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Author Topic: Why are BB albums so short?  (Read 2842 times)
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #75 on: May 19, 2020, 12:30:24 PM »

What needs to be considered though is both the sessions and the sum total of what was already on tape for Smile versus what needed to be done.

It stands out how during May '67 there wasn't a change at all in how Brian was tracking, DaDa is a full track and a pretty fully orchestrated one at that using the Wrecking Crew in pro studios. It began life months before as "All Day", and here was Brian fleshing out that initial idea with a full orchestration. I doubt he'd do that just for the sake of doing it, and it felt like it was still part of the workflow. Factor in having the Beach Boys come back in for a pretty decent round of studio vocal sessions most notably restarting work on Vegetables from April before the tour, and as of late May literally days after returning from the tour they were back at it.

Consider perhaps both Brian working on DaDa and the vocal sessions the Boys did with him after returning were attempts to fill in some of the missing pieces that still needed to be done for Smile? Not trying to say that's fact, but the case can be made with what we absolutely know they did during May '67.

Mark and others already said most of the instrumental tracks were there and we can all hear that, and it would make sense for Brian to go back to his original "All Day" idea and flesh it out as he ended up doing. Same with the vocals, picking up where they left off in April and adding new material that may not have been grand-scale stuff, but was also possibly some of the additions needed to keep adding missing parts.

And then, there was a very clear and pointed dividing line where the whole focus changed.

Note too that as April ran into May and again into June, there was an added pressure to get a new single out, and that pressure was coming on top of the legal battles with Capitol that were eventually resolved enough so that Heroes could be released on Brother. So the focus overall perhaps had to shift at some point from the overall album work to the immediate pressure of finishing up a single. More of the issues swirling around this time obviously.
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« Reply #76 on: May 19, 2020, 12:40:59 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.
Time To Get Alone, Can't Wait To Long/Been Way To Long, and the Ol Man River sessions prove otherwise.
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« Reply #77 on: May 19, 2020, 01:05:26 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.

That's kind of what I'm challenging. Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends sort of prove that wrong IMO. I think he made a conscious, intentional artistic change for the '67-'68 era. After that, I think he lost interest in completing tracks.
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« Reply #78 on: May 19, 2020, 01:20:55 PM »

Mike actually has a great quote about this in the Preiss book, he comes out with quite a lot of unexpected bits of wisdom in there:

Brian took a benign, passive interest, instead of a dominating interest. At that time something had happened to his whole ego drive. It had been very powerful until the time of “Heroes and Villains’” release – he was about ready to come out with the Smile album and he was feeling very dynamic and creative and then something happened… chemically that completely shattered that – that made him the complete opposite…that made him want to withdraw… But he was always shy; he was too sensitive. There was a fine line and he went over that line… He was still creative though. Instead of Smile he did Smiley Smile. It was light, mellifluous, laid-back. It was dynamic in a passive sort of way, it was a revelation of where his psychology had gone to. It dropped out. He dropped out of that production race – the next big thing after Sgt. Pepper.
Brian had lost interest in being aggressive and he went in the other direction – still creative, and different, but it wasn’t competitive.



And while we're talking about the transition from Smile to Smiley (sorry to whoever started this thread about the length of Beach Boys albums lol), here are a couple of very insightful articles stemming from the same interview with Carl and Mike in October 1967:

