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Author Topic: Whose idea was it to discofy "Here Comes the Night" in 1979?  (Read 8592 times)
GoogaMooga
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« on: October 24, 2010, 07:19:18 AM »

Was it a joint decision by The Beach Boys, or was it Bruce Johnston, Jim Guercio, or Curt Boettcher?
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The Heartical Don
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2010, 07:32:51 AM »

Mine. In between two Columbo takes, I bumped into Bruce in the set in San Diego. I whispered something in his ear. He smiled. Music was never the same after that day.
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Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2010, 08:58:30 AM »

Was it a joint decision by The Beach Boys, or was it Bruce Johnston, Jim Guercio, or Curt Boettcher?

Bruce.
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GoogaMooga
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2010, 09:04:08 AM »

Thanks, Andrew, I knew you'd have the answer.  Smiley
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c-man
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2010, 11:05:10 AM »

Curt Becher (interviewed in November 1979 for the February & May 1980 editions of the BBFUN newsletter):  "We got together a year ago October (1978), and Bruce Johnston asked if I'd like to do a side with the Beach Boys and I said 'Sure', and he said to come down to Western Studios and meet the guys, and play for them California's 'I Can Hear Music'.  We had done a disco verson of 'I Can Hear Music'.  So I went down and played it for them and we talked a little bit and they said they would like to do it, so we started it I think a week later.  They were working on the L.A. (Light Album)...any Beach Boys nut would be familiar with the original version of 'Here Comes The Night'.  It was always one of my favorites, undiscovered - it was kind of like a secret Beach Boys tune that was really hot that not many people knew about, and we tried so hard to be true to what Brian had originally laid down.  We went back to the original tapes and just listened to the vocals by themselves, you know, separate the vocals and just listen to just elements in the track, the original track, to capture as much of the real essence of the record as we possibly could, even though it would be disco.  It wasn't a cheap shot...We had some great vocal sessions on 'Here Comes The Night'...Before I heard 'Here Comes The Night', I thought, 'Well, I'm not even sure they could do something like that'...It's almost a marathon singing that record.  And I was really impressed that they were so together and so hot...Whether you like it or not or whatever you think about 'Here Comes The Night', there's some incredible singing going on in that record...Not very many groups would be able to sing that way..."(on the possibility of recording with them again):  "No, I don't think so.  I'm not working with the Beach Boys right now on their new album.  The most that could happen on the new LP is that I told Bruce if he needs me, that I would be more than happy to mix for him because I mixed about half of the 'L.A.' album.  What I did with 'Here Comes The Night' was what I wanted - to make the Beach Boys more progressive, do different things, and update the sound.  'Here Comes The Night' was the first attempt at that and it was not well received.  I would love to work the guys more but our musical tastes are different.  I would want to do something progressive and I don't think they would want to do that right now.  That doesn't mean we don't respect each other or we don't get along.  It means they know what I would want to do if I were involved with the production.  I want to move into the future, with my concept of the future, and obviously they don't agree with it.  I can understand their decision.  It's fine." 
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Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2010, 11:56:28 AM »

The bit about offering to mix is interesting. In a biography of the band Sailor (which I have to say is one of the very worst written books I've ever read: the author had 100% access to all the band, which makes the amateurish presentation of the facts all the more lamentable), Georg Kajanus criticized the mix on the album Bruce & Curt co-produced (Checkpoint, 1977) as being too trebly: "Curt was a sweet enough guy, but he had major hearing problems, especially in the high frequencies, and we ended up with an album that sounded like it had a severe case of asthma".  I can only assume he was referring to the original mix as what was released sounds decent enough.
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filledeplage
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2010, 12:27:59 PM »

