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637840 Posts in 25495 Topics by 3625 Members - Latest Member: spgass September 21, 2018, 10:24:50 PM
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Author Topic: Carl or Brian on God Only Knows?  (Read 4482 times)
John Brode
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« on: June 29, 2018, 10:49:01 PM »

I'm a little bit confused as to who is singing the lead vocal on the Pet Sounds Sessions track "God Only Knows [Brian Wilson Vocal]." I've seen some people comment that David Leaf apologized and incorrectly called it that, but some still claim it's Brian. Every time this is brought up on here, it never gets resolved. I'm almost certain it's Carl, but what do you guys think?
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2018, 11:28:03 PM »

It's Brian.

And while BW's lead vocal is nicely done, he recognized that Carl's voice and delivery would take GOK to the stratospheric heights needed to make God Only Knows one of the greatest songs of all time.





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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2018, 11:48:27 PM »

I'm a little bit confused as to who is singing the lead vocal on the Pet Sounds Sessions track "God Only Knows [Brian Wilson Vocal]." I've seen some people comment that David Leaf apologized and incorrectly called it that, but some still claim it's Brian. Every time this is brought up on here, it never gets resolved. I'm almost certain it's Carl, but what do you guys think?

It's definitely an early, alternate take of Carl.  Leaf was incorrect.
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2018, 12:26:38 AM »


I'm a little bit confused as to who is singing the lead vocal on the Pet Sounds Sessions track "God Only Knows [Brian Wilson Vocal]." I've seen some people comment that David Leaf apologized and incorrectly called it that, but some still claim it's Brian. Every time this is brought up on here, it never gets resolved. I'm almost certain it's Carl, but what do you guys think?


It's definitely an early, alternate take of Carl.  Leaf was incorrect.


Sorry, man, but apparently you can't discern Brian's voice and vocal intonations from Carl's in 1966.

It's Brian all the way and exists in the vaults only because BW realized that Carl was capable of infusing a level of transcendent tenderness, delicacy, and soul power to the song that Brain (not to mention everyone else who has ever recored the song) could not.

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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2018, 12:38:35 AM »

This one?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YIaXYrCGys


Always sounded like Carl to me, just as the early Good Vibrations version. But the guys all had the ability to sound alike, so there's a chance it might be Brian.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 12:59:13 AM by Rocker » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2018, 01:31:38 AM »


I'm a little bit confused as to who is singing the lead vocal on the Pet Sounds Sessions track "God Only Knows [Brian Wilson Vocal]." I've seen some people comment that David Leaf apologized and incorrectly called it that, but some still claim it's Brian. Every time this is brought up on here, it never gets resolved. I'm almost certain it's Carl, but what do you guys think?


It's definitely an early, alternate take of Carl.  Leaf was incorrect.


Sorry, man, but apparently you can't discern Brian's voice and vocal intonations from Carl's in 1966.
It's absolutely 100% Carl.  I know that won't convince you, but it is. And being an asshole and insulting my knowledge of the group or lack of familiarity with their voices isn't going to change my mind.  I'm sorry you've been duped by David Leaf, a lot of people have.

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It's Brian all the way and exists in the vaults only because BW realized that Carl was capable of infusing a level of transcendent tenderness, delicacy, and soul power to the song that Brain (not to mention everyone else who has ever recored the song) could not.
Let's argue facts, not emotions.  Brian has stated repeatedly that he wrote the song for Carl to sing.  There's no reason for him to have recorded any lead vocal for it (even a scratch vocal). Carl was in town that week and present for the tracking session.  There's even the story told by Bruce that they recorded most of the vocals immediately following the tracking session.  The so-called "Brian take" is just an early alternate vocal take done in a more forceful way before Carl became tired.
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Cabinessenceking
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2018, 02:52:00 AM »

I interpret it as being Carl
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terrei
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2018, 03:17:15 AM »

It's Carl and Brian doubling each other
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John Brode
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2018, 05:29:57 AM »

We can all debate whether it's Brian or Carl, but there's not much of a point to that if we don't have proof (I believed it was Brian until someone said it was Carl, and now I could never hear it being Brian).

