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668484 Posts in 26886 Topics by 3904 Members - Latest Member: Charlie Dontsurf May 15, 2021, 09:19:02 AM
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Author Topic: My site updates 1967  (Read 3135 times)
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« Reply #50 on: March 10, 2021, 02:18:51 AM »

"Time to Get Alone" is really the only consequential piece of work Brian is involved with across the August 1968-February 1969 time frame, and that's a song he'd written the previous year. It's a fine song, but (as you note) it doesn't have the commercial potential of "Can't Wait Too Long."

We're Together Again, Never Learn Not to Love, Cotton Fields, and a Honeys single. Not much, but more than the one song.
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« Reply #51 on: March 10, 2021, 06:44:13 AM »

"Right but Bluebirds as a single was a major mistake -that should have been Canít Wait Too Long. "

I imagine a 45 release then of Can't Wait Too Long b/w Bluebirds Over The Mountain.  Wow, that is a fantastic concept IMHO.  I wonder what Bruce Johnston would say to that
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« Reply #52 on: March 10, 2021, 09:13:07 AM »

I'd like to get back to the latter part of 1967 for a minute, and throw something on the table regarding some of the decisions made and actions taken during that time. I'm specifically thinking the timeline of May to December 1967, as we got into some topics that hit more on 1968 but had their origins in the '67 timeline, from "Can't Wait Too Long" to "Time To Get Alone" and beyond.

And these are just my opinions and observations, and have been discussed before, but some of these points do fit into the overall story line of this period.

- First, the drastic shift in the live show, recording, songwriting, basically the entire scope of the band entering Summer 1967.

The band in Spring '67 had what was a less than successful tour of Europe, where they took a beating from fans and the critics because their live show did not replicate the records and they sounded thin, plus the band tried to augment their live show with strings and other musicians which had its own problems especially in the UK. Meanwhile Brian in April and May was still recording in the LA studios he had been using, with the same session players he had been using, and basically doing his productions and recordings as he had been doing throughout 1966 into 67, planning to add what was needed when the Boys got back from their tour. Call it part of Smile, call it whatever, but Brian's *method* of recording had not changed at the point the Boys returned from that European tour.

And then something drastic happened to change the whole process.

I think the band was stung and hurt by the criticism of their live shows, and I also think they were fed up by getting bashed over how the shows sounded versus the recordings. If you read through the reports and interviews in the UK press from this Spring tour and immediately after, the band members are upset. And they were further confounded by trying to augment their shows with other musicians and being told they could not do so under union rules or whatever that kerfuffle was about.

And they come home to Brian's recording activity still on the "Smile" methodology, creating the tracks to which they'd add vocals and other parts...they were basically running separate operations as they had been since '64 or so, but maybe it was starting to wear on them, further enhanced by the negative reactions they received on the tour. Brian was having his own issues with finding studio time, reactions from the band to his recordings, all of that Smile stuff basically.

So they do the home studio ad hoc setup in Brian's house as a solution.

They can record more simplified instrumental arrangements, they can work as a band in the same room during the process, and perhaps most importantly these less complex new songs would be easier to translate to the live stage. They would strip down the studio productions to allow that music to be reproduced on stage with the same people who were on the studio recordings.

And THAT is where I think this solution came to its natural unveiling process in Hawaii.

I think the guys who were touring live and getting blasted by fans and critics for not sounding like the records saw this as a solution...Let's make our new music more homespun and simplified, and let's apply that stripped-down sound to our previous hits too, as a new identity for the group both on record and on stage. No need to hire other musicians on stage, no need to augment anything if our new sound was in essence a stripped-down sound without full studio bands doing the backgrounds. The same guys who played on the records are now playing and singing on stage. And Brian did not have to book studio time or wait for musicians to be available, and I also think it was an olive branch peace-offering to the guys as much as saying "here, you do it" to have them recording as a group rather than the separation of the past years between recording tracks and touring them live.

Keep in mind that in August '67, no one knew how much of a success or failure Smiley Smile would be. As much of a drastic change as it was, it had yet to be released in full and I don't think people within the band were sold on the idea it would flop. They were promoting it just like any other album, and this was a radical departure all around.

What better way to promote their new sound and direction than to have a live album "in the can" and ready to release? Again, no one in August '67 knew if the new sound was going to be a phenomenon or a flop, and here was a chance to get the new singles and reworkings of the old hits onto tape to follow up the studio album.

So none of it happened as planned, as we all know, but I think the Hawaii tapes and project overall can be understood by looking at what led up to their plans to record in Hawaii, and connect it directly to their radical shift that happened as of June '67.

I'll say again that a key to understanding on a deeper level would be to pinpoint what happened in that week between the Boys returning home and the radical shift actually taking shape by June '67. That shift also included suddenly pulling out of Monterey after they had been receiving top billing. Something big happened, I believe it was as much personal between band members and Brian as it was professional/business, but unfortunately until that book comes out we'll probably never know the full story. And two of the principals involved are no longer with us to add more details.

Prefacing more to come, it is also no accident that once the Hawaii tapes and the attempted LA fixing sessions didn't work out as planned, where did Brian go and what did he do musically? He returned to his Smile working methods and Smile-like composition and production methods too. "Can't Wait Too Long", "Time To Get Alone", "Cool Cool Water" and others worked on that Fall of '67, including a solo-piano revisit to "Surf's Up". Those were his ideas and he worked on them either as outside productions or on his own. For the Beach Boys, he produced the Wild Honey single, a song which the band could reproduce on stage and a nod to their newest "new sound", R&B soul mixed with the BB's harmony vocals. But they could easily play "Wild Honey" on stage without full backing bands to sound like the record.

But where did Brian put his more grandiose ideas for production and songwriting? One outlet was Danny Hutton and Redwood, if you listen to their take on "Time To Get Alone", it's the same backing track and it sounds like it could have been a Smile-era recording with all of the extra musicians and layers of sound. This was miles away from the stripped-down Beach Boys sound of Fall '67, and reproducing layers of various keyboard instruments and full string sections and other orchestral touches on stage was of little or no concern when making *that* record. I think that ties in yet again if we add to Brian's interview from Hawaii in August "I'm running out of ideas..." the tag line *for the Beach Boys*.

Those ideas for the Beach Boys included getting a more streamlined sound in the studio with less layers and outside musicians so they could reproduce it on stage, getting the recordings happening as a group effort so the band heard on the studio tracks would be the same band on stage, and also going from stripped-down chill out music on Smiley to a heavier soul/R&B sound on Wild Honey. Not bad ideas at all...but then look at where Brian's musical ideas were going that Fall separate from all of that. There were some pretty amazing ideas being recorded on tape, only it was not solely for the Beach Boys or their new directions.

Then there's that fateful day when Carl and Mike walked into the studio and put the kibosh on Brian's work with Redwood, carrying out the tapes and as Brian described it "putting the screws to me".

As odd or even crazy as some of these decisions made by the band in the latter half of '67 may be, they did not happen in a vacuum.


"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
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« Reply #53 on: March 10, 2021, 11:58:03 AM »

Well there is no doubt that there were a lot of heavy conversations at that time that changed the nature of the group. Though I also feel like in the BBs there was a lot of passive-aggression. I imagine that probably a lot of things were left unsaid and maybe that is why they survived but obviously the unsaid things rankled for years
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