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Author Topic: In-jokes + references that no listeners understood in BBs song lyrics  (Read 1347 times)
CenturyDeprived
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« on: July 12, 2018, 04:10:56 PM »

In "Be Here in the Mornin'", the meaning of the lyrics referencing "Korthof, Parks, and Grillo" couldn't have been understood by a single, solitary listener at the time, right? That was clearly a little "in" joke reference to actual people the band was working with, but I cannot imagine that any fans had any idea who these people were, right? And that's if they could even audibly decipher the names.

Did the Friends '68 LP come with lyric sheets originally? How/when would any listeners have learned what was sung here, and then figured out who these people were, pre-internet? Did every fan just wonder "WTF was just sung here?" and not give it another thought? I'm sure this one lyric must have led to some misheard lyrics/incorrect guesses.

I'm also guessing that pre-internet, there also had to be some other obscure in-jokes/references in BBs songs that nobody (who wasn't in the band's inner circle) would have "gotten" or understood. Anyone got any examples?
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 04:24:37 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 04:53:03 PM »

Good one. I myself thought “Parks” was referring to Van Dyke for many years
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2018, 08:31:29 AM »

Good one. I myself thought “Parks” was referring to Van Dyke for many years

I still do! who is it referring to?
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2018, 08:47:40 AM »

Good one. I myself thought “Parks” was referring to Van Dyke for many years

I still do! who is it referring to?

a friend named Jon Parks
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2018, 09:15:58 AM »

Good one. I myself thought “Parks” was referring to Van Dyke for many years

I thought the same thing about Parks. Korthof (Steve) was a relative and Grillo was a manager or Capitol exec? Anyway, when I bought Friends in 68 I don't remember there being any lyrics printed on the sleeve which was plain white. All album notes and info was on the back of the album cover. Parks and Korthof contributed to "When a Man Needs a Woman".
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2018, 09:50:22 AM »

What about cases where the actual members singing the song didn't understand the references? (And I'm not talking about Mike and VDP on "Smile", etc.)

I've always wondered if it's more an apocryphal story, but it's amusing to imagine Al Jardine recording "Somewhere Near Japan" and only *later* when tasked with singing it live did he become aware of the song's drug references and then allegedly refuse to sing it live.

This requires a few questionable suppositions, namely that Al didn't understand some of the song's potential lyrical meaning, and also that he would refuse to sing a song with a not-particularly-blatant drug reference. I mean, "Sloop John B" refers to a "trip" that some people like to reinterpret as a drug reference. "Kokomo" has a "tropical contact high" reference that was scrubbed from the eventual Muppets remake.
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 09:55:01 AM »

Almost all of HELP is on the Way works like that.

My Diane, too.

The directions in Busy Doin' Nothin.
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2018, 09:57:35 AM »

"Chug-a-lug" names some of the Boys themselves and some friends iirc
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2018, 10:13:38 AM »

Good one. I myself thought “Parks” was referring to Van Dyke for many years

I still do! who is it referring to?

a friend named Jon Parks

One of six (six!) writers of "When A Man Needs A Woman"
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 11:44:18 AM »

Good one. I myself thought “Parks” was referring to Van Dyke for many years

I still do! who is it referring to?

a friend named Jon Parks

One of six (six!) writers of "When A Man Needs A Woman"

When I thought Parks was Van Dyke, I was wondering why all the lyrics made sense lol
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2018, 04:17:46 PM »

Good one. I myself thought “Parks” was referring to Van Dyke for many years

I still do! who is it referring to?

a friend named Jon Parks

One of six (six!) writers of "When A Man Needs A Woman"

The writing credits on the copyright documentation breaks down thus:

Brian 70%
Dennis 7.5%
Steve Korthof 7.5%
John Parks 7.5%
Alan 7.5%

Interestingly, Carl's name doesn't appear on said documentation.
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2018, 01:51:55 AM »

What about cases where the actual members singing the song didn't understand the references? (And I'm not talking about Mike and VDP on "Smile", etc.)

I've always wondered if it's more an apocryphal story, but it's amusing to imagine Al Jardine recording "Somewhere Near Japan" and only *later* when tasked with singing it live did he become aware of the song's drug references and then allegedly refuse to sing it live.

