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Author Topic: Why are BB albums so short?  (Read 2841 times)
DonnyL
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« Reply #50 on: May 18, 2020, 06:08:30 PM »


This is my opinion also, though perhaps for different reasons. If you keep in mind the context of what had recently happened. You have Beach Boys Party at the end of 1965, after which point Brian basically takes the ball and runs with it - it's his music now, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.  Smile crashes, because Brian crashes.  This was not their failure, it was his failure, because it was his music, not theirs. He coudn't finish Smile, but the collective Beach Boys could, and they did: Smiley Smile.  They are reverting to the group we had last heard from on the Party album.  Smiley Smile is basically the Smile concept and sound and feel, but awkwardly married to the Beach Boys Party concept. That is, Smiley Smile is a strange mash-up of Smile's advanced conceptual and musical sophistication (and stoner vibes) with the half-assed, minimalist buffoonery of Beach Boys Party.  This is the true group version of Smile.  The Beach Boys finished Smile . Only the solo artist Brian Wilson failed to finish. 


I think you made good points. I personally believe Brian fully produced Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends though. 20/20 is the first record that sounds like Brian did not bring any of the songs to completion (even "Time to Get Alone", "I Went to Sleep", and "Cabinessence"). I believe Carl took over that role beginning with 20/20 - bringing tracks to completion from a production standpoint. This is regardless of label credits.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #51 on: May 18, 2020, 06:38:38 PM »

I don't believe the technology was the problem with Smile. Time was. Look at how long it took to complete Good Vibrations to Brian's satisfaction. That's 3 minutes and 36 seconds of music. Now you want him to do a full half hour of music in the same style?
If Capitol had been willing to wait until 1972 for a completed Smile album, then yes, it could have been done.
But what do the Beach Boys do in the meantime? Crank out a few more Party albums? Tour as an oldies act?
The business was not going to support such a venture in 1966/67. And the group would have been left even further behind than they were releasing stuff like Wild Honey and Friends.
It's two worlds fighting against each other; the creative, artistic side, which only cares about making the best music possible; and the business side, which says you have to have a new single out every 3 or 4 months, and a new album at least twice a year.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #52 on: May 18, 2020, 06:46:06 PM »

Donny, I know where you're coming from - I'll gladly agree to disagree because points are valid on both sides. I agree with a lot of your examples and reasoning, but I do think it's too drastic to dismiss the notion of the technology playing a part entirely. I also agree that sometimes limitations lead to innovations...as we saw with Brian Wilson especially in the year 1966, and the fact that the man is deaf in one ear yet could still make absolutely amazing soundscapes in the studio!

But at the same time, you can plug in any number of sayings to make the same point about technology or art in general...if a painter only has two colors on the palette yet uses that limitation to innovate somehow, then yes: The limitation led to something unique as a result. However, flipping that a bit, what would that same painter have done if you provided a third color, or even 15 more colors? There is no answer, the art flows from the artist no matter what is working against them or working in their favor.

Do I think recording as a whole was more innovative and creative especially in the mid to late 60's? Absolutely, 110%! Do I think the limitations of what they had to work with inspired some of that creativity? To some degree...but at the same time the "what if?" exists in asking of someone like Geoff Emerick what if Abbey Road had sprung for an 8-track and allowed its use prior to Sgt. Pepper. Again, we can do what-if's all day but for a lot of the people who had to work with the limited technologies, almost to a man they will say how much longer and more difficult their jobs were - and in some cases how unsuccessful they were when the attempts failed because the gear they had couldn't do what they needed - because of technology that was not up to par where they would have liked it to be.

Technology is one thing, getting into individual tracks is another in terms of the big picture. So much is made of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow due to the aura it gained after a few articles describing what happened, like Seigel. The most basic fact is Brian recorded something and scrapped it - as simple as that! All bands and artists do that, but in this case some will try to tie it into the legend of Brian's paranoia, and drug use, and all that stuff...when perhaps it's as simple as he recorded this Fire piece, didn't think it would work *at that time* with what he was doing, and put it on the shelf. Ironically when it did finally come out under his own name, he won a Grammy for it! So maybe he was right in shelving it at that time, for a Beach Boys project. Who knows. Or maybe the conflict at that time was how to weave it into what he had planned for the other "elements", and maybe, yes, it was "too scary" for a Beach Boys record. "Fire" is seeing a tree instead of the forest, I think: The forest was how to organize all of his trees both on tape and waiting to be taped and those still being conceived in his mind into some kind of cohesive whole. And that's where I differ from your opinions and suggest if he had something similar to what Darian had decades later that could allow him almost instant editing and sequencing, *maybe* his ideas could have been fleshed out in a way more suited to the way his mind worked at that time.

A lot of my opinions come from the various descriptions, most published and perhaps some not as widely spread, of when Darian had all those Smile segments loaded up into his DAW and sat down with Brian to audition various sequences, trying to figure out what went where and what goes where to make that elusive, cohesive whole. I know most of the sentiments at the time were "imagine if we had this back then...", coming from Brian too, and it of course suggests pure fantasy but to me it also suggests a piece of what was lacking in the overall process and what could have hindered the process beyond everything else to where it got too overwhelming.

And the technology I'm referring to was not crossfading or hard edits...it was the way in which Good Vibrations was created overall, along with what Mark said in that interview. I still ask who else in the pop field who was actually selling records was using the studio and tape the same way Brian did in 1966, and I can't think of a single one. Look at all the accolades and awards Bones Howe got for "Age Of Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" in '69 and that was only 3 different sessions edited together. It was terrific, yes, but compared to the miles of tape Brian had for Good Vibrations? Same with Bohemian Rhapsody...after trying for years, along with many others, I still have no idea how they mixed that thing without automation and how they kept track of all the drop-ins and how many hands manned those faders, etc. But in 1966, to do it as Brian did, is still amazing to consider how he did it so well.



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« Reply #53 on: May 18, 2020, 06:53:53 PM »

I don't believe the technology was the problem with Smile. Time was. Look at how long it took to complete Good Vibrations to Brian's satisfaction. That's 3 minutes and 36 seconds of music. Now you want him to do a full half hour of music in the same style?
If Capitol had been willing to wait until 1972 for a completed Smile album, then yes, it could have been done.
But what do the Beach Boys do in the meantime? Crank out a few more Party albums? Tour as an oldies act?
The business was not going to support such a venture in 1966/67. And the group would have been left even further behind than they were releasing stuff like Wild Honey and Friends.
It's two worlds fighting against each other; the creative, artistic side, which only cares about making the best music possible; and the business side, which says you have to have a new single out every 3 or 4 months, and a new album at least twice a year.

Exactly the point, yes. For what they had to work with, and all other considerations and factors, it took, what, 6 months to complete Good Vibrations - and Brian envisioned an album that would feature some of those same techniques (not all...but some) while the demand was so strong for new product. Part of the equation is he ran out of time - Which is also ironic because in today's world, a band like Tool can literally go years trying to craft their next album, and the fans think it's terrific that they take so much time and care working out every note on their albums...but in 1966 and 1967 that simply wasn't the case.

So yes, just my opinion, but apart from his own personal working methods if Brian was able to do what he wanted to do *faster* in both a technological sense and in a practical sense in terms of being able to book studio time on demand as I think he had been used to doing when inspiration struck, maybe the story would have been different. Notice how later in 1967 they specifically tried to remove one of those barriers from the process, so that issue isn't as trivial as some might suggest.

So much of it comes down to art versus commerce, you're exactly right. In this case I'd also factor in art versus expectations from those in the inner circle, but that's topic for another discussion.
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
DonnyL
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« Reply #54 on: May 18, 2020, 07:02:25 PM »

Donny, I know where you're coming from - I'll gladly agree to disagree because points are valid on both sides. I agree with a lot of your examples and reasoning, but I do think it's too drastic to dismiss the notion of the technology playing a part entirely. I also agree that sometimes limitations lead to innovations...as we saw with Brian Wilson especially in the year 1966, and the fact that the man is deaf in one ear yet could still make absolutely amazing soundscapes in the studio!

