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Author Topic: Was there any evidence "Wind Chimes" was Air?  (Read 39038 times)
The Old Master Painter
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« on: January 18, 2016, 11:15:45 AM »

- Fire was Mrs. O' Leary's Fire (duh)

- Water (in 1966, at least) was water sounds that the Vosse Posse recorded on their Nagra reels

- Earth (pre-December 1966) was Vega-Tables. This is due to the revealing Van Dyke Parks quotations, and Frank Holmes drawings.

- Air was a piano cut(?)

I think many have raised the issue about a similiar Wind Chimes piano cut that was never fully realised by Brian. If so, could this be the mythical Air piece everyone is searching for? I don't think so at all.... Couldn't it have been much easier for Brian (and all of us) to say that "Wind Chimes" was "Air" in 1978 and get it over with? Why the vague "piano cut" description? But then again, maybe in August 1966, Brian and Van Dyke dreamed of a SMiLE with Wind Chimes fulfilling the "Air" piece, but moved on from that idea due to it's single potential.... Similarly with Veggies. Who knows? 
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2016, 11:22:12 AM »

None whatsoever.
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2016, 12:38:37 PM »


- Water (in 1966, at least) was water sounds that the Vosse Posse recorded on their Nagra reels

Weeeeeeellll... we don't know that, either. With the other Elements, you've got something, however sketchy. Fire, obviously. Air... well, there's not much, but at least Brian said it was an unfinished piano cut over ten years later, which isn't much, but at least it's from the creator's mouth, it's *something* at least. You've got also the 'My Vega-Tables: The Elements' caption in the booklet, and Van Dyke's recollection that the only 'Element' he worked on was Vega-Tables (which has to be the cornucopia version, from the recording dates, right?). That suggests we know something about Earth, maybe, although that in itself is a leap.

But we don't know ANYTHING at all about Water. It's all guesswork and just lots of wishfully thinking SMiLE-O-Philes through the decades (myself included from time to time) going 'this might have been that' and 'I feel Brian would most likely have used this in this way'... and no hard evidence at all that I know of.

We know Vosse gathered water recordings. But we don't know what they were for. We can conject that they might have been for the water part of the Elements, but we don't know. And we certainly don't know whether the recordings would have been used with anything else, or if they, alone, were all there was.

I mean, there was the underwater chants, the 'fishy swim swim' things... were they going to be part of it too? We don't know. Were the Vosse water recordings going to be used with the chants in some way?? We don't know. Were the chants just tryouts, and a more formulated version was going to be done later, with the Beach Boys? We don't know.

Aha! You could say that's what the Water chant was — the PROPER recording of the 'fishy underwater' chant tryouts, done with the Beach Boys. And later on, it ended up in the track Cool Cool Water (and indeed in a very 'Elementy' position on BWPS, if that counts for anything, which it may well not). So surely, there's your answer... the WATER CHANT is water!!! But... no. It turns out that's not a SMiLE-era recording at all, it's much later (Wild Honey-era? I can't get to my notes) so it can't have been water itself, although it's possible that the later recording might be based on an idea that Brian was GOING to use during SMiLE for Water. But that, too, is just conjecture.

Later, cut in May 67, you've got I Love To Say Dada, which was even (1967-70) later recut various times as different versions of what ended up as Cool Cool Water on Sunflower. But that, of course, doesn't mean that ILTSDD *WAS* Water when it was cut. That's teleological thinking, right there. 'It became Water-related later, so it must have been water-related then'. We've all said that - I know I have - and things like 'well, the opening percussion sounds kind of watery...' but try as we might, it doesn't make it necessarily right. One of the Dada versions has squeaky bird chirps in, too. Does that make it Air? The track also has woodwind in it — a WIND instrument — so perhaps it IS Air... And of course, Marilyn suggested that ILTSDD was, in fact, about babies (as indeed the 'baby-speak' title suggests), with Brian sucking on a baby's bottle full of milk while he wrote the track at the piano. And one of the Dada sessions has the band going into a Child Is The Father Of The Man section that immediately breaks down (more baby/father/son stuff there, not watery at all). So, far from being able to say with any conviction that ILTSDD is Water, I think, actually, there's quite a lot of evidence of it being all sorts of other things. Other than a need to pin a label on a track and call it water, and the fact that the music of ILTSDD was later most certainly used in a track with a lot of watery connections.

