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Author Topic: Brian's Masterpiece  (Read 3644 times)
Rerun
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« on: May 20, 2006, 12:11:53 PM »

I know this is a lot like saying, "What if Thomas Edison never invented the lightbulb," but...

Had Brian never written "Good Vibrations," what do you think would be looked at as his masterpiece?  Do you think H&V would be held in much higher regard?  Some could argue it fell a little flat because it came off such an amazing song, and if this had come out first, it may have been the song to blow some minds.

Then again, maybe it'd be something else entirely...
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2006, 12:23:51 PM »

Heroes and Villains blows in its released version. The vocals are lazy, at times a bit sloppy. The mix is muddy, the organ is droney. I cannot stand to hear the chorus to the single version of Heroes and Villains.

The few mixes Brian made for the song, before Smiley, are brilliant. These are the mixes which would've blown minds. I think it's on SOT 17 that the first Heroes and Villains mix on there, has such clarity and presence. It's unlike anything I've ever heard. The vocal is strong, the backing track clear, and it all moves along very excitedly. It even has the coolest part, "At three score and five.." included in it. It's a mystery to why Brian dumped the greatest bits of SMiLE and replaced them with shoddy re-takes of songs.

When was the chorus to Smiley Smile's Heroes and Villains written? It was recorded at the Smiley Session? If not was it just the Baldwin overdub onto the tracking tape of the Wrecking Crew?

The ending to the single version is weak too. Such a weak way to end it, it just drones on with that boring chorus. It should've ended with that grand cascading strings thing. Imagine that, that strings part, then the Gershwin-esque horn part being the end of the song. It would've been magnificent.

Sometimes it makes me so angry to think of how awesome SMiLE would've been.
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2006, 12:27:28 PM »

Had Brian never written "Good Vibrations," what do you think would be looked at as his masterpiece? 

Maybe "California Girls" would be elevated to that spot...
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2006, 12:30:55 PM »

I think people would look at the whole Pet Sounds album as his defining moment. But that's imagining a world where SMiLE never existed. Say if Brian died that year, then what would people see as his masterpiece? It all goes hand in hand otherwise. The Good Vibrations editing technique's led to SMiLE and those songs. It's hard to imagine how one could happen without the other being the first domino to fall.
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2006, 12:41:11 PM »

I think as far as Heroes and Villains goes, the pieces were always there. There's all the makings of a classic record. I think Brian had so many possible versions lined up for us to hear, the most famous one being the fabled June 1967 mix that he erased after a friend commented that he didn't like it, as well as the "Cantina" mix.

I think even with Good Vibrations, Brian is still adored more for Pet Sounds. Smile gets me more than Pet Sounds does, but that's just me. YMMV.
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2006, 01:47:45 PM »

I personally feel "Please Let Me Wonder" is Brian's pre-Pet Sounds masterpiece.
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2006, 02:01:12 PM »

I personally feel "Please Let Me Wonder" is Brian's pre-Pet Sounds masterpiece.

I agree.

But to further go with that; I'm glad that for Pet Sounds Brian had dropped traditional rythm and percussion techniques. The strummed acoustic guitar and hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-snare-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi- drumming was getting boring.
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2006, 02:07:26 PM »

Had Brian never written "Good Vibrations," what do you think would be looked at as his masterpiece? 

Maybe "California Girls" would be elevated to that spot...

Yeah, I think so.  As it is, it gets overshadowed a bit by Good Vibrations, but California Girls is a masterpiece, no doubt. 
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2006, 02:08:18 PM »

Heroes and Villains blows in its released version. The vocals are lazy, at times a bit sloppy. The mix is muddy, the organ is droney. I cannot stand to hear the chorus to the single version of Heroes and Villains.

The few mixes Brian made for the song, before Smiley, are brilliant. These are the mixes which would've blown minds. I think it's on SOT 17 that the first Heroes and Villains mix on there, has such clarity and presence. It's unlike anything I've ever heard. The vocal is strong, the backing track clear, and it all moves along very excitedly. It even has the coolest part, "At three score and five.." included in it. It's a mystery to why Brian dumped the greatest bits of SMiLE and replaced them with shoddy re-takes of songs.

When was the chorus to Smiley Smile's Heroes and Villains written? It was recorded at the Smiley Session? If not was it just the Baldwin overdub onto the tracking tape of the Wrecking Crew?

The ending to the single version is weak too. Such a weak way to end it, it just drones on with that boring chorus. It should've ended with that grand cascading strings thing. Imagine that, that strings part, then the Gershwin-esque horn part being the end of the song. It would've been magnificent.

Sometimes it makes me so angry to think of how awesome SMiLE would've been.

Agree completely, Mr. P.F.- the released version is also one of the few preofessionally produced records I know that has an edit that's so bad it's distracting.  The first time I heard the "Cantina" version at a convention, I was blown away from the first note.