But at the same time, you can plug in any number of sayings to make the same point about technology or art in general...if a painter only has two colors on the palette yet uses that limitation to innovate somehow, then yes: The limitation led to something unique as a result. However, flipping that a bit, what would that same painter have done if you provided a third color, or even 15 more colors? There is no answer, the art flows from the artist no matter what is working against them or working in their favor.

Do I think recording as a whole was more innovative and creative especially in the mid to late 60's? Absolutely, 110%! Do I think the limitations of what they had to work with inspired some of that creativity? To some degree...but at the same time the "what if?" exists in asking of someone like Geoff Emerick what if Abbey Road had sprung for an 8-track and allowed its use prior to Sgt. Pepper. Again, we can do what-if's all day but for a lot of the people who had to work with the limited technologies, almost to a man they will say how much longer and more difficult their jobs were - and in some cases how unsuccessful they were when the attempts failed because the gear they had couldn't do what they needed - because of technology that was not up to par where they would have liked it to be.

Technology is one thing, getting into individual tracks is another in terms of the big picture. So much is made of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow due to the aura it gained after a few articles describing what happened, like Seigel. The most basic fact is Brian recorded something and scrapped it - as simple as that! All bands and artists do that, but in this case some will try to tie it into the legend of Brian's paranoia, and drug use, and all that stuff...when perhaps it's as simple as he recorded this Fire piece, didn't think it would work *at that time* with what he was doing, and put it on the shelf. Ironically when it did finally come out under his own name, he won a Grammy for it! So maybe he was right in shelving it at that time, for a Beach Boys project. Who knows. Or maybe the conflict at that time was how to weave it into what he had planned for the other "elements", and maybe, yes, it was "too scary" for a Beach Boys record. "Fire" is seeing a tree instead of the forest, I think: The forest was how to organize all of his trees both on tape and waiting to be taped and those still being conceived in his mind into some kind of cohesive whole. And that's where I differ from your opinions and suggest if he had something similar to what Darian had decades later that could allow him almost instant editing and sequencing, *maybe* his ideas could have been fleshed out in a way more suited to the way his mind worked at that time.

A lot of my opinions come from the various descriptions, most published and perhaps some not as widely spread, of when Darian had all those Smile segments loaded up into his DAW and sat down with Brian to audition various sequences, trying to figure out what went where and what goes where to make that elusive, cohesive whole. I know most of the sentiments at the time were "imagine if we had this back then...", coming from Brian too, and it of course suggests pure fantasy but to me it also suggests a piece of what was lacking in the overall process and what could have hindered the process beyond everything else to where it got too overwhelming.

And the technology I'm referring to was not crossfading or hard edits...it was the way in which Good Vibrations was created overall, along with what Mark said in that interview. I still ask who else in the pop field who was actually selling records was using the studio and tape the same way Brian did in 1966, and I can't think of a single one. Look at all the accolades and awards Bones Howe got for "Age Of Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" in '69 and that was only 3 different sessions edited together. It was terrific, yes, but compared to the miles of tape Brian had for Good Vibrations? Same with Bohemian Rhapsody...after trying for years, along with many others, I still have no idea how they mixed that thing without automation and how they kept track of all the drop-ins and how many hands manned those faders, etc. But in 1966, to do it as Brian did, is still amazing to consider how he did it so well.

Yep I think we’re dealing with opinions and theories, not facts mainly. We each have our own viewpoints and conclusions. In my case, no doubt influenced by own experience in the analog realm and opinions on the results of the digital music age.

Fair segue while we’re on the topic - is there any documentation that Brian at any point was going to structure the entire album as flowing through as 2 side-long “tracks”? To me, this is the only way the argument could potentially make sense. But something tells me it would have been 11-13 tracks at 30-35 minutes anyway.
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« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2020, 07:43:03 PM »

Donny, I know where you're coming from - I'll gladly agree to disagree because points are valid on both sides. I agree with a lot of your examples and reasoning, but I do think it's too drastic to dismiss the notion of the technology playing a part entirely. I also agree that sometimes limitations lead to innovations...as we saw with Brian Wilson especially in the year 1966, and the fact that the man is deaf in one ear yet could still make absolutely amazing soundscapes in the studio!

But at the same time, you can plug in any number of sayings to make the same point about technology or art in general...if a painter only has two colors on the palette yet uses that limitation to innovate somehow, then yes: The limitation led to something unique as a result. However, flipping that a bit, what would that same painter have done if you provided a third color, or even 15 more colors? There is no answer, the art flows from the artist no matter what is working against them or working in their favor.

Do I think recording as a whole was more innovative and creative especially in the mid to late 60's? Absolutely, 110%! Do I think the limitations of what they had to work with inspired some of that creativity? To some degree...but at the same time the "what if?" exists in asking of someone like Geoff Emerick what if Abbey Road had sprung for an 8-track and allowed its use prior to Sgt. Pepper. Again, we can do what-if's all day but for a lot of the people who had to work with the limited technologies, almost to a man they will say how much longer and more difficult their jobs were - and in some cases how unsuccessful they were when the attempts failed because the gear they had couldn't do what they needed - because of technology that was not up to par where they would have liked it to be.

Technology is one thing, getting into individual tracks is another in terms of the big picture. So much is made of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow due to the aura it gained after a few articles describing what happened, like Seigel. The most basic fact is Brian recorded something and scrapped it - as simple as that! All bands and artists do that, but in this case some will try to tie it into the legend of Brian's paranoia, and drug use, and all that stuff...when perhaps it's as simple as he recorded this Fire piece, didn't think it would work *at that time* with what he was doing, and put it on the shelf. Ironically when it did finally come out under his own name, he won a Grammy for it! So maybe he was right in shelving it at that time, for a Beach Boys project. Who knows. Or maybe the conflict at that time was how to weave it into what he had planned for the other "elements", and maybe, yes, it was "too scary" for a Beach Boys record. "Fire" is seeing a tree instead of the forest, I think: The forest was how to organize all of his trees both on tape and waiting to be taped and those still being conceived in his mind into some kind of cohesive whole. And that's where I differ from your opinions and suggest if he had something similar to what Darian had decades later that could allow him almost instant editing and sequencing, *maybe* his ideas could have been fleshed out in a way more suited to the way his mind worked at that time.

A lot of my opinions come from the various descriptions, most published and perhaps some not as widely spread, of when Darian had all those Smile segments loaded up into his DAW and sat down with Brian to audition various sequences, trying to figure out what went where and what goes where to make that elusive, cohesive whole. I know most of the sentiments at the time were "imagine if we had this back then...", coming from Brian too, and it of course suggests pure fantasy but to me it also suggests a piece of what was lacking in the overall process and what could have hindered the process beyond everything else to where it got too overwhelming.

And the technology I'm referring to was not crossfading or hard edits...it was the way in which Good Vibrations was created overall, along with what Mark said in that interview. I still ask who else in the pop field who was actually selling records was using the studio and tape the same way Brian did in 1966, and I can't think of a single one. Look at all the accolades and awards Bones Howe got for "Age Of Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" in '69 and that was only 3 different sessions edited together. It was terrific, yes, but compared to the miles of tape Brian had for Good Vibrations? Same with Bohemian Rhapsody...after trying for years, along with many others, I still have no idea how they mixed that thing without automation and how they kept track of all the drop-ins and how many hands manned those faders, etc. But in 1966, to do it as Brian did, is still amazing to consider how he did it so well.

Yep I think we’re dealing with opinions and theories, not facts mainly. We each have our own viewpoints and conclusions. In my case, no doubt influenced by own experience in the analog realm and opinions on the results of the digital music age.