Curt Becher (interviewed in November 1979 for the February & May 1980 editions of the BBFUN newsletter):  "We got together a year ago October (1978), and Bruce Johnston asked if I'd like to do a side with the Beach Boys and I said 'Sure', and he said to come down to Western Studios and meet the guys, and play for them California's 'I Can Hear Music'.  We had done a disco verson of 'I Can Hear Music'.  So I went down and played it for them and we talked a little bit and they said they would like to do it, so we started it I think a week later.  They were working on the L.A. (Light Album)...any Beach Boys nut would be familiar with the original version of 'Here Comes The Night'.  It was always one of my favorites, undiscovered - it was kind of like a secret Beach Boys tune that was really hot that not many people knew about, and we tried so hard to be true to what Brian had originally laid down.  We went back to the original tapes and just listened to the vocals by themselves, you know, separate the vocals and just listen to just elements in the track, the original track, to capture as much of the real essence of the record as we possibly could, even though it would be disco.  It wasn't a cheap shot...We had some great vocal sessions on 'Here Comes The Night'...Before I heard 'Here Comes The Night', I thought, 'Well, I'm not even sure they could do something like that'...It's almost a marathon singing that record.  And I was really impressed that they were so together and so hot...Whether you like it or not or whatever you think about 'Here Comes The Night', there's some incredible singing going on in that record...Not very many groups would be able to sing that way..."(on the possibility of recording with them again):  "No, I don't think so.  I'm not working with the Beach Boys right now on their new album.  The most that could happen on the new LP is that I told Bruce if he needs me, that I would be more than happy to mix for him because I mixed about half of the 'L.A.' album.  What I did with 'Here Comes The Night' was what I wanted - to make the Beach Boys more progressive, do different things, and update the sound.  'Here Comes The Night' was the first attempt at that and it was not well received.  I would love to work the guys more but our musical tastes are different.  I would want to do something progressive and I don't think they would want to do that right now.  That doesn't mean we don't respect each other or we don't get along.  It means they know what I would want to do if I were involved with the production.  I want to move into the future, with my concept of the future, and obviously they don't agree with it.  I can understand their decision.  It's fine." 

Thanks for that reply...I wondered about that particular song recently because I transferred much of my collection to mp3 and wondered about whether that 10+ minute length was a "marathon."  It is less well-known than the single hits and it was interesting to see them use that "foreign-to-fans" format and experiment wit h something different with their own music as a base, even if was not a hit. 

It puts the music in a different historical context, as they took the opportunity to try something different, and that is much to their credit.  People were experimenting with a lot of electronic music.  It is not unlike "diversifying your portfolio" in a financial context, and not putting all your eggs in one basket to experiment with your "sound."  The vocals are indeed impressive, and it does make for good treadmill music, you have to work to keep up with the beat.  Retro, funky and fun!

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c-man
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2010, 12:40:29 PM »

A marathon indeed - it took no less than 13 sessions to complete the instrumental track!  Vocally, though, it was reportedly one long marathon session, with Bruce, Carl and Al singing the backgrounds non-stop through the whole song (rather than just doing it in sections, which most people would've), then probably tripling it.  Mike was tacked on later.  Brian was meant to be, but apparently never was.   
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Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2010, 12:59:33 PM »

One of the most tedious things in my archives is 90 minutes of the track for this song, from basic bass-drum-keyboard up to first couple of  layers of vocals (and btw, none of those first layers of vocals are The Beach Boys - Curt used California). Boring... boring... boring.

Brian was in hospital (Brotman, I think) at the time, and of course Dennis would have nothing to do with it.
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Beekeeper
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2010, 09:19:27 PM »

A marathon indeed - it took no less than 13 sessions to complete the instrumental track!  Vocally, though, it was reportedly one long marathon session, with Bruce, Carl and Al singing the backgrounds non-stop through the whole song (rather than just doing it in sections, which most people would've), then probably tripling it.  Mike was tacked on later.  Brian was meant to be, but apparently never was.   

Thats interesting because I always thought it was Brian singing the real high falsetto part on that song. It sure sounds like Brian.

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Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2010, 03:20:59 AM »

It's sh*t and worse than that, it's too long
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drbeachboy
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2010, 07:14:27 AM »

It's not merda. I am not a fan of disco, but the vocals (background and lead) are really fabulous. Some of the best that they ever laid to tape. This and possibly Chasin' The Sky are the last really great and intricate background vocals recorded by the Boys'.
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Thou Art In Hawthorne,
Harmonied Be Thy name
Your Kingdom Come,
Your Steak Well Done,
On Stage As It Is In Studio,
Give Us This Day, Our Shortenin' Bread
And Forgive Us Our Bootlegs,
As We Also Have Forgiven Our Wife And Managers,
And Lead Us Not Into Kokomo,
But Deliver Us From Mike Love.
Amen.  ---hypehat
filledeplage
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2010, 07:56:31 AM »

It's not merda. I am not a fan of disco, but the vocals (background and lead) are really fabulous. Some of the best that they ever laid to tape. This and possibly Chasin' The Sky are the last really great and intricate background vocals recorded by the Boys'.