This requires a few questionable suppositions, namely that Al didn't understand some of the song's potential lyrical meaning, and also that he would refuse to sing a song with a not-particularly-blatant drug reference. I mean, "Sloop John B" refers to a "trip" that some people like to reinterpret as a drug reference. "Kokomo" has a "tropical contact high" reference that was scrubbed from the eventual Muppets remake.

There was one instance I wondered about reading Philip Lambert’s book: Please Let Me Wonder. He says Brian wrote that song about stopping the touring so he could write really special music for the Beach Boys. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t realize it was a song to them.

I built all my goals around you
That some day my love would surround you
You'll never know what we've been through
For so long I thought about it
And now I just can't live without it
This beautiful image I have of you
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2018, 03:26:55 AM »

Hey, it really fits. Philip Lambert may be right.
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2018, 11:20:51 AM »

What about cases where the actual members singing the song didn't understand the references? (And I'm not talking about Mike and VDP on "Smile", etc.)

I've always wondered if it's more an apocryphal story, but it's amusing to imagine Al Jardine recording "Somewhere Near Japan" and only *later* when tasked with singing it live did he become aware of the song's drug references and then allegedly refuse to sing it live.

This requires a few questionable suppositions, namely that Al didn't understand some of the song's potential lyrical meaning, and also that he would refuse to sing a song with a not-particularly-blatant drug reference. I mean, "Sloop John B" refers to a "trip" that some people like to reinterpret as a drug reference. "Kokomo" has a "tropical contact high" reference that was scrubbed from the eventual Muppets remake.

There was one instance I wondered about reading Philip Lambert’s book: Please Let Me Wonder. He says Brian wrote that song about stopping the touring so he could write really special music for the Beach Boys. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t realize it was a song to them.

I built all my goals around you
That some day my love would surround you
You'll never know what we've been through
For so long I thought about it
And now I just can't live without it
This beautiful image I have of you


Not quite sure I understand what Lambert means by these lyrics possibly being about Brian stopping touring.
Would the "you" in the 1st line be interpreted as "the band"?
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2018, 03:22:03 PM »

Studying English, 1st thing we were taught is "you" can be plural, i.e. address group of people. In this case, band.
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2018, 03:34:03 PM »

Studying English, 1st thing we were taught is "you" can be plural, i.e. address group of people. In this case, band.

Hmm. I guess this interpretation is possible, but honestly I don't really think that's true. Is that based on any sort of educated guess by that author, or just a random hunch? I'll say that if this is true, it changes everything I've ever thought about the song.

I'd prefer to think of that series of lines as being about a romantic relationship between two people. This is my all-time fave BBs song (or maybe tied for #1 with IJWMFTT), so it's hard for me to see it a different way than I've built the meaning in my head.

I wonder if Brian or Mike wrote that series of lines. It's also fascinated me that there's a whole different set of lyrics for this song (sung by Mike on lead vox) that bafflingly has never been officially released.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 03:35:24 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2018, 11:49:35 PM »

Would the "good!" from With Me Tonight count? If so, I guess we could also count the "Hi" at the start of The Trader.
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2018, 07:24:01 PM »

Would the "good!" from With Me Tonight count? If so, I guess we could also count the "Hi" at the start of The Trader.

The "good" from With Me Tonight is spoken by Arnie/Arny Geller. (He also designed the stained glass that is the Wild Honey album cover.)

Here's a 1967 interview where Brian is asked about this "good".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRFE-24ucxc&t=101s
Even though Brian said that it just kinda worked and they left it in, it didn't work out as we hear on the record. If you listen to the sessions for With Me Tonight (these can be found on "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 18 The Alternate Smiley Smile Album" and probably elsewhere), the "good" does not in fact line up on beat as on the album. It was a stray "good" that was spoken after a take that was later edited into place.

The "hi" at the beginning of Trader is Carl's son Jonah.
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« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2018, 11:19:16 AM »

Not quite sure I understand what Lambert means by these lyrics possibly being about Brian stopping touring.
Would the "you" in the 1st line be interpreted as "the band"?

Yes, I re-read the passage and he based this on a quote from Brian’s first autobiography. FYI, he was very selective of the material he referenced in that book due to the heavy Landy authoring. Brian described the song as “a plea to the others to let me pursue my own creative path.”

He also mentions that the first session was 2 weeks after the Houston plane incident. About a month after that session he told the other Beach Boys he would no longer tour.
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