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Author Topic: Lady Lynda: A Masterpiece  (Read 8495 times)
NateRuvin
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« on: October 04, 2015, 06:31:20 PM »

Okay-
I may get a lot of criticism for saying this, but I think Lady Lynda is one of the best Beach Boys songs of all time. It has such a beautiful melody and arrangement. Alan's vocals are great, and the fact that Dennis contributed to the arrangement is really neat! The song just creates such a cool vibe, that like Pet Sounds, combines classical and rock music.
I surely can't be the only one that loves this song. Who else does?
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2015, 06:35:32 PM »

It's just one more excellent song on a very underrated and underappreciated album. I agree completely.
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2015, 08:20:05 PM »

It's basically J. S. Bach's "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring" with a modern twist. Somehow I think that Bach's original piece will outlast "Lady Lynda" over the next centuries. I still enjoy Al's song though so I'm not trying to rain on the parade. I love the 1980 Knebworth video version!
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2015, 08:41:08 PM »

It's basically J. S. Bach's "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring" with a modern twist.

Is it really, though? Sure, the intro and outro, but all the stuff in the middle? I'd say it's maybe 5% Bach, if that, and 95% ALTbach/Jardine!
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2015, 08:48:15 PM »

I think it's a very pretty song, the Knebworth version is great.

It's a shame it was re-recorded as this horrid mess. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SzP8p2lFrw
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2015, 10:02:43 PM »

It has its moments.  The live Knebworth version is better, as already mentioned. 
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 12:21:21 AM »

I agree. Beautiful and underrated. I saw a video a couple years ago on YouTube about the making of it, and it really made me love it even more than I already did.


https://youtu.be/-SVB-EvYtNw
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 12:23:09 AM by Eric Aniversario » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 12:45:15 AM »

I love the acapella sections, wish they could go on a bit longer. And I agree, the Knebworth version is great...
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2015, 01:37:47 AM »

It's basically J. S. Bach's "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring" with a modern twist.

Is it really, though? Sure, the intro and outro, but all the stuff in the middle? I'd say it's maybe 5% Bach, if that, and 95% ALTbach/Jardine!

Yeah, but the 5% is the good bit.
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2015, 05:35:46 AM »

I'm not sure if I'd go so far to call it a masterpiece, but it's definitely one of the most post Holland songs in the catalog. 

And I do agree that it's on a very underrated album (which I think would get a lot more praise if not for the dreadful Here Comes the Night remake). 
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2015, 06:04:14 AM »

I'm not a musicologist, but I think a few of the chord changes in the body of the song kind of pull from the Bach piece as well. Certainly nowhere near a direct rendering of the song, but a couple changes sound reminiscent.

I think it's a solid song. The production on any of the 70s studio versions isn't so great. Very 70s, very dead and lifeless. Even the vocals aren't mixed that well. They don't breathe enough.

Kind of reminds me of Carl's solo album stuff, not in terms of style or anything, but just in terms of sounding markedly better when presented live. The live Knebworth version of "Lady Lynda" is perhaps a bit less polished, but it breathes way more and doesn't have those late 70's limp, lifeless studio drums. The live versions that go heavier on the drums and piano and vocals sound better.
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2015, 07:16:25 AM »

I agree. It's just a great song with wonderful vocal and depth, simple. One of my favourite, if not 'my' favourite Al song.
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2015, 07:36:02 AM »

Lady liberty is a masterpiece. Evil
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2015, 08:53:51 AM »

It's an OK song on an album I really like a lot. Light Album to me is more than the sum of its parts, the only songs that are great on their own (imho) are probably just Good Timin', Angel Come Home, and Dennis' contributions. But it's a fabulous "ambient yacht rock" album from beginning to end.
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2015, 09:24:34 AM »

Perhaps not a masterpiece but an underrated song on an underrated album  (that might have been better if only...)
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2015, 10:16:39 AM »

They say first impressions are lasting.  I heard this track for the first time in Siberia in the mid-90's.  I had purchased a "Best Of" CD from an open air market.  The CD was consumer-burned and the liner a color copy.  It contained the classics-- most of which I was familiar with and loved.  Hearing them again brought me much joy in that dark, cold land.  Then, abruptly it transitioned from Wouldn't It Be Nice to Lady Lynda.  Not being familiar with their later material (and thus not appreciating their musical evolution), the transition was jarring.  I hated Lady Lynda.  And try as I may to let it grow on me, it never has.
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« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2015, 11:43:20 AM »

The live version is better. The a capella outro at the end is excellent.
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« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2015, 03:44:03 PM »

I liked Lady Lynda when it first came out but repeated listenings of the Bach intro got very annoying.  Also it just simply was not that good of a song.

