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Author Topic: Identifying BBs voices in the pre-internet era  (Read 964 times)
CenturyDeprived
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« on: November 27, 2017, 02:50:17 PM »

How difficult was it for fans to know who sang what, back in the pre-internet era?

There are a great many times when the band members' voices sound "atypical", either due to age, drug use, or simply singing differently intentionally.

For example, who did BBs fans think was singing Bruce's solo vocal call/response part on God Only Knows? That had to have been an unfamiliar voice for listeners to audibly hear, especially considering Bruce had only joined recently. Was it just assumed this was a voice of a different BB member? Or did nobody really think this stuff through or care at the time?
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Debbie KL
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 04:50:22 PM »

How difficult was it for fans to know who sang what, back in the pre-internet era?

There are a great many times when the band members' voices sound "atypical", either due to age, drug use, or simply singing differently intentionally.

For example, who did BBs fans think was singing Bruce's solo vocal call/response part on God Only Knows? That had to have been an unfamiliar voice for listeners to audibly hear, especially considering Bruce had only joined recently. Was it just assumed this was a voice of a different BB member? Or did nobody really think this stuff through or care at the time?

Having been a teenie fan at the time, I did find Bruce's voice distinctive and read enough to know who it was - and loved how it blended on GOK.  

I have to admit, as a teenie fan, I'm not certain we cared that much - we just loved the beauty and how it made us feel.

As far as the Wilson brothers, I found it nearly impossible to determine Carl from Brian when they wanted to cover the same song and sound similar until I started working at Ivar and heard their speaking voices.  Then it was much easier.  Brian - at that time could mimic any of them brilliantly, and often the voices were "doubled" (I guess the term is), so it's a tough job.  Seriously.  And I've had people ask me if Brian was on a song in a legal matter.  On that particular song I could tell that Brian wasn't there.

When Brian laid down all the tracks - even vocally - while the BBs were touring, they dual-tracked a lot.  That makes it tough for fans.

Does that make sense?

Other than that, like I said - if Brian was mimicking any of his brothers - even cousin Mike, occasionally - we had to listen carefully.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 04:52:43 PM by Debbie KL » Logged
jeffh
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2017, 05:03:41 PM »


As you said, we didnít care. Everything wasnít analyzed to the nth degree as it is today. Listening to their music through a small transistor radio, did affect the sound .
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2017, 10:40:39 PM »

How difficult was it for fans to know who sang what, back in the pre-internet era?

There are a great many times when the band members' voices sound "atypical", either due to age, drug use, or simply singing differently intentionally.

For example, who did BBs fans think was singing Bruce's solo vocal call/response part on God Only Knows? That had to have been an unfamiliar voice for listeners to audibly hear, especially considering Bruce had only joined recently. Was it just assumed this was a voice of a different BB member? Or did nobody really think this stuff through or care at the time?

Having been a teenie fan at the time, I did find Bruce's voice distinctive and read enough to know who it was - and loved how it blended on GOK.  

I have to admit, as a teenie fan, I'm not certain we cared that much - we just loved the beauty and how it made us feel.

As far as the Wilson brothers, I found it nearly impossible to determine Carl from Brian when they wanted to cover the same song and sound similar until I started working at Ivar and heard their speaking voices.  Then it was much easier.  Brian - at that time could mimic any of them brilliantly, and often the voices were "doubled" (I guess the term is), so it's a tough job.  Seriously.  And I've had people ask me if Brian was on a song in a legal matter.  On that particular song I could tell that Brian wasn't there.

When Brian laid down all the tracks - even vocally - while the BBs were touring, they dual-tracked a lot.  That makes it tough for fans.

Does that make sense?

Other than that, like I said - if Brian was mimicking any of his brothers - even cousin Mike, occasionally - we had to listen carefully.

Thanks for sharing those recollections, Debbie.
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2017, 04:34:44 AM »


As you said, we didnít care. Everything wasnít analyzed to the nth degree as it is today. Listening to their music through a small transistor radio, did affect the sound .

I had no idea who sang what until the present millennium. (Even now I often have to look it up.)

