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Author Topic: Request: BW Album Reissues with Bonus Discs of Demos and Alternate Takes  (Read 1164 times)
rab2591
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« on: July 20, 2020, 05:40:48 AM »

I was thinking about Brian's No Pier Pressure album and how the demo of 'Runaway Dancer' apparently sounds very similar to the released version (which I'm sure is surprising to all of us given how there's a big EDM influence on the track). Anyways, this got me thinking that it would be awesome for Brian's camp to release remixed reissues of his catalogue but each album having a bonus disc full of demos, alternate versions, instrumentals for certain songs, etc.

I would love to hear the original 'Runaway Dancer', some demos from TLOS, the instrumental to 'Wonderful', and some of the demo/alternate-takes from Imagination. Also I'm sure there is a slew of unreleased songs from each album era that should absolutely be officially released. And I know we all own all of his albums anyways, but if they released remixed versions of Imagination, or gave us the warmer/analog sounding mixes of TLOS and Smile, I bet they could woo a lot of us into buying the reissues (especially if each came with a bonus disc full of unreleased material).

Keep it digital to keep the production cost down, make it iTunes/Playstore only (no streaming) and I think Brian's camp could make some good money off this stuff. What do you all think?
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2020, 08:35:17 AM »

It's an interesting idea. We basically did get this for his first album. I can think of a few problems, though:

* A lot of outtake material from Imagination would be tied up with Joe Thomas (it's the basis for most of TWGMTR and NPP) and there would be rights issues; BW & Co. can't release this stuff unilaterally, and it would apparently take a quite a feat of editing to make it presentable anyway.

* The TLOS demos are unlikely to see the light of day officially considering how much Scott Bennett they contain IMO. (Side note: it's telling of the Brian camp's attitude towards those guys -- for very different reasons, of course -- how little Bennett and Thomas there is on Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology. There's almost as much Paley on that disc as Bennett and Thomas put together.)

* I don't think there's very much outtake stuff from Smile, Gershwin, or Disney, if any. They worked out the sequences before they even started recording, and the vocals were all stitched together in post, so all that they could conceivably release would be backing tracks -- not very interesting (although a lot of the Smile backing tracks are included in Beautiful Dreamer).

* So much from No Pier Pressure was released on the various versions of the CD (plus "Run James Run") that I really doubt there's much left, except for raw workshop materials in Joe Thomas's possession. The most interesting thing still unreleased would be Brian's original production of "Our Special Love," which Brian reportedly and specifically doesn't want released.

Brian has a ton of genuine, completed outtake material from his solo career in the vaults (e.g. the Paley stuff, Sweet Insanity), enough for a box set. But for the most part the album releases give us pretty much everything from those particular sessions. Maybe there's a bunch of leftover material from What I Really Want for Christmas, but I doubt it.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 08:41:23 AM by maggie » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2020, 10:08:14 AM »

Thanks much for your response, maggie!

I didnít think about the Scott Bennett aspect for TLOS (and any potential instrumental of One Kind Of Love). As for everything else, it is the raw workshop stuff Iím basically interested in (as well as some backing tracks) - the stuff that Brian noodled out on piano or whatnot before creating a finalized song.

Also, you mention ĎBeautiful Dreamerí - my copy is buried in a box somewhere, but is the instrumental content a feature of the disc? Or is it playing on the menus? Thanks for any information about that.
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2020, 12:41:12 PM »

Thanks much for your response, maggie!

I didnít think about the Scott Bennett aspect for TLOS (and any potential instrumental of One Kind Of Love). As for everything else, it is the raw workshop stuff Iím basically interested in (as well as some backing tracks) - the stuff that Brian noodled out on piano or whatnot before creating a finalized song.

Also, you mention ĎBeautiful Dreamerí - my copy is buried in a box somewhere, but is the instrumental content a feature of the disc? Or is it playing on the menus? Thanks for any information about that.

Hi rab2591. Coincidentally, my copy of Beautiful Dreamer is also packed away at the moment (along with all of my other DVDs), so I can't answer for certain whether there is an isolated soundtrack option. I don't think there is, though. But instrumentals and other exclusive mixes of the 2004 Smile recordings form the main soundtrack of the film. Regrettably, the narration plays over almost all of this material, but it may be possible to extract the music from the 5.1 mix.
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2020, 12:47:18 PM »

There is a soundtrack-only option on the Beautiful Dreamer DVD.

