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Author Topic: why didnt Sinatra record "still i dream of it'?  (Read 2722 times)
chewy
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« on: March 05, 2021, 09:15:16 PM »

Brian talks about this but i have no idea about what ever happened-- thx
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2021, 03:29:51 AM »

I was wondering about that as well. I don't know how much effort Brian put into trying to get the song to Sinatra. But even if he wouldn't, why not give it to Dean Martin? The Beach Boys had a very close connection to Dino. It shouldn't have been a problem to at least give it to him. If he wanted to do it is another question.
I also remember that Brian wanted Stevie Wonder to record this song. Stevie loves the Beach Boys and I'd guess he would be up to at least listen. And he worked with the guys on the BB 85 album.

So in the end it seems to me like Brian didn't really try very hard to get the song to Sinatra or Stevie. Or both declined to record it.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2021, 07:16:55 AM »

There is an interview with Brian where he talks about preparing for a meeting with Sinatra around the time being discussed, the assumption is that this meeting was about the songs Brian was pitching to Sinatra to record. Whether that meeting ever happened, or whether the meeting was with Sinatra's people and not Frank himself, I really don't know. But clearly there was a meeting planned as Brian was getting ready for it as he described in that interview, and we obviously know Sinatra never recorded anything from Brian. Other than Brian mentioning it in that interview segment, I don't think any further information has come out about it, which leads me to believe it didn't end up happening.

If I can find that Brian interview I'll repost it here, or a link, because I think someone actually reposted it on this board not long ago but I can't recall where. Anyone?
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2021, 07:30:32 AM »

Well, the 1976 interview with Brian *was* here, but is no longer available...

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,27309.0.html

Anyone have a copy? I thought I did but looking for it would take a looooong time  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2021, 07:36:25 AM »

Eureeka! I found it! Click on the link, it goes to where Brian talks about writing Still I Dream Of It for Sinatra "about 2 or 3 weeks ago for Frank, personally..."

https://youtu.be/YZAwYF2tLbU?t=468

Thanks to the uploader on YouTube for sharing. Someone grab it before it disappears too, please  Smiley

1977 interview, not '76.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2021, 07:38:24 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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Matt Bielewicz
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2021, 07:55:31 AM »

I know nothing about what *actually* happened with Sinatra, if anything at all, but I can speculate. At the time BW wrote this song, he was at something of a life's low (that would only be surpassed by his subsequent state in 1982). I really like SIDOI now, but there's no doubt that it's a strange song, with very peculiar lyrics (a maudlin protagonist wishing for a love that may never come, but also wondering why his housemaid hasn't finished his dinner for him yet... and then going on to ponder the possible power of hypnosis and ESP to help his predicament. Britney Spears it ain't). The first time I heard it, I could absolutely see why it had never been released. It's not even slightly commercial.

Moreover — Sinatra always belonged to a different generation to the Beach Boys... the era of smooth jazzy vocals delivered live with orchestra in a few takes, and then off to the golf course with Dean and Bing and the guys. Even when the Boys were at their 60s commercial peak, I can imagine Frank thinking they were just a bunch of punky young kids making music that didn't fit with his view of the world. And anyway, SIDOI is manifestly *not* Brian at his 1964-66 top-of-the-game peak. At the time Brian was talking about giving this song to FS, he was a washed-up, overweight has-been with a serious drug and alcohol problem, all manner of mental health issues, and yes, he was also a success again post-Endless Summer, but only for long-past achievements. I can see why Frank or 'his people' might well have passed on the song — if they even ever got to hear it.

Don't get me wrong — I came to appreciate the beauty of the song as time went on. It is musically amazing, and I've even come to tolerate the extremely odd lyrics. But I don't think this ever had a snowball in hell's chance of winning Frank over. Wrong song, wrong time in BW's life too. In my opinion, of course.

