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652840 Posts in 26088 Topics by 3718 Members - Latest Member: CarlWilsonfan101 December 10, 2019, 10:32:45 PM
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Author Topic: Surf's Up Question  (Read 1491 times)
yonderhillside
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« on: September 16, 2019, 06:51:00 PM »

I'm trying to pinpoint exact dates for the versions of Surf's Up we have available to us.

Of the dates included on Bellagio for non-instrumental sessions:
11/7/66, 11/8/66, 12/15/66
01/23/67 & October '67

Of the MANY releases of Surf's Up (there will be duplicates):
The Smile Sessions - 4:12
Smile Sessions '67 Solo version - 3:47
Smile Sessions '66 Piano Demo - 3:54
Made in Calfornia '67 version - 3:44 (is this the same as the Smile Sessions '67 version?)
Sunshine Tomorrow '67 version - 5:19 (and this one too?)
Good Vibrations Thirty Years (Previously Unreleased) - 3:38

Excluding the version from the Surf's Up album, am I including all known versions here?

And can anyone match the dates?

I'm sure this has been addressed somewhere in time, but I regret nothing.
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 10:58:55 AM »

If you check wikipedia for the song surf's Up basically all your questions are answered.

1966
Nov 4 - basic track for Part 1
Nov 7 - brass overdubs for Part 1
this version was released on the Good Vibrations box set extra disc

Dec 15 - Beach boys vocal session, results junked, followed by the Brian piano/double tracked demo version - released on GV box set, TSS box set
Dec 17 - solo piano version in Brian's house taped for Inside Pop, appears in Endless Harmony documentary and I believe also in An American Band - but missing the first verse

1967
Jan 23 - mysterious instrumental session presumably for Part 2, tape is lost
November - piano/vocal version recorded during Wild Honey sessions found at end of Country Air session tape, released on TSS box set and on Made in California (different edit of takes from TSS) and on Sunshine Tomorrow (additional false starts included)

1971
vocals (Carl's lead and backing vocals added to Nov 67 Part 1 track), vocals and instrumental overdubs (mostly synthesizer) added to second half of Dec 15 piano demo
June 18 - session at Sunset for the song, unknown if for vocals or instruments or both
June 18-July - vocal and instrumental sessions at the home studio, vocal coda added incorporating "Child" with Brian and Jack Riely's input
This 1971 version released on Surf's Up

2011
For the Smile Sessions box a mono mashup of Part 1 from 1971 with Brian's vocal off the Dec 15 piano/demo version, removing Carl's lead vocal except for a couple of lines not sung by Brian on the demo, the rest from the 1971 version

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wjcrerar
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2019, 11:35:22 AM »

According to Alan Boyd, the 1971 Sunset Sound session was an attempt at an exact replica of the 1st movement track as an overdub synced to Brian's solo version. Didn't end up sounding right, so they scrapped it and Carl ended up singing over the original track. I'm really surprised it's been talked about so little and wasn't released on the Smile Sessions. A lot of the Wrecking Crew regulars were used including a couple who played on the Nov '66 version.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2019, 11:52:54 AM »

According to Alan Boyd, the 1971 Sunset Sound session was an attempt at an exact replica of the 1st movement track as an overdub synced to Brian's solo version. Didn't end up sounding right, so they scrapped it and Carl ended up singing over the original track. I'm really surprised it's been talked about so little and wasn't released on the Smile Sessions. A lot of the Wrecking Crew regulars were used including a couple who played on the Nov '66 version.

I guess I always forget about this session; would indeed be fascinating to hear, even if it's kind of a shambles or something.

I'm curious if they ever gave thought to attempting to manually sync the Brian solo version and the '66 backing track, sort of "punching in" sets of lines or something. I'm sure there would be a myriad of reasons why this could present all kinds of problems.