As far as Brian solo outtakes go, I'm much more interested in the wealth of material he recorded through the 80s and especially the 90s. I'd kill for the full batch of TLOS demos but the Scott Bennett situation probably makes that a pipe dream. TWGMTR and NPP... more morbidly curious about what was left over from those than I am genuinely enthusiastic. Complete remixes without so much roboticization on the vocals would be nice, but again, pipe dream.
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2020, 02:26:21 PM »

I'd also be curious to hear the original Runaway Dancer.
If they exist, I'd also be interested in the Lana Del Rey version of Last Song, and Frank Ocean on Our Special Love.
Metropolis with Jeff Beck was another title mentioned during the making of NPP, as well as a Blondie sung "new track" He Come Down.

Related point, there could be interesting outtakes from TWGMTR, and anything in between these two albums.
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2020, 04:08:02 PM »

I don't want to be harsh, but this is the kind of stuff that will be a little part of the bread and butter for Brian's children. There's no market for such a thing today, even as digital-only. At Spotify, Brian has only 158000 monthly listiners versus almost 10500000 for The Beach Boys. And we've come a long way from the days of the BW 88 reissue. It seems that I'm in a minority here but I'm curious about outtakes and demos for GIOMH. For example, Mark Linett said that they demoed more songs co-written by Stephen Kalinich. Not that  I think there's a lost masterpiece there, but I'm curious.
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2020, 04:40:03 PM »

It should be noted that there are a string of TLOS demos that pre-date Scott Bennett's involvement.
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2020, 05:25:15 PM »

Out of curiosity, has it been stated what issue was with Our Special Love?
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2020, 08:01:13 PM »

I would like to see a vinyl version of Imagination. We've got BW88, IJWMFTT and OCA on vinyl now; need to fill in the rest of gaps from the anti-vinyl era.
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2020, 05:13:19 AM »

Thanks all for the information on Beautiful Dreamer - I either don't remember or never knew that there was a soundtrack-only option! I'll need to dig that DVD out now...

I don't want to be harsh, but this is the kind of stuff that will be a little part of the bread and butter for Brian's children. There's no market for such a thing today, even as digital-only. At Spotify, Brian has only 158000 monthly listiners versus almost 10500000 for The Beach Boys. And we've come a long way from the days of the BW 88 reissue. It seems that I'm in a minority here but I'm curious about outtakes and demos for GIOMH. For example, Mark Linett said that they demoed more songs co-written by Stephen Kalinich. Not that  I think there's a lost masterpiece there, but I'm curious.

I personally think the best time for releasing this kind of stuff was 2014 when Brian's biopic was released. Outside of that, I would guess that the market today is the best market they will ever have for this music. Release it while there are young and old Beach Boys fans still around - I just don't see how his music will grow in popularity (and market value) as time goes on. More and more older Beach Boys/BW fans will pass on, I doubt that the rate of newer fans will make up for that loss. And I'm not trying to be morbid, just realistic. There will always be a BW niche in the market, but I would bet that fewer and fewer people will be drawn to this music as time goes on (and even if I am wrong about that, streaming services are becoming more popular and thus the act of buying music will become less and less popular - so the market for this stuff will only diminish).

As for the Spotify numbers, that's more evidence to me that something like this should be released today: 18-44 year olds make up 71% of the listeners on Spotify - whereas people 55 and older make up 19%. Older fans are probably more used to listening to CDs than they are streaming. Sell it now while the older fans are still around to purchase this stuff, otherwise there really will be no market as people become more and more used to subscribing rather than purchasing individual albums.

And speaking of Spotify, it almost doesn't surprise me that he's not all that popular given that it took like 4+ years for Spotify (and Apple Music) to remove the albums of the jazz artist Brian Wilson off of Brian Wilson's official page - his streaming accounts seem more like an afterthought than they do a serious concern for BW's management - given how little they probably make from them this isn't surprising. Still...

- why is there a complete German audiobook translation of Brian's autobiography on his Spotify US artist page? Also Spotify's playlist algorithm is terrible in this case: one of the tracks from the German audiobook is actually on Brian's Artist Playlist (I haven't been subscribed to Spotify for a month now, so this could have changed, but it has been this way for at least two years).

- Why isn't GIOMH on Spotify (or any other streaming service)? I've always wondered if it was a record company issue, and I own the album so I'm not worried about it, but for new fans it'd probably be nice to hear 'Desert Drive' once in a while.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2020, 05:17:14 AM by rab2591 » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2020, 06:18:44 AM »

It should be noted that there are a string of TLOS demos that pre-date Scott Bennett's involvement.
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2020, 07:09:14 AM »

I'd also be curious to hear the original Runaway Dancer.
If they exist, I'd also be interested in the Lana Del Rey version of Last Song, and Frank Ocean on Our Special Love.
Metropolis with Jeff Beck was another title mentioned during the making of NPP, as well as a Blondie sung "new track" He Come Down.

