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Poll
Question: Which version do you prefer?
Surf's Up album version - 33 (42.3%)
demo from the GV Box Set - 16 (20.5%)
Inside Pop performance - 5 (6.4%)
Surf's Up backing track only - 4 (5.1%)
BWPS album version - 4 (5.1%)
Other (please specify) - 16 (20.5%)
Total Voters: 75

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Author Topic: Favourite version of Surf's Up?  (Read 6981 times)
Chris Brown
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« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2008, 08:56:06 PM »

I don't see how a finished 1967 version could've been much better than the 1971 version...

Maybe not a lot better, but I would have loved to hear a fully orchestrated 2nd movement and a Brian lead vocal throughout.

It is confusing when people talk about movements as there are different understandings as to what is what.

I was so wow'd when I first heard the Smile bootleg mix version; which opens with the 1st movement-instrumental movement/backing track and then goes into the 2nd movement-Brian's double tracked vocal mixed over the instrumental backing track (Brian's vocals are supposedly a demo but sounds too good to be, in my opinion).  Since then, professional engineers have taken those two tracks from the GV box set and produced great mixes.  I took one of those mixes and, using Peak Pro, edited on the 1971 3rd movement-'CITFTM' vocal section that Brian had never gotten around to doing.  The whole track together is stunning!

That is my 'Ultimate Version' and now the only one I play.  I think Brian hit a double on BWPS by eliminating the First Movement-Instrumental backing tracking to start the song.

Not sure I followed all that...so what you're saying is that you essentially created the Anne Wallace version? 

What I meant by more orchestrated 2nd movement was to have the strings that were in the BWPS version, starting with "dove nested towers".  With that addition, the version I think you're describing sounds just about perfect.
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« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2008, 11:48:14 PM »


Not sure I followed all that...so what you're saying is that you essentially created the Anne Wallace version? 


No, the Anne Wallace version, and the Purple Chick version,  duplicate the BWPS arrangement.  They omit the 1st Movement-Instrumental track (with powerful horn arrangement).    If you have heard the Vigotone or Gema boot versions of Smile/Surf's Up, you know what I'm talking about.  Take that version and tack on the 'CITFOM' tag from the 1971 version.  With the release (on GV boxset) of  the instrumental track, and Brian's double tracked vocal with piano, much higher quality mixes of those boot versions have been made.  I took one of those and edited on the 'CITFOM' tag.  It is not my original idea as I'd read of others doing it.

Sorry to be confusing.  I confuse myself.
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The Heartical Don
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« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2008, 01:09:51 AM »

Album. Fun thing: my younger brother bought one of these luxurious Warner Bros. 4 LP sets in the 70s, when we were still school kids. Title: 'Superstars Of The Seventies'. Could have been an effort to cash in again on well-known stuff by James Taylor, Carly Simon, The Faces, Doobie Bros. I was just getting into the BBs way back then... and I listened to Surf's Up (which was the closing track on one of the sides) with eager anticipation. Imagine: I was a tad disappointed, because it carried no 'easy' chorus to sing along with, nor the usual 'beach joy mood'.
Things changed. Now it's one of my all-time favourites. I rate it above GV and many other chestnuts.
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« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2008, 02:07:18 AM »

My favourite version (breaking the rules!) is that 1972 radio version with Carl singing over electric piano.
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The Heartical Don
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« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2008, 02:17:28 AM »

My favourite version (breaking the rules!) is that 1972 radio version with Carl singing over electric piano.

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John
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« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2008, 06:13:42 AM »

.
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« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2008, 08:42:03 AM »

My favourite version (breaking the rules!) is that 1972 radio version with Carl singing over electric piano.

I've never heard that version before, never even knew it existed.
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2008, 02:34:40 PM »

My favourite version (breaking the rules!) is that 1972 radio version with Carl singing over electric piano.

I've never heard that version before, never even knew it existed.

I've heard of it, never actually heard it though.
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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2008, 03:42:08 PM »

Album. Fun thing: my younger brother bought one of these luxurious Warner Bros. 4 LP sets in the 70s, when we were still school kids. Title: 'Superstars Of The Seventies'. Could have been an effort to cash in again on well-known stuff by James Taylor, Carly Simon, The Faces, Doobie Bros. I was just getting into the BBs way back then... and I listened to Surf's Up (which was the closing track on one of the sides) with eager anticipation. Imagine: I was a tad disappointed, because it carried no 'easy' chorus to sing along with, nor the usual 'beach joy mood'.
Things changed. Now it's one of my all-time favourites. I rate it above GV and many other chestnuts.

I can't believe you posted this; I was going to post a similar story! My buddies and I were cruising around in the mid 1970's and somebody had the 8 Track of that Superstars Of The Seventies compilation. We wanted some rock and roll, so I suggested playing "Surf's Up", having never heard the song and expecting something like "Surfin' Safari" or "Surfin' USA". Was I/we in for a shock. I remember ejecting the 8 Track and checking the track numbers to make sure I had the right song. I thought it was a piece of crap. Actually we never finished listening to the song, switching tracks, it was that unlistenable. Yes, Heartical Don, things have changed. I think Dylan said that...
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« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2008, 11:15:17 AM »

"I don't see how a finished 1967 version could've been much better than the 1971 version..."

I strongly disagree with that statement.  While the 1971 version is sublime, the subtlety and beauty of the arrangement in the first half implies that the second half would have been something equally special.  Who know's what Brian had in store for the second-half instrumental track, Brian himself probably didn't know at the time (and certainly doesn't know now) but i think that it's not unreasonable to imagine that it would have been as original and subtle and beautiful as anything else on the album...and probably not solo piano.  And the coda--the 1971 version is so incredible its hard to imagine improvement, but we're talking Brian in 1967 here--I would imagine that the finishing vocals would have been even more powerful, with an instrumental track to match.  So, while never will any person outside heaven actually hear the finished 1967 Surf's Up, i wouldn't downplay it as an equal to the 71 version...a healthy Brian, after all, would have given the song everything he had.
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« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2008, 03:57:16 PM »

"I don't see how a finished 1967 version could've been much better than the 1971 version..."