Quote
LA Times 8th October 1967: THE BEACH BOYS’ QUICKEST ALBUM by Pete Johnson
   “Well, the album didn’t really head for any direction. We just decided to, or I should say Brian decided to, make a real simple album. So, with that in mind, we recorded it at his house and it’s the quickest album we’ve ever done.”
   Carl Wilson, the youngest Beach Boy, was talking about their newest LP, an 11-tune record entitled “Smiley Smile” which recently was released on their Brother Records label, distributed through Capitol.
   Brian is Brian Wilson, the oldest Beach Boy, who emerged as one of the most powerful influences in pop music after their last album, “Pet Sounds” (Capitol), and two subsequent singles, “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes and Villains,” both of which are on the newest LP.
   “Heroes and Villains,” of course, took a few months and “Good Vibrations,” well, actually, “Good Vibrations” took about two weeks of time in the studio but it was spread over quite a span of time.
   “You see, the whole thing is that ‘Pet Sounds’ was really an expanded type of musical thing. It’s really quite a musical album and we got into a thing where we just wanted to ease up and make a simple album. It was a nice change. It’s very hard on a person to keep on doing a ‘Pet Sounds.’”
   The person on whom it is hard is, presumable, Brian Wilson, who did not show up for the interview. He had a dentist appointment, the group’s manager said later.
   Brian has established himself as a cryptic, eccentric figure, an incredibly creative person whose fruitful periods often end in the destruction of his inventions.
   Last year, when “Good Vibrations” was racking up its million-plus sales, Capitol had the follow-up album scheduled under the title of “Smile.” The album jacket already had been printed, a picture of a shop which dispensed smiles.
   But the album never came out and the Beach Boys became embroiled in a royalty suit against Capitol. Rumors said that Brian, a perfectionist, had destroyed all the tapes for the LP.
   We didn’t scrap them,” Carl said. “We just haven’t used them yet. We did it all from scratch when we started again. We actually had finished the album but then a lot of things didn’t turn out the way Brian liked. We all didn’t agree on different types of things. We decided to do something new.”
   Mike Love, another Beach Boy, said, “If he gets an idea it’s now and it’s better than something from the past. I’ve seen it a hundred times.
   “We’ve seen a lot of potentially great songs just be shelved. They come out maybe two or three years later, but they’re in his mind somehow. If that particular idea seems to fit what he’s working on at the time it will just come naturally.”
   Despite the simplicity Carl claims for the latest LP, it is a good record and a tribute to what Brian can accomplish quickly.
   It includes his masterpieces, “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes and Villains” and exotic bits of pop thought such as “Vegetables,” a choral tribute to the cellulose kingdom; “Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (W. Woodpecker Symphony),” a woodwind and vocal sylvan composition; “She’s Goin’ Bald,” a satire view of womanhood; “With Me Tonight,” a soothing ballad; and “Gettin’ Hungry,” whose strong rhythm contrasts with mood pieces.
   Brian Wilson’s forte is musical rather than lyrical. He fragments the words of his songs into segments whose tempo and vocal treatment constantly change. The same phrase may become alternately joyful, wistful, irony, empty and symbolic as it accelerates and blows through choral, barbershop, solo, sloppy and tight voicings.


Quote
The Morning News 9th October, 1967: BEACH BOYS TELL IT LIKE IT IS – AND WAS by Pete Johnson
   Carl Wilson, the youngest Beach Boy, who has aged to a draft eligible 21 in the six years of the quintet’s existence, perched on a stool in the Sunset Strip office of their manager and chatted.
   Across the desk, Mike love lounged in a chair saying little, his red beard smiling a lot, vivid in the sunlight. Dennis Wilson, brother of Carl, said less, listened for 30 minutes from a couch on Carl’s right and then departed. Brian Wilson, the third brother in this blood-strong ensemble, was an hour late at this point. One hour later, he was two hours late.
   Brian has ticked in slow motion for the six months or so after “Good Vibrations” was released, unable to satisfy himself with a follow-up single or album for the Beach Boys. After his aesthetic impasse was resolved, he had “Heroes and Villains” ready for airplay within a week and pursued it quickly with an album, “Smiley Smile,” which was just released.
   “Those six months were a difficult time for us.” Carl was saying. “Brian just wasn’t happy with ‘Heroes and Villains’ until he had worked it over and over, throwing our parts and adding new ones. So we had no new records, and we were in a lawsuit with Capitol, and then my draft problem developed and it was more of a strain for the group than it was for me. I knew what was happening all along and wasn’t worried, but they didn’t know.”
   Carl was thrown in jail in New York as the group was preparing for a European tour.
   “After I found out that they wanted to arrest me, I turned myself in, but the FBI said in their release that I was apprehended, so all the papers carried it that way.
   “I spent a day in jail. It wasn’t too bad, really. Peaceful. Then I flew to Dublin to join the group. I missed their first appearance that evening, but was on for the second.”
   Carl’s legal problems have been resolved and his draft classification is pending a decision by his board. Meanwhile he is 1-A.
   The suit against Capitol, claiming that past royalties were owed to the Beach Boys, was dropped when “Heroes and Villains” came out. The quintet and their company agreed to the formation of a new label, Brother Records, which is owned by the Beach Boys and distributed by Capitol.
   Carl said that the new album is not the same as the one on which Brian was working at the time “Good Vibrations” was released. “He still has all those tapes, but we decided not to have a complicated album this time.
   “We did ‘Smiley Smile’ quickly, in a couple of weeks, to get something out. It’s not nearly as ambitious an album as ‘Pet Sounds’ was. Most of it was done at Brian’s house, with his own equipment and in his studio, which he had built in a couple of days. We did part of it in his gym, part in the backyard… all over the place.”
   It happens to be a good album. Whether or not it is an apt sequel to “Pet Sounds,” it is a long way in front of their “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Little Deuce Coupe” and “Surfer Girl” days.
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« Reply #79 on: May 19, 2020, 02:28:24 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.

