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637861 Posts in 25496 Topics by 3625 Members - Latest Member: spgass September 22, 2018, 06:27:40 PM
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Author Topic: Surf's up (1971 version)  (Read 1112 times)
GoogaMooga
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« on: June 29, 2018, 02:26:09 PM »

"Surf's up", the 1971 album version was the moment when it clicked, when I realized the band made not only great records, but great art, profound art. The 1967 version with Brian alone at the piano was the one that made Leonard Bernstein take notice, but I'd venture that Carl's 1971 production is the grand statement, and it was a stroke of genius to add the "Child is father of the man" coda.

Until I'd heard "Surf's up" on "Ten Years of Harmony", I'd only really been familiar with the Capitol years, all good, but Surf's up" was my epiphany and the Beach Boys became my favorite band of all time.

The whole thing is perfect, but I can even pinpoint the exact moment in the song when it dawned on me:

Surf's Up
Aboard a tidal wave
Come about hard and join
The young and often spring you gave
I heard the word
Wonderful thing
A children's song

...AND we then get the Child, child, child" washing over us. Brilliant. Love the mmmm sound right before "Aboard a tidal wave", that floating, ethereal state it put me in. Dreamy. I put that cassette on repeat and played it on my walkman right the way through a boat trip from England to Denmark. Over and over, and I never got tired of it. Imagine, if they had completed SMiLE and released it, we'd never have gotten this version.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 02:41:59 PM by GoogaMooga » Logged
John Brode
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2018, 02:49:06 PM »

I agree this is the best version of the song, and Carl's voice is beautiful on the opening verses. The CIFOTM outro is amazing too. I do feel like if Brian DID finish SMiLE, the second half would've been fleshed out with an orchestral arrangement similar to the first, and both would've had nice background vocals too. Sadly, we'll never know what could've happened...
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Kid Presentable
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2018, 12:53:04 AM »

Hot Take: remove the Al leads and the CIFOTM chants from the outro and have it focus on the b'ground vocals, it becomes an even better song.
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Chris Brown
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2018, 08:00:45 PM »

It's such a powerful and well-written song that I don't think it's possible to do a "bad" version, but the 1971 version has always been my least favorite.  As much as I love Carl's voice, and can't imagine several tracks working without it (God Only Knows, Good Vibrations, etc.), I don't think anyone but Brian can truly do this song justice.  For me, the version from the Smile Sessions is definitive.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2018, 08:31:24 AM »

If forced to choose I would go with the 1971 version. More than anything, the song needs that *bass* that comes in during the second movement, whether played by a moog or an electric bass or standup bass, or whatever. I find those simple bass notes underlining the song *absolutely integral* to the song, and while I love the hybrid versions laying Brian's lead over the first movement, I wish at least one version of that hybrid version had also included the bass recorded for the '71 album version. Yes, using a moog-type bass line would be a bit of an anachronism for something that's supposed to be a '66 recording (as presented on the hybrid version), but the hybrid version already included a bunch of 1971 stuff for the ending coda (not to mention the weird but intriguing and welcome flown-in 1971 vocals for the "Smile Sessions" version of "Look").
« Last Edit: July 02, 2018, 08:32:34 AM by HeyJude » Logged

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Emdeeh
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2018, 09:14:03 AM »

The 1971 version is by far my favorite. No disrespect to Brian, but Carl's vocal on SU is superb, so subtle and so sensual. My second favorite version of SU is the Wild Honey era version with just Brian and piano. I like that one because it's so organic in feel.
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Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2018, 10:07:25 AM »

Hot Take: remove the Al leads and the CIFOTM chants from the outro and have it focus on the b'ground vocals, it becomes an even better song.
Those background vocals are the best I've heard on any Beach Boys recording.
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