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Author Topic: Heroes autumn '66 - so few sessions  (Read 1923 times)
mike s
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« on: September 04, 2022, 06:49:33 AM »

Whats the received wisdom these days - Was H&V pretty much done in autumn '66 or did Brian get so far and then get stuck and postpone working on it until he started pinching bits from Worms etc..?

All that was officially noted as recorded autumn '66 was the verse/IIGS/BY I think..?  If we presume for a moment the a capella bits and 'sonny down snuff' were always planned does that give enough material for a 3 odd minute single..?  Possibly.  The piano demo from Nov runs about 1:50 if you take out the pauses so you'd only need another minute or so and there's definitely that much material.

It just seems odd that Brian would get so far into recording the song with no idea of the final shape..?
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 06:57:10 AM by mike s » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2022, 10:43:11 AM »

I found this post from sloopjohnb72 (which is buried somewhere in the depths of Liz's epic Smile thread) extremely enlightening!

Based on the session information posted above about how done everything was, I really think that until the end of December, 1966, Brian was making an album called Smile that was pretty damn close to finished and would have gone out in the jackets Capital Records had already printed. Yea, he changed his mind, he scrapped some things and moved some things around, but creatively, the project was working.

After December, 1966, that was no longer true. And the problem, in my view, was Heroes and Villains.

This whole message is very well said, but I'm highlighting this portion, as it rings especially true.

Like you said, things were sort of beginning to fall apart by Christmas, but there was still an album that could easily have been finished at any given moment, had the Beach Boys been given one week to complete the LP. Those 12 songs could have been finished in a rush if they needed to be.

But the big switch was David Anderle informing Brian that he needed a unique A and B side single to launch Brother Records. Brian was seemingly satisfied with Good Vibrations as the sole single for the project, until his decision to launch a record label for the Boys (which had been in the plans for about a year now) sort of snuck up behind him. There's sufficient evidence in the way that this story has been told for us to believe that Heroes had already been conceived, and maybe even recorded as a song for Smile when Brian got this news. Every session up until October 20 had not produced a piece of a song, but an entire backing track that was in need only of vocal overdubbing. So far, the process was no different than Pet Sounds, beside the fact that the tracks were not performed beginning-to-end live by the ensemble, as Brian used editing to highlight big dynamic and metric contrasts between verses and choruses that couldn't be achieved as well via a continuous performance. There's no reason to believe Heroes was an exception. On October 20, Heroes had only 2 long parts - the verse (which was originally much longer, and is cut down even on The Smile Sessions disc 2), and the Barnyard section, a fadeout which, like all of Brian's Smile fades, adds in new melodies and instruments with each round, rather than starting full steam ahead. With Brian and Van Dyke's 3 verses telling a cohesive love story set in the old west, without the "side quests" that later versions of the song will include, this works perfectly as a concise 2-part album track.

But when Brian was told he needed a single, he chose to rework this song as something both commercial and exciting, and that's when it began to consume parts of other songs. First I'm in Great Shape, then Do You Like Worms, then Cabin Essence, then My Only Sunshine... songs became unusable for the next project, as they were physically disassembled, and the focus shifted entirely toward the new single. It didn't help that for the first time for The Beach Boys (this had been the case for other artists, pseudonyms, studio bands, etc), Brian needed TWO new songs. Previously, he'd relied on material from released albums to fill out the B-side, but on a new record label, he couldn't just take something off Pet Sounds, for example. The entirety of the next 5-6 months is spent trying to get a single. That's not a sign of a stable and healthy mind, it isn't productive to constantly rework one song rather than 12 at once, and it is not going to produce both a single and an album without some big changes being made.
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mike s
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2022, 10:50:51 AM »

Thats interesting - although IIGS was recorded as part of H&V at that first big H&V session.

I found this post from sloopjohnb72 (which is buried somewhere in the depths of Liz's epic Smile thread) extremely enlightening!

Based on the session information posted above about how done everything was, I really think that until the end of December, 1966, Brian was making an album called Smile that was pretty damn close to finished and would have gone out in the jackets Capital Records had already printed. Yea, he changed his mind, he scrapped some things and moved some things around, but creatively, the project was working.

After December, 1966, that was no longer true. And the problem, in my view, was Heroes and Villains.

This whole message is very well said, but I'm highlighting this portion, as it rings especially true.

Like you said, things were sort of beginning to fall apart by Christmas, but there was still an album that could easily have been finished at any given moment, had the Beach Boys been given one week to complete the LP. Those 12 songs could have been finished in a rush if they needed to be.