That's kind of what I'm challenging. Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends sort of prove that wrong IMO. I think he made a conscious, intentional artistic change for the '67-'68 era. After that, I think he lost interest in completing tracks.

I don't particularly disagree with this, but I'd say that "Smile" getting shelved was more than just an intentional artistic change. Something fell apart there. The Smile-to-Smiley Smile path was not the same as Summer Days-to-Pet Sounds, etc.

I don't agree with how Mike grossly generalizes about Brian's demise in that era, but I don't think it's crazy for the other members of the band to feel in retrospect that things changed after "Smile." The fact that, intermittently over the years, band member seemed to minimize the post-PS/Smile stuff has to do with many factors. Brian not being 1966 Brian was one of them. But I also think we have to remember that the band members embracing and performing later 60s and 70s material in concert, and looking back at those tracks via boxed sets and whatnot, is a relatively recent development. Mike wasn't going to do "All I Wanna Do" or "Surf's Up" at his licensed concerts in 1999.  For most of the 80s and 90s, Mike thought a lot about "Kokomo", a lot about diminishing album returns, a lot about increased concert revenue, and stewed on numerous slights from Brian or folks related to Brian. So in 1998 for instance, it totally makes sense that Mike was thinking of "Heroes and Villains", and then not much else musically for a few decades after that. I'm generalizing as well of course. A few post-66 songs became standards in the setlist.

I think it's important, especially after getting hunks of SS and WH session tapes, to remind fans and scholars that Brian was still running those sessions, that he didn't go to sleep in his bedroom in 1967, and that maybe SS wasn't as much of a "meh, let's just record an album with a washboard and water jugs" and did have some deliberation behind it. But certainly it's plausible to me that, even if Brian ran those later sessions, the band felt Brian was different in drive on SS and WH, etc.

Brian's motivation for making those albums surely was different. As I think Howie Edelson posted concerning the 67/68 era, a lot the Brian stuff from then was almost devoid of contemporary influences. Brian was just doing his own thing, vibing a bit on Bacharach maybe, and just following his own muse. In produced great stuff that I wouldn't ever want to give up. But if the guys in the band were to tell me Brian wasn't *as* dynamic in creating that material, I'd have no problem believing it.

Interesting stuff.
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« Reply #80 on: May 19, 2020, 04:55:23 PM »


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.



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).


Regarding the decision to change the production credit - is the source for that decision known? Was it Brian's idea? Was the organization taking away his stripes? A collective, family decision whose specific origin can't be determined?
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« Reply #81 on: May 19, 2020, 05:22:38 PM »


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.



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).


Regarding the decision to change the production credit - is the source for that decision known? Was it Brian's idea? Was the organization taking away his stripes? A collective, family decision whose specific origin can't be determined?
That was, from my understanding, a Brian Wilson decision that happened right around the time that they started recording in his house.
He wasn’t using session musicians very much anymore, the entire band was still involved, so he decided to make the credit more democratic.
However, SS and WH are very much “produced by Brian Wilson.”
Friends was also mostly a Brian project, with the exception of the two Dennis tracks.
20/20 was the first completely democratic album, with every track being written, produced and arranged by different members.
Sunflower was very similar, except that Carl acted more like “ Executive producer.” He may not have produced every track, but he had some type of hand in every track. Carl’s EP went even further with Surfs Up, CATP and Holland.
And then obviously we know where things went later on
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« Reply #82 on: May 19, 2020, 05:48:39 PM »

I don't particularly disagree with this, but I'd say that "Smile" getting shelved was more than just an intentional artistic change. Something fell apart there. The Smile-to-Smiley Smile path was not the same as Summer Days-to-Pet Sounds, etc.

Just pulling this out so say yes indeed, as I wrote in several posts above, something drastically changed, and we can pinpoint it directly to the week after the Boys returned from Europe and were tracking vocals in the pro studios, and suddenly after that mysterious week in early June '67, Brian's living room had a radio broadcast board and rented studio gear and they were recording there instead.

The information and dates are out there and pretty set in stone - The mystery remains just what did happen during that week to cause such a seismic shift in direction. Read between the lines and there had to be a band meeting or meetings that led to the entire process and direction changing within a week after they got home from that tour.

