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603558 Posts in 24453 Topics by 3474 Members - Latest Member: Silken March 28, 2017, 03:22:33 AM
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Author Topic: 4th Of July - appreciation thread.  (Read 1249 times)
Cabinessenceking
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« on: March 02, 2017, 03:06:10 AM »

Thanks to ICanHearMusic 551's recent efforts to create new ways of listening the the Boys' back catalogue, I must say that the inclusion of Dennis' 4th Of July really deeply moves me as the closing of the Surf's Up album (following the title track). (link to album here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eEenbiCk-w&ab_channel=ICanHearMusic551)

I just wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the extraordinary songwriting craft and lyrical eloquence that Dennis Wilson displays through this song. In terms of structure, the song is arguably eclipsed by a couple of the other tracks on this album, most notably the last BW contributions Surf's Up and 'Til I Die, but from a production standpoint and as a political and social message, 4th Of July is unrivalled by any other Beach Boys song that dares enter this territory.

The early 70s was a time of deep political strife in America as I understand, and there is no shortage of political protests songs available. But whereas most of these turn to anger, blame and criticism, 4th Of July instead laments the tragedy of the times and the lost hope and promise for the maturing generation.

Wisely, Dennis elected for Carl to sing this song. Gone are the lush Beach Boys harmonies; it's only Carl singing and his voice carries this song and it's message beautifully. For it is a beautiful song due to the lush production and the title itself evokes everything that America should stand for; liberty, freedom, justice, hope, promise, etc etc. Yet there is sadness in the juxtaposition of the jubilant sensation and emotion of the 4th of July with the dark horrors of reality taking place in the name of these values.

Flags - flagged hopes!
White, red and blue - the colours of bleeding"
Proud hails - greetings of doom"
Freedom - lost fortunes of!
Promise of - lost!

Yet the lyrics are not just only set from the viewpoint of defeat. In the chorus the lyrics appeal for all Americans to together try to regain the ideals they ironically celebrate they already possess. Even if those ideals are way up in the "spacious sky".

I hope everyone takes another listen to this great song again and think of the amazing songwriting skills that Dennis possessed. A true jewel that was missed on Surf's Up. We're all lucky to have it available today, however it is sad that this message never reached listeners in 1971.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 03:01:44 PM by Cabinessenceking » Logged
pixletwin
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2017, 06:28:28 AM »

I love everything about this song. Prior to hearing it I was "I love everything up to Smile"guy. This song opened my mind to the concept that the Beach Boys were more than just Brian Wilson.
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JK
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2017, 07:49:49 AM »

I first heard it on the GV 30 Years box set when I was given it in 2004.

I have no desire whatsoever to step back in time and fool around with album track listings but I find it hard to believe that this jewel only saw the official light of day in 1993.

The description "wall of sound" has something unrefined about it (think "kitchen sink") but the arrangement of "4th Of July" is as solid a wall as anything Spector ever produced. 
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icanhearmusic551
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2017, 10:49:25 AM »

It's a great song   And I think could have been a great album closer for Surfs Up
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MarcellaHasDirtyFeet
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 12:19:18 PM »

I used to like it a lot more than I do now. Love the production, but it sounds a little flat. I've always figured that more would have been added to the track. I sing my own background vocals when it plays, but they aren't any good. Would Dennis/Carl have added additional voices if the song was truly set for the album? I think so.

Honestly, I never had any idea what the lyrics mean, so I'm glad for the analysis.

My pet peeve with the song-- I dislike the double-tracked lead vocal. Always felt this was a scratch vocal, and that it would have been improved if set for release.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 06:51:08 AM »

The "alternate mix" of "4th of July" on that "Proposed Brother Bonus Tracks" compilation, the one with a guitar playing the lead melody, also features backing vocals (and horns). From a post from "Klay" from that old thread:

The "Alternate Mix" does not feature a lead vocal, but instead has a guitar playing the melody Carl sang. There are also some lovely backing vocals and horns not featured on the Good Vibrations mix.
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icanhearmusic551
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2017, 11:09:49 AM »

Did Klay ever show anybody else these 'proposed brother bonus tracks' I've seen the list but he has not uploaded the songs anywhere has he?
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Forrest Gump
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2017, 12:27:22 PM »

and that version is totally fantastic..  It will blow you away if you hear it. I play it over and over. Totally lovely. Best song on the 3 cd set.
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MikestheGreatest!!
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2017, 02:05:45 PM »

Never cared much for it.  Too portentous and pretentious.  And the vocal is too precious.  Never did much care for the obvious statement songs by the Boys and Lord knows Surf's Up had enough of them....
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Forrest Gump
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2017, 09:27:49 AM »

But the instrumental version is almost like a different song. More instruments. And that guitar. That version is sublime. It's great. Wish it had been on Surf's Up. It's a great recording.
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Peadar 'Big Dinner' O'Driscoll
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2017, 05:10:11 AM »

But the instrumental version is almost like a different song. More instruments. And that guitar. That version is sublime. It's great. Wish it had been on Surf's Up. It's a great recording.

