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618833 Posts in 24939 Topics by 3548 Members - Latest Member: leafy October 21, 2017, 10:37:51 AM
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Author Topic: Playback credits oddities  (Read 744 times)
Wirestone
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« on: September 26, 2017, 10:07:49 AM »

Finally got my physical copy of Playback, and the track credits are fascinating. Here's what I noticed.

-- Main addition is arrangement credits on all the songs. With the exception of the two Imagination songs and Run James Run, Brian is credited as the sole arranger on the album.

-- There are also a bunch of recorded by and mixed by credits, but only on songs Mark Linett worked on.

Track by track --

-- Some Sweet Day carries a "co-produced by Andy Paley" credit rather than a "produced by Brian Wilson and Andy Paley" credit.

-- Gettin' In Over My Head is for the first time credited as "produced by Brian Wilson and Joe Thomas." This confirms earlier speculation that the basic track for that song was recorded for an "Imagination" follow-up project.

-- Midnight's Another Day has Scott's name misspelled in the writing credit. He does not receive any arranging or production credits (although I'm fairly sure he had some sort of "additional production" credit in the original album).

-- One Kind of Love drops Joe Thomas' production credit and is listed as being arranged and produced by Brian Wilson alone.

-- There is no arrangement credit for Run James Run.

That's your reading of the tea leaves for today!
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 01:34:14 PM by Wirestone » Logged
HeyJude
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2017, 01:14:10 PM »

Whatever the intention, certainly things like the "Arranged by" credit seems a little bit of overkill as far as being a bit credit-grabby.

I think musician and vocalist credits would have been far more useful and a kind gesture to the others who worked on the stuff, as opposed to giving Brian an extra credit on almost every song when his name is (duh) all over the CD.

I'm still trying to figure out who played drums on "Let It Shine." I already knew Brian arranged his own vocals.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2017, 01:38:27 PM »

Whatever the intention, certainly things like the "Arranged by" credit seems a little bit of overkill as far as being a bit credit-grabby.

I think musician and vocalist credits would have been far more useful and a kind gesture to the others who worked on the stuff, as opposed to giving Brian an extra credit on almost every song when his name is (duh) all over the CD.

I'm still trying to figure out who played drums on "Let It Shine." I already knew Brian arranged his own vocals.

Exactly. What's more, the arrangement credit is simply inaccurate for most of these tunes. Vocal arrangements sure, but the instrumental arrangements are collaborations -- and have been since BW started recording.

Makes me wonder about my original idea that songs were chosen at least partly on the writing credits -- Playback doesn't have any of those four- or five-credited tunes like "Your Imagination" or "Sail Away."

Also, anyone else notice the similarities between the verses of "Cry" and "GIOMH"?
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HeyJude
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2017, 02:24:40 PM »

Whatever the intention, certainly things like the "Arranged by" credit seems a little bit of overkill as far as being a bit credit-grabby.

I think musician and vocalist credits would have been far more useful and a kind gesture to the others who worked on the stuff, as opposed to giving Brian an extra credit on almost every song when his name is (duh) all over the CD.

I'm still trying to figure out who played drums on "Let It Shine." I already knew Brian arranged his own vocals.

Exactly. What's more, the arrangement credit is simply inaccurate for most of these tunes. Vocal arrangements sure, but the instrumental arrangements are collaborations -- and have been since BW started recording.

Makes me wonder about my original idea that songs were chosen at least partly on the writing credits -- Playback doesn't have any of those four- or five-credited tunes like "Your Imagination" or "Sail Away."

Also, anyone else notice the similarities between the verses of "Cry" and "GIOMH"?

Brian definitely wasn't arranging all of the backing tracks. I can speak to "Let It Shine" only because I'm more familiar with Jeff Lynne's other work, and that song in terms of the backing track (and frankly the song itself, even the lyrics) sounds like textbook Jeff Lynne. Descending six-string bass/baritone guitar lines. The drum sound. There are very particular hallmarks in the recording if you pull it apart. As he does on a number of other productions, Lynne adds an extra layer of acoustic guitar near the end of the song. I'm guessing that song is 90%+ Lynne music, 75% or more Lynne lyrics (lots of textbook Lynne lyrics: shadows, stars, fire, silver, light, etc.), and mostly Lynne producing and arranging the backing track with Brian of course doing all of the vocals (interestingly, Lynne does not contribute to the backing vocals even though he usually does do so on his outside productions). Even the liner notes for BW '88 suggest Brian's main contribution was just the chant-like intro.

