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Author Topic: Honkin' Down the Highway Single/LOVE YOU Marketing  (Read 4052 times)
Steve Latshaw
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« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2019, 02:28:16 PM »

"Why weren't the guys in the band doing a Redwood-esque scene cornering *Mike* in 1978 and "forcing" him to hand over the song for the Beach Boys?"

As I recall, from reading the trades and various press accounts in late 1977 or early 1978, the word was that The Beach Boys would be doing the title song for Almost Summer, which is partly why it was written by Brian, Mike and Al.  But WB understandably balked at the idea of MCA getting a new (and commercial) Beach Boys song.  I remember reading a brief Mike Love interview about it at the time, possibly in Billboard or RS. It may even have been a story heard on American Top 40 when it first entered the charts. I don't know if a version was cut at MIU with Brian and Al, but obviously the BGs on the released version are by Celebration.  But my memory tells me it was planned as a Beach Boys track, then changed for legal reasons.
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2019, 09:45:26 AM »

The band was splintering even as its post-ENDLESS SUMMER popularity peaked. "R&R Music" was a safe bet as a single in '76 (Chuck Berry and the Bicentennial, pumped-up patriotism was all over the place that year). It was a lot safer than trying to let Brian write a song that would be their official "comeback 45." The love for "It's OK" that's grown amongst a portion of BB fandom over the years does not change the fact that it's an incomplete "tag" song cobbled out of "Mess of Help to Stand Alone" (sing the two melodies back to back, folks! see how Brian telescoped it to fit Mike's singing style). At the time, it was widely considered to be a weak followup to a fluke top-10 hit which had come about because the world had been waiting for something new from the BB's for two-plus years since ENDLESS SUMMER went through the roof. It hit #29 on the waning strength of the year-long hype, but died on the vine because it just didn't have enough follow-through to "hold its time slot" (as they used to say about TV shows that followed established hits).

LOVE YOU represents the moment when Dennis and Carl stopped trying to exert any overt control over song creation for the band--by this time, Dennis was deep into the solo LP (which came out later in '77), while Carl had health issues and marital woes and worked behind the scenes once Brian had cut the tracks. There are some great songs on LOVE YOU--compositionally speaking--but none of them are fully realized in the way they might have been previously, when Brian was fully engaged (and had the services of the Wrecking Crew). But the combination of the "teenage" lyrics, the craggy lead vocals, and the harsher overall sound meant that this was going to be a cult LP even if WB had tried to promote it fully, which they did not. "Honkin'" is a really fun song, and Al's lead is just tremendous, but it wasn't going to be an AM hit because it didn't have enough of the trademark BB harmony sound in it. (The "honk, honk" tag is hilariously wonderful but the masses don't quite get Brian's wacky side, so this is again going to be appreciated only by the cult fans.)

I mean, how could you market it? "The Beach Boys Love You--Brian Wilson goes back to the beach and takes his synth, ogles the girls and even pats one on her butt, gets hit on the head by a falling coconut, visits the solar system, and evokes strangely deep thoughts while immersing himself in the superficiality of American culture. How long can we let him go on this way? Buy The Beach Boys Love You and find out! Available in fine cut-out bins all across the country!!"

Sorry, couldn't resist. I love LOVE YOU, though it took awhile: but it was too "out there" to connect with the music-listening public then. They'd needed to more fully assimilate Dennis' music into the group some years earlier to have a chance to exist separately from their "oldies" image, and they didn't do it. Once he was "back," Brian was only inspired when he was quirky, leaving them no path to AM radio save for fluky oldies and songs deliberately crafted to sound like 1964. As with PS and SMiLE, Brian's best stuff pushed him beyond the context of the band, and away from "commercial" music.
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rab2591
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« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2019, 10:14:46 AM »

The band was splintering even as its post-ENDLESS SUMMER popularity peaked. "R&R Music" was a safe bet as a single in '76 (Chuck Berry and the Bicentennial, pumped-up patriotism was all over the place that year). It was a lot safer than trying to let Brian write a song that would be their official "comeback 45." The love for "It's OK" that's grown amongst a portion of BB fandom over the years does not change the fact that it's an incomplete "tag" song cobbled out of "Mess of Help to Stand Alone" (sing the two melodies back to back, folks! see how Brian telescoped it to fit Mike's singing style). At the time, it was widely considered to be a weak followup to a fluke top-10 hit which had come about because the world had been waiting for something new from the BB's for two-plus years since ENDLESS SUMMER went through the roof. It hit #29 on the waning strength of the year-long hype, but died on the vine because it just didn't have enough follow-through to "hold its time slot" (as they used to say about TV shows that followed established hits).