It all sounded great to me. (It still does.)
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2017, 10:07:19 AM »

I'm pretty sure vast swaths of BB fans thought Brian was singing the Al parts on "I Know There's an Answer" and "Be Here in the Morning" before the internet (especially the latter). I actually recall arguments in the early internet days on usenet with people still strenuously insisting that it was Brian singing on "Be Here in the Morning."
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2017, 03:15:18 PM »

I'm pretty sure vast swaths of BB fans thought Brian was singing the Al parts on "I Know There's an Answer" and "Be Here in the Morning" before the internet (especially the latter). I actually recall arguments in the early internet days on usenet with people still strenuously insisting that it was Brian singing on "Be Here in the Morning."

I just wonder what people thought about Bruce's voice in GOK. He wasn't a voice that was previously identifiable (unless fans owned Bruce solo material), and thus I would think that identification couldn't have been done (outside of the inner world of BBs' friends and associates) for a good long while, or maybe at least until a pro-shot video aired on TV that might have shown Bruce singing that part live perhaps.

This brings up another question I have... I'm curious what the timeline was for when people discovered other odd, unknown things in BBs songs, such as Dennis' banging outro in All I Want to Do (when did this info come to light)?

And when did people decipher "top, please" in Here Today? Not until the isolated vocals were released, I'm guessing?
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2017, 08:27:45 PM »

I'm pretty sure vast swaths of BB fans thought Brian was singing the Al parts on "I Know There's an Answer" and "Be Here in the Morning" before the internet (especially the latter). I actually recall arguments in the early internet days on usenet with people still strenuously insisting that it was Brian singing on "Be Here in the Morning."

I just wonder what people thought about Bruce's voice in GOK. He wasn't a voice that was previously identifiable (unless fans owned Bruce solo material), and thus I would think that identification couldn't have been done (outside of the inner world of BBs' friends and associates) for a good long while, or maybe at least until a pro-shot video aired on TV that might have shown Bruce singing that part live perhaps.

This brings up another question I have... I'm curious what the timeline was for when people discovered other odd, unknown things in BBs songs, such as Dennis' banging outro in All I Want to Do (when did this info come to light)?

And when did people decipher "top, please" in Here Today? Not until the isolated vocals were released, I'm guessing?

In my case which I think was shared by many, it was a lot of hours of listening to what was available. The CD reissues of Beatles albums in the late 80's was also a Godsend for obsessives who began to pinpoint musicians squeaking their chair on Day In The Life, and other Beatle hidden audio oddities.

Lot of headphone listening sessions and obsessive attention to detail before the raw tracks began to come out "officially" and unofficially. But the Beach Boys were nothing to compare to how people pored over Beatles tracks since they were released. Except maybe on Pet Sounds.

But Smile, in the pre-official years, takes the absolute grand prize for OCD listening sessions. No competition there at all for people straining to hear a new "clue" to Smile.
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2017, 08:34:02 PM »

"Top, please" was audible on my cassette version of Pet Sounds from the 80's. It was the chatter surrounding it that was, really, really hard to pick out...doubtful many listeners knew it was talk about cameras. Sounded like random gibberish until the raw tracks came out.

You could pull some crafty EQ moves if you had a decent graphic EQ and isolate certain frequencies to hear some more detail on any album, but you were still basically stuck with whatever the mix sounded like as mastered and pressed.

You could also OOPS a track to hear hidden details if the track was "OOPS-able". That could be fun, even in the pre-digital age with switching speaker leads and whatnot.

BTW...I always heard Bruce, but I wasn't a 60's original listener so I don't know how many knew it was him. Although he was in the tag to California Girls very prominently, and most of the fanzines reported on him touring with the band after Glen bailed out.
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"There was no up front fees, period. swedishfrog  and I paid for the domain name. As of June 19, 2016 at 4:32pm edt, that is all I was charged for." - Dr. Beach Boy
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2017, 08:39:39 PM »

I started trying to figure out who sang what fairly early on, 1964-65. Sometimes deejays would tell you who was singing lead, Al singing HMR or Carl on "Darlin'" for example.
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2017, 08:46:16 PM »

I think it's cool that the 5 main Beach Boys each sang lead on at least one hit single.
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2017, 08:47:17 PM »

I started trying to figure out who sang what fairly early on, 1964-65. Sometimes deejays would tell you who was singing lead, Al singing HMR or Carl on "Darlin'" for example.

The better AM DJ's of the 60's, the legends, were actually very knowledgeable about the records they were spinning on the air. When FM and free-form came in, it got even better in terms of info because they weren't on a tight schedule like AM, but some of those DJ's were really close to the music and the guys making it. In Brian Wilson's case, he knew the DJ's personally at several LA stations and would hand-deliver acetates literally hot off the press for KHJ to spin. So they knew.