PS I really like Love You (although coming around to it sure took me a while...), but I have never warmed to Adult Child, with the exception of this track and It's Over Now. The rest of that planned album all seems even further down the road of slightly crazed weirdness that SIDOI is on, and much harder to love. I think the rest of the group certainly thought that at the time (certainly Mike and even Carl), and I think as his mental state has improved over the years, even Brian has come to think that... which may be why it's *never* properly come out, despite being finished and mastered. I remember fans bemoaning the fact on here that the Adult Child tracks *still* hadn't officially come out even on the broom-cupboard-clearing Made In California set, which solicited the deadpan, very funny and on-point-as-ever comment from the sagacious Jon Blum: "After 37 years, it's almost as if they don't want these tracks released...!"
« Last Edit: March 06, 2021, 08:00:49 AM by Matt Bielewicz » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2021, 08:27:37 AM »

Matt - Good thoughts all around re: Sinatra. Did you take a listen to the '77 interview with Brian which I linked above? It's pretty relevant to some of what you're saying, and it does hit on a point regarding Sinatra that I think may add another layer to what you wrote.

What Brian said about Sinatra not wanting to just do songs like he was known for, the "old stuff" for which he's regarded as a legend, was totally accurate for Frank's mindset. What a lot of people may not realize is that as much of a torch-bearer for the old school "Great American Songbook" Frank is rightfully revered for keeping alive, Sinatra was *always* chasing a hit record that would be more up-to-date with the current pop music. If you listen throughout his mid-60's Reprise material and well into the 80's, there are examples of him trying to record in the way of the artists and sounds which were on the charts.

He went to Putnam's studio in the mid-60's and had the Wrecking Crew cut tracks for him...and they became hit singles. Bossa Nova was still a "craze" in the mid-60's, and Sinatra recorded with that genre's architect Jobim and it sold (and became a TV special). When his sales were dipping again, he wanted to work with Jimmy Webb who was perhaps at the peak of his own career, but that never happened. He still needed a hit, and went to Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli which produced "Watertown", not a hit but an album which became a favorite among fans in future generations. As much as the old schoolers seemed to despise rock and roll, Frank made a Beatles song and a song written by Bread's David Gates into featured songs at his live shows.

And specific to 1977 and this interview with Brian where he mentions Frank not wanting to keep doing the standards - Brian was right. Among Sinatra fans, it's kind of pushed under the carpet similar to BB's efforts like Summer In Paradise, but Sinatra in early 1977 released *disco* versions of Night And Day and All Or Nothing At All. Sinatra wanted a hit record, and disco was the way to do it, or so they thought. But to many fans, it was equal to blasphemy. And beyond that, Nile Rodgers said he was approached to cut some disco/club music with Sinatra too,  as Nile was one of the hottest disco producers at the time.

Later into the 80's, Frank cut "LA Is My Lady" with a more contemporary 80's sound with Quincy Jones at the helm. Again, going for a contemporary sound and chasing a hit record. A lot of fans still don't dig hearing Sinatra with synths and prominent electric bass tracks, but he was doing what he had been doing for 20 years up to that point, chasing a contemporary hit with new sounds and the hot producers and musicians of the time.

So all of that brings me to the point where I wonder if word had gone out that Frank was actively looking for new material to record. Brian was in the pipeline of industry info, could it have been a catalyst for him to write material he thought Frank might want to cut? Who knows - pure speculation. But hearing Brian talk about his love for the "old" standards, and Sinatra and the crooners, a love shared by his interviewer, then hearing him talk about how Frank probably doesn't want to be recording the same older tunes over and over from the original books of arrangements, it kind of ties in.

And then that same year, Frank Sinatra of all people releases disco music.

Maybe "Still I Dream Of It" coming from Brian's love of the old standards was not the kind of "new" material Frank was looking for at that time to get back on the charts, if his release at the time of that interview with Brian was disco. I can absolutely hear Sinatra singing that melody whenever I hear the tune.

It certainly is an interesting topic.  Smiley
« Last Edit: March 06, 2021, 08:29:28 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2021, 09:22:26 AM »

