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638980 Posts in 25538 Topics by 3626 Members - Latest Member: Julia October 20, 2018, 10:51:17 AM
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Poll
Question: Which band's output do you prefer in 1967?
The Beach Boys - 9 (36%)
The Beatles - 16 (64%)
Total Voters: 25

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Author Topic: 1967: The Beach Boys vs. The Beatles  (Read 3972 times)
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« Reply #50 on: February 06, 2018, 11:05:01 AM »

I like the 80s rock/pop version of Genesis a lot.

But, I think my favorite era was the transitional era in the mid to late 70s, where they were writing shorter songs, but still had elements of prog.  I think the unsung hero of the group is Steve Hackett, and there's a certain musicality that the band lost when he left that, despite a lot of great songs, never got back. 

I'll have to give That's All another listen, as I usually focus on the hypnotic Tony Banks piano riff. 

KDS - Listen to "That's All" a few times in a row, I'm doing it now actually before I have to head out.

On this track, I'll go to bat and say it's one of the best, most understated tributes to the "Ringo Groove" as has ever been recorded and became a hit...that didn't involve Ringo or a Beatle. I'm going out on a limb and saying that of all drummers, it was Jim Keltner and Phil who could best lock into that groove that made Ringo's drumming so unique and so special.

The track itself - It sounds like Phil was going for the same effect as Ringo did on Hello Goodbye. The first statement of the "hook", the song's title, has no snare drum. Phil stays on only the kick drum and hi-hat for like a minute before even touching the snare. Yet the groove is massive and the pocket is several miles wide with the most sparse drumming. Just like Hello Goodbye.

Then Phil brings in the snare, and later starts to add his take on the famous Ringo Starr "backwards" drum fills...again, as heard so perfectly on Hello Goodbye.

And it's also to a lesser degree the Ringo groove from Hey Bulldog, same way he played and the same feel.

It's not so much what Phil plays, but the way in which he plays it. The groove has that loose, delayed feel that opens up and leaves room for Banks' piano and also Rutherford later in the track. The groove has that lazy, almost delayed feel like Al Jackson Jr. did for Midnight Hour, but it never drags or feels like it's anything less than a massive pocket for the rest of the song. It's something so basic, yet Phil Collins *got it* on a level that a lot of drummers who try to do the Ringo groove just don't capture.

Really esoteric stuff, but that's how big a fan I am of that one groove...and of Phil's drumming in general. What happened I think was Phil became such a celebrity, it was pushed into the back just how good of a musician and drummer he was. Great singer too. I'm glad people are reconnecting with those aspects of Phil Collins' career, and I'm happy to provide examples anytime I can.  Smiley

BTW..."Easy Lover", Phil Collins and EWF's Philip Bailey...Kitschy as hell 80's video, but underneath all that is a true motherfucker of a great song and performance. Listen to it with new ears. I remember exactly when it hit me as that song came on one of those retro 80's nights on a radio station. I heard it with fresh ears and haven't looked back since, some 15 or so years later.

Tying it into the topic of 1967..."That's All" is Phil doing a spin on Ringo's classic "Hello Goodbye" drum part, with touches of Hey Bulldog thrown in too. So there's that.  Smiley

I read an interesting article a year or two about Phil Collins about the fact that his popularity has grown in recent years.   The article basically said that he was everywhere in the 80s, between Genesis, his solo career, Miami Vice, Buster, using the Concord to play both Live Aid locations, etc.   So, that was met with backlash. 

But, since Phil has more or less retreated from the spotlight over the last 20 years, he's given people a chance to miss him. 

To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen the music video for Easy Lover, but I'm a big fan of the song itself.  I think I first took notice of it sometime in the late 1990s, at the point when rock music was getting really really bad, and I started to realize a lot of that "cheesy" music I dismissed as a child is actually really, really good.  That's basically when my Genesis / Phil Collins fandom started. 



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"There is no right nor wrong in art, only preference." - Steve Desper
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« Reply #51 on: February 06, 2018, 11:55:16 AM »

Whoa. Great to have some proper discussion here! Anyway, when I said I prefer The Beach Boys over almost everybody "even when they suck" I didn't (of course) mean that "Problem Child" is a automatically better and more touching song than "A Day In A Life", or something like that. Come on, let's not get silly here.