The theory of selecting songs based on songwriting credits is interesting. I'm not sure Brian would end up, though, making a *ton* of extra money because three or four songs on the CD have a two-way split on the mechanical royalties instead of a four or five-way split. But this theory may have some merit, and would explain the strange exclusion of "Your Imagination." "Sail Away" would have been a good pick too, though I figured they had an out to explain its exclusion, as they maybe wanted to stray from a lot of guest vocalists. "Sail Away" is more a Blondie/Al song than Brian in terms of the lead.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 02:25:34 PM by HeyJude » Logged

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Rocky Raccoon
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 04:44:13 PM »

I think they only chose one song each from the last four albums because they had to license them from other Record labels.  Playback is a Rhino/Warner collection.  That Lucky Old Sun and No Pier Pressure were Capitol/Universal and the Gershwin and Disney albums were Disney.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2017, 08:27:56 PM »

I'm sure rights issues play a big role -- which is a real shame, actually, given that BW's best vocals of his solo career come from TLOS, BWRG, ITKoD and NPP. Nothing before then came close to that stretch.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 06:19:19 AM »

Having to license the songs from the last four albums is probably a part of why there are few tracks from those, though I would say the constraints of one CD, especially when choosing to include stuff like "Rio Grande", play a role as well.

It's worth noting, though, that only the two Disney albums are actually *owned* by another entity (Disney, of course). "That Lucky Old Sun" and "No Pier Pressure" are owned by BriMel and were licensed to Capitol. Now, it may well be that the "exclusive license" initially granted to Capitol for those two albums still is in play, meaning Capitol would have to agree to sub-license the songs to Rhino. But one would think it's not impossible that since BriMel owns those albums, having paid to make them, that they would write something into the licensing agreements with Capitol that would allow them (BriMel) to use songs from the albums for various other purposes.

In any event, given BriMel owns TLOS and NPP, I would guess there was not an excessive cost involved for Rhino to sub-license the songs from Capitol.

The idea behind a compilation like this is that, theoretically, *everybody* benefits. Entry-level fans buy the compilation and turned on to other BW stuff and buy the Disney and Capitol products, and so on.
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 04:31:19 PM »

I'm still trying to figure out who played drums on "Let It Shine."

Me too...has anyone ever asked Andy Paley if he did?  He'd be a logical guess.

Jeff Lynne, in an interview for 20th Century Guitar (May 2001 issue, pg. 28): "Brian played keyboards on it. I played bass on it and guitar and some piano. But mostly, Brian did all his own harmonies. Fantastic, big block harmonies. It suddenly sounded like, ah...The Beach Boys. And it was fun doing it. It was different." 

In an earlier appearance on the syndicated radio call-in show Rockline, Lynne resonded to a caller's question about the track by saying Brian played keyboard and glockenspiel on it. The synthesizer part is identical to the signature arpeggiated Oberheim sound Lynne played all over George Harrison's Cloud Nine album the year before, so I would say THAT part is Jeff, while the block-chord keyboard part sounds more like Brian.

Jeff Lynne interview in MOJO:
MOJO: Then you started your production career – which hit an amazing stride in the late ’80s. Do you recall your sessions working with Brian Wilson on his self-titled ‘comeback’ album?

Jeff: I hadn’t known him at all, but Brian asked me if I wanted to write a song and produce it with him. “Yes, please – I’d love to.” I went to his house in Malibu and wrote it with him right by the seashore; his place was only a couple steps from the sea. Him playing piano and me strumming guitar and we came up with the song, Let It Shine.

MOJO: The song is co-credited to Dr Eugene Landy – Brian was still in his grips at the time.