But the big switch was David Anderle informing Brian that he needed a unique A and B side single to launch Brother Records. Brian was seemingly satisfied with Good Vibrations as the sole single for the project, until his decision to launch a record label for the Boys (which had been in the plans for about a year now) sort of snuck up behind him. There's sufficient evidence in the way that this story has been told for us to believe that Heroes had already been conceived, and maybe even recorded as a song for Smile when Brian got this news. Every session up until October 20 had not produced a piece of a song, but an entire backing track that was in need only of vocal overdubbing. So far, the process was no different than Pet Sounds, beside the fact that the tracks were not performed beginning-to-end live by the ensemble, as Brian used editing to highlight big dynamic and metric contrasts between verses and choruses that couldn't be achieved as well via a continuous performance. There's no reason to believe Heroes was an exception. On October 20, Heroes had only 2 long parts - the verse (which was originally much longer, and is cut down even on The Smile Sessions disc 2), and the Barnyard section, a fadeout which, like all of Brian's Smile fades, adds in new melodies and instruments with each round, rather than starting full steam ahead. With Brian and Van Dyke's 3 verses telling a cohesive love story set in the old west, without the "side quests" that later versions of the song will include, this works perfectly as a concise 2-part album track.

But when Brian was told he needed a single, he chose to rework this song as something both commercial and exciting, and that's when it began to consume parts of other songs. First I'm in Great Shape, then Do You Like Worms, then Cabin Essence, then My Only Sunshine... songs became unusable for the next project, as they were physically disassembled, and the focus shifted entirely toward the new single. It didn't help that for the first time for The Beach Boys (this had been the case for other artists, pseudonyms, studio bands, etc), Brian needed TWO new songs. Previously, he'd relied on material from released albums to fill out the B-side, but on a new record label, he couldn't just take something off Pet Sounds, for example. The entirety of the next 5-6 months is spent trying to get a single. That's not a sign of a stable and healthy mind, it isn't productive to constantly rework one song rather than 12 at once, and it is not going to produce both a single and an album without some big changes being made.
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sloopjohnb72
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2022, 11:41:59 AM »

The verse and barnyard sections of Heroes were recorded on October 20, while Great Shape was recorded on the 27th. Many variations on the Great Shape music were recorded that day, and the timing on the AFM contract matches the lengths of the three leadered takes added together. Only "I'm in Great Shape" was written on the tape box, not "Heroes and Villains".

On October 20th, Heroes didn't include Great Shape, and it appears that this was true by the 27th as well. The AFM contract does say Heroes and Villains though, and that was likely filled out at the end of the session, whereas Chuck Britz was notating the sheets on the tape box throughout the session. So Brian's "aha" moment could have come right after the recording for Great Shape wrapped up.

Brian's recording techniques and instructions (as well as the documentation) show that he had a full plan for Heroes every time he recorded a piece of it. That plan was always changing though, and when a section was recorded, it was usually only Brian that knew where it was going.
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mike s
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2022, 01:39:29 PM »

Oh thanks for the correction - I used to know all this stuff by heart Smiley

From what you say it seems like IIGS was part of H&V till very late in '66 - like mid Dec..?  I think the song IIGS would have been IIGS/Do a Lot/Barnyard - basically removed from H&V to make a new tune.


The verse and barnyard sections of Heroes were recorded on October 20, while Great Shape was recorded on the 27th. Many variations on the Great Shape music were recorded that day, and the timing on the AFM contract matches the lengths of the three leadered takes added together. Only "I'm in Great Shape" was written on the tape box, not "Heroes and Villains".

On October 20th, Heroes didn't include Great Shape, and it appears that this was true by the 27th as well. The AFM contract does say Heroes and Villains though, and that was likely filled out at the end of the session, whereas Chuck Britz was notating the sheets on the tape box throughout the session. So Brian's "aha" moment could have come right after the recording for Great Shape wrapped up.

Brian's recording techniques and instructions (as well as the documentation) show that he had a full plan for Heroes every time he recorded a piece of it. That plan was always changing though, and when a section was recorded, it was usually only Brian that knew where it was going.
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2022, 02:16:00 PM »

Autumn extends into December so in Autumn Brian had the instrumental verses/Barnyard, I’m in Great Shape, a remake of Great Shape, children were raised section leading into the third verse, plus H& V Part 3.  According to Ed Roach, I believe, sunny down snuff was attempted at a December vocal session.  There were several vocal sessions but not much has survived.  When were the split Brian/Mike verse vocals recorded?  I have no doubt the a capella section was to be included early on as it comes up in every mix we have.