Related point, there could be interesting outtakes from TWGMTR, and anything in between these two albums.

Lana and Frank never actually recorded anything for Brian. Their participation was announced before it was actually locked in. A pretty dumb move, publicity-wise. I'm not sure about the other two.

I think most of the outtakes from TWGMTR ended up as part of the early working parts for No Pier Pressure. For example, "This Beautiful Day" seems intended to segue into "Summer's Gone." Probably the only significant exceptions were a Bruce track or two.
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2020, 07:13:11 AM »

Lana and Frank never actually recorded anything for Brian. Their participation was announced before it was actually locked in. A pretty dumb move, publicity-wise. I'm not sure about the other two.

Wrong about Lana. I know this for a fact.

I think most of the outtakes from TWGMTR ended up as part of the early working parts for No Pier Pressure. For example, "This Beautiful Day" seems intended to segue into "Summer's Gone." Probably the only significant exceptions were a Bruce track or two.

I thought they had a whole album worth of the life suite? While I can definitely see "This Beautiful Day" being a part of that, if there is a whole albums worth of other material for the Life Suite I think we'd all love to hear it.
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2020, 07:17:56 AM »

Out of curiosity, has it been stated what issue was with Our Special Love?

Reportedly the original version sounded a lot like the Shondells. It was supposed to be really good and more or less complete, but Brian didn't like it.

On the larger question of genuine outtake tracks (not just alternate versions), I think it unlikely that we'll see any of those while Brian is still active, just like a lot of Bruce and Mike stuff is going to stay unreleased as long as those guys are still active. None of them are prolific writers anymore and consequently, if they have any plans of releasing completed studio recordings in the future, they're probably going to want to hang on to any outtake material that has any merit until they're certain they won't be doing anything with it. (I think there's a good chance this is why "Sherry" and "My Solution" weren't included on the twofers or Good Vibrations box sets, for example.)

A similar thing happened with the Verve deluxe reissues from a few years ago, where Richard Ashcroft refused to allow them to release a bunch of outtakes because he still planned to use the songs on his own forthcoming albums (and indeed he has since done that with at least one of the outtake songs). Another member of the band ended up leaking all of the stuff onto the internet anyway.
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2020, 07:19:43 AM »

Lana and Frank never actually recorded anything for Brian. Their participation was announced before it was actually locked in. A pretty dumb move, publicity-wise. I'm not sure about the other two.

Wrong about Lana. I know this for a fact.

This would be huge news if true, and not just among the Beach Boys fandom. In practical terms Lana Del Rey is a much bigger star than Brian Wilson in 2020. Brian specifically told Rolling Stone, if I remember correctly, that Lana didn't record anything.
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2020, 07:21:56 AM »

To further talk about the Life suite, according to Joe Thomas:

"So this suite was a series of maybe one or two minute vignettes that he had like 15 of them that he would start and never finish. When I put them together on ProTools, it was eerie to me that they all fit together."

And apparently there were 6 songs that made up the life suite originally, one unfinished song "I'd Go Anywhere" was left off the album. According to Rolling Stone magazine 28 songs were recorded for TWGMTR and what was released is what we got.

All that being said, I don't think Brian could release any of this stuff on a solo basis given it was The Beach Boys who were recording the stuff.
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2020, 07:24:23 AM »

Lana and Frank never actually recorded anything for Brian. Their participation was announced before it was actually locked in. A pretty dumb move, publicity-wise. I'm not sure about the other two.

Wrong about Lana. I know this for a fact.

This would be huge news if true, and not just among the Beach Boys fandom. In practical terms Lana Del Rey is a much bigger star than Brian Wilson in 2020. Brian specifically told Rolling Stone, if I remember correctly, that Lana didn't record anything.

He also said Norbit is his favorite movie Grin Not saying he isn't telling his version of the truth here, but perhaps he was misremembering things during that interview.
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2020, 07:26:08 AM »

Danny Boy is another NPP/Jeff Beck outtake and Run James Run supposedly had an Al lead vocal back then. For TWGMTR, there's an extract of an unknown track featured in the TV special, which may/may not be the scrapped I'd Go Anywhere. Back to Gershwin I remember hearing that two entirely different versions of Nothing But Love were recorded.
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2020, 07:35:32 AM »

Back to Gershwin I remember hearing that two entirely different versions of Nothing But Love were recorded.