But I mean... Even when the Beach Boys sound like they're not really trying, or are too out of it to really care, or the ideas behind songs are not really that inspired, they still have that spiritual quality shining through. You hear that quality all over Pet Sounds, but you (or I, at least) hear it also on "Everybody Wants To Live", the cocaine sessions' "Oh Lord" and yes, "Kokomo". I can't put my finger on it, but they always have that magical ingredient there. Maybe it's just like Brian has always said: "We made sure the harmonies have a lot of love in them." I couldn't say it better.

The Beatles made some great, spiritual music. But they were also great craftsmen, who sometimes made songs because they felt like writing a heavy rocker, a jazzy song, a country tune... Just because they could and they were good at it, but craftsmanlike songs often have this artificial quality that might hinder the spiritual aspect. With the Beach Boys, or at least Brian, even the silliest songs carry this vibe of being pulled from their souls.

Anyway, sorry for generalising. Both great bands. The Beatles' music has more impact and potential to blow young minds to see the endless possibilities of what pop music can do, a sense of adventure and something exciting to happen. But when I'm alone and feel like nobody understands, I go for the Beach Boys, and that's why I love them.
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« Reply #52 on: February 06, 2018, 01:22:24 PM »

This is a weird tangent from what Jukka said.... but paraphrasing Jukka, more or less.... when the BBs phone it in or are trash, they still have a certain "spiritual quality".

What is it then, that makes this spiritual quality?  Nothing more than the harmonies?  

Tangent 1- it is mostly the harmonies, but there is another ingredient, which is Brian's frequent use of obscure chords and unsensical structures, that form a beneath the surface counter-melody to the complex harmony that he created with the b'ground vocals.  When these intertwine, subtly undermine each other, and eventually resolve it can be overwhelming to some.  Even when they suck!

Tangent 2- On the idea of harmony and neuroscience, etc.  I highly suggest the book This Is Your Brain On Music for anybody interested in this intersection.  It is very easy to digest- not complicated at all.

Conversely, do a random internet read sometime on the "Devil's Tritone"- diabolus en musica- augmented 4th- it has many names - if you aren't already aware.  It was supposedly (contentious) a banned harmony within Catholic music in the early modern era- because this harmony is so unsettling (unspiritual!) it was seen as the work of the devil.  It came back into normal use in mid-century American Jazz (irregular use in lots of classical music before that), and you can pick it out from Purple Haze through a lot of metal music ever since.  Can anyone think of Brian ever purposefully trying to utilize the augmented 4th in any of his compositions?  It wouldn't surprise me if Transcedental Meditation does, but I am not good enough at theory to know for sure.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 01:25:44 PM by Kid Presentable » Logged
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« Reply #53 on: February 06, 2018, 01:54:44 PM »

This is a weird tangent from what Jukka said.... but paraphrasing Jukka, more or less.... when the BBs phone it in or are trash, they still have a certain "spiritual quality".

What is it then, that makes this spiritual quality?  Nothing more than the harmonies?  

Tangent 1- it is mostly the harmonies, but there is another ingredient, which is Brian's frequent use of obscure chords and unsensical structures, that form a beneath the surface counter-melody to the complex harmony that he created with the b'ground vocals.  When these intertwine, subtly undermine each other, and eventually resolve it can be overwhelming to some.  Even when they suck!

Tangent 2- On the idea of harmony and neuroscience, etc.  I highly suggest the book This Is Your Brain On Music for anybody interested in this intersection.  It is very easy to digest- not complicated at all.

Conversely, do a random internet read sometime on the "Devil's Tritone"- diabolus en musica- augmented 4th- it has many names - if you aren't already aware.  It was supposedly (contentious) a banned harmony within Catholic music in the early modern era- because this harmony is so unsettling (unspiritual!) it was seen as the work of the devil.  It came back into normal use in mid-century American Jazz (irregular use in lots of classical music before that), and you can pick it out from Purple Haze through a lot of metal music ever since.  Can anyone think of Brian ever purposefully trying to utilize the augmented 4th in any of his compositions?  It wouldn't surprise me if Transcedental Meditation does, but I am not good enough at theory to know for sure.