Must have been some heavy stuff.
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« Reply #83 on: May 19, 2020, 06:00:39 PM »


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.



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).


Regarding the decision to change the production credit - is the source for that decision known? Was it Brian's idea? Was the organization taking away his stripes? A collective, family decision whose specific origin can't be determined?
That was, from my understanding, a Brian Wilson decision that happened right around the time that they started recording in his house.
He wasn’t using session musicians very much anymore, the entire band was still involved, so he decided to make the credit more democratic.
However, SS and WH are very much “produced by Brian Wilson.”
Friends was also mostly a Brian project, with the exception of the two Dennis tracks.
20/20 was the first completely democratic album, with every track being written, produced and arranged by different members.
Sunflower was very similar, except that Carl acted more like “ Executive producer.” He may not have produced every track, but he had some type of hand in every track. Carl’s EP went even further with Surfs Up, CATP and Holland.
And then obviously we know where things went later on

I go back to a comment made by ex-wife Marilyn in the Don Was documentary, where she described how Brian eventually had enough of the band members getting on his case over this and that in the studio, and eventually said something to the effect of if you don't agree with what I'm doing, do it yourselves, f***ers. And apart from the "nicer" version that suggests it was to bring a more democratic vibe into the process, and I agree that played a part in the production credit decision to some degree, what Marilyn clearly spelled out was Brian's frustration with the other guys' nitpicking finally boiled over.

I know that's not a popular sentiment among some revisionist circles who would like the public to believe the band members supported Brian at every step, but that's how bad it really was even if you don't hear about it as much. His former wife spelled it out on camera.

The other point which is perhaps even more important to consider is that Brian had been pushing Carl and Dennis to take a bigger role in production overall, at least since late '66 as you can hear Smile era sessions booked for Carl and Dennis to experiment in the studio and learn the trade. I'll always suggest Brian was trying to mentor them into learning how to make records, also falling in line with what the plans for Brother were, namely the outlet for the band members to find, develop, and produce outside artists besides the Beach Boys and make money doing it. I zero in on Carl and Dennis because we have audio proof of them in the studio (sounding a lot like what Brian was doing) learning how to cut records, Al maybe but he didn't give it a go until a few years later, Bruce had a track record of producing records if he was to be included in the Brother roster, and Mike couldn't produce his way out of a wet paper bag.  Brian has said he wanted to pull back from being the #1 go-to guy and get the others on board producing *and* writing to take some of the load off and develop Brother according to plans, and I think we can trace some of the ways he was doing it.

So combining the practical with the emotional reasons, there may be an answer in there somewhere.
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« Reply #84 on: May 19, 2020, 06:06:00 PM »

Don’t forget the “pickle brothers” sessions... Evil
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« Reply #85 on: May 19, 2020, 07:56:01 PM »


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.



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).


Regarding the decision to change the production credit - is the source for that decision known? Was it Brian's idea? Was the organization taking away his stripes? A collective, family decision whose specific origin can't be determined?
That was, from my understanding, a Brian Wilson decision that happened right around the time that they started recording in his house.
He wasn’t using session musicians very much anymore, the entire band was still involved, so he decided to make the credit more democratic.
However, SS and WH are very much “produced by Brian Wilson.”
Friends was also mostly a Brian project, with the exception of the two Dennis tracks.
20/20 was the first completely democratic album, with every track being written, produced and arranged by different members.
Sunflower was very similar, except that Carl acted more like “ Executive producer.” He may not have produced every track, but he had some type of hand in every track. Carl’s EP went even further with Surfs Up, CATP and Holland.
And then obviously we know where things went later on

I go back to a comment made by ex-wife Marilyn in the Don Was documentary, where she described how Brian eventually had enough of the band members getting on his case over this and that in the studio, and eventually said something to the effect of if you don't agree with what I'm doing, do it yourselves, f***ers. And apart from the "nicer" version that suggests it was to bring a more democratic vibe into the process, and I agree that played a part in the production credit decision to some degree, what Marilyn clearly spelled out was Brian's frustration with the other guys' nitpicking finally boiled over.

I know that's not a popular sentiment among some revisionist circles who would like the public to believe the band members supported Brian at every step, but that's how bad it really was even if you don't hear about it as much. His former wife spelled it out on camera.

