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673325 Posts in 27139 Topics by 3992 Members - Latest Member: Ray Shackleford January 19, 2022, 12:27:24 PM
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Author Topic: A Day in the Life of a Tree  (Read 596 times)
SanAntone
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« on: December 09, 2021, 02:19:04 PM »

Surf's Up was always one of my favorites, mainly because of the title song which is one of the greatest songs Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks ever wrote.  When I hear it I once again grieve over the abandonment of SMiLE.  Also the Carl Wilson songs "Long Promised Road" and "Feel Flows" were the best things the BBs had done since Pet Sounds.

But the song which really blew my mind when I first listened to Surf's Up was "A Day in the Life of a Tree".

First thing I noticed was the voice was not a Beach Boys voice, and there's nothing but an organ accompaniment.  (I didn't know it then but the vocal was by Jack Rieley, their nominal manager, hanger on, and in general Major Domo. ) The lyrics, sung from the point of view of a tree were mind-boggling to my 19 year old brain - I was knocked out.  As the song builds, the organ swelling, the background vocals coming in - listening on earphones I was overwhelmed.  I can remember listening to this song over and over.

Then "When I Die" leading up to "Surf's Up" - wow - what a great finish to a generally okay record.

Your thoughts?

« Last Edit: December 09, 2021, 06:08:06 PM by SanAntone » Logged
starry1
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2021, 04:54:46 PM »

I agree on everything. The album is great. A Day in the Life of a Tree is one of the best songs written by Brian. Very underrated, as usual.

By the way, do you know the Smile Sessions? Smile was not completed, but it gave life to hours of sublime music. Among the very best music ever, IMHO.
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SanAntone
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2021, 06:11:52 PM »

I agree on everything. The album is great. A Day in the Life of a Tree is one of the best songs written by Brian. Very underrated, as usual.

By the way, do you know the Smile Sessions? Smile was not completed, but it gave life to hours of sublime music. Among the very best music ever, IMHO.

I just bought a *new* (still in the factory box, sealed in cellophane, manufactured in Mexico) copy of the deluxe 5CD, 2LP, two45s Smile Sessions box.  I have only listened to the first 1.5 discs so far.  Unfortunately my LPs are warped.  They don't skip but there is noise. 
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Sound of Free
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2022, 02:44:43 PM »

The Surf's Up album would have been a classic if Dennis hadn't pulled Fourth of July and Wouldn't It Be Nice to Live Again. Once Dennis pulled his songs, I think it would have been good to give him a shot at singing the lead on "Tree" instead of Jack (that's nothing against Jack, it just would have been nice to hear Dennis).
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2022, 07:54:16 PM »

I've come around to the idea that an interesting approach to "Tree" would've been to pass around the lead vocal in a way analogous to what was done on "Add Some Music." The lyrics support the idea of different voices for the different stages of the tree's life...Dennis could certainly have been part of that.
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