But that... well, it STILL doesn't make ILTSDD water back in 1966-7. It just doesn't... Water is all up for grabs, and there's no proof either (or indeed any) way. I'd say Water is actually the Element we know least about. That may even be because even *Brian freaking Wilson* never got as far as thinking that one out either before scrapping the whole Elements idea!

...maybe.
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2016, 12:59:01 PM »

Since I got no response in the other thread, I'm hoping it was just lost in the discussion and I'll have better luck here so I'll ask again. Regarding "Wind Chimes", do we know of any vintage, Brian approved edits beyond the ones on the two box sets?  The main one on TSS was made to resemble the BWPS version. Am I correct that no such edit existed in the 60's? Did any others?
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2016, 01:18:30 PM »

Kind of obvious I know, but I think that since Wind Chimes is listed as a separate track from The Elements on the submitted track list and back cover, that is evidence that Wind Chimes is not Air.
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2016, 01:37:12 PM »

Kind of obvious I know, but I think that since Wind Chimes is listed as a separate track from The Elements on the submitted track list and back cover, that is evidence that Wind Chimes is not Air.

Though I agree, on the contrary Veggies was not listed as a part of The Elements...
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2016, 02:48:48 PM »

Since I got no response in the other thread, I'm hoping it was just lost in the discussion and I'll have better luck here so I'll ask again. Regarding "Wind Chimes", do we know of any vintage, Brian approved edits beyond the ones on the two box sets?  The main one on TSS was made to resemble the BWPS version. Am I correct that no such edit existed in the 60's? Did any others?

Not an "edit", but the structure of the first version of Wind Chimes, not recorded in sections but in one go from beginning to end, was exactly as they did it for BWPS. Only that first version didn't have marimbas for the verses but harpsichord instead.

The 1993 version is based on a tape which has those three sections on it but not properly edited together. Maybe Brian didn't get around to add the following sections to that tape. Maybe he decided to shorten the song to those three sections, junking the following ones.
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2016, 10:13:05 PM »

It's possible that Brian called Wind Chimes a piano piece because of its tag. Which is all pianos. Makes sense to me.
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Matt Bielewicz
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2016, 10:33:50 PM »

Well, firstly, Brian did not 'call Wind Chimes a piano piece because of its tag', as you put it. In the context of Air, he didn't mention Wind Chimes at *all*. He was asked about Air for the Byron Preiss book, and said there was a piano piece which wasn't finished. Any connection between that quote and Wind Chimes has been forged in our wishfully thinking minds — it wasn't actually part of what Brian said to Byron Preiss.

Now, as a separate issue: *could* he have meant the Wind Chimes tag, when he referred to the unfinished piano piece, which is, I guess, what you're saying?

Answer: well, yeah, sure, it's *possible*... but on the other hand, it's really not like the Wind Chimes tag is the only thing on SMiLE that could conceivably be described as a piano piece, is it?   Wink

There are other candidates for piano-only pieces that we know of that were part of the SMiLE music and recordings. And if you're prepared to accept a slightly looser definition of 'piano piece' — as in one that prominently features piano, rather than being entirely composed solely of pianos — then actually BW's description of Air as 'a piano piece' could refer to many, many possible sections of what was recorded from Spring 1966 to Summer 1967...

But I see what you're getting at. We (myself included at various times) have a tendency to seize on the idea that he must have meant the Wind Chimes tag, because then we can tell ourselves that we might be able to figure out what another one of the Elements was...

Hell, it might not be something that was recorded at all. It could have been a piano piece that BW bashed out one morning in November 1966 at Laurel Way, thought 'ooh, that's good; that'll do for Air'... and then never recorded before the Elements as a concept was scrapped. His description of the unfinished Air as 'a cut, a piano piece, an instrumental' possibly suggests that something was recorded ('cut')... but then BW in this period often seemed to use 'cut' interchangeably to mean track, song, feel or piece; perhaps it wasn't even necessarily captured on tape.

Generally speaking, I think it's a mistake to assume that all the recordings we have are all there ever was of SMiLE... and that therefore, if Brian says Air was a piano piece, it must be one of the piano-based recordings that is on the SMiLE Sessions box somewhere. Some SMiLE material was never completely conceived, and other parts only came together in the recording studio while the tape was running, changing radically from the forms in which Brian might have conceived them at home at his piano (consider how the Old-West-like tag of 'You Were My Sunshine' evolves on the SOT discs from a jumpy, staccato, pizzicato phrase played on fiddles to the widescreen, harmonica-driven tag we all know and love). Still other parts of SMiLE, we think, *were* conceived and recorded… but have now been lost and forgotten by all the major players involved (see: the maybe-there-were, maybe-there-weren't strings for the second part of Surf's Up!).