Fair segue while we’re on the topic - is there any documentation that Brian at any point was going to structure the entire album as flowing through as 2 side-long “tracks”? To me, this is the only way the argument could potentially make sense. But something tells me it would have been 11-13 tracks at 30-35 minutes anyway.

The only documentation I think any of us have seen, up to and including Mark and Alan who sifted through as much as was available to make the box set, was that lone tracklist memo written in Carl's handwriting, made public I think in LLVS for the first time. I know this is all old info that has been repeated many times, but even the back cover didn't have an accurate tracklisting and had an addendum to see inside for the order! So Capitol didn't know when they made the slicks.

Do I think the scenario you mentioned could have been on the table in 66-67? Absolutely. But it's pure guessing, I seriously don't think anyone knows and if something did exist it would have been part of the box set. Now the other question to ask even in spite of all that has already been said is how closely did the 2004 presentation mirror what may have been on the table back in 66-67, even if conceptually and in that regard, partially? Topic for more discussion.  Grin

I do focus on something Mark said in that same interview, with the heads-up that there are quite a few interviews from these projects that may go even deeper but this one just happened to be convenient today:

Will there be one complete version of the album in the way it was presented 2004 and will that album serve as the guide line for the "Smile" Sessions track listing?

We have gaps, we have missing vocals. We aren't missing any music which is heartening. All the songs were recorded. Most of it is there. I can't be sure that we won't still come up with something because we do know that there were other things recorded, but the tapes are no longer in the group's possession. And unfortunately they may have been destroyed years ago.

We have some rough mixes from 1966, which will probably become part of the quote album. There seems to be less of that than you might expect. That also leads to believe, it really wasn't close to being finished when it was put aside to go to the next project.

If you take Brian's 2004 version as a blueprint, [it will have] all of that music, all of the significant parts and even the little segue ways. For the most part, that project was heavily researched by myself and others to make sure Brian had available all the parts that had been recorded back in 1966 and 1967. Some lyric additions were made in 2004 that hadn't been completed before the project was abandoned. That's some of the questions that we have to do deal with. How will we are going to present those few pieces. But there really aren't too many. The biggest one is the song that became Blue Hawaii, which started out as a thing called "Loved to Say Dada," which is sort of the water section of the piece. That had background but no lead vocal.



Pulling it out of the answer: We have some rough mixes from 1966, which will probably become part of the quote album. There seems to be less of that than you might expect. That also leads to believe, it really wasn't close to being finished when it was put aside to go to the next project.

This statement suggests while the majority of music was recorded and in the can, as in not much was "missing" as also shown in 2004, and a lot of vocals existed but not as many as instrumental tracks existed waiting for vocals...doesn't this suggest the burden if not the hindrance was in the mixing and sequencing process? When Mark says there were less *rough* mixes than expected, which meant obviously no final mixes, yet most of the tracks could be considered finished and a relatively small number of vocals overall would need to be added beyond what was on tape already...doesn't it suggest the sticking point was whatever was planned for the final mixing and sequencing, as in the process of putting it all together? The exact words from Mark lean toward the post-production being the bugger of the whole process.
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« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2020, 08:53:56 PM »

Is this correct... the only piece of BWPS for which there's no analogous 1966-67 instrumental track (in circulation, anyway) is Surf's Up, Part 2?
(unless we count Brian's solo piano).
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« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2020, 09:00:48 PM »

Donny, I know where you're coming from - I'll gladly agree to disagree because points are valid on both sides. I agree with a lot of your examples and reasoning, but I do think it's too drastic to dismiss the notion of the technology playing a part entirely. I also agree that sometimes limitations lead to innovations...as we saw with Brian Wilson especially in the year 1966, and the fact that the man is deaf in one ear yet could still make absolutely amazing soundscapes in the studio!

But at the same time, you can plug in any number of sayings to make the same point about technology or art in general...if a painter only has two colors on the palette yet uses that limitation to innovate somehow, then yes: The limitation led to something unique as a result. However, flipping that a bit, what would that same painter have done if you provided a third color, or even 15 more colors? There is no answer, the art flows from the artist no matter what is working against them or working in their favor.

Do I think recording as a whole was more innovative and creative especially in the mid to late 60's? Absolutely, 110%! Do I think the limitations of what they had to work with inspired some of that creativity? To some degree...but at the same time the "what if?" exists in asking of someone like Geoff Emerick what if Abbey Road had sprung for an 8-track and allowed its use prior to Sgt. Pepper. Again, we can do what-if's all day but for a lot of the people who had to work with the limited technologies, almost to a man they will say how much longer and more difficult their jobs were - and in some cases how unsuccessful they were when the attempts failed because the gear they had couldn't do what they needed - because of technology that was not up to par where they would have liked it to be.

Technology is one thing, getting into individual tracks is another in terms of the big picture. So much is made of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow due to the aura it gained after a few articles describing what happened, like Seigel. The most basic fact is Brian recorded something and scrapped it - as simple as that! All bands and artists do that, but in this case some will try to tie it into the legend of Brian's paranoia, and drug use, and all that stuff...when perhaps it's as simple as he recorded this Fire piece, didn't think it would work *at that time* with what he was doing, and put it on the shelf. Ironically when it did finally come out under his own name, he won a Grammy for it! So maybe he was right in shelving it at that time, for a Beach Boys project. Who knows. Or maybe the conflict at that time was how to weave it into what he had planned for the other "elements", and maybe, yes, it was "too scary" for a Beach Boys record. "Fire" is seeing a tree instead of the forest, I think: The forest was how to organize all of his trees both on tape and waiting to be taped and those still being conceived in his mind into some kind of cohesive whole. And that's where I differ from your opinions and suggest if he had something similar to what Darian had decades later that could allow him almost instant editing and sequencing, *maybe* his ideas could have been fleshed out in a way more suited to the way his mind worked at that time.

A lot of my opinions come from the various descriptions, most published and perhaps some not as widely spread, of when Darian had all those Smile segments loaded up into his DAW and sat down with Brian to audition various sequences, trying to figure out what went where and what goes where to make that elusive, cohesive whole. I know most of the sentiments at the time were "imagine if we had this back then...", coming from Brian too, and it of course suggests pure fantasy but to me it also suggests a piece of what was lacking in the overall process and what could have hindered the process beyond everything else to where it got too overwhelming.

And the technology I'm referring to was not crossfading or hard edits...it was the way in which Good Vibrations was created overall, along with what Mark said in that interview. I still ask who else in the pop field who was actually selling records was using the studio and tape the same way Brian did in 1966, and I can't think of a single one. Look at all the accolades and awards Bones Howe got for "Age Of Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" in '69 and that was only 3 different sessions edited together. It was terrific, yes, but compared to the miles of tape Brian had for Good Vibrations? Same with Bohemian Rhapsody...after trying for years, along with many others, I still have no idea how they mixed that thing without automation and how they kept track of all the drop-ins and how many hands manned those faders, etc. But in 1966, to do it as Brian did, is still amazing to consider how he did it so well.

Yep I think we’re dealing with opinions and theories, not facts mainly. We each have our own viewpoints and conclusions. In my case, no doubt influenced by own experience in the analog realm and opinions on the results of the digital music age.

Fair segue while we’re on the topic - is there any documentation that Brian at any point was going to structure the entire album as flowing through as 2 side-long “tracks”? To me, this is the only way the argument could potentially make sense. But something tells me it would have been 11-13 tracks at 30-35 minutes anyway.

The only documentation I think any of us have seen, up to and including Mark and Alan who sifted through as much as was available to make the box set, was that lone tracklist memo written in Carl's handwriting, made public I think in LLVS for the first time. I know this is all old info that has been repeated many times, but even the back cover didn't have an accurate tracklisting and had an addendum to see inside for the order! So Capitol didn't know when they made the slicks.