At some point Shape and Barnyard were rejected but it’s confusing as to when that happened.  Shape is a separate song on the track list the first week of December but after that Brian records a new version of Shape at a Heroes session and does a rough edit with children were raised and the third verse which has survived on acetate.  In January Brian is recording vocals on Bicyclerider and awkwardly editing it into the Heroes verse section.  Even with Bridge to Indians is recorded the BR section is rejected and cantina is written with Van Dyke making it the new Part 2 and My Only Sunshine fade replaces Barnyard - and we have the A side of the single.
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mike s
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2022, 03:08:09 PM »

I can't keep up Smiley

'a remake of Great Shape, children were raised section leading into the third verse, plus H& V Part 3' - is this new info or is it on the box set notes - I thought those last bits were from '67..?  What's part 3..?

cheers


Autumn extends into December so in Autumn Brian had the instrumental verses/Barnyard, I’m in Great Shape, a remake of Great Shape, children were raised section leading into the third verse, plus H& V Part 3.  According to Ed Roach, I believe, sunny down snuff was attempted at a December vocal session.  There were several vocal sessions but not much has survived.  When were the split Brian/Mike verse vocals recorded?  I have no doubt the a capella section was to be included early on as it comes up in every mix we have.

At some point Shape and Barnyard were rejected but it’s confusing as to when that happened.  Shape is a separate song on the track list the first week of December but after that Brian records a new version of Shape at a Heroes session and does a rough edit with children were raised and the third verse which has survived on acetate.  In January Brian is recording vocals on Bicyclerider and awkwardly editing it into the Heroes verse section.  Even with Bridge to Indians is recorded the BR section is rejected and cantina is written with Van Dyke making it the new Part 2 and My Only Sunshine fade replaces Barnyard - and we have the A side of the single.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 03:16:55 PM by mike s » Logged
Bicyclerider
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2022, 03:46:21 PM »

Part 3 is the “chimes “ version of Intro to Heroes (kind of similar to Iron Horse ) recorded in December.

There was an acetate auctioned a few years ago that has the Shape remake/Children we’re raised/ third verse instrumental edit.  The Shape remake was recorded mid December at a session logged as Heroes - the session players and instruments match.  Part of this Shape remake was released on one of the copyright Beach Boys releases - it was a phone recording of part of the acetate by Alan.  Children were raised - instrumental track - was re-recorded later but according to those who have heard the acetate this was an earlier take on it.
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starbond
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2022, 05:28:46 PM »

Part 3 is the “chimes “ version of Intro to Heroes (kind of similar to Iron Horse ) recorded in December.

There was an acetate auctioned a few years ago that has the Shape remake/Children we’re raised/ third verse instrumental edit.  The Shape remake was recorded mid December at a session logged as Heroes - the session players and instruments match.  Part of this Shape remake was released on one of the copyright Beach Boys releases - it was a phone recording of part of the acetate by Alan.  Children were raised - instrumental track - was re-recorded later but according to those who have heard the acetate this was an earlier take on it.

Those were part of the acetates from Durrie Parks, which speculated was reviewed by someone (Capitol, AB,ML etc) at one point and decided nothing of real interest could be used for Smile Sessions or whatever. In the original thread from 2013 https://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,15304.100.html (post 113) andy descibes what he heard when he heard them, including two stand out moments, one being IIGS (which shows up at the end of Wake the World sessions) and Bicycle Rider with a kick drum which he could not recall if he had heard it before. Now that kick drum bit WAS BOOTED already, and can be heard on the boot album Heroes and Villians Sessions Vol 2. Which makes me wonder... are there more Durrie Parks acetate boots out there already??  Shocked
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Mitchell
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2022, 07:10:40 PM »

Andy later said that the acetates hadn't been available at the time of the Smile Sessions.

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,25653.msg644657.html#msg644657

I note in the Durrie Parks thread he mentioned the Cabin Essence bit being incorporated in H&V that's recently been expounded on.
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mike s
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2022, 01:03:33 AM »

Fab - so was all this definitely recorded in Dec..?  I can remember hearing that 'Sonny down snuff' was also attempted Dec.

Also the Brian/Mike lead - is that presumed Dec..?

Can all this info be given to the chap whose doing the timeline..?


Part 3 is the “chimes “ version of Intro to Heroes (kind of similar to Iron Horse ) recorded in December.