However they did a delightful "vocals only" part during the song  in concert which sounded incredible back in the day.  But it probably was only a hit in England cause they were coming there to the CBS convention and that generated some excitement for the single over there.

You knew when the group was releasing Jardine-written singles something was very wrong!
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NateRuvin
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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2015, 05:40:54 PM »

I just listened to the studio version of LADY LIBERTY for the first song.

My god. It's awful. The production is incredibly lifeless- those drum machines are cringeworthy.

And what's it with Al and spoken word intros?!?
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2015, 08:52:46 PM »

But it probably was only a hit in England cause they were coming there to the CBS convention and that generated some excitement for the single over there.

You knew when the group was releasing Jardine-written singles something was very wrong!
[/quote

Well...considering the UK single release was a full TWO YEARS after that CBS convention, I kinda doubt it.
And, they had hits with Jardine songs (or Jardine covers) when they had no other hits, or any real hope for hits - so I say, thanks God for Al!   Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2015, 02:46:59 AM »

They say first impressions are lasting.  I heard this track for the first time in Siberia in the mid-90's.  I had purchased a "Best Of" CD from an open air market.  The CD was consumer-burned and the liner a color copy.  It contained the classics-- most of which I was familiar with and loved.  Hearing them again brought me much joy in that dark, cold land.  Then, abruptly it transitioned from Wouldn't It Be Nice to Lady Lynda.  Not being familiar with their later material (and thus not appreciating their musical evolution), the transition was jarring.  I hated Lady Lynda.  And try as I may to let it grow on me, it never has.

Identical to my experience (except for the part about Siberia.) Putting it on a best of that's otherwise largely sixties stuff is really throwing it in the deep end.
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« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2015, 04:28:59 AM »

IMO, "Lady Lynda" is a good to very good song; it falls a little short of great. I also think it's the best song that Al Jardine ever wrote. When you think about it, I guess it's sad that Al and Lynda (the inspiration for the song) eventually divorced.

While I like the recorded version (the production is OK), the live version rocked. I saw the Beach Boys perform it live a couple of times, as early as 1978, before it was released. And, I remember how Dennis left the stage when the song was performed, and how Bobby Figueroa's drumming really added a lot of punch to the song. It was well received by the fans for a song that wasn't an oldie.
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Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2015, 05:26:25 AM »

Wasn't the story that Dennis helped Al arrange the vocals? Or was that the live arrangement?
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« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2015, 05:34:45 AM »

Wasn't the story that Dennis helped Al arrange the vocals? Or was that the live arrangement?

Al said in the 2000 Goldmine interview that Dennis helped "with the track", which could either mean Dennis contributed to the backing track, or that Dennis in some other way helped with the "track", meaning the song. The context of the interview suggests he's saying Dennis actually played on the track in some form:

How did you come up with the idea for the classical-sounding introduction to "Lady Lynda"?

A friend of mine, Ron Altbach, he and I decided to write something together. I was familiar with his love of classical music. I was at the Johann Sebastian Bach festival up here in Carmel which happens every summer up here. I heard that beautiful piece sung at the Mission Cathedral here in Carmel. Gorgeous piece. It's called "Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring." It was written for the church. When I heard that movement I went, "My God, that's too heavy! Maybe I can start the song with this thing." [laughs] Ron is such a great player that it just worked. We had to hire a classical guy to play an absolutely beautiful harpsichord that was brought in just fro the occasion. It was a monster session with a 26-string orchestra, the harpsichord. Harry Betts arranged the strings. I can't remember if Dennis played the drums. Dennis helped me with the track. We played it live at a couple of places before we recorded it. I think he played drums. I did that 12-string guitar. It was a beautiful 12-string guitar that i still have. It would have worked better if it had been on my own album, but it certainly worked. We always seemed to be five people making five different albums on the same album.
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« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2015, 06:15:04 AM »

Another vote for the live version. Which reminds me of how well Disney Girls translated to a live setting. And by live, I require it to be outdoors. A song must be able to project out into the sky and stars for it to be truly live.  Grin  Seeing Brian perform Hereos and Villians and Surf's Up live and outdoors was a sublime experience.

The Knebworth 1980 disc, with Lady Linda is great. And the song really shines here. At this point the Beach Boys were a much better live band than they were a studio band. Even if a live recording required a few post production touch-ups in the vocal department, so be it. Live, they sound like they are in full-command of the cohesive missing ingredient absent from their over-produced studio efforts.

Minus the self-consciously strained, stiff and polished studio-sound, songs like Lady Linda take on a new life.  A pretty song, performed with an edge of rawness is interesting. And the expanded bouquet of vocal parts, pounding drums, guitars and bass and cheering fans of this live version, make this a great later-day Beach Boys masterpiece.

Al. Jar. Deeeeeeeeen!
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