Do I think the scenario you mentioned could have been on the table in 66-67? Absolutely. But it's pure guessing, I seriously don't think anyone knows and if something did exist it would have been part of the box set. Now the other question to ask even in spite of all that has already been said is how closely did the 2004 presentation mirror what may have been on the table back in 66-67, even if conceptually and in that regard, partially? Topic for more discussion.  Grin

I do focus on something Mark said in that same interview, with the heads-up that there are quite a few interviews from these projects that may go even deeper but this one just happened to be convenient today:

Will there be one complete version of the album in the way it was presented 2004 and will that album serve as the guide line for the "Smile" Sessions track listing?

We have gaps, we have missing vocals. We aren't missing any music which is heartening. All the songs were recorded. Most of it is there. I can't be sure that we won't still come up with something because we do know that there were other things recorded, but the tapes are no longer in the group's possession. And unfortunately they may have been destroyed years ago.

We have some rough mixes from 1966, which will probably become part of the quote album. There seems to be less of that than you might expect. That also leads to believe, it really wasn't close to being finished when it was put aside to go to the next project.

If you take Brian's 2004 version as a blueprint, [it will have] all of that music, all of the significant parts and even the little segue ways. For the most part, that project was heavily researched by myself and others to make sure Brian had available all the parts that had been recorded back in 1966 and 1967. Some lyric additions were made in 2004 that hadn't been completed before the project was abandoned. That's some of the questions that we have to do deal with. How will we are going to present those few pieces. But there really aren't too many. The biggest one is the song that became Blue Hawaii, which started out as a thing called "Loved to Say Dada," which is sort of the water section of the piece. That had background but no lead vocal.



Pulling it out of the answer: We have some rough mixes from 1966, which will probably become part of the quote album. There seems to be less of that than you might expect. That also leads to believe, it really wasn't close to being finished when it was put aside to go to the next project.

This statement suggests while the majority of music was recorded and in the can, as in not much was "missing" as also shown in 2004, and a lot of vocals existed but not as many as instrumental tracks existed waiting for vocals...doesn't this suggest the burden if not the hindrance was in the mixing and sequencing process? When Mark says there were less *rough* mixes than expected, which meant obviously no final mixes, yet most of the tracks could be considered finished and a relatively small number of vocals overall would need to be added beyond what was on tape already...doesn't it suggest the sticking point was whatever was planned for the final mixing and sequencing, as in the process of putting it all together? The exact words from Mark lean toward the post-production being the bugger of the whole process.


Could be, but ... considering how they worked in ‘66-‘67 (including Smiley and WH), I would say that everything was kind of done as they went along - seems to me that the most obvious answer is Brian lost the plot. To me, you can kind of hear the thing start to unravel and the sessions almost lead in to what became Smiley Smile. Even the Smile tracks cut toward the end seem to be more based around snippets, riffs, and chants more than songs. Then we see much of this come into focus on Smiley Smile.
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« Reply #58 on: May 18, 2020, 10:02:35 PM »

...
I think you made good points. I personally believe Brian fully produced Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends though. 20/20 is the first record that sounds like Brian did not bring any of the songs to completion (even "Time to Get Alone", "I Went to Sleep", and "Cabinessence"). I believe Carl took over that role beginning with 20/20 - bringing tracks to completion from a production standpoint. This is regardless of label credits.

I think it's pretty obvious that Brian was still in charge for Wild Honey and Friends, with assistence by Carl and probably some production ideas thrown in here and there by some of the other guys, like Alan (can't picture Mike being too involved in any of this however, other than suggesting some finger popping or whatever). On 20/20, Do It Again, Cotton Fields and I Went to Sleep sound like real Brian (co-) productions. Sunflower already sounds very "un-Brian" in terms of production to my ears.
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« Reply #59 on: May 18, 2020, 10:23:48 PM »

...
I think you made good points. I personally believe Brian fully produced Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends though. 20/20 is the first record that sounds like Brian did not bring any of the songs to completion (even "Time to Get Alone", "I Went to Sleep", and "Cabinessence"). I believe Carl took over that role beginning with 20/20 - bringing tracks to completion from a production standpoint. This is regardless of label credits.

I think it's pretty obvious that Brian was still in charge for Wild Honey and Friends, with assistence by Carl and probably some production ideas thrown in here and there by some of the other guys, like Alan (can't picture Mike being too involved in any of this however, other than suggesting some finger popping or whatever). On 20/20, Do It Again, Cotton Fields and I Went to Sleep sound like real Brian (co-) productions. Sunflower already sounds very "un-Brian" in terms of production to my ears.

I forgot about “Do It Again”, you’re right that definitely sounds like Brian completed it. Though I was referring to the tracks sounding like a “complete” BW production. A good half of 20/20 has definite Brian produced sounds, but none of them sound like his style of mixing/completing a track to me, except “Do It Again”.

I would include “Break Away” ... and
Actually “Celebrate the News” sounds kinda like Brian too, so wonder if I’m nuts. None of Dennis’ 20/20 tracks sound Brian produced though (IMO).
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« Reply #60 on: May 19, 2020, 03:26:16 AM »

...
I think you made good points. I personally believe Brian fully produced Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends though. 20/20 is the first record that sounds like Brian did not bring any of the songs to completion (even "Time to Get Alone", "I Went to Sleep", and "Cabinessence"). I believe Carl took over that role beginning with 20/20 - bringing tracks to completion from a production standpoint. This is regardless of label credits.

I think it's pretty obvious that Brian was still in charge for Wild Honey and Friends, with assistence by Carl and probably some production ideas thrown in here and there by some of the other guys, like Alan (can't picture Mike being too involved in any of this however, other than suggesting some finger popping or whatever). On 20/20, Do It Again, Cotton Fields and I Went to Sleep sound like real Brian (co-) productions. Sunflower already sounds very "un-Brian" in terms of production to my ears.

I forgot about “Do It Again”, you’re right that definitely sounds like Brian completed it. Though I was referring to the tracks sounding like a “complete” BW production. A good half of 20/20 has definite Brian produced sounds, but none of them sound like his style of mixing/completing a track to me, except “Do It Again”.

I would include “Break Away” ... and
Actually “Celebrate the News” sounds kinda like Brian too, so wonder if I’m nuts. None of Dennis’ 20/20 tracks sound Brian produced though (IMO).

"Be with Me" sounds closer to "Time to Get Alone" than anything that Brian did on that album I think, production-wise. So I guess Carl co-produced "BwM" with Dennis. On Sunflower, the tracks that sound like Brian had some major input would be "Add Some Music", "At My Window" (together with Al) and maybe "Our Sweet Love" and "Cool Cool Water" imo, though I'd guess Carl was the #1 producer for the latter two.
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« Reply #61 on: May 19, 2020, 06:34:41 AM »

...
I think you made good points. I personally believe Brian fully produced Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends though. 20/20 is the first record that sounds like Brian did not bring any of the songs to completion (even "Time to Get Alone", "I Went to Sleep", and "Cabinessence"). I believe Carl took over that role beginning with 20/20 - bringing tracks to completion from a production standpoint. This is regardless of label credits.

I think it's pretty obvious that Brian was still in charge for Wild Honey and Friends, with assistence by Carl and probably some production ideas thrown in here and there by some of the other guys, like Alan (can't picture Mike being too involved in any of this however, other than suggesting some finger popping or whatever). On 20/20, Do It Again, Cotton Fields and I Went to Sleep sound like real Brian (co-) productions. Sunflower already sounds very "un-Brian" in terms of production to my ears.

I forgot about “Do It Again”, you’re right that definitely sounds like Brian completed it. Though I was referring to the tracks sounding like a “complete” BW production. A good half of 20/20 has definite Brian produced sounds, but none of them sound like his style of mixing/completing a track to me, except “Do It Again”.