So some parts were created, made it to tape in 1966-7, the tape of them survives to this day, and they're out on TSS, so we know about them. Some parts were created and made it to tape, but the tape (or mix from it featuring them) is lost, so we *don't* have them on TSS and we don't know about them for sure. And with yet other parts, they were maybe created or conceived, Brian or others talked about them and mention of them made it into contemporary articles or onto tape in other sessions, and we know about them that way... but it could be that the ideas themselves never made it to tape at all, because Brian had a change of plan after talking about them, but before they could be captured in the studio. Into that category falls, for example, most of the spoken interludes or comedy he was apparently planning to put into tracks, for example the bar fight for H&V or the bunch of talking he was planning to put into the pauses in 'All Day'. As was mentioned above, just about the only completed example of that idea which survived long enough to make it out onto the TSS release is Gene Gaddy's 'You're Under Arrest!'

So to say: "Brian says Air was a piano piece, so what have we got on TSS that is a piano piece… it must be one of those... ah yes, the Wind Chimes tag!!!" is too simplistic, I think. I've said several times over the past couple of decades that trying to 'solve' SMiLE by mapping all the descriptions of music we have to the recordings that have survived is like trying to do a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle where not only do you NOT have the picture on the lid to show you how it all goes together... but actually, you don't know if all the pieces were even manufactured in the first place...!
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2016, 12:07:38 AM »

Think "Country Air".  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2016, 12:17:55 AM »

Since I got no response in the other thread, I'm hoping it was just lost in the discussion and I'll have better luck here so I'll ask again. Regarding "Wind Chimes", do we know of any vintage, Brian approved edits beyond the ones on the two box sets?  The main one on TSS was made to resemble the BWPS version. Am I correct that no such edit existed in the 60's? Did any others?

Not an "edit", but the structure of the first version of Wind Chimes, not recorded in sections but in one go from beginning to end, was exactly as they did it for BWPS. Only that first version didn't have marimbas for the verses but harpsichord instead.

The 1993 version is based on a tape which has those three sections on it but not properly edited together. Maybe Brian didn't get around to add the following sections to that tape. Maybe he decided to shorten the song to those three sections, junking the following ones.

Thanks so much!  I really appreciate it.
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Matt Bielewicz
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« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2016, 12:42:05 AM »

Think "Country Air".  Wink

Well, exactly, Andrew. The 'unfinished piano piece' could have been the music that eventually made up the track 'Country Air' on Wild Honey... It could be that it was conceived by BW as Air for SMiLE in 1966, but never got as far as being recorded (at least, not as far as we know) during the SMiLE sessions.

Sure, there's no proof of that...

...but of course, there's no proof for ANY of this stuff...!!!

It's a theory that fits known facts, and is therefore attractive, but could be *complete* nonsense nonetheless. And that's the danger with this kind of conjecture. You say, 'well, there's no proof, but the music in Dada became Cool Cool Water later... so surely Dada must have been Water'. Or 'well, there's no proof, but eventually a track was released with the name Air in its title, and it's a piano instrumental... so that must have been the piano instrumental that Brian talked about writing for Air in SMiLE'.

As I said above in this thread... it's teleological thinking, where you work backwards from what ended up happening and assume that you therefore know what happened at the start to create the end state. It's very seductive, but it isn't necessarily right. Life is often messier and less together than that, especially during a creative process.

So if the Wind Chimes tag was NOT Air, what are the other possibilities? Well, this is the problem. There are lots of those scenarios, all of which make Air unattractively impossible to reconstitute: maybe 'Air' was conceived by Brian, and written at the piano, but never recorded at all. And now he's forgotten what it was. If that's the case, then to all intents and purposes, there IS no Air. There was, but it's no longer accessible without a time machine.

Maybe a piano piece meant for Air was conceived by Brian, and recorded: but if so, we know that we don't have that recording stored under that name or a session recording for it that was logged as being for that title. Maybe it became something else which we do still have. Or maybe it didn't. Maybe it was recorded, and the tape with the recording has been misfiled, stolen, or lost in the many years between then and now... which also makes it completely 'unknowable'.