Did you make a deal to hear it? Think you had to trade cd's with him or am I remembering something different?
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Hickory Violet Part IV
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2017, 07:19:43 AM »

No, that was BeachBoysFrance, or something like that. He wanted CDs for a few seconds of Wouldn't it be nice to live again.

As far as I know Klay has never offerered the tracks, publicly anyway. Please let me know if I'm wrong though. I'd love to hear them too!
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Forrest Gump
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2017, 10:47:13 AM »

klay wasn't/isn't the only person who had/has these.
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thorgil
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GREAT post, Rab!


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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2017, 07:23:51 AM »

Fourth of July is a fantastic song, imho one of the best the Beach Boys did.
I'm not a native English speaker, so lyrics are less important for me in appreciating a song.
But the music... so epic (as Dennis could be whenever he wanted), so hymnlike in a good way, and makes you think of great spaces under the Sun. And Carl's voice, absolute perfection.
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Dove Nested Towers
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« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2017, 11:24:18 PM »

klay wasn't/isn't the only person who had/has these.

WHHAAAAT?!? That's the first I've heard of THAT. I'd heard that they'd been played for Jon Stebbins and maybe a few others for verification purposes, and perhaps given to Alan Boyd for archival reasons, but nothing more.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 11:26:33 PM by Dove Nested Towers » Logged

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Ziggy Stardust
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2017, 12:44:01 AM »

Has always been one of my very fav Beach Boys recordings, it anything from Carl and Dennis can be captured and summed up on both their talents in one song to compare to Brian and still stand up, this is the one.

I love Surf's Up, and it's great as it is, but it has some more meh songs on, and now we got to hear both 4th Of July and To Live Again, it's hard to look back at the album without the alternative reality feeling mixing up your judgement... altho i do understand the "too mellow" one could complain about.

PS: I already posted this in a covers thread, but since it's the topic here, for all the 4th Of July covers we'll ever find,
there's this jazz reinterpretation of the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeWN-yDdBXQ

Yeah i know it sounds nothing like it, don't believe me, look it up, it is credited as Dennis Wilson on the cd itself:
https://img.discogs.com/1eI_pxI-3v5O6J43nIYDUQE2HOM=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2634166-1294261697.jpeg.jpg
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 01:05:11 AM by Ziggy Stardust » Logged
JK
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2017, 03:14:29 AM »

I already posted this in a covers thread, but since it's the topic here, for all the 4th Of July covers we'll ever find,
there's this jazz reinterpretation of the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeWN-yDdBXQ

Yeah i know it sounds nothing like it, don't believe me, look it up, it is credited as Dennis Wilson on the cd itself:
https://img.discogs.com/1eI_pxI-3v5O6J43nIYDUQE2HOM=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2634166-1294261697.jpeg.jpg

If it's blocked in your country you can hear a snippet here:

http://se.napster.com/artist/daryll-ann/album/surely-justice---single

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Cabinessenceking
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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2017, 01:50:02 PM »

I already posted this in a covers thread, but since it's the topic here, for all the 4th Of July covers we'll ever find,
there's this jazz reinterpretation of the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeWN-yDdBXQ

Yeah i know it sounds nothing like it, don't believe me, look it up, it is credited as Dennis Wilson on the cd itself:
https://img.discogs.com/1eI_pxI-3v5O6J43nIYDUQE2HOM=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2634166-1294261697.jpeg.jpg

If it's blocked in your country you can hear a snippet here:

http://se.napster.com/artist/daryll-ann/album/surely-justice---single



An upbeat jazz re-interpretation, dunno what I was expecting  Grin
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pixletwin
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2017, 02:18:41 PM »

I have listened to that link far more than I like to admit and I am no closer to discerning anything even resembling  Dennis' song than I was the first time. LOL
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Ziggy Stardust
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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2017, 03:27:15 PM »

I have listened to that link far more than I like to admit and I am no closer to discerning anything even resembling  Dennis' song than I was the first time. LOL

Yeah, it's very.... "free" to put it that way, pleasant none the less
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