I just think about Jeff Lynne's story about how, contrary to what happened with the second Beatles reunion single, he actually did this with "Free As a Bird"; they essentially remade the entire song from scratch and Lynne literally hit "play" and "record" to drop in each Lennon line. Of course, this would presumably be easier with (possibly) more precision analog equipment 30 years after "Smile", and also there were fewer (and shorter) Lennon lines to drop in. One of many reasons "Surf's Up" probably presents challenges as far as syncing Brian's demo to *anything* is that the song is so verbose; there aren't as many easy "stopping points" where one can pause before starting up and punching the next line in.
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wjcrerar
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2019, 12:06:54 PM »

According to Alan Boyd, the 1971 Sunset Sound session was an attempt at an exact replica of the 1st movement track as an overdub synced to Brian's solo version. Didn't end up sounding right, so they scrapped it and Carl ended up singing over the original track. I'm really surprised it's been talked about so little and wasn't released on the Smile Sessions. A lot of the Wrecking Crew regulars were used including a couple who played on the Nov '66 version.

I guess I always forget about this session; would indeed be fascinating to hear, even if it's kind of a shambles or something.

I'm curious if they ever gave thought to attempting to manually sync the Brian solo version and the '66 backing track, sort of "punching in" sets of lines or something. I'm sure there would be a myriad of reasons why this could present all kinds of problems.

I just think about Jeff Lynne's story about how, contrary to what happened with the second Beatles reunion single, he actually did this with "Free As a Bird"; they essentially remade the entire song from scratch and Lynne literally hit "play" and "record" to drop in each Lennon line. Of course, this would presumably be easier with (possibly) more precision analog equipment 30 years after "Smile", and also there were fewer (and shorter) Lennon lines to drop in. One of many reasons "Surf's Up" probably presents challenges as far as syncing Brian's demo to *anything* is that the song is so verbose; there aren't as many easy "stopping points" where one can pause before starting up and punching the next line in.

Mark and Alan both confirmed that they tried that! There's a tape in the archive with a few sections of Brian's vocal where they attempted to sync it up, but obviously it didn't work out with the tempo differences. Seems that was Plan B (after Brian refused to sing it), Plan C was the track remake synced to the piano/vocal version, and Plan D was Carl singing it. I guess Brian having the lead vocal was pretty important to them.
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Ninten
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2019, 02:18:14 PM »

Sorry, I'm a bit confused now. If the Smile Sessions version is Brian's Dec 15 vocal mixed with part 1 from 1971, does that mean the 1971 version is entirely a new recording? The Wiki article suggests that it was done over the 66 backing track, but then isn't matching Brian's solo vocal with the 66 backing track exactly what they did? Or are you talking about matching the Inside Pop version with the 66 track? Any clarification is much appreciated--this is my favourite song of all time, and I'm fascinated by the process through which it came together.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2019, 02:41:14 PM »

Sorry, I'm a bit confused now. If the Smile Sessions version is Brian's Dec 15 vocal mixed with part 1 from 1971, does that mean the 1971 version is entirely a new recording? The Wiki article suggests that it was done over the 66 backing track, but then isn't matching Brian's solo vocal with the 66 backing track exactly what they did? Or are you talking about matching the Inside Pop version with the 66 track? Any clarification is much appreciated--this is my favourite song of all time, and I'm fascinated by the process through which it came together.

The "Smile Sessions" version is a combination of 1966 and 1971 elements. The first part is Brian's lead vocal from the '66 "solo" studio version on top of the '66 backing track, but with some 1971 overdubs mixed in. And then the second part is Brian's solo demo, again with some, but not all, of the 1971 overdubs added.

Another way to look at the "Smile Sessions" version is that it's as the final released version was in 1971, but with Carl's vocal in the first half replaced with Brian's, and with *some* but not all of the '71 overdubs mixed down or out.

The only way to really label elements of the recording is by referring to when each element in question was *recorded*, as the final 1971 release of the song includes of course both '66 and '71 elements. The "Smile Sessions" version is, in reality, the same. It includes elements of both '66 and '71 sessions, but in different combinations.