You see where I'm going. There are so many possibilities under which Air is now unknowable or inaccessible, and only a few in which it is still accessible, such as: it became something else for which we still have the tape. I think that's why 'Air is the Wind Chimes tag' is such a popular idea, despite the lack of evidence for it: because if you adhere to that idea, it means there IS an 'Air', something concrete for that idea that you can use in your SMiLE mix, say, as opposed to there being an annoying space in the jigsaw where it could have been, or would have been if someone hadn't erased or nicked the tape, or would have been if Brian had only managed to get more of the Elements recorded before he had a change of mind about the concept...

But wishing it were so ie. that a) there definitely was an Air track, and b) that it was recorded and we now know what it was — in order that we can feel that SMiLE was more complete than perhaps it actually was — does not mean that it WAS so, no matter how much we back it up with 'well, it's obvious to ME that it was probably like THIS...' or 'Well, I feel Brian would probably have done it like THAT'. Without better evidence — which may now never come — we may never know one way or the other.
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2016, 02:05:52 AM »

As far as 'The Elements' go, period data is pretty thin on the ground. It's pretty hard to argue against 'Mrs O'Leary's Cow', or 'Fire', being part of the 'suite' or 'opera' [Anderle] as the tape box (and other paperwork) record it as 'Elements: Fire', "The Elements: Part One" or a close variant. Plus all participants interviewed then or since describe it as 'an Element'. So there's one.

The next closest thing we have - in terms of actual data - is still pretty far away from that level of surety. The '66 Webster/Holmes booklet consistently features lyrics in italics and track titles in plain font. Under the only full page cartoon, we have '"My Vega-Tables" The Elements', implying the former clause is a lyric from the latter. And Van Dyke recalled, in 2003/4, that "the only piece of "The Elements" I worked on was "Vege-Tables". When the Holmes illustrations were made and the physical booklets produced, the only version of 'Vega-Tables' that existed on record was the 90-second 'Cornucopia' version. So it seems plausible, if not definite, that 'Vega-Tables' was indeed planned as a short-ish section of 'The Elements' in October 1966, if not later.

EDIT: (Another note here: as I've mentioned before, and I'd like to be clear I don't have any particular stance on it, Holmes has been quoted as saying there was 'more than one element' in his 'Veggies' illustration. There are taps pouring water onto crops, of course. But there is also a wall of Surf, which is Up. Not that this necessarily means anything. On yet another sideline: my suspicion has long been that the 'Cornucopia' recording was not, as it is usually dubbed, a 'demo', but a full recording of a section meant to provide to some light relief in context of a suite that also included 'Fire'. We know that Holmes was provided lyric sheets (not tapes) by Van Dyke to work from for the cartoons. The fact that his 'My Vega-Tables' cartoon prominently includes a stamp/postcard showing a pit in a field ['roll all around/dig a hole in the ground' - a line not included in any other surviving version of the song] suggests to me that a) these lyrics were at one time considered 'final'; b) Van Dyke wrote and/or endorsed them and c) all of this gives credence to the contention above that the caption to the illustration credibly posits 'My Vega-Tables' as the lyric and 'The Elements' as the title.]

It's 'Air' and 'Water' where we have almost nothing. As Matt points out above, nothing in Vosse's 1969 recollection of the 'water sessions' ('Bob Gordon's Real Trip') actually connect those recordings to 'The Elements'. Not that he would necessarily have made a connection explicit, but in context of an article in which 'The Elements', and 'Fire' in particular, are discussed at some length, that does seem like an odd omission if he knew Brian's 'water notes' track was indeed what was intended for that part of the track. Then again, this is just my reading - we can't of course be sure.

'Love to Say Da Da' is often used to fill the spot - in BWPS, most famously, following the late '67 'Water Chant' - and due to the use of a variation of its melodic theme in 'Cool Cool Water' some time later. But what we actually have on record - as opposed to a basically subjective hearing of a watery 'feel' to the track - fails to support that thesis. It first appears as 'Da Da', recorded on 22 Dec '66, and then reappears as a section of 'Heroes', now called 'All Day' on 27 Jan '67. Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford recalls 'Love to Say Dada' as being connected to child- or babyhood. The May sessions for the resurrected section include prominent flutes and - in one abandoned experiment - bird noises. So I feel this can be pretty safely discounted - or at least not actively promoted - as 'Water' on the basis of the actual evidence.