The other point which is perhaps even more important to consider is that Brian had been pushing Carl and Dennis to take a bigger role in production overall, at least since late '66 as you can hear Smile era sessions booked for Carl and Dennis to experiment in the studio and learn the trade. I'll always suggest Brian was trying to mentor them into learning how to make records, also falling in line with what the plans for Brother were, namely the outlet for the band members to find, develop, and produce outside artists besides the Beach Boys and make money doing it. I zero in on Carl and Dennis because we have audio proof of them in the studio (sounding a lot like what Brian was doing) learning how to cut records, Al maybe but he didn't give it a go until a few years later, Bruce had a track record of producing records if he was to be included in the Brother roster, and Mike couldn't produce his way out of a wet paper bag.  Brian has said he wanted to pull back from being the #1 go-to guy and get the others on board producing *and* writing to take some of the load off and develop Brother according to plans, and I think we can trace some of the ways he was doing it.

So combining the practical with the emotional reasons, there may be an answer in there somewhere.
Well also, I may be wrong about this, but I recall reading somewhere that Brian had a plan post Smile.
His plan was to finish GV, then finish an album, then after that album, the next album would be more of a group album with contributions from everyone.
So if everything would have gone to plan, the timeline would’ve looked like this:
October 1966: GV is released and goes #1
Jan 1967: H&V is released as a single, with the album following.
Spring / Summer 1967: Brian backs off to let the rest of the band provide contributions to the next album.

Obviously this is not what happened, but if everything would’ve gone the way that I read that it was supposed to, it would’ve been similar to this. obviously, Brian would have still been the leader, but they would’ve worked on more of a “beach Boys” album rather than a “brian’s beach boys” album.
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« Reply #86 on: May 19, 2020, 08:03:01 PM »

This quote from Carl is of the intriguing variety that keeps uber-fans' imaginations spinning at night...

"We didn’t scrap them,” Carl said. “We just haven’t used them yet. We did it all from scratch when we started again. We actually had finished the album but then a lot of things didn’t turn out the way Brian liked. We all didn’t agree on different types of things. We decided to do something new.”

The easiest thing to say about this is that Carl's statement is simply untrue.  Who knows why he said what he said, but they had not "finished the album," not even close.  And that's that. False statement.  Move on.  And that's certainly the accepted wisdom now among anyone and everyone... at least everyone whose opinion matters.

But I've been a fan long enough to know that it hasn't always been totally accepted wisdom.  I can remember 20-30 years ago hearing rumors along the lines that, although Smile had never been "finished finished" in the sense of a completed master tape, that it, or at least parts of it, may have at one time existed in a more finished form than what exists now. There were at one time, for example, rumors that Brian had done a test-mix of one whole side of Smile.  Someone even claimed that Brian had played that "side" in a radio station interview in late spring '67.  The fact is that if a tape of such a test mix was lost, stolen or intentionally destroyed, who would know about it or remember?   I remember reading David Leaf once say in the early '90s something along the lines that "the vaults have been raped.  Tapes that I saw in the vault in 1976 are gone."
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« Reply #87 on: May 19, 2020, 08:15:30 PM »

I think you’re onto something. The stories of Brian tossing tapes, Erasing tapes, the lack of completed Mixes in the tape libraries, etc. ... gets one to thinking.
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« Reply #88 on: May 19, 2020, 08:19:24 PM »


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

Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Mark and Alan discovered that.

I'm guessing there were chins on the floor.
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« Reply #89 on: May 19, 2020, 10:30:48 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.

That's kind of what I'm challenging. Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends sort of prove that wrong IMO. I think he made a conscious, intentional artistic change for the '67-'68 era. After that, I think he lost interest in completing tracks.

I too think that he made a conscious decision around that time to go for a somewhat minimalist, less passionate approach. At the same time I feel he kind of made a virtue out of necessity. It's obvious he was feeling exhausted and that feeling is all over those records (which I think are all fantastic). His singing style also mirrored that feeling, especially on Friends.
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« Reply #90 on: May 20, 2020, 12:36:23 AM »

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.

That's kind of what I'm challenging. Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends sort of prove that wrong IMO. I think he made a conscious, intentional artistic change for the '67-'68 era. After that, I think he lost interest in completing tracks.