I would include “Break Away” ... and
Actually “Celebrate the News” sounds kinda like Brian too, so wonder if I’m nuts. None of Dennis’ 20/20 tracks sound Brian produced though (IMO).

"Be with Me" sounds closer to "Time to Get Alone" than anything that Brian did on that album I think, production-wise. So I guess Carl co-produced "BwM" with Dennis. On Sunflower, the tracks that sound like Brian had some major input would be "Add Some Music", "At My Window" (together with Al) and maybe "Our Sweet Love" and "Cool Cool Water" imo, though I'd guess Carl was the #1 producer for the latter two.


Brian solo produced the basic session for This Whole World for certain.
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« Reply #62 on: May 19, 2020, 07:12:05 AM »

Do It Again is also something Brian produced for the most part, but Carl handled the final sax/drums overdub session because Brian wasn't there for whatever reason. Aaaaanyway

I don't doubt that today's technology would've made editing a modular album a hell of a lot easier, but the tech of the time wasn't preventing Brian from doing anything. Otherwise he wouldn't have carried on the same way for two subsequent albums supposedly made with 'not trying so hard' in mind. The idea that Brian would've been lost auditioning parts and trying to assemble something coherent really only adds up if he were trying to pull off something with segues between every track like BWPS back in 1967 - which, as I'm sure everyone here probably agrees, he wasn't. Modularity came on a song-by-song basis.

Tracks were assembled and structured one by one as he recorded them, and if he did want to edit something together, it happened quickly and often on the tail end of a session. It wasn't gonna be something where he'd get to the very end of recording an album and then have to start piecing songs together from a hundred tapes - by the time something like that might've been a concern, I agree with Donny that it was for losing the plot artistically long after focus had shifted away from the album itself to a lead single. Once most album tracks had been put on the back burner in the winter and self-sabotaged for the sake of Heroes and Villains I think he was running into a dead end. At that point it probably would've helped to have ProTools to pull together all the songs he'd left holes in, but by then the Smile album had been compromised for dozen other reasons and was never gonna get back on track in a hurry.

It'd probably even make more sense to compare Smiley Smile to the BWPS situation, which was edited and mixed in one marathon post-production session at Heider's due to the equipment limitations of the home studio. It wasn't an insurmountable challenge to pull that album together in one go after recording, and Smile wasn't being handled the same way.
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« Reply #63 on: May 19, 2020, 07:53:29 AM »

...
Brian solo produced the basic session for This Whole World for certain.

That's cool to hear, I love that song! Always felt a little unsure about whether Brian had a hand in its production apart from vocal arranging.
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« Reply #64 on: May 19, 2020, 07:56:39 AM »

...
Brian solo produced the basic session for This Whole World for certain.

That's cool to hear, I love that song! Always felt a little unsure about whether Brian had a hand in its production apart from vocal arranging.

Except for All I Wanna Do, I get the impression that Brian at least started the production on all of his songs in that era, but sometimes he'd leave a track unfinished so Carl + others would have to jump in.
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« Reply #65 on: May 19, 2020, 08:39:14 AM »

My humble opinion is that at the time, technology was not seen as a limit. At the time, it’s just there was so much recorded, and so much material that Brian basically shut down whenever he thought about having to piece it all together into a 12 track 30 minute LP.
Also, as mentioned by several other people, there was tracks that he just did not want the world to hear at that time.
Not only that, but it was also the time limit that was bothering him a lot. Obviously, as several people have pointed out, they had to put out 2 to 3 albums every single year.
PS was released in May 66... and a year later they still had no new album to release.
At that time, there was ways that it could technically get finished, it’s just that none of those ways were any good.
Looking back, it’s obvious that with the technology we have today, making this album would have been way easier, and much more manageable. but you can say that with literally any album from back then, it would’ve been much easier to make today. I mean, that’s just an obvious statement. Technology has advanced so much in 50 years.


Worth pointing out that on average, albums have take progressively longer to complete as more and more options have become available. According to what is usually referred to as the Paradox of Choice, more choices do not necessarily mean more efficiency, less time, or better results. Often the opposite.
Yes, but labels give artists much more time and much higher budgets to work with.
It’s not that albums take longer to make, but now days its not uncommon to see bands take 4 or 5 years off between albums.
It’s not that the album took 5 years to record, but the recording process is more spread out.
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« Reply #66 on: May 19, 2020, 08:42:30 AM »


This line from Mark: "Brian was doing this with very primitive technology that we now do on a daily basis with digital recordings, reusing sections and moving them around. Its interesting to surmise if he had the current technology what might have happened. It would have been so much easier to do these experiments."

...is a line I've seen repeated in various forms from others including from those actual participants in the project. It isn't so much saying technology was the main factor, but it was a factor enough for those who worked with the same material in the modern digital era to cite, and also marvel sometimes at how Brian worked using a modern digital recording and sequencing mindset and workflow in an era of razor blade and tape. And not only worked with that mindset, but also created something like Good Vibrations. I heartily believe the notion of stretching that across a full album without the technology we take for granted today was a factor in the project becoming too overwhelming to see through to completion as Brian envisioned it during the process.

I think this type of thinking is what I am referring to - it's completely logical, and gets one to thinking "what if ..."

I would just say that if we look at Smiley Smile and Wild Honey, the modular techniques continue. And they have their origins in Pet Sounds (inserting older mixes for certain sections, etc.), and came to full fruition on "Good Vibrations" ... which was fully completed. This is where my previous points come in. While it might have been a factor in *slowing things down* ... I don't think it would have prevented Smile from being finished, and I don't believe that if Brian had full access to Pro Tools, that Smile would have been finished in 1966-'67. I don't think Brian was interested in putting "Surf's Up" into the world in 1967. Nor "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow", etc. ... He said, "I don’t have to do a big scary fire like that ... I can do a candle and it’s still fire. That would have been a really bad vibration to let out on the world, that Chicago fire. The next one is going to be a candle.” The candle was presumably "Fall Breaks". I just don't see this having anything to do with technical limitations.

Definiteness of artistic purpose. It was there for Pet Sounds, "Good Vibrations", ... Smiley Smile. It was notably lacking, or became increasingly foggy, in Smile. To me, this is just in line with basic principles of what you might call Universal Law.

Just a quick reply before the other more general comments, to the comment in bold:

Brian did put Surf's Up into the world in April 1967 when CBS showed him playing it during the Inside Pop broadcast. It blew minds in '67, and it still blows minds for people watching it on YouTube. If anything Brian putting it out there stoked the fire for people wanting to hear more of this new music - It was simply unlike any other popular music surrounding it at that time, and that includes the big names of Brian's peers. It's a tour de force both in song construction and the solo performance of it as broadcast. Brian was close with Surf's Up, but he couldn't get it in time as planned. Worth noting Mark's comments about when the Beach Boys revisited the song for the Surf's Up LP, how they tried to fly in the vocal from Brian but technology prevented them from doing what is now a relatively standard  digital edit and time stretch. So even several years later the lack of technology, according to Mark, was a factor in that case of the vocal.
Also, a lot of people forget that Brian recorded a new Surfs Up demo during the Wild Honey sessions.
It was hidden at the end of the tapes for Country Air
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« Reply #67 on: May 19, 2020, 08:50:25 AM »

Plus, Brian didn't put Surf's Up into the world in April 1967, a performance he did in December 1966 was broadcast in April by which time the situation had completely changed, and just over a week later Derek Taylor was writing in Disk & Music Echo that the album had been scrapped. Bar one mystery session for which there wasn't even a surviving tape in the early 70s, Brian hadn't done any further work on Surf's Up over four months. A lack of time to get it ready wasn't a factor here no matter what reasoning he gave several decades down the line.