But does anyone know if there's any truth behind the statement that David Leaf apologized and said it was a mistake? That would clear everything up, right?
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Wirestone
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2018, 09:04:44 AM »

Itís also credited as Brian in the 2016 boxed set, which David Leaf didnít have anything to do with. So his apology or not is irrelevant to the question at hand. The existence of other, alternate vocal takes on PS material certainly suggests that it would not be out of character for Brian to take a swing at the lead.

Everyone agrees that Carl was great. I donít see why that also involves believing he sang every possible attempt at the lead vocal.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 10:56:33 AM by Wirestone » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2018, 10:58:06 AM »

My two cents is that it's Brian and Carl doubled, and I think Alan Boyd had confirmed that for me, but I will double check. And while the Boys were all in town on the date of the tracking session - and Bruce was present in an observer capacity - Carl apparently wasn't (despite my earlier belief that he played guitar on the track, I'm now convinced that the guitar was played by Carol Kaye - hence my crediting her with that in the 2016 "book set" release sessionography). 
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D Cunningham
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2018, 12:48:15 PM »

To my ears it sounds like a doubling of Dean and Stamos.  No, wait a minute, I was listening
to Tears for Fears.

And on my fourth gin and tonic.
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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2018, 12:56:28 PM »

To my ears it sounds like a doubling of Dean and Stamos.  No, wait a minute, I was listening
to Tears for Fears.

And on my fourth gin and tonic.

Before 1:00 in the afternoon, Don?  Well, it IS Saturday, so what the heck...    Evil
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2018, 01:14:19 PM »

Every time this is brought up on here, it never gets resolved.
And you thought this time would be different? Grin

FWIW (absolutely nothing), Iíve always been perplexed by the people who donít hear Carl on this. The double-tracking is really sloppy in places, so Iím willing to give the benefit of the doubt to c-man on Brian doubling Carl. But Carl is the prominent voice.
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2018, 01:24:43 PM »

Everyone agrees that Carl was great. I donít see why that also involves believing he sang every possible attempt at the lead vocal.
No one has argued that. Besides, if your goal were to glorify Carl youíd probably want to convince people he didnít sing this version. Heís sounded much better.
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John Brode
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2018, 02:33:10 PM »

So his apology or not is irrelevant to the question at hand.

I disagree; it's completely possible that he DID make a mistake, and whoever compiled the 2016 version didn't take note.

Everyone agrees that Carl was great. I donít see why that also involves believing he sang every possible attempt at the lead vocal.

I don't think that's why people think this is Carl; the vocal just sounds like it's him and not Brian.
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John Brode
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2018, 02:35:32 PM »

Oops, included my response in the quote...you can tell I'm new at this.
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2018, 02:36:08 PM »

My two cents is that it's Brian and Carl doubled, and I think Alan Boyd had confirmed that for me, but I will double check. And while the Boys were all in town on the date of the tracking session - and Bruce was present in an observer capacity - Carl apparently wasn't (despite my earlier belief that he played guitar on the track, I'm now convinced that the guitar was played by Carol Kaye - hence my crediting her with that in the 2016 "book set" release sessionography).  

It's Carl.  Seems like applying lex parsimoniae is appropriate here even if one's ears are not sure.

I'm still not convinced Carl's not playing guitar on the track, though.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2018, 03:03:37 PM »

Given that two generations of Beach Boys researchers ó people with actual access to the tapes and session notes ó have said itís Brian, the simplest answer is surely that itís Brian, no? I mean, Craig and Alan on this very thread have said so. Itís credited as such on each boxed set, too. I donít know ó this strikes me like the dubious assertion that Dennis Wilson secretly co-wrote every Ď70s power ballad, when instead he was nicking them from Manson and his lesser-known collaborators.
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John Brode
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« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2018, 03:17:21 PM »

Given that two generations of Beach Boys researchers ó people with actual access to the tapes and session notes ó have said itís Brian, the simplest answer is surely that itís Brian, no? I mean, Craig and Alan on this very thread have said so. Itís credited as such on each boxed set, too. I donít know ó this strikes me like the dubious assertion that Dennis Wilson secretly co-wrote every Ď70s power ballad, when instead he was nicking them from Manson and his lesser-known collaborators.