Or I'm totally missing what's being as asked, or stating the obvious, in which case I apologize!  LOL
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2019, 02:42:42 PM »

According to Alan Boyd, the 1971 Sunset Sound session was an attempt at an exact replica of the 1st movement track as an overdub synced to Brian's solo version. Didn't end up sounding right, so they scrapped it and Carl ended up singing over the original track. I'm really surprised it's been talked about so little and wasn't released on the Smile Sessions. A lot of the Wrecking Crew regulars were used including a couple who played on the Nov '66 version.

I guess I always forget about this session; would indeed be fascinating to hear, even if it's kind of a shambles or something.

I'm curious if they ever gave thought to attempting to manually sync the Brian solo version and the '66 backing track, sort of "punching in" sets of lines or something. I'm sure there would be a myriad of reasons why this could present all kinds of problems.

I just think about Jeff Lynne's story about how, contrary to what happened with the second Beatles reunion single, he actually did this with "Free As a Bird"; they essentially remade the entire song from scratch and Lynne literally hit "play" and "record" to drop in each Lennon line. Of course, this would presumably be easier with (possibly) more precision analog equipment 30 years after "Smile", and also there were fewer (and shorter) Lennon lines to drop in. One of many reasons "Surf's Up" probably presents challenges as far as syncing Brian's demo to *anything* is that the song is so verbose; there aren't as many easy "stopping points" where one can pause before starting up and punching the next line in.

Mark and Alan both confirmed that they tried that! There's a tape in the archive with a few sections of Brian's vocal where they attempted to sync it up, but obviously it didn't work out with the tempo differences. Seems that was Plan B (after Brian refused to sing it), Plan C was the track remake synced to the piano/vocal version, and Plan D was Carl singing it. I guess Brian having the lead vocal was pretty important to them.

Very, very interesting. I'm curious how much of the push to try to get Brian's vocal on the whole song back in 1971 was due to reverence for Brian and reverence for the song, and how much may have been Carl being nervous about singing it. He needn't have been nervous considering his ability and his ultimate performance, but I'm curious if he felt extra pressure.

That has to be the most impressive "Plan D" vocal/recording/mix of all time!
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2019, 05:04:06 PM »

  the technology to do Plan B, synching Up Brianís 66 piano demo vocal to the 66 track, and make it sound good, just didnít exist yet.  So that was what was done for the Smile Sessions box mono version - and the stereo included on the box set vinyl I believe.
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wjcrerar
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2019, 05:09:58 PM »

Jack Rieley talked about it a bit during the 1974 radio special:

We did the entire track on the first section over again and then scrapped it, because it didnít quite come up to the original track. Carl had to sing the lead in the first portion of the record Ė he didnít want to, we wanted Brian to initially Ė and I think psychologically there was so much intensification that Brian was the only person who could sing that part, that when Brian decided ultimately not to it put Carl in a difficult position, because he too was sucked into that myopic viewpoint Ė as was Steve Desper, the engineer of The Beach Boys, and as was I Ė that it was Brian that had to sing that. But I remember Carl and I sat in the studio, which at that time was at Brianís house, for ohÖ couple of hours one late afternoon/early evening, and Brian was somewhere else in the house, I donít know where, and Carl suddenly hit that high note thatís included in the first portion twice in the first and second verse, and he really did it well. He read that lyric beautifully.
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juggler
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2019, 05:21:53 PM »

If one defines The Elements as consisting of existing fragments, Surf's Up is the only Smile song for which we don't have a full instrumental track due to the missing Surf's Up, Part 2.  Here's something from Alan Boyd re-posted by c-man in 2007 :

Quote

I wish I could offer something a bit more concrete here...

I've heard about the existence of a tape of a full arrangement on that
second section of SURF'S UP. It's been described to me, third-hand.
Supposedly it's pretty weird, lots of strange horn and string parts.
But I haven't heard it.

We don't have it in the Beach Boys' tape library. And it's not among
Brian's tapes either.

There is an enormous amount of SMILE material that's missing. I
recently saw a photograph on Ed Roach's site of a tape shelf at Brother
Studio, late 1970s. Right there, along with safety 1/4" masters of all
the group's albums, is a tape labeled "BRIAN - DUMB ANGEL." Probably a
1/4" or 1/2". I nearly had a stroke when I saw that, and I immediately
called anyone and everyone who ever had access to tapes at Brother, and
asked what they knew about it. No one knew. What was on that reel?
Where is it now? It certainly wasn't listed in the 1985 inventory of
the group's tapes.