And if Brian wanted to overdub a vocal on the Surf's Up backing track, he would've done that. The time-stretching limitation is something the others faced trying to salvage the song years later and had nothing to do with Brian's reasons for choosing not to finish it in 1967.
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« Reply #68 on: May 19, 2020, 09:07:20 AM »

Just to clarify re: production -- I am referring to *completing* the production in particular. My impression is that Brian produced sessions and was very involved (particularly in lots of Sunflower stuff), but to me, it sounds like Friends was the last LP that has that final "BW touch". "Do It Again" and "Break Away" also have it, but I'm not sure I hear it after that. We have Carl's "Mixdown Producer" credit on Love You, and I think this is telling.
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« Reply #69 on: May 19, 2020, 09:10:42 AM »

Two things I haven’t seen brought up are:
A: Capital wanted a follow up to GV, and none of the Smile tracks are as easily accessible to a wide audience as GV. H&V is an amazing song, 10 out of 10. But, as several people noted, it “confused people.”
Putting everything else aside, lyrically, GV is sweet, catchy, simple and relatable.
I’m no Mike Love fan, but he’s absolutely correct when he says that his lyrics for GV connected with people. Of course they did, because if you really look at GV, it’s a song about infatuation. Everyone understands infatuation. And it helps that the song is super simple and catchy.
The rest of Smile is not like that at all. The 2 closest tracks are Vega-Tables and Wind Chimes, and even then, the lyrics are still extremely obscure for most people.
So either way, I don’t think that the BBs would have had another #1 with any other Smile tracks.
B: Brian has even said that if he had another year to work on Smile, it would have gotten finished. But Capital had just spent 6 months waiting for GV, PS wasn’t exactly well received financially, so they were not about to let Brian have an entire 2 years to work.
If all this happened today, Brian would have as much time as needed, but 1967 was a different time.
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« Reply #70 on: May 19, 2020, 10:48:14 AM »

Donny, I know where you're coming from - I'll gladly agree to disagree because points are valid on both sides. I agree with a lot of your examples and reasoning, but I do think it's too drastic to dismiss the notion of the technology playing a part entirely. I also agree that sometimes limitations lead to innovations...as we saw with Brian Wilson especially in the year 1966, and the fact that the man is deaf in one ear yet could still make absolutely amazing soundscapes in the studio!

But at the same time, you can plug in any number of sayings to make the same point about technology or art in general...if a painter only has two colors on the palette yet uses that limitation to innovate somehow, then yes: The limitation led to something unique as a result. However, flipping that a bit, what would that same painter have done if you provided a third color, or even 15 more colors? There is no answer, the art flows from the artist no matter what is working against them or working in their favor.

Do I think recording as a whole was more innovative and creative especially in the mid to late 60's? Absolutely, 110%! Do I think the limitations of what they had to work with inspired some of that creativity? To some degree...but at the same time the "what if?" exists in asking of someone like Geoff Emerick what if Abbey Road had sprung for an 8-track and allowed its use prior to Sgt. Pepper. Again, we can do what-if's all day but for a lot of the people who had to work with the limited technologies, almost to a man they will say how much longer and more difficult their jobs were - and in some cases how unsuccessful they were when the attempts failed because the gear they had couldn't do what they needed - because of technology that was not up to par where they would have liked it to be.

Technology is one thing, getting into individual tracks is another in terms of the big picture. So much is made of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow due to the aura it gained after a few articles describing what happened, like Seigel. The most basic fact is Brian recorded something and scrapped it - as simple as that! All bands and artists do that, but in this case some will try to tie it into the legend of Brian's paranoia, and drug use, and all that stuff...when perhaps it's as simple as he recorded this Fire piece, didn't think it would work *at that time* with what he was doing, and put it on the shelf. Ironically when it did finally come out under his own name, he won a Grammy for it! So maybe he was right in shelving it at that time, for a Beach Boys project. Who knows. Or maybe the conflict at that time was how to weave it into what he had planned for the other "elements", and maybe, yes, it was "too scary" for a Beach Boys record. "Fire" is seeing a tree instead of the forest, I think: The forest was how to organize all of his trees both on tape and waiting to be taped and those still being conceived in his mind into some kind of cohesive whole. And that's where I differ from your opinions and suggest if he had something similar to what Darian had decades later that could allow him almost instant editing and sequencing, *maybe* his ideas could have been fleshed out in a way more suited to the way his mind worked at that time.

A lot of my opinions come from the various descriptions, most published and perhaps some not as widely spread, of when Darian had all those Smile segments loaded up into his DAW and sat down with Brian to audition various sequences, trying to figure out what went where and what goes where to make that elusive, cohesive whole. I know most of the sentiments at the time were "imagine if we had this back then...", coming from Brian too, and it of course suggests pure fantasy but to me it also suggests a piece of what was lacking in the overall process and what could have hindered the process beyond everything else to where it got too overwhelming.

And the technology I'm referring to was not crossfading or hard edits...it was the way in which Good Vibrations was created overall, along with what Mark said in that interview. I still ask who else in the pop field who was actually selling records was using the studio and tape the same way Brian did in 1966, and I can't think of a single one. Look at all the accolades and awards Bones Howe got for "Age Of Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" in '69 and that was only 3 different sessions edited together. It was terrific, yes, but compared to the miles of tape Brian had for Good Vibrations? Same with Bohemian Rhapsody...after trying for years, along with many others, I still have no idea how they mixed that thing without automation and how they kept track of all the drop-ins and how many hands manned those faders, etc. But in 1966, to do it as Brian did, is still amazing to consider how he did it so well.

Yep I think we’re dealing with opinions and theories, not facts mainly. We each have our own viewpoints and conclusions. In my case, no doubt influenced by own experience in the analog realm and opinions on the results of the digital music age.

Fair segue while we’re on the topic - is there any documentation that Brian at any point was going to structure the entire album as flowing through as 2 side-long “tracks”? To me, this is the only way the argument could potentially make sense. But something tells me it would have been 11-13 tracks at 30-35 minutes anyway.

The only documentation I think any of us have seen, up to and including Mark and Alan who sifted through as much as was available to make the box set, was that lone tracklist memo written in Carl's handwriting, made public I think in LLVS for the first time. I know this is all old info that has been repeated many times, but even the back cover didn't have an accurate tracklisting and had an addendum to see inside for the order! So Capitol didn't know when they made the slicks.

Do I think the scenario you mentioned could have been on the table in 66-67? Absolutely. But it's pure guessing, I seriously don't think anyone knows and if something did exist it would have been part of the box set. Now the other question to ask even in spite of all that has already been said is how closely did the 2004 presentation mirror what may have been on the table back in 66-67, even if conceptually and in that regard, partially? Topic for more discussion.  Grin

I do focus on something Mark said in that same interview, with the heads-up that there are quite a few interviews from these projects that may go even deeper but this one just happened to be convenient today:

Will there be one complete version of the album in the way it was presented 2004 and will that album serve as the guide line for the "Smile" Sessions track listing?

We have gaps, we have missing vocals. We aren't missing any music which is heartening. All the songs were recorded. Most of it is there. I can't be sure that we won't still come up with something because we do know that there were other things recorded, but the tapes are no longer in the group's possession. And unfortunately they may have been destroyed years ago.

We have some rough mixes from 1966, which will probably become part of the quote album. There seems to be less of that than you might expect. That also leads to believe, it really wasn't close to being finished when it was put aside to go to the next project.

If you take Brian's 2004 version as a blueprint, [it will have] all of that music, all of the significant parts and even the little segue ways. For the most part, that project was heavily researched by myself and others to make sure Brian had available all the parts that had been recorded back in 1966 and 1967. Some lyric additions were made in 2004 that hadn't been completed before the project was abandoned. That's some of the questions that we have to do deal with. How will we are going to present those few pieces. But there really aren't too many. The biggest one is the song that became Blue Hawaii, which started out as a thing called "Loved to Say Dada," which is sort of the water section of the piece. That had background but no lead vocal.