I agree with you that it is pretty cool. But "fancy taste and judgment" is "personal" to that person.  It is fine to "disagree" but just don't be "disagreeable" or insulting.  It is different from the rest of the catalog which makes it cooler IMHO.   Wink 

And I could care less what is "cool or not cool" - I like what I like and that is that!  And, all you "elite fans" should worry less about the technical stuff and just rock out and enjoy the music. It is worth a good "informed" discussion but not a fight.  Life is too short!     Cool
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Menace Wilson
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2010, 08:10:42 AM »

It's weird to see one of the major players in The Millennium refer to disco as "progressive".
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drbeachboy
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2010, 08:19:01 AM »

Who's being disagreeable or insulting, me? If so, tell me what part of my post sounds that way.
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The Brianista Prayer

Oh Brian
Thou Art In Hawthorne,
Harmonied Be Thy name
Your Kingdom Come,
Your Steak Well Done,
On Stage As It Is In Studio,
Give Us This Day, Our Shortenin' Bread
And Forgive Us Our Bootlegs,
As We Also Have Forgiven Our Wife And Managers,
And Lead Us Not Into Kokomo,
But Deliver Us From Mike Love.
Amen.  ---hypehat
filledeplage
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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2010, 08:45:27 AM »

Who's being disagreeable or insulting, me? If so, tell me what part of my post sounds that way.

Dear Dr. Beach Boy ~

Art, (or music) once finished is subject to the critics...but it is "done"...What one person finds ugly (like the Eiffel Tower) and was slated for demolition after the World's Fair at the turn of the century.  It is now considered quite beautiful and a work of art...it is all subjective taste or judgment...

Calling something "good or bad" - is a matter of personal opinion, which can change over time, and become accepted or even revered...not you mon cher!  Wink
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drbeachboy
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« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2010, 08:58:44 AM »

Why is everyone allowed to post an opinion here, except me?  Why is Smilin Ed H allowed to call it "merda" and I am not allowed to call it "... not merda"? Both are our opinions. Are we not allowed to express our opinions when others express opposing opinions? I stated my opinion that it was not merda and why it is not merda.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 09:01:25 AM by drbeachboy » Logged

The Brianista Prayer

Oh Brian
Thou Art In Hawthorne,
Harmonied Be Thy name
Your Kingdom Come,
Your Steak Well Done,
On Stage As It Is In Studio,
Give Us This Day, Our Shortenin' Bread
And Forgive Us Our Bootlegs,
As We Also Have Forgiven Our Wife And Managers,
And Lead Us Not Into Kokomo,
But Deliver Us From Mike Love.
Amen.  ---hypehat
bgas
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2010, 12:43:03 PM »

Why is everyone allowed to post an opinion here, except me?  Why is Smilin Ed H allowed to call it "merda" and I am not allowed to call it "... not merda"? Both are our opinions. Are we not allowed to express our opinions when others express opposing opinions? I stated my opinion that it was not merda and why it is not merda.

I'm with you here. I found nothing objectionable about you expressing your opinion.
What I  find objectionable is filledeplage taking you and anyone else that wants to post an opinion to task;   Seems to me filledeplage is blaming others for starting fights, when the accuser is actually trying to light the fire.   
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adamghost
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2010, 12:51:26 PM »

I love HCTN and I never get tired of saying so on this forum, and I really think peoples' objection to it is less about it being disco or being a fairly hamhanded attempt to jump on a then nearly passe cultural bandwagon (both of which are true), but that it just took up way too much space on the LIGHT ALBUM.  The track WAS progressive -- if you choose to look at it that way -- in the sense that the vocals and a lot of the instrumentation had an edge not heard on Beach Boys tracks in forever (though LOVE YOU had a different kind of progressivism going for it).  I think if they had just put the single edit on the album, which focused on Carl's smoking lead vocal and the sax solo, people would feel a lot different about it.  It was hearing that version on the radio in 1979 which helped erase my bias against the group as a goofy-ass retro band.

And yeah, the vocals are spectacular.
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adamghost
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2010, 12:53:03 PM »

Re peoples' musical opinions, Frank Black said it best in "Freedom Rock":

All I listen to...it's all Freedom Rock.
Nobody owns
The pleasure of tones
...that belongs to the guy with no ears.
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adamghost
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2010, 01:00:24 PM »

Another interesting question is who decided to put the 11 minute version of the song on the album, and why?

I can see a couple of possible reasons.  Judging from Bruce's comments at the time, he was proud of the work they had done and probably looked at it as a tour de force showpiece of the album, particularly as regard the vocals.  It may have been his way of hitting the reset button on the BBs' then-flagging career (which is sort of did, but not entirely in good ways) with a Big Statement.

The other possibility is that the band may not have felt they had enough good material on the album to fill the space.  A consensus is starting to emerge (that I totally agree with) is that LIGHT ALBUM is the best (or second best, depending on how you feel about LOVE YOU) of the band's late period albums, but regardless, it's still a grab bag that was thrown together without Brian's participation.  Having heard some of the early recordings Brian and Mike demo'ed, I can totally see why Bruce came in and why he took it in the direction he did.  Even the best song from that era, "California Feeling," when recorded was so plodding and lifeless that the band declined to release it (probably wisely).  "It's A Beautiful Day" came later, and "Santa Ana Winds" was still in its early (kinda bad) stages.  Most of the songs on LIGHT ALBUM are short ("Baby Blue" is well under 3 minutes, "Good Timin'" less than that) and both "Sumahama" and "Lady Lynda" are padded with long orchestral intros.  They may have just looked at the good stuff they had on hand, timed it out, and went, well, we better put the long HCTN on, because otherwise we don't have enough to fill up two sides.