The original intent of my post was to figure out if it was true that David Leaf apologized and said it was actually Carl. I've heard it a couple times on here, but I have no idea if it's true.
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c-man
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« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2018, 03:41:20 PM »

My two cents is that it's Brian and Carl doubled, and I think Alan Boyd had confirmed that for me, but I will double check. And while the Boys were all in town on the date of the tracking session - and Bruce was present in an observer capacity - Carl apparently wasn't (despite my earlier belief that he played guitar on the track, I'm now convinced that the guitar was played by Carol Kaye - hence my crediting her with that in the 2016 "book set" release sessionography).  

It's Carl.  Seems like applying lex parsimoniae is appropriate here even if one's ears are not sure.

I'm still not convinced Carl's not playing guitar on the track, though.

Lex parsimoniae - I like that! 
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Wirestone
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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2018, 04:09:07 PM »

Apologies for my rather ranty previous post. Itís been a grumpy week.  Tongue
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2018, 05:53:47 PM »

It's double tracked and sounds like both of them. I'm going with Brian and Carl double tracked (as in one of each).

It's the Brian-Carl version of the John-Paul "supervoice."
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2018, 07:10:10 PM »

I have ha a similar thought about the early version of Good Vibrations. I thought it was all Brian. But now I think they are doubled. Same with this version of God Only Knows.
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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2018, 08:02:47 PM »


I'm a little bit confused as to who is singing the lead vocal on the Pet Sounds Sessions track "God Only Knows [Brian Wilson Vocal]." I've seen some people comment that David Leaf apologized and incorrectly called it that, but some still claim it's Brian. Every time this is brought up on here, it never gets resolved. I'm almost certain it's Carl, but what do you guys think?


It's definitely an early, alternate take of Carl.  Leaf was incorrect.


Sorry, man, but apparently you can't discern Brian's voice and vocal intonations from Carl's in 1966.


It's absolutely 100% Carl.  I know that won't convince you, but it is. And being an asshole and insulting my knowledge of the group or lack of familiarity with their voices isn't going to change my mind.  I'm sorry you've been duped by David Leaf, a lot of people have.

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It's Brian all the way and exists in the vaults only because BW realized that Carl was capable of infusing a level of transcendent tenderness, delicacy, and soul power to the song that Brain (not to mention everyone else who has ever recored the song) could not.


Let's argue facts, not emotions.  Brian has stated repeatedly that he wrote the song for Carl to sing.  There's no reason for him to have recorded any lead vocal for it (even a scratch vocal). Carl was in town that week and present for the tracking session.  There's even the story told by Bruce that they recorded most of the vocals immediately following the tracking session.  The so-called "Brian take" is just an early alternate vocal take done in a more forceful way before Carl became tired.


I'm an asshole? I won't debate that one but was it something I said???

Having contributed to Beach Boys boards for ages, this is the first time I've been called a disparaging name on any of those boards, so I guess I can now relax knowing that I've finally been officially inducted into the asshole club. I must admit that my post last night (actually in the early morning) was made after returning home from a party. Finding myself in a great mood I decided to further imbibe and consumed a couple of Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Selects on the rocks while perusing the Smiley board and posting my comment.

Getting back to the question at hand, yes, this has been debated for ages, and I agree that many of the vocal intonations do sound like Carl would be expected to sound. Others are distinctly Brian. So my presumption was that Brian was singing while attempting to give the song a Carl style delivery. I hadn't considered a double tracked version done by both Brian and Carl until I read c-man's post. The recording in question is most certainly double tracked, so it makes sense that it could be both Brian and Carl, although overall I hear a lot more Brian than Carl. As far as I'm concerned, there is no way this track is Carl by himself. And we can be very thankful that this vocal track was not used for the released version as it sounds nowhere near as good as the one we all know and love with Carl's lead.

Speaking of the released version of GOK, the tag provides an excellent example of the potential difficulty in discerning Brain's vs Carl's voice. Remembering the vocal tag recording session, over the years Carl and Bruce repeatedly stated that the tag on the released version was sung by Brian, Carl, and Bruce. So it obviously sounded that way to Carl and Bruce as well as many listeners, myself included. Later it was revealed that Brain had erased Carl's voice on the tag, replacing it with his own voice, but giving it a somewhat different intonation so it sounded a lot like Carl. Like many others I initially thought that story had to be BS, as I was sure I clearly heard Brain, Carl, and Bruce, but it turned out it was in fact two Brians and Bruce.


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