LOVE YOU represents the moment when Dennis and Carl stopped trying to exert any overt control over song creation for the band--by this time, Dennis was deep into the solo LP (which came out later in '77), while Carl had health issues and marital woes and worked behind the scenes once Brian had cut the tracks. There are some great songs on LOVE YOU--compositionally speaking--but none of them are fully realized in the way they might have been previously, when Brian was fully engaged (and had the services of the Wrecking Crew). But the combination of the "teenage" lyrics, the craggy lead vocals, and the harsher overall sound meant that this was going to be a cult LP even if WB had tried to promote it fully, which they did not. "Honkin'" is a really fun song, and Al's lead is just tremendous, but it wasn't going to be an AM hit because it didn't have enough of the trademark BB harmony sound in it. (The "honk, honk" tag is hilariously wonderful but the masses don't quite get Brian's wacky side, so this is again going to be appreciated only by the cult fans.)

I mean, how could you market it? "The Beach Boys Love You--Brian Wilson goes back to the beach and takes his synth, ogles the girls and even pats one on her butt, gets hit on the head by a falling coconut, visits the solar system, and evokes strangely deep thoughts while immersing himself in the superficiality of American culture. How long can we let him go on this way? Buy The Beach Boys Love You and find out! Available in fine cut-out bins all across the country!!"

Sorry, couldn't resist. I love LOVE YOU, though it took awhile: but it was too "out there" to connect with the music-listening public then. They'd needed to more fully assimilate Dennis' music into the group some years earlier to have a chance to exist separately from their "oldies" image, and they didn't do it. Once he was "back," Brian was only inspired when he was quirky, leaving them no path to AM radio save for fluky oldies and songs deliberately crafted to sound like 1964. As with PS and SMiLE, Brian's best stuff pushed him beyond the context of the band, and away from "commercial" music.

Exactly my thoughts! I love this album, but sometimes I can only imagine what this album would've been like had it had a Pet Sounds/Today level of production on it. I get it, Love You is 10 years from those two albums so obviously there would be a huge gulf of production difference. But jeeeeez a song like 'I'll Bet He's Nice' is just begging for a wrecking crew backing track. 'Solar System' would be killer with a wall of strings behind it. 'The Night Was So Young' - I can hear it having some great 'Don't Talk' vibe going on in the instrumentals. I think had they done this, your promotional advertisement:

"The Beach Boys Love You--Brian Wilson goes back to the beach and takes his synth, gets hit on the head by a falling coconut, visits the solar system, and evokes strangely deep thoughts while immersing himself in the superficiality of American culture. How long can we let him go on this way? Buy The Beach Boys Love You and find out!"

...would sell like hotcakes. In concept this album is beyond incredible (the only song I can't stand is 'I Wanna Pick You Up'), and even just the way it is now I love listening to it. But I think it could've done so much better.

In a perfect world, Brian would revisit the master tapes, cut new Pet Sounds-esque instrumentals for this album as part of a major boxset release (keeping the original vocals of course, and elements of the original synths). Of course this will never happen...
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The Beach Boys legacy is still being mortared to this day...it has a solid and unbreakable foundation of incredible songs that tower above most bands, yet some bricks are more brittle and ugly than others (even some bricks put down more recently)...thus is the nature of any entity that continues to exist. You are not defined solely by your good achievements in life, you're also defined by those unpleasant moments too. This law of life, thankfully, helps keep us all in check.
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« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2019, 11:19:44 AM »

Love you is genius!
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And production aside, Id so much rather hear a 14 year old David Marks shred some guitar on Chug-a-lug than hear a 51 year old Mike Love sing about bangin some chick in a swimming pool.-rab2591
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« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2019, 11:42:00 AM »

In a perfect world, Brian would revisit the master tapes, cut new Pet Sounds-esque instrumentals for this album as part of a major boxset release (keeping the original vocals of course, and elements of the original synths). Of course this will never happen...

That is a nightmare scenario.
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rab2591
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« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2019, 02:51:08 PM »

In a perfect world, Brian would revisit the master tapes, cut new Pet Sounds-esque instrumentals for this album as part of a major boxset release (keeping the original vocals of course, and elements of the original synths). Of course this will never happen...

That is a nightmare scenario.