I too think that he made a conscious decision around that time to go for a somewhat minimalist, less passionate approach. At the same time I feel he kind of made a virtue out of necessity. It's obvious he was feeling exhausted and that feeling is all over those records (which I think are all fantastic). His singing style also mirrored that feeling, especially on Friends.
I always feel that, after the demise of Smile, Brian had a short attention span in the studio. He would go in with the group and whoever, and produce something that sounded nice enough, but as Mike says, he became more passive. He'd do enough, and then Carl or the others would come in and try to take it to the level of Brian's earlier productions. This, I think, has remained true for the last 50 years. 15 BO and Love You are Brian working without anyone else stepping in to "complete" his productions; where, for the most part, what we have gotten as far as released albums have been "a little initial inspiration from Brian", and then someone else - Andy Paley, Joe Thomas, Don Was,etc - stepping in to "complete" the recording.
Brian loses interest in things real fast now, which is why someone else always has to take over on co-writing and production. Is this a result of drugs he took in the 60's and 70's? A result of drugs Landy prescribed for him in the 80's and 90's? Or just natural aging? Your guess is as good as mine.
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« Reply #91 on: May 20, 2020, 01:51:16 AM »

In one of those BB/BW documentaries (can't remember which one) Van Dyke Parks shared a story of how Brian once said to him (quoted from memory): "My work is done; I worked hard when I was young and I did a lot of good work". That one I think is very telling with regard to Brian becoming more passive after the group's golden era in the 60s (and I do believe that he regained his passion for studio work for a short while when he did 15BO and Love You, despite Carl's co-production credit).
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« Reply #92 on: May 20, 2020, 03:49:52 AM »

I think you’re onto something. The stories of Brian tossing tapes, Erasing tapes, the lack of completed Mixes in the tape libraries, etc. ... gets one to thinking.

Yes some tapes are gone but what if there were no completed mixes from the get-go. Brian worked on the album and the next big one after GV, H&V. The only known finished mix of H&V was the Cantina alternate from February 10th. But that one does not resemble a single mix, as it has no chorus. It has three verses in a row, the "Cantina" section which serves as one of the bridges but in effect is the continuation of the H&V "story" (hence it's "Part 2" moniker), other verse and bridges-tags-pick-ups - whatever; there is a fade - everything is here but a chorus. And then we have chants. People thought "Cantina" was the planned A-side and the chants with whatever would form the B-side, and it seems nobody has raised a question, what good a single without a chorus would be.

Then from closer to the end of February, Brian returns to the "Bicycle Rider" chorus he had been trying in a combination with an already developed verse, but somehow he set it aside, not using it in "Cantina" - even if it's marked as a H&V master from January 5th. It's interesting that some of the chants are based on BR. But these aren't choruses. Chorus is a very definite thing, either there is one or there's nothing.

Suddenly, he starts to remake the verse, the fade, the chorus. This is when he starts working on H&V as the single. But, suddenly the work is stopped in the beginning of March. After that, he works on Vegetables which is clearly the single and clearly has a chorus. A couple of other songs were briefly in the works and also Dada, but these could be written off in the larger picture. What counts is:

- there never had been a proper "villanous" chorus of H&V before he came up with "Bicycle Rider" - "Heroes" being described in the verse, "Villains" in the chorus. "Cantina" served as the development of the story. That's why he blew off the first deadline, and then the next deadlines. But, he worked on H&V as the centerpiece of the album all this time. He just did not work on the H&V single.

I think (this is in Priore's second book and may be elsewhere) this has to do something with their litigation with Capitol; apparently, the band wanted to withhold the single. Everything about "the single is finished" is just false statements. He started working on it in earnest from the second half of February, and abandoned his work. When the band resumed work post-Smile, it was on his February design.

Cam Mott has turned our attention to the fact that all the ingredients of H&V single are collected on the master 57045, starting from the BR chorus which started this master on January 5th. Everything else bar the earliest works such as verse is on the master 57020. This raises a question whether Brian worked on a "Part 1-Part 2", "Side 1- Side 2" scenario, as tapeboxes attest to that. But, as there is no mention of a chorus on these tapeboxes, and the glaring existence of a chorus-less "Cantina" mix, the only way this scenario can be explained is - Brian inventing "Sgt. Pepper" before "Sgt. Pepper" by wanting to place a version of H&V on each side - not of a single, but of the album.  

