, Brad.

Hmmmmm. So we still think it's really him, eh?  Smiley

Name's Steve, dude. Mister high-and-mighty Andrew Doe has made that accusation once before. There was no substance to it then, there's still none to it now. The man's got a few delusions he clings to.
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« Reply #38 on: March 28, 2014, 10:21:32 PM »

Better try harder, Brad.

Hmmmmm. So we still think it's really him, eh?  Smiley

Name's Steve, dude. Mister high-and-mighty Andrew Doe has made that accusation once before. There was no substance to it then, there's still none to it now. The man's got a few delusions he clings to.

Can you prove it?
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« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2014, 10:38:29 PM »

David Leaf wrote -- and eventually advocated -- from Brian's perspective. What hardcore fandom has gained in the last decade or so has been a much more nuanced take on the band's perspective and role. I don't think David set out to mislead -- he was simply telling a compelling story. The crossover, which led to him eventually becoming all but an employee of BW Inc, compromised him. A similar crossover compromised Landy, but in a way much more damaging to Brian.
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« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2014, 11:30:12 PM »

Better try harder, Brad.

Hmmmmm. So we still think it's really him, eh?  Smiley

Name's Steve, dude. Mister high-and-mighty Andrew Doe has made that accusation once before. There was no substance to it then, there's still none to it now. The man's got a few delusions he clings to.

Can you prove it?

Whadya want? An address? A phone number? A photo? A birth certificate?

Tell you what. You post something that proves who you are, putting such vital information on the 'net for every two-bit crazy to grab hold of, and I'll do the same, okay?
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« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2014, 11:31:41 PM »

David Leaf's book was what made me start digging into the Beach Boys catalog back in 1980, after reading his book on the way to and from school everyday. And I kept going back to it every year or so. There just wasn't another book on Brian or the group that could compare with it in those days. Even back then, though,  I thought Leaf was unnecessarily harsh towards the rest of the band. I found Beautiful Dreamer very hard to watch - sure, I'm a Brian Wilson fan, but I'm also a Beach Boys fan. And yes, the liner notes for the two-fer cd's made it appear that the group rarely played in the studio. It seemed like great reading at the time, but there is better stuff available now about the group.
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« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2014, 11:46:07 PM »

Better try harder, Brad.

Hmmmmm. So we still think it's really him, eh?  Smiley

Yup. Guilty knowledge.  Grin
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« Reply #43 on: March 29, 2014, 02:03:44 AM »

Wasn't he the one who lobbied hard for "Fairy Tale Music" to be included on the Good Vibrations box set? I've never read his book and know basically nothing about him but that seems like another good instance of +1 for Leaf...

Certainly not the one responsible for All this is That or much of the Dennis material being included however.
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« Reply #44 on: March 29, 2014, 04:29:03 AM »

For me, David's book was my introduction to the band on a personal level (as much as a BOOK can be) and I must say, it helped make me a FANATIC about the band. I only got a little ways into the book, before I came to the conclusion that I would need EVERYTHING they recorded if I was going to do this right. That was an experience I will never forget. I laughed, I cried, I hated Mike Love, I wanted to console and protect Brian, I wanted to sleep with Diane (did I just say that?) MAN, did that book and their music TAKE ME FOR A RIDE.

Nowadays, of course, I have a much more balanced view of the situation. Brian isn't quite the victim I thought he was, I don't blame Mike for being concerned about both his family AND his career, however, I STILL WANT TO SLEEP WITH DIANE!  Wink
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« Reply #45 on: March 29, 2014, 04:40:22 AM »

Wasn't he the one who lobbied hard for "Fairy Tale Music" to be included on the Good Vibrations box set? I've never read his book and know basically nothing about him but that seems like another good instance of +1 for Leaf...

Certainly not the one responsible for All this is That or much of the Dennis material being included however.

Can't speak for the DW material, but yes, were it not for a brace of UK fans, "ATIT" would not have been on the 1993 box.
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« Reply #46 on: March 29, 2014, 06:49:16 AM »

Better try harder, Brad.

Hmmmmm. So we still think it's really him, eh?  Smiley

Name's Steve, dude. Mister high-and-mighty Andrew Doe has made that accusation once before. There was no substance to it then, there's still none to it now. The man's got a few delusions he clings to.

Can you prove it?

Whadya want? An address? A phone number? A photo? A birth certificate?

Tell you what. You post something that proves who you are, putting such vital information on the 'net for every two-bit crazy to grab hold of, and I'll do the same, okay?