Jeff: Yeah, that was pretty grim, actually. [Landy] got struck off didn’t he? There were all the minders around and stuff. But Brian’s great now and he’s got that lovely wife. Anyway, we got to the session and I played lots of the instruments: bass and rhythm guitar and keyboard, and he did some keyboard, and we co-produced. Despite our production backgrounds, there wasn’t a lot on it actually. It’s a nice tight-sounding record.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2017, 04:49:21 PM »

An online Jeff Lynne songs database suggests it was either Paley or Jimmy Bralower.

http://www.jefflynnesongs.com/popup.php?data=LetItShine19881_popupplus
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HeyJude
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2017, 06:19:10 AM »

I would guess the credit to Bralower or Paley is down to a process of elimination due to the musician credits all being lumped together at the end of the '88 album liner notes. Those credits presumably list all of the musicians, but you'd never know whether they played on one song (e.g. Jeff Lynne) or many.

Lynne in later years would go on to play (and or sequence) drums himself. But back in the late 80s he was still using drummers. But he was usually using one of his drummers (meaning either "his" or drummers he started using via work with Harrison, Petty, etc.). So Lynne back in the late 80s was usually using Phil Jones, Jim Keltner, Ray Cooper. Those were the drummers he used on the most contemporaneous stuff of that time, Harrison's "Cloud Nine", Petty's "Full Moon Fever", Orbison's "Mystery Girl", and the Wilburys stuff.

However, I'm not sure what the precise session date was for "Let It Shine." But based on the extant info I can find, including one photo of Jeff and Brian dated 1987, and at least one list of session dates, it appears the track was worked on in December 1987. I also recall Petty stating that when he approached Lynne (literally at a red light on the road) to work together, it was Thanksgiving 1987 and Lynne of course had just done "Cloud Nine." I think Petty even mentioned in an interview that Jeff was then currently working with Brian or was soon going to.

That's all to simply point out that Lynne hadn't networked with a bunch of drummers at that point necessarily other than the British guys on "Cloud Nine." I'm not sure if he had yet worked on "Mystery Girl", and anyway that album just used drummers he had worked with on Petty and Harrison's albums (Phil Jones and Ray Cooper).

If Lynne had worked with Brian in, say, 1990, then I'd say it would be unlikely he'd use one of "Brian's guys", but back in late 1987, it seems quite plausible. I'd go with Bralower over Paley based on my own ears, which is that the stuff I've heard that's credited to Paley drumming doesn't sound a ton like "Let It Shine." It's hard to say though, because it sounds almost as if the drums are doubled up on the song, like two performances almost double-tracked. *That* element of the drums is a *bit* different from what is otherwise Lynne's trademark drum sound of that era.
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2017, 06:26:04 AM »

Here are some more bits of Lynne discussing "Let It Shine." Not much new info, but interesting nonetheless.

Q Magazine, 1990:

As well as revered veterans like the late Del Shannon ("My first gig, I think, at Birmingham Town Hall") and Duane "Mr Twangy Guitar" Eddy, Lynne’s production skills were called in to service ailing pop genius Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys - he co-write and produced Let It Shine on Wilson’s 1988 solo album. Surely that was a difficult gig?

 "It was a tiny bit difficult, yeah," he frowns, and shoots a meaningful glance out the side of his shades, "but only because of the way it was structured, with all the doctors and that stuff, and you have to go through this chain of events before you do anything. Like you’d lay down a tape, a little rough thing of a song that I wrote with him, and suddenly someone’s got a copy of it and they’re playing it to the record company saying, Look at this! What’s he trying to do!

 "No foresight whatsoever. I knew what I was going to do with it, but it’s like giving somebody an unfinished thing that only you know what it is. It’s a cryptic sort of thing. They tried to cut it off at the pass but I finally got it finished and it was really good. I was proud of that piece of work; his singing is good and everything.

 "They’re all nice guys. Brian’s lovely. It’s a shame he’s got so many problems with all these people messing him up."


Rolling Stone, 2016:

I had just finished George Harrison's album when Warner Bros. asked me to produce Brian Wilson. I was like, "You can't produce Brian Wilson. He's the best producer in the world." But I said yes and I co-wrote a song with him. We wrote "Let It Shine" at his house in Malibu. He was really struggling in his life. It was horrible and he was being treated badly. But you could see what a nice guy he was despite everything happening in the background. It was all very distressing. I only saw Dr. Landy a couple of times, walking around with his cape and walking stick. I don't really want to talk about that, though. Brian's doing great now and has a lovely wife.
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