The most moot moment is not what killed off Smile between May and June, but what killed H&V in March. That took care of Smile as well. I don't buy the idea that Brian was too overwhelmed with his creation, as he worked on the single proper, and resumed the work along the same lines in June. There was an unwelcome intrusion from the band or from the company which made him to abandon his work. Very probably, the monetary considerations. Priore quotes H&V costing $40K, while GV only $10-15K and not $50K which is a much older quotation.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 03:55:39 AM by zaval80 » Logged
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« Reply #93 on: May 20, 2020, 07:56:07 AM »

Having been reminded that the song "vegetables" was slated to be a single… Does anyone think that if Paul McCartney had actually munched celery on a single version - and that fact had been played up and used in marketing in '67 - would that have had any impact on chart success? A '67 Beatles cameo, even if it was a very unusual type of cameo appearance?
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« Reply #94 on: May 20, 2020, 10:32:23 AM »

I think you’re onto something. The stories of Brian tossing tapes, Erasing tapes, the lack of completed Mixes in the tape libraries, etc. ... gets one to thinking.

Yes some tapes are gone but what if there were no completed mixes from the get-go. Brian worked on the album and the next big one after GV, H&V. The only known finished mix of H&V was the Cantina alternate from February 10th. But that one does not resemble a single mix, as it has no chorus. It has three verses in a row, the "Cantina" section which serves as one of the bridges but in effect is the continuation of the H&V "story" (hence it's "Part 2" moniker), other verse and bridges-tags-pick-ups - whatever; there is a fade - everything is here but a chorus. And then we have chants. People thought "Cantina" was the planned A-side and the chants with whatever would form the B-side, and it seems nobody has raised a question, what good a single without a chorus would be.

Then from closer to the end of February, Brian returns to the "Bicycle Rider" chorus he had been trying in a combination with an already developed verse, but somehow he set it aside, not using it in "Cantina" - even if it's marked as a H&V master from January 5th. It's interesting that some of the chants are based on BR. But these aren't choruses. Chorus is a very definite thing, either there is one or there's nothing.

Suddenly, he starts to remake the verse, the fade, the chorus. This is when he starts working on H&V as the single. But, suddenly the work is stopped in the beginning of March. After that, he works on Vegetables which is clearly the single and clearly has a chorus. A couple of other songs were briefly in the works and also Dada, but these could be written off in the larger picture. What counts is:

- there never had been a proper "villanous" chorus of H&V before he came up with "Bicycle Rider" - "Heroes" being described in the verse, "Villains" in the chorus. "Cantina" served as the development of the story. That's why he blew off the first deadline, and then the next deadlines. But, he worked on H&V as the centerpiece of the album all this time. He just did not work on the H&V single.

I think (this is in Priore's second book and may be elsewhere) this has to do something with their litigation with Capitol; apparently, the band wanted to withhold the single. Everything about "the single is finished" is just false statements. He started working on it in earnest from the second half of February, and abandoned his work. When the band resumed work post-Smile, it was on his February design.

Cam Mott has turned our attention to the fact that all the ingredients of H&V single are collected on the master 57045, starting from the BR chorus which started this master on January 5th. Everything else bar the earliest works such as verse is on the master 57020. This raises a question whether Brian worked on a "Part 1-Part 2", "Side 1- Side 2" scenario, as tapeboxes attest to that. But, as there is no mention of a chorus on these tapeboxes, and the glaring existence of a chorus-less "Cantina" mix, the only way this scenario can be explained is - Brian inventing "Sgt. Pepper" before "Sgt. Pepper" by wanting to place a version of H&V on each side - not of a single, but of the album.  

The most moot moment is not what killed off Smile between May and June, but what killed H&V in March. That took care of Smile as well. I don't buy the idea that Brian was too overwhelmed with his creation, as he worked on the single proper, and resumed the work along the same lines in June. There was an unwelcome intrusion from the band or from the company which made him to abandon his work. Very probably, the monetary considerations. Priore quotes H&V costing $40K, while GV only $10-15K and not $50K which is a much older quotation.


In terms of songs without a chorus there are plenty of examples that are now considered legendary songs: To name but two, Hey Jude and Bohemian Rhapsody. No chorus to be found in either one. I'd argue one of Brian's earlier triumphs All Summer Long has no specific chorus section, and I'd also argue neither does Wouldn't It Be Nice, which borrowed it's structure and groove from The Lovin Spoonful's "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice", which I'd *also* argue has no chorus yet was a hit single.

But most relevant to "Heroes And Villains", as has been mentioned many times, when Van Dyke heard Brian play the initial idea, he thought of a Marty Robbins ballad and the lyrics began to flow. Specifically, in this case, Marty's "El Paso" which was a number one crossover hit as a single on the country and Hot 100 charts back in '59. If you listen to El Paso you'll hear the influence both lyrically and in the rhythmic flow.