Pulling it out of the answer: We have some rough mixes from 1966, which will probably become part of the quote album. There seems to be less of that than you might expect. That also leads to believe, it really wasn't close to being finished when it was put aside to go to the next project.

This statement suggests while the majority of music was recorded and in the can, as in not much was "missing" as also shown in 2004, and a lot of vocals existed but not as many as instrumental tracks existed waiting for vocals...doesn't this suggest the burden if not the hindrance was in the mixing and sequencing process? When Mark says there were less *rough* mixes than expected, which meant obviously no final mixes, yet most of the tracks could be considered finished and a relatively small number of vocals overall would need to be added beyond what was on tape already...doesn't it suggest the sticking point was whatever was planned for the final mixing and sequencing, as in the process of putting it all together? The exact words from Mark lean toward the post-production being the bugger of the whole process.


Could be, but ... considering how they worked in ‘66-‘67 (including Smiley and WH), I would say that everything was kind of done as they went along - seems to me that the most obvious answer is Brian lost the plot. To me, you can kind of hear the thing start to unravel and the sessions almost lead in to what became Smiley Smile. Even the Smile tracks cut toward the end seem to be more based around snippets, riffs, and chants more than songs. Then we see much of this come into focus on Smiley Smile.

Consider that the timeline of what was done in the studio as you mentioned "toward the end" falls into line directly with the same working method Brian had been using for the past year. The band had a big European tour in May 1967 which saw them gone for roughly a month. Just prior to them leaving on that tour, Brian had them in the studio doing vocals for Vegetables, April 1967. The band leaves on tour...no vocals can be cut while they're gone obviously. The next sessions Brian holds are with the Wrecking Crew, for Love To Say Dada, in line with how he had been recording the other Smile tracks. Listen to the session tapes from this time, there are no indications Brian was anything less than in control and doing what he does in the studio contrary to some opinions suggesting he had fallen apart or something.

So the band returns from Europe later in May '67. While on that tour almost every band member is quoted in the press saying a variation of the statement "we don't want to be rushed, we want to give the fans our best work, etc..." regarding questions about the delay in releasing their "new" single and the dust-up over EMI putting out "Then I Kissed Her" from the vaults as a placeholder. The running theme was they needed the time to put out the best product they could for the fans, in terms of both the single and the upcoming album.

Worth noting, that May '67 tour also saw them take quite a bashing in the European press over the sound of their concerts not measuring up to the sound of their records. This also happened to some extent during their Fall '66 European jaunt, but in May '67 it was heavier criticism and more consistent. As I've said before, that had to hurt. And their tangles with the union over adding the string players didn't help matters.

Oh, and meanwhile as the band was telling the press about their new album, Derek Taylor issues a press release saying the new album (Smile) had been "scrapped", a statement that was seemingly not backed up by the band as they were giving interviews during the tour, though unfortunately none ever directly commented on Taylor's statement but their own statements contradicted him.

The band returns from the European tour, late May. They almost immediately go into both Western for several sessions and also one at Sound Recorders, and work on With Me Tonight, Cool Cool Water, and resumed work on Vegetables which was suspended due to them leaving on the tour.

In short, nothing had changed in terms of how Brian was progressing on tracks associated with Smile. Brian cut those instrumental tracks using the same studios and same musicians he had been using all along, the same working method of him preparing the backing tracks to which the band would add any vocals after they returned from the tour. Vegetables was picked up again where they left off in April. With Me Tonight, Cool Cool Water...again, tracks that we could speculate were or were not part of Smile proper, but doesn't it add up anyway that they were in the usual pro studios doing what they left off doing back in April according to the usual schedule?

Then...something radically and drastically changed literally within a week, that week after those final group sessions at Western. When they regrouped, the entire game changed. They were in Brian's living room with cables running all over the floors going into a gates Dualux radio broadcast mixer instead of a pro studio. The entire workflow changed. Heroes changed. The production credit would see a shift to "produced By The Beach Boys" rather than "produced by Brian Wilson" even though Brian was still calling 99% of the musical shots as we can all hear on the tapes recorded at the house.

For me, and I'll go to the grave probably never knowing for sure, whatever happened that one week between the last pro studio session and the first session at the house is *key* to understanding what happened and why such drastic changes were made literally in a week's time. Whatever the answer may be, whoever or whatever can be pointed to, *something* happened to cause such a shift and it can be narrowed down to basically one week in time as outlined briefly above.

So what exactly happened? I'll repost the quote from a July '67 Derek Taylor piece where events of that week in June '67 are mentioned:

"In one inspired decision, (Nick) Grillo and the Beach Boys were able to a. Make use of Brian Wilson's new house, b. restructure the attitude and atmosphere at recording sessions and c. remove the problem of availability of commercial studios. They built their own 8-track studio in the Spanish house."

It's the part about restructuring the attitude and atmosphere at recording sessions that sticks out for me. Read into that how anyone pleases. But it can't be denied that *something big* went down during that week in June that changed the entire game, focus, outlook, structure, sound, etc...

And I'm still waiting to hear an authoritative answer as to what that something big actually was. I'm not holding my breath.

But back to the last comments in Donny's post, if Brian was working exactly as he had throughout Smile in May '67 and recording the full DaDa track, and if the band after returning home jumped right back in to adding vocals and picking up with Vegetables, doesn't it suggest the same plans were still in place despite what Taylor's piece suggested in early May, especially if the exact same "Pet Sounds-GV-Smile" working methods were followed as evidenced by the schedule of sessions? And, that the songs worked on were as far as anyone knew still part of Smile? Could it have been that those riffs and snippets were just part of what had to be added for various parts of the album, similar to any of the other riffs or chants that had already been recorded? And Vegetables/DaDa worked on in May '67 were not snippets or riffs, they were full tracks which had multiple parts being added to fill them out, again in line with the existing working methods.

It wasn't until that next week when the whole thing changed.

Just food for thought.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 10:54:26 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #71 on: May 19, 2020, 11:05:54 AM »

Yeah, very good points made. It's interesting too though that the titles recorded in that post-Smile-pre-Smiley-or-maybe-still-Smile transition period - Love to Say Dada, You're With Me Tonight, Cool Cool Water - are the first time Brian was working on songs outside of the list of titles he'd given to Capitol in a significant way, not including something small like You're Welcome. Maybe Derek's announcement had something to do with that? Or he'd already informed the group songs like Surf's Up and Cabin Essence were a no-go?

But yeah, either way, the working method and style of music didn't change after either of the two dates people sometimes give to the end of Smile - the Disk & Music Echo note and cancelled May 19 Gold Star session. Neither signalled an actual change in the way Brian was recording. Heroes and Villains was a soft transition too in a way, they'd switched location but the music wasn't really any different other than the sudden Baldwin organ presence. Maybe the real switch happened on June 15, the moment Brian picked up his bass to start a partial new version of Vegetables, started going thump thump thump thump on one note, and realised he could do a whole album like that?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 11:07:17 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
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« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2020, 11:55:04 AM »


For me, and I'll go to the grave probably never knowing for sure, whatever happened that one week between the last pro studio session and the first session at the house is *key* to understanding what happened and why such drastic changes were made literally in a week's time. Whatever the answer may be, whoever or whatever can be pointed to, *something* happened to cause such a shift and it can be narrowed down to basically one week in time as outlined briefly above.

So what exactly happened? I'll repost the quote from a July '67 Derek Taylor piece where events of that week in June '67 are mentioned:

"In one inspired decision, (Nick) Grillo and the Beach Boys were able to a. Make use of Brian Wilson's new house, b. restructure the attitude and atmosphere at recording sessions and c. remove the problem of availability of commercial studios. They built their own 8-track studio in the Spanish house."