Haha yeah, I can see it being completely unpopular. But it's something I would love hearing. One person's Summer In Paradise is another person's treasure I suppose Wink
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Bill Tobelman's SMiLE site

The Beach Boys legacy is still being mortared to this day...it has a solid and unbreakable foundation of incredible songs that tower above most bands, yet some bricks are more brittle and ugly than others (even some bricks put down more recently)...thus is the nature of any entity that continues to exist. You are not defined solely by your good achievements in life, you're also defined by those unpleasant moments too. This law of life, thankfully, helps keep us all in check.
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« Reply #56 on: July 18, 2019, 08:27:32 AM »


Why weren't the guys in the band doing a Redwood-esque scene cornering *Mike* in 1978 and "forcing" him to hand over the song for the Beach Boys?


Brian had "Time To Get Alone" and "Darlin'" on tap for Redwood when he got all but shaken down for those songs...Mike had "Almost Summer". Two of the best songs in Brian's canon versus another "summer" retread from Mike.

Pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?  LOL
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« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2019, 09:25:22 AM »

DARLIN' was commandeered by Mike from a planned/produced Redwood single into a Beach Boys product.  The exact same thing doesn't necessarily apply to TIME TO GET ALONE

No doubt Brian did not foresee an issue coming with DARLIN' since the melody was already appropriated from an earlier outside production THINKING 'BOUT YOU BABY for Sharon Marie which came out as a Brian produced Capitol 45 a couple years year.  Ironically Sharon Marie (Esparza) was a girlfriend of Mike's then (i.e., it's OK for Brian to give away a song they composed to an outsider as long as it's one of Mike's girls LOL)

Redwood vocals were recorded for both songs but the ones for DARLIN' were erased, presumably forever, when the Beach Boys replaced them.  TIME TO GET ALONE was to be the Redwood B-side and their vocals weren't immediately erased since the song was not a Beach Boys priority like DARLIN' was. With the loss of DARLIN' as their entry onto Brother records Redwood abandoned their association (supposedly they really wanted a full album of songs, not just a 45, and Mike told Danny Hutton that Brian simply doesn't have time for that production), and TTGA as a Redwood product finished or otherwise was left behind.  The Redwood TTGA vocals can be found today on a Three Dog Night anthology CD.  Later on of course the Beach Boys needing Brian produced material for 20/20 album used that Redwood backing track for new vocals

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Steve Latshaw
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« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2019, 02:55:40 PM »

<<Mike had "Almost Summer". Two of the best songs in Brian's canon versus another "summer" retread from Mike.
Pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?  LOL>>

Not to quibble but while DARLIN' and TIME TO GET ALONE are obviously far superior, a reminder that the writing credit for ALMOST SUMMER reads Brian Wilson, Mike Love & Al Jardine.   Have to give Brian credit for a summer retread, albeit an effective one, in my opinion.  I was 18 when it came out, thought it was fun.  Still do.
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« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2019, 06:19:09 PM »

DARLIN' was commandeered by Mike from a planned/produced Redwood single into a Beach Boys product.  The exact same thing doesn't necessarily apply to TIME TO GET ALONE

No doubt Brian did not foresee an issue coming with DARLIN' since the melody was already appropriated from an earlier outside production THINKING 'BOUT YOU BABY for Sharon Marie which came out as a Brian produced Capitol 45 a couple years year.  Ironically Sharon Marie (Esparza) was a girlfriend of Mike's then (i.e., it's OK for Brian to give away a song they composed to an outsider as long as it's one of Mike's girls LOL)

Redwood vocals were recorded for both songs but the ones for DARLIN' were erased, presumably forever, when the Beach Boys replaced them.  TIME TO GET ALONE was to be the Redwood B-side and their vocals weren't immediately erased since the song was not a Beach Boys priority like DARLIN' was. With the loss of DARLIN' as their entry onto Brother records Redwood abandoned their association (supposedly they really wanted a full album of songs, not just a 45, and Mike told Danny Hutton that Brian simply doesn't have time for that production), and TTGA as a Redwood product finished or otherwise was left behind.  The Redwood TTGA vocals can be found today on a Three Dog Night anthology CD.  Later on of course the Beach Boys needing Brian produced material for 20/20 album used that Redwood backing track for new vocals



For more info on the Redwood situation, I've looked at and written a lot about that chapter over the years and this archived thread among others is as good a place to start as any since there are firsthand interviews with Danny Hutton and others available for those willing to plow through it who are interested... http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,18454.25.html . Let's just say the Redwood episode was a pretty conspicuous absence from Mike's book in terms of what happened.