Adding to "Something" - which Guitarfool noted - Frank also cut Leiber&Stoller's "The Girls I never kissed". Sure, Leiber&Stoller could write a wide range of musical styles and that song surely doesn't qualify as Rock or Blues, but neither does "Still I dream of it".
It wasn't that unusual for the old crooners to cover current material, in many cases Country'n'Western songs (that goes back all the way to the 50s when people like Tony Bennet started singing Hank Williams songs). Andy Williams did "God only knows", Perry Como "And I love you so", Dean Martin "For the good times", "Just the other Side of Nowhere" (and a lot of other Country songs), Al Martino "True Love is greater than Friendship", Sammi Smith "Help me make it through the Night" (which itself was inspired by Sinatra according to Kris Kristofferson: Kristofferson said that he got the inspiration for the song from an Esquire Magazine interview with Frank Sinatra. When asked what he believed in, Frank replied, "Booze, broads, or a bible...whatever helps me make it through the night."). Sinatra did cut "Going out of my Head", "Something", "Bad, bad Leroy Brown".
In fact, the early 70s seem to have been an exciting time in "cross-over" numbers.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2021, 11:54:24 AM by Rocker » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2021, 11:28:31 AM »

You're all correct - it is a fascinating topic. I must hold my hand up at this point and say that although I'm into all sorts of music, Sinatra has never done it for me and I know *very* little about him and his career. I can hear that he has a great voice, sure, but the music just doesn't 'reach' me — it always feels somehow 'insincere' and cheesy to me. But what do I know? Frank is regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time, and I accept that (without having to personally agree with it or enjoy his stuff).

So that was literally educational to me about how he chased hits with contemporary writers and producers in the last few decades of his life. I definitely don't remember that and certainly not 'disco Sinatra' (but then I wasn't following him then or now with any kind of interest). Knowing how a lot of the Beach Boys' fanbase excoriates the LA Here Come The Night remake (although for the record I think it's great, if a snad long on the LP), I can imagine how someone heavily into Sinatra's '50s stuff might look upon 'disco Frank' or Sinatra over a 1980s Nile Rodgers or Quincy Jones production with a jaundiced eye...

I still think, though, that even if Frank (or his 'people') were approaching big-name hit producers or writers in the late 70s or early 80s, Brian — at that particular, very difficult time of his life — wouldn't have been the kind of talent they were seeking. And even if someone had said 'hey, I hear Brian Wilson's writing again, and is keen to show Frank some tunes he's got'... one listen to SIDOI would have been enough to put Brian's name into the 'don't call us, we'll call you' pile... And as you say, Craig, all the more so if Brian was trying to write something in the vein of Frank's older ballads, while Sinatra himself was trying to get away from that style at that time.

It's interesting that Brian does say in the interview that he's written a song for Frank personally... but it's impossible to say whether that follow-up meeting with Frank or his people ever happened. Brian does say later in the interview 'if I get to meet him'... so it could have been something Brian was hoping was to achieve when he gave the interview, but maybe it never ultimately came off.

Brian sounds pretty lucid in this interview, which I've never heard before... but the sniffles and coughing suggest that he may have 'partaken' beforehand, who knows, maybe to give himself some confidence. He is a little bit rambly, over-loquacious and very 'up', throughout, but without being too manic. It's fascinating stuff, though - thanks for reposting. I was particularly interested to hear Brian talking enthusiastically about hypnosis and self-hypnosis towards the end of the interview — whilst history seems to suggest that it didn't do much for him in the long run, he was clearly very into it and positive about how it could help him at the time of the interview, and that in turn perhaps explains its appearance in the lyrics of SIDOI, which he was obviously writing a few weeks before this interview was given. That lyrical theme always seemed one of the oddest inclusions in the song to me until now... but now I see that it was just Brian doing what he has often done... putting his life and then-current concerns into the songs he was writing. Like 'Don't Worry, Baby', 'You Still Believe In Me', 'Busy Doing Nothing', 'Til I Die' or 'The Night Was So Young', really...! Or not so very different...!
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2021, 12:34:09 PM »

Musically, imo the song is very good! But yes, the lyrics would need a rewrite, though the chorus is pretty great as it is.
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2021, 03:56:31 PM »

I can't imagine Frank wanting to sing "Smell the kitchen now.... I feel like eating now"...  LOL
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2021, 10:11:07 PM »

Well, exactly! Brian does say in the interview that he might need to revise the song for Frank if he took it on... and that bit about the maid, the dinner and the kitchen would surely have to have been the first to go...!   Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2021, 08:20:09 AM »