The fanzines could also be very informative - I was surprised when I started getting more into it to see one of the Beatles monthly magazines feature and article when they were recording "Help" that mentioned McCartney playing lead guitar on tracks like Ticket To Ride and Another Girl, instead of George, so it kind of amazes me why so many fans for decades did not know it was Paul and not George when the info was out there before the records were released about who played on what.
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"There was no up front fees, period. swedishfrog  and I paid for the domain name. As of June 19, 2016 at 4:32pm edt, that is all I was charged for." - Dr. Beach Boy
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2017, 09:13:47 PM »

I think it's cool that the 5 main Beach Boys each sang lead on at least one hit single.
   6, if you count Blondie and Sail on sailor being a minor hit.

This band was so awesome.
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2017, 08:33:18 AM »

The better AM DJ's of the 60's, the legends, were actually very knowledgeable about the records they were spinning on the air.

Those deejays, even the local ones in smaller markets, were willing to talk about music and artists to the fans who called in or wrote to the stations.
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2017, 09:13:03 AM »

The better AM DJ's of the 60's, the legends, were actually very knowledgeable about the records they were spinning on the air.

Those deejays, even the local ones in smaller markets, were willing to talk about music and artists to the fans who called in or wrote to the stations.

They were also active with and listening to their audiences, and going to any number of high schools or other venues where their listeners would be hanging out to meet and talk with them. And there are many stories about hit records, some all-time classic hits, "breaking" nationwide after a DJ in some market who-knows-where got the tip from talking to the audience and finding out what the kids listening were digging at the time. It led to some very small label releases well off the national radar getting picked up and becoming top-10 classic hits, and a lot of that came from DJ's who listened to their audiences.

"I Got You Babe" wasn't supposed to be the A-side of the next Sonny & Cher single, because Sonny didn't think it had any chance to chart and thought it would be the flip side instead. He took the acetate to Real Don Steele, like Brian would bring songs in "hot off the press", who played it as a "KHJ Exclusive" premiere in LA, and the listener response convinced Sonny to make "Babe" the lead A-side...and it became one of the most defining singles of the era.

So one influential  DJ who respected his listeners and that audience in LA in effect influenced decisions that led to one of the best songs of the era actually being heard as a lead single. That never happens today.

It's a lost art in the era of digitized playlists and programmed content to the point where the DJ isn't much more than an emcee on many stations. They actually used to play records! lol
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"There was no up front fees, period. swedishfrog  and I paid for the domain name. As of June 19, 2016 at 4:32pm edt, that is all I was charged for." - Dr. Beach Boy
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2017, 10:27:47 AM »

I think it's cool that the 5 main Beach Boys each sang lead on at least one hit single.
   6, if you count Blondie and Sail on sailor being a minor hit.



And not many of the great bands could make that claim. Certainly all 4 Beatles sang lead on at least 1 hit. But other than that you have to go, perhaps, Chicago?
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2017, 04:50:12 PM »

I think it's cool that the 5 main Beach Boys each sang lead on at least one hit single.
   6, if you count Blondie and Sail on sailor being a minor hit.



And not many of the great bands could make that claim. Certainly all 4 Beatles sang lead on at least 1 hit. But other than that you have to go, perhaps, Chicago?

The Beach Boys had 5 members sing at least one top 40 hit. If you include the Hot 100 that becomes 6.

Other groups with more than two members singing a top forty song would include:

The Beatles 4 (all original members)
The Eagles 4 (1 replacement)
Fleetwood Mac 3
The Temptations 3?
Chicago 3
CSN&Y 3
Doobie Brothers 3 (1 non-original)

Thatís all I️ can think of for now.
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« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2017, 08:01:06 PM »

I wasn't there, but the 60s seemed to be an era when fans didn't care if one band member was absent from a major album cover (or did they?), so I can't imagine them trying to figure out who was singing what.
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2017, 08:11:23 PM »

I wasn't there, but the 60s seemed to be an era when fans didn't care if one band member was absent from a major album cover (or did they?), so I can't imagine them trying to figure out who was singing what.

I spent the first 3 years of my beach Boys fandom wondering how the hell David Marks became Al Jardine.
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