Both Darlin and TTGA were (and are) among Brian's best, where his full effort was going into writing and in the case of TTGA producing those tracks, and the music itself is both commercial and innovative, at a time when people think he checked out entirely...while Almost Summer from Mike couldn't hold a candle to either tune, as pleasant as it may be. My joking point was that the Boys wouldn't be grabbing the gold ring from Mike if they had barged in and berated him during a Celebration session and demanded he give them the song as happened with Redwood in '67. One is costume jewelry, the others are Cartier if not more elegant.
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« Reply #60 on: July 19, 2019, 08:38:14 AM »

Mike Love's offense has a double thrust - #1 to get Brian off of Redwood time and onto the Beach Boys album production.  #2 came next, when he heard the recorded DARLIN' track (for Redwood) and realizing how good it was and wanting it back for the Beach Boys

those two things although separate motives were joined (and accomplished unfortunately) when he led the way in halting further Redwood recording.  Despite the DARLIN' title lyric having inspired Brian from Danny Hutton's conversational jargon
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« Reply #61 on: July 20, 2019, 07:37:20 AM »

Do we know for sure that Redwood recorded vocals for Darlin'?  I haven't previously heard anything about wiping Redwood vocals and replacing them with the Beach Boys.  The track we have that was released on Sunshine Tomorrow appears to have been recorded as a Beach Boys track, right?  So Brian might have written the song for Redwood but recorded it only for the Beach Boys? 
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #62 on: July 22, 2019, 11:54:22 AM »

At Bellagio AGD lists a Redwood "Darlin'" session: October 11, 1967. The cryptic marking "2 sessions" is noted. "Time To Get Alone" is listed with three sessions, the last two at Wally Heider's on October 15th--which is presumably the day when the "intervention" occurred.

So this was happening right in the middle of the WILD HONEY sessions, with the title song being readied imminently for release (Bellagio notes that the "Wild Honey"/"Wind Chimes" 45 was released on October 18th). Given that the initial nature of the new material the BBs were developing ("Wild Honey" had been completed and "Aren't You Glad" was in process) was showing a definite R&B inflection, "Darlin'" would most certainly have captured the interest of the band, given that they certainly seemed committed to counteracting the less-than-enthusiastic response SMILEY SMILE was receiving since its release in September.

In 2010, posters at the Hoffman board on this topic were skeptical that "Darlin'" was ever part of Brian's work with Redwood, using the logic that the song featured Mike Love lyrics. Of course Mike could have altered existing lyrics, which is something he'd done on more than one occasion previously. We may never know for sure, but as great a song as "Time To Get Alone" is, I personally can't see the BBs getting up in arms about it, as it doesn't really fit into the WILD HONEY groove. But "Darlin'" clearly did...so a confrontation over it, particuarly given the circumstances note above, would make sense.

Whatever did or did not go down at Wally Heider's, the BBs regrouped and spend the next three weeks completing WILD HONEY and it was rush-released (even for those days, when the time between LPs was ridiculously tight as compared with the present) on December 18th.

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« Reply #63 on: July 22, 2019, 12:07:40 PM »

At Bellagio AGD lists a Redwood "Darlin'" session: October 11, 1967. The cryptic marking "2 sessions" is noted. "Time To Get Alone" is listed with three sessions, the last two at Wally Heider's on October 15th--which is presumably the day when the "intervention" occurred.

So this was happening right in the middle of the WILD HONEY sessions, with the title song being readied imminently for release (Bellagio notes that the "Wild Honey"/"Wind Chimes" 45 was released on October 18th). Given that the initial nature of the new material the BBs were developing ("Wild Honey" had been completed and "Aren't You Glad" was in process) was showing a definite R&B inflection, "Darlin'" would most certainly have captured the interest of the band, given that they certainly seemed committed to counteracting the less-than-enthusiastic response SMILEY SMILE was receiving since its release in September.

In 2010, posters at the Hoffman board on this topic were skeptical that "Darlin'" was ever part of Brian's work with Redwood, using the logic that the song featured Mike Love lyrics. Of course Mike could have altered existing lyrics, which is something he'd done on more than one occasion previously. We may never know for sure, but as great a song as "Time To Get Alone" is, I personally can't see the BBs getting up in arms about it, as it doesn't really fit into the WILD HONEY groove. But "Darlin'" clearly did...so a confrontation over it, particuarly given the circumstances note above, would make sense.

Whatever did or did not go down at Wally Heider's, the BBs regrouped and spend the next three weeks completing WILD HONEY and it was rush-released (even for those days, when the time between LPs was ridiculously tight as compared with the present) on December 18th.



Just to clarify, first: What is in question about what happened at Heider's? Why is there doubt over what went down at Heider's? The "doubters" or doubter-in-chief more like it, had their say, and the facts combined with eyewitness accounts would serve to dismiss those doubts.