It would have been cool if Frank had recorded an album of all (or a bunch of) the songs younger/rock writers had written for him.   
It could include, "Still I Dream Of It","Never Ask Me" by Pete Townshend, and....what else might such an album include?
And what might the album title be?   Smiley  Any photoshoppers wanna come up with album cover art for this imaginary Sinatra release? 
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2021, 09:42:37 AM »

"I don't know how much effort Brian put into trying to get the song to Sinatra. But even if he wouldn't, why not give it to Dean Martin? The Beach Boys had a very close connection to Dino. "

Dean Martin's recording career was on hold in 1976.   He wasn't that interested. He'd cut his last Reprise LP, ONCE IN A WHILE, in 1974 and the label would not release it until October 1978, after Jimmy Bowen did some sweetening and "contemporized" the tracks.   Dean would not record again until 1983, when he did a country album, THE NASHVILLE sessions, again helmed by Bowen.
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2021, 11:32:50 AM »

"I don't know how much effort Brian put into trying to get the song to Sinatra. But even if he wouldn't, why not give it to Dean Martin? The Beach Boys had a very close connection to Dino. "

Dean Martin's recording career was on hold in 1976.   He wasn't that interested. He'd cut his last Reprise LP, ONCE IN A WHILE, in 1974 and the label would not release it until October 1978, after Jimmy Bowen did some sweetening and "contemporized" the tracks.   Dean would not record again until 1983, when he did a country album, THE NASHVILLE sessions, again helmed by Bowen.


Yes, that's true. But still, if he wanted that song to be recorded by someone from that era and style, he at least could've tried to get it to Dean. But then I am wondering anyway, why at least Brian and Carl never worked with Dino. They were basically extended family, in the 80s Carl became Dino's son-in-law (although at that time Dean obviously had quit his recording career), but yet you never hear anything about it. It just seems strange to me.

BTW Sinatra should've tried "Make it good" imo.
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2021, 11:54:07 AM »

"I don't know how much effort Brian put into trying to get the song to Sinatra. But even if he wouldn't, why not give it to Dean Martin? The Beach Boys had a very close connection to Dino. "

Dean Martin's recording career was on hold in 1976.   He wasn't that interested. He'd cut his last Reprise LP, ONCE IN A WHILE, in 1974 and the label would not release it until October 1978, after Jimmy Bowen did some sweetening and "contemporized" the tracks.   Dean would not record again until 1983, when he did a country album, THE NASHVILLE sessions, again helmed by Bowen.


Yes, that's true. But still, if he wanted that song to be recorded by someone from that era and style, he at least could've tried to get it to Dean. But then I am wondering anyway, why at least Brian and Carl never worked with Dino. They were basically extended family, in the 80s Carl became Dino's son-in-law (although at that time Dean obviously had quit his recording career), but yet you never hear anything about it. It just seems strange to me.

BTW Sinatra should've tried "Make it good" imo.

What other older generation singers could have done it maybe?  Sammy Davis Jr?  Andy Williams?  Tony Bennett? 
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2021, 04:05:59 PM »

"I don't know how much effort Brian put into trying to get the song to Sinatra. But even if he wouldn't, why not give it to Dean Martin? The Beach Boys had a very close connection to Dino. "

Dean Martin's recording career was on hold in 1976.   He wasn't that interested. He'd cut his last Reprise LP, ONCE IN A WHILE, in 1974 and the label would not release it until October 1978, after Jimmy Bowen did some sweetening and "contemporized" the tracks.   Dean would not record again until 1983, when he did a country album, THE NASHVILLE sessions, again helmed by Bowen.


Yes, that's true. But still, if he wanted that song to be recorded by someone from that era and style, he at least could've tried to get it to Dean. But then I am wondering anyway, why at least Brian and Carl never worked with Dino. They were basically extended family, in the 80s Carl became Dino's son-in-law (although at that time Dean obviously had quit his recording career), but yet you never hear anything about it. It just seems strange to me.

BTW Sinatra should've tried "Make it good" imo.

What other older generation singers could have done it maybe?  Sammy Davis Jr?  Andy Williams?  Tony Bennett? 
I don't think any one of them would have touched it without a complete lyrical rewrite.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2021, 07:03:18 PM »

Just a quick addition about Fran Sinatra and lyrics: Frank also recorded a cover of S&G's "Mrs. Robinson" as early as 1969, and either Frank or someone else arranging it completely changed the lyrics from Paul Simon's original. It turned the song into a comedy basically, which again really sticks in the crawl of some fans, both of S&G and Sinatra. One of the most egregious changes was name-checking Frank's buddy Jilly Rizzo by replacing Simon's "Jesus" with "Jilly" right out of the gate.