All we have of 'Air', really, is that cursory 'unfinished piano piece' comment from the Preiss book. Since Vosse's recounting of the grand/baby piano 'music box' session in Teen Set chimes (no pun intended) almost detail to detail with his recollection of Brian's work on the 'Wind Chimes' tag in Fusion - and knowing that a version of this section, probably without [all of?] the echo effects - was indeed edited into one '66 assembly of WC, it's hard to argue it was either 'unfinished' (except in the sense that almost all Smile* tracks were) or a discrete musical 'piece' in its own right. Put more simply, this section seems to have always been just the 'tag to Wind Chimes' (logs, Fusion, period edits) and to suggest it was ever intended to be broken off and become 'Air' is pure conjecture. (Which of course, OMP, is just what you end up saying in your original post.  Smiley )

One last quote from Anderle, who was there for most of that heady '66 'development' period:

'We were aware, he made us aware, of what fire was going to be, and what water was going to be; we had some idea of air. That was where it stopped.'

Which leaves Veggies rather out of the loop, but there we are. It implies there was some kind of a plan for 'Air' and 'Water' in '66, which Brian was able to articulate to some extent. It also suggests Anderle (and therefore, presumably, Vosse) never actually heard them recorded.

* That limited capitalization was for you, AGD.
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« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2016, 02:43:53 AM »

Beautifully summarised, Mr Bee!

Not for the first time, after reminding myself of the final David Anderle quote at the end of your post there, I find myself wishing that we could have somehow got Mr Anderle under the microscope for detailed interviews back in the day before he passed away, too. It seems that although Anderle almost certainly 'inhaled', he was one of the people really close-up to Brian and the creation of SMiLE during that crucial Summer to Christmas 1966 period that retained all of his marbles in his latter years — and was pretty together to begin with anyway, as well as being a thoroughly nice, approachable guy (or so the record would seem to have it). Compare such comments as we do have on record from him to the pretty crazy latterday ramblings of, say, Lorren Daro...

It's sort of frustrating to know that when I first got into SMiLE and began finding out about it from 1995 onwards, so many of those key players (Chuck Britz, there's another!!!) were still around and completely compos mentis. That's a stark contrast to today. I wish I'd had more time to look into this stuff back then. I remember I even chatted to Jonathan Anderle over email at one point in 1995 for a while, but then pressure of work and other stuff meant I never followed any of it up...!

Oh well — another reason to keep hoping against hope that someone, somewhere, really IS working on a Hot Tub Time Machine...   Wink
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2016, 02:58:44 AM »

Quote
Beautifully summarised, Mr Bee!

Many thanks, Matt. If I can return a cross-thread compliment, I really appreciated your explication of VDP's elliptical 'Heroes' lyrics in the relevant thread. Genuinely fascinating stuff.
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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2016, 03:16:08 AM »

My two cents, and doubtless worth exactly that, if not considerably less:

Air - "Country Air", on very shaky ground - "Air" in title, piano driven track. I once edited out all the choruses just to see what it sounded like. Try it... Despite what has been said in the past by people who should really know better, NOT "Good Vibrations".

Earth - may well have been "Vega-Tables" - once, in fall 1966... but on even shakier ground, I'd point hesitantly in the general direction of "Fall Breaks... And Back To Winter" as being a direct descendant. At least it's thematically linked to the one, undoubted section of "The Elements".

Water - not a clue.  Grin

As an aside, I'd not take Vosse's Teen Set article as holy writ as there are some glaring inaccuracies in it (unless he knew stuff that no-one else has ever mentioned). Notably, his claim that Brian brought his own personal 8-track to Western for the "music box" session, and the strong implication that his own grand piano was also installed in the studio. As far as anyone knows, most studios didn't have an 8-track at the time (just Columbia), let alone an individual (and you don't just plug such a bit of kit into the board and roll tapes...)... and for a grand to be installed in Western Three, you'd have to either:

take it apart, ship it through reception and reassemble it: can't see that doing the tuning any favours...

or knock down an outside wall of the studio, push it in, and rebuild the wall. Then reverse the process to take it home.