Awesome post. That last paragraph is really intriguing. Maybe Guitarfool could shed some light on that.

To add to your harmonies bit...the beach boys had such an incredible vocal blend. I mean, no other band has ever come close to how unique and beautiful The Beach Boys sounded on most of their albums. Even when theyíre not blending they sound angelic...take Carlís solo lead on GOK, or I think his vocal on ĎI Can Hear Musicí is one of the best sounding lead vocals ever...that tone and range is outta this world. Even his part in ĎKokomoí is a thing of beauty.

A lot of elements come together to give us that heartfelt feeling, but those harmonies and vocals for sure are the main reason.
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« Reply #54 on: February 06, 2018, 04:02:04 PM »

Conversely, do a random internet read sometime on the "Devil's Tritone"- diabolus en musica- augmented 4th- it has many names - if you aren't already aware.  It was supposedly (contentious) a banned harmony within Catholic music in the early modern era- because this harmony is so unsettling (unspiritual!) it was seen as the work of the devil.  It came back into normal use in mid-century American Jazz (irregular use in lots of classical music before that), and you can pick it out from Purple Haze through a lot of metal music ever since.  Can anyone think of Brian ever purposefully trying to utilize the augmented 4th in any of his compositions?  It wouldn't surprise me if Transcedental Meditation does, but I am not good enough at theory to know for sure.

Oh, the dreaded tritone! Now I'll have to go through all the songs in his catalog. Went through a few songs that had weird harmonies but hadn't found any in the vocals.
It does indeed sound like one of the instruments in Transcendental Meditation is doing an augmented 4th. I find that hilarious as Brian wanted his music to be prayed to LOL.
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« Reply #55 on: February 06, 2018, 08:08:56 PM »

Awesome post. That last paragraph is really intriguing. Maybe Guitarfool could shed some light on that.

I can, and I'll try.  Smiley

The "diablo musica" topic is absolutely true. That interval was indeed banned by the rulers of the church in the "Dark Ages" because they decreed the tritone interval was the work of the devil, and composers of sacred music were banned from using it. This is why Gregorian chant has no thirds in the chords...the harmony is nothing more than a series of parallel fourths and fifths moving up and down the scales with little ornamentation.

It should be noted that during the Bach period, when Bach all but codified the "rules" of harmony, counterpoint, and chorale writing in 4-part harmony, arranging using the parallel fourths and fifths especially in 2-part counterpoint was not "allowed" under the rules. That is still taught to students of traditional harmony and counterpoint today as one of the rules of that style. No parallel fourths or fifths, but instead emphasize the key harmonic notes of whatever chord is being stated or implied (in the case of 2-part writing).

Now fast forward to the impressionistic period, then into the modern era, with blues, jazz, popular/secular styles...some of the rules were indeed broken and elements like tensions on top of chords as well as blatantly discordant (to the ears of that time) chord structures were being used by composers. This extended beyond classical and those "discordant" intervals and chords formed the foundation of jazz, which also borrowed heavily from what was considered experimental or even atonal works in the styles like serialism with Shoenberg, and even more radical departures from traditional Bach harmonies.

Now...fast forward to jazz. And blues, and before that (but to a lesser degree Dixieland, Ragtime, etc). It all kind of gels together but at the same time it doesn't.

This is where the Brian Wilson connection comes up, eventually.

Blues and jazz (and other popular styles as mentioned above) would often use a dominant 7th chord, I'll also call it the flat 7th, as the strong tonic chord of a progression or song. This is the very nature of the blues form, whether 12-bar, 16-bar, whatever...the strongest chords of blues are based on dominant 7ths, not major chords...those being the I the IV and the V.

In sacred music, chorale writing, and the Bach "rules", the dominant 7th is a chord of unrest, of tension, which wants to and most often does *resolve* to a more settled chord. If it doesn't, it still leads somewhere else more calm, because in that writing, the tension has to go to a resolution.

However, in the blues and early jazz, those tension filled chords never resolve, in fact they're built on the sound of unrest and tension but listeners accepted that as in the I chord going to the IV chord in the blues form, as the norm, as the chords that were the tonic, subdominant, dominant, etc. The I7 to IV7 to V7 is the foundation of all blues which translated into rock, jazz, country, etc.

