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662027 Posts in 26535 Topics by 3795 Members - Latest Member: SeaOfTunes September 23, 2020, 02:39:30 AM
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Author Topic: At what point and where did Brian's complex arrangements / orchestrations begin?  (Read 653 times)
TheWonderfulHarpsichord
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« on: August 21, 2020, 08:29:53 AM »

I am not just referring to complexity in it of itself, but the use of orchestral instruments and such.

I know many refer to The Surfer Moon as where the string sections started, but did Brian arrange or orchestrate that? I remember C-man sometime last year saying that the arrangement was reportedly Bob Norberg and Jan Berry, is this true? Is this also true for the arrangement on the Bob and Sheri version?

I'm also referring to the difference between arrangement and orchestration.

Did Brian orchestrate tracks that weren't arranged by him?

Three Blind Mice was written by Brian, but I'm not sure who it was arranged/orchestrated by, I've heard Dick Reynolds was mentoring Brian on arranging for larger groups, but did he do Three Blind Mice as Well? There is also How Deep Is the Ocean and Stella by Starlight.

Was arrangement and orchestration done at the same time? If Brian didn't arrange Three Blind Mice, did he orchestrate it at least, since he produced it?

Also did he continue to arrange string sections and such post-pet sounds / smile for the band? Such as Wake the World, the horns on Darlin', or Add Some Music (though I've heard this is a Chamberlin.


Any information would be nice : )
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NateRuvin
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2020, 11:05:03 AM »

in my opinion, the complexity of Brian and the BBs' music and arrangements are evident as early as the pre-Capitol sessions. That version of Surfer Girl is magical, very innovative harmonies.
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rab2591
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2020, 11:46:32 AM »

What I had heard (and I'm probably misremembering so hopefully someone can correct me if I'm wrong) is that Dick Reynolds mentored Brian during the recording of the Christmas album (and Dick did all the arranging on that album, but it gave Brian a great idea of how to do that stuff). From that point on I believe Brian did all his own arrangements.

As for 'Surfer Moon', if I had Philip Lambert's book about Brian Wilson handy I could probably tell you, but it is currently packed away. Since you have these questions and are interested in the details of the music, I highly recommend getting Lambert's book. I got it when it was a lot cheaper than it is now, hopefully the price will come down at some point. While others may answer all your questions in this thread, that book is an excellent one to keep handy because it delves into the details about the recording of almost every song Brian did up to SMiLE (and beyond, but after SMiLE I think the book glosses over a lot of songs, understandably)...it is very informative.

Not really on topic, but I think Brian's most incredible arrangement/composition is the backing track to In The Back Of My Mind. And I am still mindblown that this backing track has yet to be officially released. Even Bruce gushes over the backing track in the Brian Wilson Songwriter documentary.
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Steve Mayo
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2020, 01:56:14 PM »

carl answered this question a long time ago. he said it was during the sessions for summer days (and summer nights).  especially the song “let him run wild”. I think this was even printed in the two part tom nolan rolling stone articles from 1971. i think.
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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2020, 02:31:43 AM »

Bob Norberg apparently came up with the string arrangement for Summer/Surfer Moon, then Jan Berry wrote the score for the musicians. I think Brian's first time arranging strings would be Guess I'm Dumb.

Three Blind Mice was a spur of the moment experiment due to some extra time left on the clock, so Brian would've been responsible for giving those parts out to the musicians rather than Reynolds, who arranged the other two tracks recorded that day. Those post-Smile songs you mentioned were Brian.
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sloopjohnb72
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2020, 04:26:23 PM »

Thinkin' Bout You Baby by Sharon Marie also has some strings, I suppose that would be Brian's first string arrangement?
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TheWonderfulHarpsichord
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2020, 06:57:39 PM »

Thank all of you for the information  Grin

I agree that the complexity of their music in general is evident early on.

In the Back of My Mind is simply beautiful, it sounds like an orchestra falling apart with melancholy. I think Guess I'm Dumb, Do You Wanna Dance, Vega-Tables, Tetter-Totter Love (Yes I'm serious) and Darlin's arrangements are underrated as well.

That is interesting about The Surfer Moon, I wonder if Brian re-did / reused the arrangement for the Bob and Sheri version? It sounds slightly different to me.

That's amazing for Three Blind Mice, it's always been one of my favorite tracks, the orchestra is huge and Brian makes use of it.

That leads me to another question, is Three Blind Mice the largest BB/Brian arrangement/orchestration that they ever recorded instrument wise? I feel like the Dick Reynolds arrangements might be about the same in sheer number of musicians, but Three Blind Mice seems more diverse. The question stands in terms of overdubs as well, I know Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains have an insane number of instruments in that right. Does anybody know a track that rivals Three Blind Mice's 43 piece orchestra? I might just be blanking and can't think of anything.

Also, I forgot about Thinkin' Bout You Baby  Cheesy

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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2020, 03:28:09 AM »


That is interesting about The Surfer Moon, I wonder if Brian re-did / reused the arrangement for the Bob and Sheri version? It sounds slightly different to me.


The Bob & Sheri version came first, and there's hardly anything to that track. It's just guitars, bass and drums, in the same style as everything on Surfin' Safari.
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c-man
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2020, 07:05:37 AM »

"Catch A Wave" and "In My Room" would, in my opinion, qualify as Brian's first use of an orchestral instrument, specifically the harp, and of course, it works brilliantly. I wouldn't qualify Brian's use of saxophones on cuts like "Our Car Club" or the earlier ones where Mike played sax to be "orchestral" because of how it's used there. Also, the symphonic instruments on the single version of "Be True To Your School" are used there more in the way they are used in high school marching bands, so I wouldn't deem there use there as "orchestral". But, right around that time, Brian had begun using additional "Wrecking Crew" guys on his outside productions, such as "The One You Can't Have" by the Honeys, and within a few months, the Beach Boys' version of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", and on those cuts, he also used instruments like tympani and glockenspiel.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 12:52:13 PM by c-man » Logged
Steve Mayo
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2020, 10:59:29 AM »

When i posted my reply earlier, l was responding  to the the word “complex”. Not when he first stared orchestral arrangements. Carl was asked the question years ago and i posted his reply. It even is on film in some interview but I cannot remember which one. Key word in the question was “complex”.
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