Man I would love to hear those. I know that Brian recorded a version that he wasn't happy with - it was really slow and he wasn't feeling it. So he went home for the night, came back into the studio with some new ideas the next day, one of those ideas being a sped up tempo. And thus the version we have now. One of my favorite BW songs (even if it is a Gershwin co-write) of his solo career.
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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2020, 07:57:16 AM »

With the knowledge that BW solo stuff has a limited but still viable audience/pool of potential customers, I think a boxed set (whether physical and digital or just digital) of outtakes would make far more sense than making us all buy the albums again.

Years back there should have been a "Bedroom Tapes" set, the title of which would simply be more a marketing angle to encompass all of his solo/demos stuff going back to the 70s and through to the 80s or so. In addition to that, or separately, a boxed set featuring the plethora of solo outtakes would be ideal. One disc could group together as many non-album b-sides, comp tracks, soundtrack tracks, etc. that they could license, and then the rest could compile better-sounding versions of stuff from "Sweet Insanity", the Paley stuff, etc., and then additional tracks we've never heard before (or even *heard of*).

I'm not sure why this hasn't been done years ago, especially considering that they still post rando pristine Brian demos and outtakes in little bits on his Instagram. Wtf?
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2020, 08:14:57 AM »

With the knowledge that BW solo stuff has a limited but still viable audience/pool of potential customers, I think a boxed set (whether physical and digital or just digital) of outtakes would make far more sense than making us all buy the albums again.

Years back there should have been a "Bedroom Tapes" set, the title of which would simply be more a marketing angle to encompass all of his solo/demos stuff going back to the 70s and through to the 80s or so. In addition to that, or separately, a boxed set featuring the plethora of solo outtakes would be ideal. One disc could group together as many non-album b-sides, comp tracks, soundtrack tracks, etc. that they could license, and then the rest could compile better-sounding versions of stuff from "Sweet Insanity", the Paley stuff, etc., and then additional tracks we've never heard before (or even *heard of*).

I'm not sure why this hasn't been done years ago, especially considering that they still post rando pristine Brian demos and outtakes in little bits on his Instagram. Wtf?

Couldn't agree more with all of this. My initial idea for reissues would cost us all a lot of money, so a boxset definitely does make more sense.

I remember when the hype for a Bedroom Tapes set was at full tilt - so much information about demos (both confirmed and unconfirmed) was being shared. There was so much talk that it was believable that such a set could be put together. But then nothing ever happened. And you're right, all of those pristine demos from instagram (that are all recorded with a shaky camera for crying out loud) are dropped out of nowhere but nothing ever comes of them. When they first dropped I think we were all excited that it was a budget promo series for The Bedroom Tapes.

I mean, I'm grateful that someone releases those little clips, but it does me very little when I can't listen to them fully and have them all assembled in a nice little album to listen to on my stereo system. I would complain about it more, but if they didn't see the potential for such a set 5+ years ago they certainly aren't going to see the potential now. Ugh.
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« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2020, 08:21:22 AM »

The "Bedroom Tapes" moniker should have been co-opted by Brian years ago, soon after that article hit using the name, to market a boxed set. It would have seen huge buzz from the magazines and venue that still discuss such stuff (and still would today I think). Any such set would largely ignore that technically there aren't many literal "bedroom" tapes. It would just be "stuff you haven't heard, genius stuff recorded during eras a lot of people think Brian was always zonked out."

The only limitation on such a set would be era. I don't think "Imagination" outtakes would fall under even the *loosest* definition of such a set, so perhaps a second set highlighting his best post-Landy stuff would also be advisable.

Or just lump it all together into one big set. Call it "Bedroom Tapes" or "Forgotten Genius" or "Brian Wilson - The Solo Archives", or whatever. They could even sidestep any BRI involvement by choosing truly solo stuff.
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2020, 05:19:05 AM »

I remembered this writeup in LA Weekly and thought it'd be good to share again:

https://www.laweekly.com/brian-wilsons-secret-bedroom-tapes-a-track-by-track-description/

I think there were definitely some wrong facts about certain songs (some songs not even existing as we know it) but overall it's a neat glimpse into a lot of demo stuff that we don't have.

I will never forget the first time I heard 'Where Is She?' - blows me away that something like that was just sitting in the vaults for so many years.
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