May well have  been a grand in the studio, but that it was Brian's is hugely doubtful.
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2016, 03:20:09 AM »

Quote
As an aside, I'd not take Vosse's Teen Set article as holy writ as there are some glaring inaccuracies in it (unless he knew stuff that no-one else has ever mentioned). Notably, his claim that Brian brought his own personal 8-track to Western for the "music box" session, and the strong implication that his own grand piano was also installed in the studio

Duly noted. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2016, 03:42:28 AM »

Anderle's quote is interesting because he claims "we" were made aware of what fire and water were going to be.  OK we know fire, but why didn't Anderle share with us what water was going to be?

I don't think anyone has mentioned how Dada got linked to water in the first place - before anyone had heard it and realized the musical similarity with the later Cool Cool Water.   When Carl was collating the Smile tapes for release as a 2fer with Holland, he announced Smile was being released to the press in 1972 and named some tracks.  One track was "I Love to Say Dada (incorporating Cool Cool Water)."  Then in the Preiss book in 1979, where after interviewing Brian and the other Beach Boys, he discussed The Elements and identified ILTSDD as the water element (but in describing the track it becomes clear Preiss is actually describing the Water chant, not ILTSDD).  This is also where we get the unfinished piano piece comment on Air.

Why Country Air, even as an instrumental piano piece, couldn't be The Elements Air:  Brian said "we never finished that" - and they DID finish Country Air.  Surely he would have mentioned that in 1979.  Or "oh and that became Country Air."  

So the nice summaries above are correct, we have Fire, we have a fall 66 earth, for water we have "I Love to Say . . . Nada" and we have no tape evidence of what this unfinished piano piece for Air could be.  Plenty of theories and conjecture.
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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2016, 03:52:36 AM »

I'm irresistibly reminded of an incident from the thirties (I think): the leading astronomer of the era received a cable one day, out of the blue, from a leading Hearst newspaper: "1000 words subject life on mars by return". Now, in those days, if you knew what was good for you, when a Hearst newspaper told you to jump, you asked "how high ?" on the way up. They got their 1000 words, by return: "nobody knows" repeated 500 times.

Smile isn't quiet that bad these days, but there are still areas where "nobody knows".
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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2016, 03:56:11 AM »

Why Country Air, even as an instrumental piano piece, couldn't be The Elements Air:  Brian said "we never finished that" - and they DID finish Country Air.  Surely he would have mentioned that in 1979.  Or "oh and that became Country Air."

Need I remind anyone here that Brian also stated, for decades, that he burned the "Fire" tapes... or that for several months he flatly denied there was going to be any 50th anniversary reunion ? Like Alan said, in another context, "Brian's different".  LOL
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The_Holy_Bee
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« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2016, 04:15:52 AM »

Quote
When Carl was collating the Smile tapes for release as a 2fer with Holland, he announced Smile was being released to the press in 1972 and named some tracks.  One track was "I Love to Say Dada (incorporating Cool Cool Water)."  

Excellent observation. A July 1976 article (don't have the title or author to hand, but I think part two of 'Child is Father of the Band' by Timothy White), with extensive interview material from all the then-current Beach Boys, as well as VDP and others, delineates the respective parts of 'The Elements' as: '"Mrs O'Leary's Cow (from the Fire)", "Vega-Tables (from the Earth)", "Good Vibrations (from the Air)" and "I Love to Say Dada (from the Water)".'

This is not to say this listing is actually representative of BW's '66/'67 intentions - Anderle, for instance, is adamant that GV's inclusion on the record was mandated by Capitol, and it sure ain't an 'unfinished piano piece' either - but the breakdown is specific enough to have presumably come from somewhere (or someone) reasonably credible. My best guess, based on this and your quote from Carl in '72, is that it came largely from Carl - who seems to have been most involved of the Beach Boys in trying to compile a '72 Smile. I'd further posit, then, that Carl's belief that 'DaDa' was water was largely informed by the fact the melody was later re-used for 'Cool Cool Water', and not the other way 'round.

Of course, Carl was Brian's brother and bandmate, so maybe BW actually did 'let him in' on a few Smile sequencing secrets. That's absolutely possible. But since post-'68/pre '00s Brian seems to have not been typically forthcoming - or even particularly coherent - on the subject of the Smile tracks, outside of his reasons to not release them, it seems (to me) more likely that Carl, like all of us here now, was trying to piece together an album from the bits of information/recordings he had available. The fact that the melody of one Smile-era recording was later re-used in a song based around water (and, incidentally, for the track apparently crucial to getting 'Sunflower' released in the first place) seems a good enough basis for Carl, in those circumstances, to make the assumption that 'Water' was 'Dada'.