What WAS listed in that inventory are the many empty tape boxes from
the SMILE era, on titles like "Heroes and
Villains," "Cabinessence," "Surf's Up," "Vegetables," etc... they were
empty in 1985, they're empty today. I'm certain, however, that excerpts
from at least one of them (overdubs onto the last verse
of "Vegetables") showed up on one of the SOT discs. They're almost all
1/4" mixdowns. Other SMILE tracks were assembled onto some of the 1/2"
STACK-O-TRACKS assembly reels, and those SMILE songs are
also....missing.

Did Brian actually destroy some tapes back in the day? I think he just
might have...

Are there one-of-a-kind tapes that have been stolen and are now in the
hands of collectors? Yes...

Were there tapes that Brian somehow left behind at a studio after
working on them that have since found their way into the hands of
collectors? Probably...

Are there acetates of missing material in the hands of collectors
and/or people who were around at the time? Absolutely...

Are there people reading THIS now who may know where some of this
material now resides? Wouldn't surprise me in the least...

Would anyone "in the know" feel at all inclined to help us find some of
these missing tapes? I sure hope so....

(BRI is willing to pay for material, no questions asked, just in case
you're reading this and you happen to be holding onto a dub of the
second movement of SURF'S UP, hint hint, or anything else you know we
DON'T have, so please get in touch with me through Jon Hunt, OK?)

*sigh*

Your Friendly Neighborhood Vault Rat

Alan
http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php?topic=4165.35;wap2
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2019, 08:01:49 PM »

I am really glad Carl sang the first part of Surf's Up. To me, that is still the definitive version. But then, I love anything that man sang.
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RangeRoverA1
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2019, 08:25:42 PM »

I am really glad Carl sang the first part of Surf's Up. To me, that is still the definitive version. But then, I love anything that man sang.
Agree, you're very obsessed by him. If Carl sings poorly, you'll say he sings super shut up everybody.
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2019, 05:33:01 PM »

I am really glad Carl sang the first part of Surf's Up. To me, that is still the definitive version. But then, I love anything that man sang.
Agree, you're very obsessed by him. If Carl sings poorly, you'll say he sings super shut up everybody.
LOL
Well, i'm not super impressed with his vocals on 15 Big Ones and The Beach Boys Love You. Just Once in My Life is particularly painful. Other than that, I can't think of any poor Carl vocals. The man was blessed.
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Ninten
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2019, 07:16:07 PM »

Sorry, I'm a bit confused now. If the Smile Sessions version is Brian's Dec 15 vocal mixed with part 1 from 1971, does that mean the 1971 version is entirely a new recording? The Wiki article suggests that it was done over the 66 backing track, but then isn't matching Brian's solo vocal with the 66 backing track exactly what they did? Or are you talking about matching the Inside Pop version with the 66 track? Any clarification is much appreciated--this is my favourite song of all time, and I'm fascinated by the process through which it came together.

The "Smile Sessions" version is a combination of 1966 and 1971 elements. The first part is Brian's lead vocal from the '66 "solo" studio version on top of the '66 backing track, but with some 1971 overdubs mixed in. And then the second part is Brian's solo demo, again with some, but not all, of the 1971 overdubs added.

Another way to look at the "Smile Sessions" version is that it's as the final released version was in 1971, but with Carl's vocal in the first half replaced with Brian's, and with *some* but not all of the '71 overdubs mixed down or out.

The only way to really label elements of the recording is by referring to when each element in question was *recorded*, as the final 1971 release of the song includes of course both '66 and '71 elements. The "Smile Sessions" version is, in reality, the same. It includes elements of both '66 and '71 sessions, but in different combinations.

Or I'm totally missing what's being as asked, or stating the obvious, in which case I apologize!  LOL

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for clarifying!
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