A listener in the 18th century would be aghast if a song form was built around three strong dominant 7th chords that never resolve.

Almost done, haha...

The "tritone" as in "diablo musica" is in each and every dominant 7th chord. The third and the flatted 7th of every dom 7 chord is the tritone. Example: G7 is G-B-D-F. C7 is C-E-G-Bb. Major triad with flat 7th scale degree added.  B to F in the G7 is the tritone, E to Bb in the C7 is the tritone.

So basically every 7th chord in Beach Boys music - if you get some Beach Boys sheet music books or charts and see the E7 in I Get Around for example, is that tritone which was banned by the church.

Even more interesting: The diminished chord is built on two tritones. The diminished scale is built on a scale that ascends in flat 3rd intervals. It's so easy to play when you map it out.

Example: Take a C# diminished chord or scale. It's spelled out C# - E - G - A# (or Bb enharmonically). The C# diminished chord is EXACTLY the same chord structure as an E diminished, a G diminished, an A# diminished...you can build the same chord on each note on which the chord is build and have any of the four notes act as the root.

Enter...jazz!

Let's say a jazz player is playing a dusty old standard with a ii-V7-I chord cadence, or let's say a jazz player is improvising over that chord change (the most common in jazz). In this example, Emin7 to A7 to D.

That jazz player will often substitute that diminished scale or chord for the A7. So he/she would play the A# diminished chord or scale, which is also E dim, G dim, C# dim...you see the usefullness of that kind of substitution. A chord or scale that can carry four names and behaviors in context and still be the same notes. All purpose, plug in and play, and there is the sound of 20th century jazz in a nutshell.

In early jazz, like the Joplin rags, Gershwin, the old 20's hot jazz...they would often start the piece laying out a diminished chord. Think any of the most famous ragtime tunes like Tiger Rag, The Entertainer...that initial flurry of notes is a diminished chord and harmony. It surely would have been banned by the church... Grin

But that's where modern jazz and blues broke the mold and set the standard which is still the cornerstone of popular music. The tension-filled chords do not have to resolve. They can be the tonic, the strong chord, the foundation of the entire chord structure and progression.

Enter the Brian Wilson connections.

The Four Freshmen for the most obvious example had arrangements which featured what jazzers call the "tritone substitution" technique in their charts. Some of those vocal harmonies that people would hear and describe as "thick", "complex", "jazzy"...often it was based on this technique of chord substitution and specifically tritone substitution. Back to that A7 example, all they'd need to do is if that A7 were in a song, one of the voices would raise the root note A a half step, and it became the diminished chord...which would have more impact and more jazzy sounds than a stock A7 stacking of voices or parts. They'd do the same with the flat 9 chord, and a whole host of other go-to techniques that you learn and add to the bag of tricks as you learn them, for use in your own musical explorations or jobs to come.

So beyond his obvious use of dominant 7th chords as mentioned (any blues-based song form he wrote has them, as do most of his tunes), listen to Brian's work for some of these Freshmen-like "jazzy" harmonies, and you'll find him pulling from the same well of technique and influence. You'll hear these diminished chord "tritone substitutions", tensions atop dominant 7th chords like the flat 9, sharp 9 (the "Hendrix chord" sound) and 13ths, sharp 11ths, etc...and also the type of tensions and upper structure triads (example, a Bb/C substitution acting as the dominant V in the key of F, the famed 'Brian Wilson Chord') that were the hallmark of some of his best works.

Here's the payoff.

God Only Knows.

   D/A          Bm6
   I may not always love you
   F#m F#m7                 F#m6/A
   But long as there are stars above you
   E/B           Cdim
   You never need to doubt it
   E/B                    A#m7-5
   I'll make you so sure about it
   A              E/G#                            F#m7       (E)
   God only knows what I'd be without you


The chord struck under the word NEED, C diminished, is the all-out full diminished, "diablo musica", multi-purpose unsettled chord built entirely on tritone intervals. C-Eb-Gb-A. If you spell it in sharps...it becomes C-D#-F#-A. The B7th chord which in traditional harmony leads to an E major to be "settled", is spelled out B-D#-F#-A, 1-3-5-b7.