Agree on "California Girls", too- and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" deserves a mention.
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2006, 03:57:28 PM »

..."God Only Knows!"...A better pop song has yet to be written. That would be my next pick as a defining piece from a master. Hard to imagine a world without "Good Vibrations", though
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2006, 05:17:30 PM »

I'd have to say "Wouldn't It Be Nice" since it's my all-time favorite song ever, by anyone. I know it wasn't Brian's biggest hit but I feel it's the perfect pop song. 2 and a half minutes of pure musical perfection.
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2006, 06:40:11 PM »

As far as albums go, I think *Today* is Brian's masterpiece.
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2006, 06:41:30 PM »

As far as albums go, I think *Today* is Brian's masterpiece.

Even Help Me, Ronda and Bull Sessions included?
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2006, 08:21:36 PM »

I consider Brian's masterpiece to be the years 1965-66.
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2006, 08:26:29 PM »

But 1965-1966 is leaving out a lot of very deserving compositions and productions. Deserving in a sense that they may be as masterpiece-like as anything from 65' and 66'.
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2006, 09:02:58 PM »

Brian's post Pet Sounds masterpiece? Til I Die, hands down.


edit...crap....completely forgot about SMiLE...AND Good Vibrations...
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2006, 10:35:33 PM »

Surprised nobody has mentioned Surf's Up yet!?  Granted Van Dyke deserves a lot of the credit for the lyrics, but Brian rose to the challenge musically to match him.  Easily one of Brian's finest moments. 
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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2006, 02:48:18 AM »

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Easily one of Brian's finest moments.

THE greatest moment. However, I think Brian will be mostly remembered for "Pet Sounds", with or without "Good Vibrations".
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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2006, 06:02:27 AM »

I consider Brian's masterpiece to be the years 1965-66.

Right on, Josh.  Great minds think alike!  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2006, 06:32:55 AM »

   
   64 to 66...you have to include DWB
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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2006, 08:52:28 AM »

Surprised nobody has mentioned Surf's Up yet!?  Granted Van Dyke deserves a lot of the credit for the lyrics, but Brian rose to the challenge musically to match him.  Easily one of Brian's finest moments. 

Really though, only non-casual Beach Boys fans are really familiar with that song (Surf's Up).  It was never a single, and for some reason you'll never see it on most lists of greatest songs ever or discussed outside the circle of fans.

I was thinking that maybe GOK would be propelled to the top spot had GV never been created, but I think people are too shallow and really want what they consider a "Beach Boys song" to be remembered, so I agree with "California Girls" taking the reigns.
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« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2006, 10:44:04 AM »

The sad thing is, the Beach Boys will probably be remembered for "Barbara Ann".  Undecided
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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2006, 10:46:07 AM »

The sad thing is, the Beach Boys will probably be remembered for "Barbara Ann".  Undecided

I was just reading something about Brian's acid flashback in a book store at Christmas 65'. It says that the store owner complimented Brian on how much he loved Barbara Ann.

I thought that was hilarious being that Brian was in the studio making these lush pop arrangements and a guy compliments Barbara Ann.
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« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2006, 12:51:48 PM »

Yeah, but that was because it was the single out at the time. 

Even when I was a kid, I didn't like Barbara Ann because I thought their voices sounded off on it, I guess it's out of key.  The original sounds even worse though by the tokens or whoever did it.  I always liked "Help Me, Rhonda" has a kid.  I thought he was saying "Help Me Ronnie" and I didn't really pay much attention to the rest of the words, so it took me a while to catch on that it was a love song, lol.  When it comes down to it, kids just like the beat of the song. 
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« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2006, 04:11:51 PM »

Good Vibrations, besides being such an innovative record with multiple movements and time changes, was a huge worldwide hit.  To fulfill both of those criteria, I think God Only Knows/Wouldn't It Be Nice would be his highmark, although neither was the hit that GV (or California Girls) was.

The Smiley chorus was recorded in February 67 (the backing track, without the organ overdub).  He mixed out a lot of the percussion and the bass from the track when he overdubbed the organ during Smiley - they were restored in the Hawthorne stereo Heroes mix.  But it's unclear if the track was meant to be a chorus in February - the tape box had "Side Two" written on it.

When Brian had his doubts about Heroes, he may have thought back to Good Vibrations and the fact that the chorus "hook" is what really brought listeners into the song and allowed him the latitude to experiment with the rest of it.  Or the Lovester may have been demanding he make it more commercial.  But I agree that the weakness of the single, besides the overall muddy mix and the Baldwin organ predominating over the more complex and interesting instruments buried in the mix, is the minor key chorus.  I prefer the way Carl arranged it for live performances with a more "rocking" chorus.
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