Proof, that's all.   Is there anyone that's willing to  prove you're not BE/ his tool?
As for me, it's been noted on the board. I don't post using my "name", but at a minimum these folks can vouch for me (Tho I'm notasking them to do so): 
AGD, Mikie, Jon Stebbins, Alan Boyd, Peter Reum, Shane, Steve Mayo, Guitarfool, Smileholland, ESQeditor, Lee Dempsey   ( off the top of my head);
As, certainly, with these and others that I haven't named,  there's no doubt about who they are.   
Is there even one that's willing to say / prove you're not BE/ his tool?
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« Reply #47 on: March 29, 2014, 08:27:12 AM »

Wasn't he the one who lobbied hard for "Fairy Tale Music" to be included on the Good Vibrations box set? I've never read his book and know basically nothing about him but that seems like another good instance of +1 for Leaf...

Certainly not the one responsible for All this is That or much of the Dennis material being included however.

Can't speak for the DW material, but yes, were it not for a brace of UK fans, "ATIT" would not have been on the 1993 box.

If it weren't for Domenic Priore and myself (and maybe one or two others) lobbying for it, "Baby Blue" wouldn't have been on the '93 box set.
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« Reply #48 on: March 29, 2014, 08:58:20 AM »

Wasn't he the one who lobbied hard for "Fairy Tale Music" to be included on the Good Vibrations box set? I've never read his book and know basically nothing about him but that seems like another good instance of +1 for Leaf...

Certainly not the one responsible for All this is That or much of the Dennis material being included however.

Can't speak for the DW material, but yes, were it not for a brace of UK fans, "ATIT" would not have been on the 1993 box.

If it weren't for Domenic Priore and myself (and maybe one or two others) lobbying for it, "Baby Blue" wouldn't have been on the '93 box set.


Thank you for that! Love that track. I'm not so hot for ATIT though. Sorry for OT.
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« Reply #49 on: March 29, 2014, 09:08:00 AM »

I wanted to add a few thoughts as an outside observer on this:

With Leaf's relationship with Brian and how that may have colored the tone of the Beautiful Dreamer film, for one thing consider that nearly the same kind of scenario happened to Jules Siegel back in 66/67 when he was covering Brian and Smile for a piece slated for the Saturday Evening Post. As Siegel began his assignment as a journalist - supposed to be observing, reporting, and staying relatively neutral on the subject matter - Jules simply got swept up in the whole scene. What he was there to chronicle as a journalist overwhelmed him in a personal way to the point that the Post killed his story, and it ended up in the pages of the fledgling "Cheetah" underground magazine instead. Read Jules' account of him pitching the story to his editors, and the editors came back at him with criticism over his lack of objectivity, or getting too close to the subject matter to report it objectively. Again, Jules seems to have fallen in love with what he got assigned to cover and his perspective changed from journalist to fan-friend-participant. It happens so often in journalism, and in Jules' case it ended up killing his story which was supposed to be in the Post.

Consider Leaf's other films too, for one his John Lennon doc: Is the Lennon film objective, or do we go in and come out thinking the work is coming from a fan of Lennon with a very strong opinion on the topic he's documenting? Seriously, many, many documentaries (and documentary filmmakers) go into these projects with some kind of agenda or at least a subjective opinion that draws them into covering the topic in the first place. In many cases too, the subjects they're setting out to cover objectively become more personally connected than subjects of a film, and that can also shape the way the film is edited and presented after potentially hundreds of hours of work and raw footage are edited into 120 minutes.

I think Beautiful Dreamer is a case of that, just as Jules Siegel got swept up in Smile back in 1966/67, Leaf was so close and got even closer to the topic and the people he was documenting that the work made him even more personally connected to the project, and that naturally comes out on the screen.

Another prominent example: Consider Scorcese and The Last Waltz. Doesn't it sometimes play out as a fan tribute to Robbie Robertson? Scorcese was captivated by Robertson, and if you watch the Waltz with that perspective it starts to come through in some of the ways he filmed Robbie, and featured him. It's no wonder they worked together post-Waltz.

If some fans of The Band who may object to that version of the story find that it paints the subject matter in too biased a way, it still may not be enough to cause them not to watch or enjoy what Scorcese *did* happen to capture on film.

I think the same kind of thing happens with Beautiful Dreamer - Those who see the bias or even the agenda might watch it and enjoy it for the footage it did capture, and perhaps be able to filter out what they don't agree with in order to enjoy the good stuff which is on the screen.

The books...another topic.  Smiley
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