There was an acetate auctioned a few years ago that has the Shape remake/Children we’re raised/ third verse instrumental edit.  The Shape remake was recorded mid December at a session logged as Heroes - the session players and instruments match.  Part of this Shape remake was released on one of the copyright Beach Boys releases - it was a phone recording of part of the acetate by Alan.  Children were raised - instrumental track - was re-recorded later but according to those who have heard the acetate this was an earlier take on it.
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mike s
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2022, 06:57:35 AM »

The Brian and Mike shared lead from presumably Dec '66..?  Interestingly the 'rain of bullets' line is followed by '3 score and 5' rather than 'she's still dancing'.

One of the mix tests also has the complex a capella part with the backing track beneath - I think this works really well and is another 30 seconds worth of material for a longer version.

I don't think the Cantina mix works at all as a complete song and seemingly neither did Brian.  Its genius parts adding up to a confusing whole.
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sloopjohnb72
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« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2022, 01:51:31 PM »

There were three different attempts at a Brian/Mike duet lead, all from January 1967. The first lead vocal for the verses was done by Brian alone on December 27, 1966.
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mike s
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« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2022, 12:13:47 AM »

Cheers - where are you getting all this info from..?  Its great:)  Are you just pulling it from various sources that are already out there..?

There were three different attempts at a Brian/Mike duet lead, all from January 1967. The first lead vocal for the verses was done by Brian alone on December 27, 1966.
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starbond
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2022, 08:28:18 AM »

mike s, thanks for making this thread, its been incredibly in helpful charting the busy period of late '66
and sloopjohnb, thanks for all your info both here and the lengthy 'Smile was ready in '67' thread. I've learned new dates and production info that I was not aware of before.  Grin

I'll keep on truckin with the Timeline!
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mike s
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« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2022, 09:04:29 AM »

No worries bro I was hoping you'd see all this.

I think its worth checking with 'sloop' about stuff like Iron Horse being put into Heroes - it seems likely it was but I still think there's a bit of educated guessing going on.

I must say your timeline has been a bit of a revelation:  I think it makes it much clearer how much work had in fact been completed and how focused it was.  I think it got very close to christmas before Brian started taking bits from other songs to put into H&V..?


mike s, thanks for making this thread, its been incredibly in helpful charting the busy period of late '66
and sloopjohnb, thanks for all your info both here and the lengthy 'Smile was ready in '67' thread. I've learned new dates and production info that I was not aware of before.  Grin

I'll keep on truckin with the Timeline!
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starbond
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« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2022, 10:58:38 AM »

No worries bro I was hoping you'd see all this.

I think its worth checking with 'sloop' about stuff like Iron Horse being put into Heroes - it seems likely it was but I still think there's a bit of educated guessing going on.

I must say your timeline has been a bit of a revelation:  I think it makes it much clearer how much work had in fact been completed and how focused it was.  I think it got very close to christmas before Brian started taking bits from other songs to put into H&V..?

Does he mean the actual section of iron horse was copied into H&V? Or that the chimes intro and organ intro was based off Iron horse?
With the revised dates, it wasn't until right around christmas when Brian started using other sections into H&V. Perhaps there was a BB team talk after they got back from touring in December about how to proceed. The Chimes (intro) segment could be the marker of the beginning of "H&V '67"

As an aside, I played around with using Our Prayer as an opening track, then the Chimes intro leading into the H&V track, and honestly I dont hate it. If you think of Prayer as a church hymn, the chromatic Chimes bit is  like the conclusion of church bells, thus leading into H&V.  Not probably what Brian intended but still kinda fun as an option.  Tongue
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WillJC
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« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2022, 11:29:49 AM »

The Cabin Essence chorus was auspiciously given a mono mix on the same reel as Bicycle Rider and the Heroes and Villains opening verses on December 27, although not explicitly labelled as a segment of Heroes, as Bicycle Rider was at the time. Michael Vosse also made a muddled comment in the 1969 Fusion article about how Bicycle Rider and Iron Horse were intended to go together at one point. With that in mind, a week before all this on December 19 Brian had recorded a new version of Great Shape incorporating a variation of the Iron Horse cello figure, and shortly after those Dec 27 mixes, most likely on Dec 28, recorded the Heroes 'Part 3' section which also has its roots in Iron Horse. The most obvious explanation is it was to follow Bicycle Rider's 'Part 2' in that version of the song, and it had no connection at all to the 'Intro' title it's tagged with on the 2011 box. The "church of the American Indian" to church bells motif does line up thematically.
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sloopjohnb72
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« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2022, 12:14:57 PM »