And Marty Robbins' "El Paso" has no chorus, yet was still a number 1 smash hit.  Smiley
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« Reply #95 on: May 20, 2020, 11:02:30 AM »

It's not like H&V never had a chorus - Brian had found a very good one in BR. It's the Cantina version which is strikingly chorus-less. I feel there were reasons for him to delay the work on H&V as a single, and these were political.

Marty Robbins had a hit in his chosen idiom, while Brian wanted to confirm his newly-found ability to come up with something on par with his previous "tower of song". "Hey Jude" is a great sing-along, there's no reason such song wouldn't have been a hit. "Bo Rhap", likewise, but on the opposite basis - too technically excellent. Also, these songs are extremely hummable and of a certain anthemic quality. While H&V sounds good on an ear, it has nothing in those departments. Now Wouldn't It Be Nice, it's both hummable and rather anthemic. It has two different hummable themes, so the main property of a chorus is here at work.

On a separate note, I think he was well aware of Phil Spector's fall with something as great as "River Deep, Mountain High". To risk everything with a track which has no chorus? highly unlikely IMO.

And, naturally, he came back to his senses very soon. I wonder why Brian rejected those "mixing experiments" of verse into BR. If he felt he needed some middle part inbetween, it wouldn't have been too hard for him to think one up. BR theme sounding too spooky? he could coat it with something.

So I think it's highly likely there never had been that much more than what we know of. No mystical H&V single of two parts, no Smile being ready for finalization on that May 19th session, no nothing. And what we have is more or less "it".
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 11:03:40 AM by zaval80 » Logged
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« Reply #96 on: May 20, 2020, 11:24:08 AM »

Brian did borrow nearly the same rhythmic groove and a similar backing track as Spector used on River Deep, so regardless of eventual chart performance he definitely took more than a bit of influence from that record for Heroes.

Here's the conundrum: Brian was kicking down doors and innovating in terms of pop music in 1966 and into 67, as some of his peers were also doing. The "formula" on how to both write and produce a pop song was being thrown out the window in some cases, and that was the whole point. The way music was performed live was following suit - It was no longer guys in suits playing on a basically bare stage through a PA system. Radio was changing too.

I honestly believe as much of a pop sensibility as Brian Wilson had - and his was one of the best in the business - at this exact time I think he was trying to push the outside of the envelope with the music he was making. And in terms of the old format where a song had to have a verse-chorus-bridge-etc, he had already made some pretty classic records which didn't follow that form alongside many that did, and I think his entire concept going into what became the Smile project was to make music that was different and new, not the same accepted pop song structure and format. It was more forward-thinking.

Cue the obligatory "Art Versus Commerce" sidebar.

But consider how Janis Ian appeared alongside Brian on the Inside Pop broadcast, April '67, was featured singing her song "Society's Child"...and against all conventional pop formula and commercial music expectations, from that broadcast the song actually became a hit on the pop charts. Janis' song follows barely any normal conventions of what should make a hit record, in almost all areas of the song's design and sound. Yet it was good enough and caught enough ears in 1967 when CBS featured it that people started requesting and buying it.

And no accident, there was Brian at the end of the broadcast performing his own new and different composition which unfortunately was not available to request or buy in 1967.

Just pointing all that out to show that non-traditional songwriting and production was capable of connecting to an audience without the standard formulae in place, and one of the best comparisons happened on the same April '67 TV broadcast where Brian appeared premiering what is perhaps the crowning achievement of the Smile project.
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« Reply #97 on: May 20, 2020, 11:27:30 AM »

So I think it's highly likely there never had been that much more than what we know of. No mystical H&V single of two parts, no Smile being ready for finalization on that May 19th session, no nothing. And what we have is more or less "it".

Please refresh my memory, where or when did someone suggest there would be a Smile ready for finalization on May 19th (1967)?
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« Reply #98 on: May 20, 2020, 01:14:04 PM »

I never suggested that anybody suggested that (the importance of that last cancelled session) Cheesy that tale is really old.

I wholeheartedly agree that what Brian did was ahead of the times. The music is so good, that till a couple of days ago I never had a thought about what is strange about "Cantina".
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« Reply #99 on: May 20, 2020, 01:44:45 PM »



On a separate note, I think he was well aware of Phil Spector's fall with something as great as "River Deep, Mountain High". To risk everything with a track which has no chorus? highly unlikely IMO.
 

I've wondered how much Phil's very quick fall from the charts (and grace) affected Brian's own self-confidence at that time, when he really needed confidence boosting like never before.
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