I strongly disagree with that statement.  While the 1971 version is sublime, the subtlety and beauty of the arrangement in the first half implies that the second half would have been something equally special.  Who know's what Brian had in store for the second-half instrumental track, Brian himself probably didn't know at the time (and certainly doesn't know now) but i think that it's not unreasonable to imagine that it would have been as original and subtle and beautiful as anything else on the album...and probably not solo piano.  And the coda--the 1971 version is so incredible its hard to imagine improvement, but we're talking Brian in 1967 here--I would imagine that the finishing vocals would have been even more powerful, with an instrumental track to match.  So, while never will any person outside heaven actually hear the finished 1967 Surf's Up, i wouldn't downplay it as an equal to the 71 version...a healthy Brian, after all, would have given the song everything he had.


But the whole point here is that we're talking released versions, are we not? 
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« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2008, 11:37:30 PM »

The "Inside Pop" piano version is uniquely expressive and "in the moment". The phrasing
is quirky and artistically expressive and heartfelt.

The first section of the GV box set demo version is heart-stoppingly beautiful, perfect and definitive, except for one SLIGHTLY off-key note on the second "domino", and really captures the quintessence of the song.

My recollection is fuzzy as to whether the additional vocal parts in the tag of the '71 album version were originally composed in '66, or at the time of the SU album production. Surely he would have done something at least similar had it been finished in the period of its original composition.

By the way, does anyone know whether the additional lyrics in "Song for Children" and
"Child is Father of the Man" on BWPS were composed by Van Dyke in '66-'67 a la the
restored "Sandwich Isles" lyrics in "Roll Plymouth Rock" aka "Do You Like Worms", or
written and added during the period of the BWPS composition and production?

I would guess the latter.
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Chris Brown
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« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2008, 11:48:03 PM »

I think the lyrics on those two are probably new, with some of the melodies being vintage.
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« Reply #38 on: September 08, 2008, 12:16:53 AM »

I don't like the added organ and car keys, Carl's voice with not enough grief in it...

The car keys AWS part of the original arrangement - listen to the sessions. And BW's music, to my ears, has never needed an expressive voice to put across the intended emotion, which is actually expressed by the melody and the arrangement, and of course the production.

Carl nailed that vocal. Immaculate.

You are right, the car keys were in the 1967 recording. I even remember having read years ago about the original session that Brian at one time says about the car key player (hee hee): "Now THAT sounds like jewelry!" Recently I read the Badham book, where it says on page 293 about the 1971 sessions: "Two organ overdubs are made, along with Brian's car keys providing percussion." So I thought they were all 1971. But anyway, the point is the keys are really loud in the 1971 mix, too loud for my liking, no matter if additional car keys were recorded of if they're all from 1967. They're not THAT loud in the track only version on the 1993 GV box set and hardly audible at all in the famous Anne Wallace version.

What you and me have written about Carl's vocal is of course both totally subjective, so I can't argue with that. I think he sang too sweetly. IMHO expressive singing adds to the quality of the arrangement.

Talking about subjectivity, I think the 1967 version of Surf's Up is played too fast... And subsequently, the 1971 version too.
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« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2014, 07:52:01 AM »

Surf's Up 1971 for me. Carl laid down a perfect vocal for that version.
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« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2014, 09:26:10 AM »

Since I first heard it, "Surf's Up" (1967) has been my favorite version.
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« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2014, 06:37:16 AM »

Voted for Other, as in the SMiLE Sessions version. Carl's vocals on the 1971 version is beautiful, but Brian's just does it for me a lot more.
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« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2014, 07:43:55 AM »

Demo from the GV box set was my choice. Sorry, Carl doesn't come close to Brian's soaring delivery. There needed someone with the voice of Brian to sing the song rightly.
Thank you for resurrecting this ancient topic. :=)

My vote goes to the 1971 album version. Utterly stunning. That said, I like all the BB versions----they all have their particular charms. But I'm forced to leave the BWPS version out of consideration as to my mind it's an inseparable part of a larger whole.     
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« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2014, 02:42:28 PM »

I'm gonna break the rules and say the soniclovenoize version. TSS, but, y'know, stereo.
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« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2014, 06:27:45 PM »

I love all the released versions of Surf's Up, but the 1971 version is my favorite. Listen to it on your headphones. Really loud! Absolutely stunning!
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« Reply #45 on: September 20, 2014, 10:30:30 AM »

1971 album version, absolutely. Spectacular Carl vocal in the first movement, and then the Brian-led second movement till the children's song closing harmonies over Brian's sad, arching falsetto. Holy sh*t.
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« Reply #46 on: April 15, 2015, 05:24:13 AM »

Love the 1971 version, but the Smile Sessions version gives it a run for its money. 
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« Reply #47 on: October 12, 2015, 11:24:49 PM »

Not to sound like a pompous ass but my fave version is the one I made for my last two mixes using talking horns sections for part two and the fade. I think the best version officially released is Brian's solo performance from the Wild Honey Era on TSS
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« Reply #48 on: November 03, 2015, 02:20:49 AM »

I've gone for the simplicity of Brian at a piano on the Inside Pop show. Moved me the first time I heard it and everytime since....
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« Reply #49 on: November 03, 2015, 03:46:53 AM »

Since I first heard it, "Surf's Up" (1967) has been my favorite version.

Same with me. It's haunting and very beautiful.
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