As I outlined above, however, all data from '66-'early '67 would seem to refute that. Then again, as Andrew says - 'nobody knows'.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 04:24:13 AM by The_Holy_Bee » Logged
Bicyclerider
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« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2016, 04:40:08 AM »

Well not all data (or should I say dada . . . ).  In LLVS an article is reprinted from April 67 quoting Brian as saying all 12 tracks of Smile were finished (clearly untrue, as Andrew points out much of what Brian says has to be looked at skeptically) except The Elements, which he was still working on . . . And then he goes into the studio after this substantial break (apparently due to a nervous breakdown) and works on Dada.  The article and studio dates are suggestive but of course could be coincidence.

One thing about Brian's interviews - he has a reputation for at times brutal honesty when talking about his life - remember when he talked to Rolling Stone about abstaining from sex, or asking reporters for drugs - it seems like he has no filter and if he knows an answer he will tell you.  If he doesn't know, it seems like in an effort to please interviewers he will make up something to satisfy them, whatever comes into his head.  This may be the determining factor in the "unfinished piano instrumental" response.  Other times when Brian is uncomfortable answering a question he will downright lie to move on to something else - the "I burned all the Smile tapes" sh*t.  It's rare - someone more OCD than myself might want to research this - has Brian ever, in any interview, responded to a question with "I don't know?"
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Matt Bielewicz
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« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2016, 05:24:29 AM »

For what it's worth (Dada AND Nada...), I think the 72 SMiLE listing was Carl just guessing as well (I mean... Good Vibrations as Air? That's a bit... desperate, isn't it?). Because Sunflower was out by then and what started as ILTSDD had become CCW for the band on that album, it must have seemed irrestistibly obvious that Dada was always going to have been Water for SMiLE. But the recording/compositional history doesn't seem to back that up... if anything, it refutes it.

Anderle's quote is interesting because he claims "we" were made aware of what fire and water were going to be.  OK we know fire, but why didn't Anderle share with us what water was going to be?

Oh... if only. That's what I meant above about wishing someone had been able to talk to Anderle at length again back in the day, in Paul Williams' laid-back and conversational style, but with a more forensic SMiLE focus.

Why Country Air, even as an instrumental piano piece, couldn't be The Elements Air:  Brian said "we never finished that" - and they DID finish Country Air.  Surely he would have mentioned that in 1979.  Or "oh and that became Country Air."

Now, here's a thing. I have a crackly, distorted, black and white memory, from oh, about 10-15 years ago, of someone knowledgeable on this board saying a few things about Country Air, and a few other post SMiLE tracks, about how they were just partially finished ideas that a burnt-out Brian couldn't wrap up, and which Carl had to finish or just put out in desperation for usable album material. I sort of want to say it might have been Peter Reum, but given his history, it doesn't seem likely, and I think I'm probably mis-remembering. I'm pretty sure I'm not misattributing nonsense from 'Bellagio Insider', though, if anyone here remembers back that far. I think it seemed legit.

Anyway, whoever it was, I think they said that actually, post-SMiLE there were a lot of Brian tracks which he started and just couldn't finish, and Carl had to polish up. I mean, I know that happened a lot later, increasingly throughout the 70s in fact, until you get Sail On Sailor and Love You and Carl effectively 're-producing' Brian's half-finished ideas or productions to get them done, and getting the 'Mixdown Producer' credit on Love You that actually hides what was probably a whole lot of hard production work. But what was surprising to me when I read this post that I can't properly remember, damn it, was that it was claimed that a lot of the Smiley Smile and Wild Honey tracks were like that too. All I can remember now is that it was suggested that Little Pad and Country Air, which I've always regarded as beautifully creative tracks, were actually unfinished semi-instrumentals that the band had to put on the record like that because Brian wouldn't — or couldn't — do anything else to complete them at that stage. Hence the humming and only very 'partial' vocals on Little Pad, and, similarly, the humming and chorus vocals only on Country Air.

I have some partial board archives from that time, which might contain the post in question. I'll see if I can find it.

If true, though, that might mean that Brian actually thought Country Air was unfinished... even though it was released!