It's the part about restructuring the attitude and atmosphere at recording sessions that sticks out for me. Read into that how anyone pleases. But it can't be denied that *something big* went down during that week in June that changed the entire game, focus, outlook, structure, sound, etc...

And I'm still waiting to hear an authoritative answer as to what that something big actually was. I'm not holding my breath.

But back to the last comments in Donny's post, if Brian was working exactly as he had throughout Smile in May '67 and recording the full DaDa track, and if the band after returning home jumped right back in to adding vocals and picking up with Vegetables, doesn't it suggest the same plans were still in place despite what Taylor's piece suggested in early May, especially if the exact same "Pet Sounds-GV-Smile" working methods were followed as evidenced by the schedule of sessions? And, that the songs worked on were as far as anyone knew still part of Smile? Could it have been that those riffs and snippets were just part of what had to be added for various parts of the album, similar to any of the other riffs or chants that had already been recorded? And Vegetables/DaDa worked on in May '67 were not snippets or riffs, they were full tracks which had multiple parts being added to fill them out, again in line with the existing working methods.

It wasn't until that next week when the whole thing changed.

Just food for thought.

GV was a triumph but at $50K or whatever. I think all these points

"In one inspired decision, (Nick) Grillo and the Beach Boys were able to a. Make use of Brian Wilson's new house, b. restructure the attitude and atmosphere at recording sessions and c. remove the problem of availability of commercial studios. They built their own 8-track studio in the Spanish house."

revolve about the basic fact, that though doubtlessly Brian was creating very interesting and worthy music, the sessions and his non-productivity in terms of no results (album, 2 singles) meant Brian's cosy set-up drained money. Most probably, the guys had a talk. Some unsubtle intrusion from Capitol?
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« Reply #73 on: May 19, 2020, 12:02:56 PM »


Consider that the timeline of what was done in the studio as you mentioned "toward the end" falls into line directly with the same working method Brian had been using for the past year. The band had a big European tour in May 1967 which saw them gone for roughly a month. Just prior to them leaving on that tour, Brian had them in the studio doing vocals for Vegetables, April 1967. The band leaves on tour...no vocals can be cut while they're gone obviously. The next sessions Brian holds are with the Wrecking Crew, for Love To Say Dada, in line with how he had been recording the other Smile tracks. Listen to the session tapes from this time, there are no indications Brian was anything less than in control and doing what he does in the studio contrary to some opinions suggesting he had fallen apart or something.

So the band returns from Europe later in May '67. While on that tour almost every band member is quoted in the press saying a variation of the statement "we don't want to be rushed, we want to give the fans our best work, etc..." regarding questions about the delay in releasing their "new" single and the dust-up over EMI putting out "Then I Kissed Her" from the vaults as a placeholder. The running theme was they needed the time to put out the best product they could for the fans, in terms of both the single and the upcoming album.

Worth noting, that May '67 tour also saw them take quite a bashing in the European press over the sound of their concerts not measuring up to the sound of their records. This also happened to some extent during their Fall '66 European jaunt, but in May '67 it was heavier criticism and more consistent. As I've said before, that had to hurt. And their tangles with the union over adding the string players didn't help matters.

Oh, and meanwhile as the band was telling the press about their new album, Derek Taylor issues a press release saying the new album (Smile) had been "scrapped", a statement that was seemingly not backed up by the band as they were giving interviews during the tour, though unfortunately none ever directly commented on Taylor's statement but their own statements contradicted him.

The band returns from the European tour, late May. They almost immediately go into both Western for several sessions and also one at Sound Recorders, and work on With Me Tonight, Cool Cool Water, and resumed work on Vegetables which was suspended due to them leaving on the tour.

In short, nothing had changed in terms of how Brian was progressing on tracks associated with Smile. Brian cut those instrumental tracks using the same studios and same musicians he had been using all along, the same working method of him preparing the backing tracks to which the band would add any vocals after they returned from the tour. Vegetables was picked up again where they left off in April. With Me Tonight, Cool Cool Water...again, tracks that we could speculate were or were not part of Smile proper, but doesn't it add up anyway that they were in the usual pro studios doing what they left off doing back in April according to the usual schedule?

Then...something radically and drastically changed literally within a week, that week after those final group sessions at Western. When they regrouped, the entire game changed. They were in Brian's living room with cables running all over the floors going into a gates Dualux radio broadcast mixer instead of a pro studio. The entire workflow changed. Heroes changed. The production credit would see a shift to "produced By The Beach Boys" rather than "produced by Brian Wilson" even though Brian was still calling 99% of the musical shots as we can all hear on the tapes recorded at the house.

For me, and I'll go to the grave probably never knowing for sure, whatever happened that one week between the last pro studio session and the first session at the house is *key* to understanding what happened and why such drastic changes were made literally in a week's time. Whatever the answer may be, whoever or whatever can be pointed to, *something* happened to cause such a shift and it can be narrowed down to basically one week in time as outlined briefly above.

So what exactly happened? I'll repost the quote from a July '67 Derek Taylor piece where events of that week in June '67 are mentioned:

"In one inspired decision, (Nick) Grillo and the Beach Boys were able to a. Make use of Brian Wilson's new house, b. restructure the attitude and atmosphere at recording sessions and c. remove the problem of availability of commercial studios. They built their own 8-track studio in the Spanish house."

It's the part about restructuring the attitude and atmosphere at recording sessions that sticks out for me. Read into that how anyone pleases. But it can't be denied that *something big* went down during that week in June that changed the entire game, focus, outlook, structure, sound, etc...

And I'm still waiting to hear an authoritative answer as to what that something big actually was. I'm not holding my breath.

But back to the last comments in Donny's post, if Brian was working exactly as he had throughout Smile in May '67 and recording the full DaDa track, and if the band after returning home jumped right back in to adding vocals and picking up with Vegetables, doesn't it suggest the same plans were still in place despite what Taylor's piece suggested in early May, especially if the exact same "Pet Sounds-GV-Smile" working methods were followed as evidenced by the schedule of sessions? And, that the songs worked on were as far as anyone knew still part of Smile? Could it have been that those riffs and snippets were just part of what had to be added for various parts of the album, similar to any of the other riffs or chants that had already been recorded? And Vegetables/DaDa worked on in May '67 were not snippets or riffs, they were full tracks which had multiple parts being added to fill them out, again in line with the existing working methods.

It wasn't until that next week when the whole thing changed.

Just food for thought.

What I'm suggesting is not that Brian had personal problems that made it so he could not work on Smile ... as I've indicated previously in this thread, I think he was fully capable, willing, and interested in producing records through Friends. Clearly, he made a conscious effort to "quit the production race" however (removing his name from the Producer credits is the biggest indication here IMO).

What I am noting is that in my observation, there is a distinct transition into the Smiley Smile concept on the last few months of Smile sessions. We have these lighter/"sillier"/more humorous kinds of songs, along with the more chant-like snippets. Conceptually - similar to Smiley; sonically and performance-wise - different due to the transition to the home studio and more reliance on the band members themselves.

Brian losing the plot = artistically, the material that made up Smile became increasingly difficult to tie together, and his original vision for what the album was supposed to be was becoming increasingly less possible or feasible to realize ... and thus, he re-conceptualized it into Smiley Smile. As Brian explained upon the release of Smiley Smile: "We did it in three weeks. We had about six months before that we were doing different things that we junked … and ended up doing the whole thing here at the house, with sort of an entirely different mood and approach than we originally started out."
« Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 12:04:53 PM by DonnyL » Logged

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« Reply #74 on: May 19, 2020, 12:20:04 PM »

I remember that Mike Love said that Brian went downhill after Heroes and Villains, his productions were never the same after that.  The drugs were taking him over and his ability to write and produce were compromised.
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