Interesting to think about, anyway.
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filledeplage
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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2010, 01:09:54 PM »

Why is everyone allowed to post an opinion here, except me?  Why is Smilin Ed H allowed to call it "merda" and I am not allowed to call it "... not merda"? Both are our opinions. Are we not allowed to express our opinions when others express opposing opinions? I stated my opinion that it was not merda and why it is not merda.

I'm with you here. I found nothing objectionable about you expressing your opinion.
What I  find objectionable is filledeplage taking you and anyone else that wants to post an opinion to task;   Seems to me filledeplage is blaming others for starting fights, when the accuser is actually trying to light the fire.   

Nothing could be further from the truth...my only problem was anyone calling something "bad" which is completely different from "liking or disliking" something, in terms of taste.  Each to his own taste...and there are many posters who "hate" stuff that I don't mind at all. I was not taking  him to task at all.  

My personal take is it is that  it is not always "what is said" that gets posters into trouble, it is "how" it is said.  For example, someone said that Here Comes The Night was "bad" - not that they did not "like it" (which is fine, because that is personal taste, and not a "judgment" on the music itself.  I have no problem, with the "good" doctor...he is fine and I am not a moderator so I have no say.

It is not unlike that article somewhere on this board about some singer calling Dennis Wilson's "Only With You" - "really bad" and she was "dumping on" the work, which is different from saying that she didn't "like it."  Then, she used it for her own project.  
 
I don't "like" broccoli -  that does not mean it is "bad."   Wink        
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drbeachboy
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« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2010, 01:37:48 PM »

I agree that the 45 edit of HCTN would have worked better on the album. Considering the quality of the tunes written for Bambu, I'm surprised that they just didn't ask Dennis for another song to fill out side 2 of L.A.
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The Brianista Prayer

Oh Brian
Thou Art In Hawthorne,
Harmonied Be Thy name
Your Kingdom Come,
Your Steak Well Done,
On Stage As It Is In Studio,
Give Us This Day, Our Shortenin' Bread
And Forgive Us Our Bootlegs,
As We Also Have Forgiven Our Wife And Managers,
And Lead Us Not Into Kokomo,
But Deliver Us From Mike Love.
Amen.  ---hypehat
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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2010, 02:07:33 PM »

The recut isn't the worst song in the world. It certainly isn't the worst disco song. But, seriously, why did Bruce think it was a good idea to put an 11 minute disco suite in the middle of an album full of low-key, emotional ballads? What the f*** does he expect you to do, jump up from your seat and shake your hips for the next 11 minutes and then sit back down for more ballads?
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hypehat
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« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2010, 04:27:46 PM »

Why is everyone allowed to post an opinion here, except me?  Why is Smilin Ed H allowed to call it "merda" and I am not allowed to call it "... not merda"? Both are our opinions. Are we not allowed to express our opinions when others express opposing opinions? I stated my opinion that it was not merda and why it is not merda.

I'm with you here. I found nothing objectionable about you expressing your opinion.
What I  find objectionable is filledeplage taking you and anyone else that wants to post an opinion to task;   Seems to me filledeplage is blaming others for starting fights, when the accuser is actually trying to light the fire.   

Nothing could be further from the truth...my only problem was anyone calling something "bad" which is completely different from "liking or disliking" something, in terms of taste.  Each to his own taste...and there are many posters who "hate" stuff that I don't mind at all. I was not taking  him to task at all.  

My personal take is it is that  it is not always "what is said" that gets posters into trouble, it is "how" it is said.  For example, someone said that Here Comes The Night was "bad" - not that they did not "like it" (which is fine, because that is personal taste, and not a "judgment" on the music itself.  I have no problem, with the "good" doctor...he is fine and I am not a moderator so I have no say.

It is not unlike that article somewhere on this board about some singer calling Dennis Wilson's "Only With You" - "really bad" and she was "dumping on" the work, which is different from saying that she didn't "like it."  Then, she used it for her own project.  
 
I don't "like" broccoli -  that does not mean it is "bad."   Wink        


Well, duh. No need to single out the good Dr. for that, when he had nothing but good intentions at heart.


As for the disco HCTN.....I don't know. I would kinda love to hear the quickly aborted live version the group put together.....
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