Sorry to Peter, by the way, if you're reading and that's completely putting words in your mouth inappropriately. I really do feel as though I've reached the age where I've forgotten more about SMiLE than... er... I ever knew in the first place! Oh hang on... that doesn't make any sense either...  LOL
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 05:26:55 AM by Matt Bielewicz » Logged
Sheriff John Stone
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« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2016, 05:55:55 AM »

Not for the first time, after reminding myself of the final David Anderle quote at the end of your post there, I find myself wishing that we could have somehow got Mr Anderle under the microscope for detailed interviews back in the day before he passed away, too. It seems that although Anderle almost certainly 'inhaled', he was one of the people really close-up to Brian and the creation of SMiLE during that crucial Summer to Christmas 1966 period that retained all of his marbles in his latter years — and was pretty together to begin with anyway, as well as being a thoroughly nice, approachable guy (or so the record would seem to have it). Compare such comments as we do have on record from him to the pretty crazy latterday ramblings of, say, Lorren Daro...

It's sort of frustrating to know that when I first got into SMiLE and began finding out about it from 1995 onwards, so many of those key players (Chuck Britz, there's another!!!) were still around and completely compos mentis. That's a stark contrast to today. I wish I'd had more time to look into this stuff back then. I remember I even chatted to Jonathan Anderle over email at one point in 1995 for a while, but then pressure of work and other stuff meant I never followed any of it up...!

Oh well — another reason to keep hoping against hope that someone, somewhere, really IS working on a Hot Tub Time Machine...   Wink

Yes, sadly Britz, Anderle, Vosse, Carl Wilson and other SMiLE "observers" are gone. But Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks are not. I know I keep bringing this up, and because I have a tendency to beat a dead horse, will probably continue to do so. So, with the recent passings of Lemmy, Bowie, and Frey, I'll mention it again.

Depending on what anniversary date you use, we are either at SMiLE's 50th anniversary, or will be fast approaching it. I think this would be the perfect opportunity to arrange a meeting reuniting Brian and Van Dyke, with Darian Sahanaja serving as expert host/facilitator, maybe hold the reunion at Brian's house (complete with lap top, tape recorder and piano!) over a day or two or three, and discuss IN DEPTH each SMiLE track. Obviously Darian serves a very important role. We need that person to get things "out" of Brian.

I don't know how to get something like this off the ground, but I'd like to see somebody with "pull" explore it. Before anybody scoffs at this idea, did YOU believe BWPS would ever come to fruition, or a 75 date reunion tour in 2012 complete with new studio album? We have lost too many key people, and every day I turn on my computer, more people from that era are passing away. SMiLE is THAT important, and deserves something like I am proposing, dontcha think?
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filledeplage
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« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2016, 06:06:26 AM »

- Fire was Mrs. O' Leary's Fire (duh)

- Water (in 1966, at least) was water sounds that the Vosse Posse recorded on their Nagra reels

- Earth (pre-December 1966) was Vega-Tables. This is due to the revealing Van Dyke Parks quotations, and Frank Holmes drawings.

- Air was a piano cut(?)

I think many have raised the issue about a similiar Wind Chimes piano cut that was never fully realised by Brian. If so, could this be the mythical Air piece everyone is searching for? I don't think so at all.... Couldn't it have been much easier for Brian (and all of us) to say that "Wind Chimes" was "Air" in 1978 and get it over with? Why the vague "piano cut" description? But then again, maybe in August 1966, Brian and Van Dyke dreamed of a SMiLE with Wind Chimes fulfilling the "Air" piece, but moved on from that idea due to it's single potential.... Similarly with Veggies. Who knows? 
Good question - and maybe it is, in some regard... I remember from something I read or heard that it was an outgrowth of Marilyn and Brian out buying some real wind chimes...and Marilyn saying that Brian was just "like that" and could just create or compose in that on-the-spot mode. 

It is one of those songs that just stays with you for life. (for me) I have never seen wind chimes that the song is not connected but I am thinking that it is the "effect" that the wind (or the "air") "exerts on the wind chimes" in making them move, in the same way the wind "exerts its' natural force" on the "leaf on a windy day" - from Til I Die. It is the exertion of the force of nature on an otherwise inanimate object, giving it life or movement.   

And, I'm also thinking that Brian was still in the "Smile mode" when he used it on Smiley.   Wink 

But, Country Air on WH - that is da bomb.   LOL - I think it should have been a single.       
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