It's all been hashed out here (just one example: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,18454.25.html ), going beyond where the Hoffman board went in 2010 and with more detailed information. It was somehow argued here about the influence that spawned "Darlin", even after both Brian AND Danny Hutton explained it. So Brian did in fact start the song inspired by a phrase Danny would say all the time. Whatever lyrics went into it, Brian was already working on it. If Mike added lyrics to existing ones after he and Carl barged in to Brian's Redwood session and as Brian said "put the screws to me", maybe that's the question?

Too bad Mike's book didn't go into detail on it, especially with all this "apocryphal" nonsense that got shot down in the lead-up to Mike's book, or when his facts were being checked.

Beware of the sources and nine-year-old threads on Hoffman's forum. Especially when those who were actually there such as Brian and Danny have pretty much backed up what most rational people think happened.



EDIT: Don, I'm not directing that at you personally, I'm sorry if it reads that way. I'm just generally commenting and wondering where there are still questions lingering about this, apart from the writership or recording issues of Darlin. Sorry if it came out wrong.
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #64 on: July 22, 2019, 10:09:12 PM »

I have no doubt that Heider's was a place filled with drama on October 15, 1967. My bad for writing a sentence that appeared to open that can of worms again.

That said, I think Mike was right to be pissed off that Brian was rewriting "Thinking 'Bout You Baby" and turning it from a wobbly Spector thing into a funky little R&B gem and was planning to give it someone else--even if he had the confidence that "Wild Honey" would chart well...which, in October 1967, is more like a 25-foot jump shot than a slam dunk.

I also think he handled it badly. But here's a question that appears never to have been raised: why was he (or Carl) unable to discuss the matter with Brian prior to the recording session at Heider's? AGD's logs indicate that the band had been together on October 4 for overdubs on "Aren't You Glad"...which was followed by a very short set of concert dates which seem to indicate that the touring band would've been back in LA a day or two before the "Darlin'" session(s). Would Mike or the other band members NOT have known about the upcoming sessions? Danny Hutton makes the creation of "Darlin'" seem like a spontaneous act on October 11...there are also references to Carl being at that session. A question unanswered here is how did Mike find out about it? In everyone's life, there are ways to find out things that can completely change the way one reacts to such a discovery.

While we have a good amount of documentation about what happened at Heider's, we still don't know the knowledge and actions of the key participants in the days immediately prior to the incident.

Keep in mind that none of this is meant to absolve Mike or Carl, but merely to point out that we don't know the exact reasons why they felt compelled to act as they did. There is something missing in the accounting of these events when someone has to make such a dramatic and precipitous intervention in a recording studio, confronting a family member whom either one of these guys should have been able to talk to privately.

As is often the case, the most useful portion of the earlier thread comes from Ray Lawlor, who reminds us (as Danny intimates indirectly) that Brian pretty much had to stop writing material for the group in order to extricate himself from the relentless pressure of sustaining the band creatively. By doing so, of course, he would cripple himself by developing a phobia about completing his songs. We might conclude that the Redwood incident was a catalyst for the first phase of such a strategy: slowing his work down to a trickle for the express purpose of jump-starting the other members into generating their own material. It was clear that until the rest of the band could do that, he'd remain a marked man.

Mike's actions at Heider's probably cemented such a notion for Brian. We probably owe the FRIENDS LP to the fact that Mike was away in India and Brian felt he could work without the usual pressure. (It even looks as though he accelerated his work schedule to get as much done as possible in the last days before Mike's return--the two songs where Mike is featured--"Meant For You" and "Anna Lee"--are among the latest recording sessions for FRIENDS.) He created a quirky little LP that was a thinly disguised solo project; when Mike returned, it was mostly fait accompli. (Note also that the final vocals for "Busy Doin' Nothin'" and the session for "Diamond Head," the last tracks to be completed for FRIENDS, were held while the band was on the road.)

That would've been a great model for Brian to pursue--and he remained productive into June, but FRIENDS bombed badly and whatever discomfort existed in the frenetic transition between SMILEY SMILE and WILD HONEY was actually muted in comparison to what happened in the second half of 1968, when a depression that Brian had managed to hold at bay finally came crashing down on him, upping the ante for the rest of the band to create the bulk of the music that comprised 20/20. It appears that he was away from the recording studio for the better part of four months.

So possibly the most loaded question about the Redwood incident is whether it contributed materially to Brian's emotional breakdown in the second half of 1968.  I'd wager it did, even though it was clearly a delayed reaction.
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