What Brian did was the classic tritone substitution. He raised the root of that chord a half step (B up to C), and it becomes a fully diminished chord with the same tritone as the B7, but with even more tension and character...and, as tradition would dictate, he resolves it to E. Well, in Brian's case E major with the 5th in the bass, otherwise known as "second inversion" in theory terms.

The chord struck under the word SURE is in music theory terms a "Half Diminished", a favorite again of the jazzers, and basically a minor 7th chord with a flatted 5th degree (or as the poster above called it, the raised 4th). Same interval, but in jazz terms it's more often seen as flat 5. A# - C# - E - G#, 1-b3-b5-b7. To make it full diminished, the G# would be dropped to G natural to create the two tritones in that chord. This substitution leads the E-G# right to the following A major chord (in traditional Bach style counterpoint, the V resolving to the I) while the C# is a common tone between both chords and the A# resolves beautifully down a half step to A, the root of the next chord.

So yes, on perhaps Brian's most heralded and beloved composition, he's incorporating tritones, full and half diminished chords, jazz substitutions, tension-resolution, modulations, the whole ball of wax.

Not bad for a 24 year old guy with one ear and no formal schooling in music.



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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

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« Reply #56 on: February 06, 2018, 09:54:10 PM »

Great stuff, guitarfool! Thanks!
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« Reply #57 on: February 08, 2018, 06:56:30 AM »

Guitarfool thatís exactly the explanation I was looking for, and more! Will delve more into it later, but Iím really intrigued by that GOK part of your post.
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« Reply #58 on: February 08, 2018, 10:52:03 AM »

You just melted my mind. Thank you for that, guitarfool.
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« Reply #59 on: February 09, 2018, 07:08:14 AM »

Very cool!

I just noticed too how those substitutions Brian used on the GOK chords allowed for a really, really cool bass movement to develop under the chords, whereas if he had used the "standard" dominant 7th chords instead of the tritone substitutions, the bass motion would not have been as interesting. If you play those voicings on the piano and hit that bass movement with the left hand, it creates a really interesting motion based on half-steps and the chromatic approach versus wide leaps in the bass voice, especially in that one section of the form.

There is a reason, I'd say, why the song is so highly regarded among musicians too, and it includes some of the smallest details like what bass notes he's voicing under those chords.  Smiley

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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2018, 07:17:37 AM »

Woo hoo! Love this stuff!
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"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon
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« Reply #61 on: February 09, 2018, 10:13:04 AM »

Guitarfool, thanks for explaining that (a lot of it is beyond me, but I did try to keep up). 

I think the story about the tritone being banned by the church is myth, though. 

Any chance you want to deconstruct the opening bars of Let the Wind Blow and tell me why they make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up? 
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« Reply #62 on: February 09, 2018, 04:30:02 PM »

Itís not myth. It really was.
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« Reply #63 on: February 10, 2018, 10:09:43 AM »

Itís not myth. It really was.

Yes, and 3/4 time was the favoured time signature because of the holy trinity. That's why it's called perfect time.
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« Reply #64 on: February 11, 2018, 10:53:28 AM »

Beach Boys. Sgt. Pepper is a fine album, and Penny/Strawberry are fantastic, But Smiley Smile/Wild Honey hold up so much more in these times. I find them more compelling and interesting. If Smile had been released, it would be no contest whatsoever. I think Pepper, to me at least, suffers from a song-writing perspective for most album tracks, and is often made up by the heavy production. There aren't a lot of super strong songs besides a few if you pull back the bells and whistles. Smiley Smile and Honey are very home-grown like albums, mostly recorded in Brian's house, with very minimal production but insanely powerful and great songs underneath it all. Not saying big grand production is bad by any means, have you heard Pet Sounds or Smile? What matters at the end of the day is the songs behind all the production, or at the very least you need a good balance between song and production. Smiley Smile / Wild Honey very much have the right mixture. The Beach Boys could do a lot with a little, where I feel like the Beatles in 1967 had to compensate and catch up in that sense. (The White Album made up for these mistakes, improving immensely on songwriting.)
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