Yes, there's nothing on the tape box that directly says Iron Horse was part of Heroes - but its placement with a collection of Heroes sections in mono, on the same reel, together with Vosse's comment that it was to share a song with Bicycle Rider, pretty strongly implies that it was a part of Heroes. The remade Great Shape section that both these pieces were replacing incorporates the moving cello line from Iron Horse anyway, and according to other vague comments from Vosse, it seems Brian was planning on using a Cabin Essence with no chorus for quite some time - meaning Iron Horse was up for grabs. The "part 3" section is musically similar - waltz time, chaotic arrangement, same chords, similar length. And "part 3" meant "after bicycle rider" at this time.

It's also worth mentioning (or re-mentioning? I can't keep track of what's been said) that the organ waltz "intro" from months later is not actually an intro, and was never labelled that way - that's something that was lost in translation when the GV box set was made, and the label stuck for TSS too. Brian starts to play "my children were raised..." after that piece on the tape, for what it's worth.
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mike s
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« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2022, 12:36:43 PM »

'Brian starts to play "my children were raised..." after that piece on the tape, for what it's worth'

Wow is that publicly available..?  Does he play it on the piano..?
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starbond
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« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2022, 12:38:01 PM »

It's also worth mentioning (or re-mentioning? I can't keep track of what's been said) that the organ waltz "intro" from months later is not actually an intro, and was never labelled that way - that's something that was lost in translation when the GV box set was made, and the label stuck for TSS too. Brian starts to play "my children were raised..." after that piece on the tape, for what it's worth.

Thanks to both of you for the clarification. So my question is, if the organ waltz section, and the chimes/part 3 (tubular bells) section were not recorded as intros, then what was recorded on December 19 for the H&V session?  The list here says the chimes section was recorded then, however if that is indeed "Part 3" then did Brian already know before January when he cut up BR from Worms that there would be a Part 2 in there? Or was something else complete recorded that day and Chimes got mis-dated?
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mike s
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« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2022, 12:42:57 PM »

I think its being suggested that Brian cut BR from Worms in Dec..?

Quote
did Brian already know before January when he cut up BR from Worms that there would be a Part 2 in there? Or was something else complete recorded that day and Chimes got mis-dated?
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WillJC
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« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2022, 12:52:50 PM »

It's also worth mentioning (or re-mentioning? I can't keep track of what's been said) that the organ waltz "intro" from months later is not actually an intro, and was never labelled that way - that's something that was lost in translation when the GV box set was made, and the label stuck for TSS too. Brian starts to play "my children were raised..." after that piece on the tape, for what it's worth.

Thanks to both of you for the clarification. So my question is, if the organ waltz section, and the chimes/part 3 (tubular bells) section were not recorded as intros, then what was recorded on December 19 for the H&V session?  The list here says the chimes section was recorded then, however if that is indeed "Part 3" then did Brian already know before January when he cut up BR from Worms that there would be a Part 2 in there? Or was something else complete recorded that day and Chimes got mis-dated?

The Part 3/Chimes date is semi-ambiguous, with a strong leaning to December 28, but it we know for certain that it was recorded at Columbia and therefore definitely not December 19, which was a session at Western with a heap of string players. Brian recorded a version of Great Shape that day and probably the earliest attempt at Children Were Raised, both of which are lost on tape - an instrumental edit including both was among the acetates in Durrie Parks' collection, and a brief phone recording of the Great Shape part of that made it onto the 2018 Wake the World set.
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mike s
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« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2022, 01:06:26 PM »

That snippet of 'Shape' sounds extremely like the earlier takes of Barnshine eh..?  Before they reset the rhythm.
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2022, 06:12:43 PM »


It's also worth mentioning (or re-mentioning? I can't keep track of what's been said) that the organ waltz "intro" from months later is not actually an intro, and was never labelled that way - that's something that was lost in translation when the GV box set was made, and the label stuck for TSS too. Brian starts to play "my children were raised..." after that piece on the tape, for what it's worth.

The March organ waltz then Intro to Heroes was marked on the tape box as Intro to Part 2, wasn’t it, and logged as a Heroes session?  Since Brian had been working on a side B for a 2 sided Heroes single in February after the cantina mix was finished, the presumption is this was to be an intro to the second side of the single.  Musically it’s identical to the Chimes Part 3, although as pointed out that Part 3 would have followed the A side’s Part 2 which was first Great Shape, then Bicycle Rider, and finally cantina.
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