I guess the point is it was not unheard of for Frank to change lyrics, whether live or in the studio, and for decades Beatles fans have laughed at Frank adding the name "Jack" to the lyrics of "Something" to sing "you stick around, Jack...". But that was Frank.

And as far as others from "The Rat Pack" and their peers doing versions of Brian's or anyone's songs, by 1976 they simply were not selling records and had crossed over almost fully into being "personalities" making TV and movie appearances and cameos versus active record-making (and selling) artists, or at best being known more for live performance than new studio recordings that charted. If they were going to tackle a cover, the time would have been in the 60's when Frank grabbed his buddies to record on his new Reprise label, and when Frank himself was still making the charts regularly. It all dropped off considerably in the 70's, while in the 60's among that age group of artists there was still the feeling that rock and roll was for the "kids", and something of a joke to the seasoned pros. But credit to Frank, he did score some pretty big hits working with and recording music written by those "kids", and some of his live takes on certain of those songs were good crowd-pleasers in concert.


Here's the Sinatra take on "Mrs Robinson":

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jilly loves you more than you will know
Whoa, whoa, whoa
Oh, bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
We'd like to know a little bit about you for our file
We'd like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home
The PTA, Mrs. Robinson
Won't OK the way you do your thing
Ding, ding, ding
And you'll get yours, Mrs. Robinson
Foolin' with that young stuff like you do
Boo, hoo, hoo, woo, woo, woo
So how's your bird, Mrs. Robinson
"Dandy", Mrs. Robinson you'd say
Hey, hey, hey
Well have you heard, Mrs. Robinson
Mine is fine as wine, and I should know
Ho, ho, ho
Oh, bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey, hey, hey
Mrs. Robinson
Keep them cards and letters comin' in, Robin, baby!



Is that reworking of the original's lyrics any less bizarre than Brian's original lyrics for Still I Dream Of It?  Grin
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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2021, 06:14:56 AM »

That reads like what a comedy writer thinks Frank would do to the song.
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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2021, 06:41:28 AM »

"Yes, that's true. But still, if he wanted that song to be recorded by someone from that era and style, he at least could've tried to get it to Dean. But then I am wondering anyway, why at least Brian and Carl never worked with Dino. They were basically extended family, in the 80s Carl became Dino's son-in-law (although at that time Dean obviously had quit his recording career), but yet you never hear anything about it. It just seems strange to me"

Part of the Beach Boys' extended family did work with Dean.  Billy Hinsche, with Dean Paul Martin, produced 4 sides for Dean in 1970, which became two standalone singles on Reprise.  But by the 80s, except for the single county LP and a one off single in 1985, Dean was through with recording.
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« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2021, 10:57:29 AM »

Well, exactly! Brian does say in the interview that he might need to revise the song for Frank if he took it on... and that bit about the maid, the dinner and the kitchen would surely have to have been the first to go...!   Smiley

True. And  oddly, those are my favorite lyrics in the song! haha
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« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2021, 12:48:21 PM »

I'd almost pay to hear Frank sing, "A little while ago, my mother told me Jesus loved the world..."

Almost.
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« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2021, 04:13:51 PM »

I'd love if someone could make an (mock-up) album - Songs for Frank (that weren't recorded for him - or perhaps both...) 😉
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« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2021, 03:16:06 AM »

I'd love if someone could make an (mock-up) album - Songs for Frank (that weren't recorded for him - or perhaps both...) 😉


You mean of Beach Boys songs or generally from all kind of sources?
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2021, 04:18:37 PM »

My impression after reading James Kaplan's Sinatra biographies is that the sub-par lyrics wouldn't be something that would have grabbed Sinatra.

By 1977 Frank wasn't recording as much and Brian wasn't hip or commercially successful then.

In 1966/1967 Sinatra probably would have been have somewhat interested in Brian writing a song for him if that would have meant a hit record.
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