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Author Topic: Dennis Visiting and House Shopping in Hawaii - July 1967  (Read 4575 times)
hideyotsuburaya
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« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2021, 10:37:17 AM »

Danny Hutton generally did not take the lead vocals on 3 dog night songs, it was corey wells or chuck Negron who sang.  everybody knows this.  

you can hear corey wells sing darlin' on a beach boys live concert video from the late '80s that's easy to access online (brian is there), when they hand the song off to 3 dog night (2 out of 3 members, chuck negron having disassociated himself)

and you can hear redwood sing Time To Get Alone, which as I recall is mostly chuck negrons voice although it does alternate, on the double CD celebrate the three dog night story (it has a slight unfinished quality, as if Brian was only 90% done producing it originally)

asserting that Darlin' belongs to Carl and him alone is worse than revisionist history, it's erasive history since that's exactly what happened--recorded redwood vocals were 'wiped' and replaced w/ the beach boys.  remember that darlin' was brians to do with as he wished, it being a re-write of a previously recorded melody of his Thinking 'Bout You Baby, likewise released by another singer (Sharon marie)
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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2021, 10:53:04 AM »

And Brian has repeatedly called out Darlin' as one of his favourite Carl vocals, second to God Only Knows, and one of his favourite Beach Boys songs period. I don't think he feels too hard done by about that one.

Time to Get Alone - yes, clearly some lingering negative feelings there, as told by Ray Lawlor in a post on here years ago. Regardless, it was Brian who then spearheaded four separate attempts after the Redwood incident to record/rewrite/rearrange/rerecord the song for the Beach Boys. Not Carl independently, not anyone else in the group, not forced. Maybe he felt obligated to, but Brian did do that.

I'm aware that the Three Dog interpretation is a three-way shared lead. Their mix is a dubbed-down mono master, not something 90% of the way there. That's it. It was done. It's nice, and it isn't a patch on the Beach Boys' take that has Brian singing on it. Opinions may vary.
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« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2021, 11:16:59 AM »

I find it fascinating to ponder darlin' & TTGA both started as full-blown redwood recordings produced by brian alone, and at a time he was trying hard to bounce back from SMiLE project abortion and Monterey Pop cancellation

of course they were quality material songs and the Beach Boys as a group now had a template on which to base their renditions

Brian speaks in a most positive way (about Carl and Darlin') at least in part because for a very long time the original redwood versions were unknown to the beach boys public audience, so what else is there (to address)
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« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2021, 03:47:17 PM »

A few points to consider in all of this.

With Brian writing songs for other artists, this episode in October '67 was a deja vu of the "Surf City" situation four years prior. Look at how much crap Brian took for "giving away" that song, and here was the same situation with Redwood with Mike "putting the screws" to Brian this time instead of Murry. Brian says he wrote the songs for Redwood, and decades later it still stung when he talked with Danny Hutton about it, and later mentioned in his book too. I think that says a lot about what went down that day that it still hurt decades later. I always found it a little odd to speculate whether or not the song or songs for Redwood would have been a hit. It would be like saying The Beatles would have flopped had they been signed by Decca and not rejected, it feels like trying to put salve on the wound after the fact without acknowledging Decca going down in history as one of the labels who let The Beatles get away. The Beatles went with EMI and had amazing success, Redwood became Three Dog Night and had amazing success. But it never seemed useful to excuse what happened by saying in either case "it/they wouldn't have been a hit". The point is Decca and others could have had the biggest group of the 60's, and they rejected them, and the new label Brother Records could have had the trio who became one of the biggest selling groups of the 70's and they were given an ultimatum (by Mike) of one single or nothing.

What I never understood either is the whole business plan of Brother Records also revolved around signing and working with outside artists. Redwood happened to be the first of these, and when Brian did start working with them, the kibosh was put on it. So the group agreed to the Brother plan, the plan was being put into motion with a vocal group that had potential and at least two quality songs in the works (unlike the Pickle Brothers for one, who were a disaster), and the plug gets pulled? I always thought the Brother business plan, on paper, was solid. Sign other artists, develop, produce, and release their records, and it puts more money back into the business with less work needed to be done by the group. If Redwood or a hypothetical group like them *had* become successful, it would benefit Brother and all the members. All members of Brother's board and band members overall had the opportunity to do this same thing. It was almost the same business plan adopted by The Beatles with their Apple label. For all the negativity around Apple, they did sign James Taylor, Badfinger, Mary Hopkin, Jackie Lomax, and had a run of pretty decent selling singles and albums to their credit. And here was Brother Records with a plan to do similar things, a year earlier, and the plug got pulled. No one else in the group really stepped up, probably the only one who did was Carl by signing The Flame a few years later. I never understood that.

Again back to "Surf City", Brian was ok giving that one away and the best explanation I've ever heard for that decision was in his book, where he said by doing so and by that song becoming a hit, it helped put more money into and get more exposure and interest from labels for the new "surf" genre. It makes sense. When something sells big in the music biz, all the labels want a piece. But look at the crap he took for doing so. I think that can also explain why some of those outside productions from 63-65 were not as successful or even not as artistically solid - All the best material Brian was writing and all the better production ideas he had were going to the Beach Boys. That makes sense too.

But when a label is set up by the band to bring in outside artists and develop them, it does not make sense to stymie it on the first time out of the gate.

And even more puzzling is both the notion that persisted for years that Brian dropped out after Smile and was too zonked out to make records so Carl stepped in as producer, and the notion that he wasn't still actively making records for The Beach Boys while he was recording with Redwood.

On the former, the session tapes shattered that mythology. I laugh when I think of how the band was asking and demanding that Brian come back to produce the Beach Boys that October...but how could they be doing that if he was already checked out and too zonked out to cut records? Anyway...On the latter, the Beach Boys had specifically changed to a heavier R&B influence and sound by October '67. I see no evidence that this was not agreed on across the board by the group, after Brian suggested that change (according to Carl). It fit, and their stage sound could now sound just like the records with the addition of a horn section. Brian had already written the title song and single "Wild Honey" with Mike's lyrical co-write by October 1967, and that single was already in the pipeline when the Redwood incident went down at Heider's. That was the lead single to announce their new R&B flavored sound. Other tracks were being worked on. There was a plan in motion.

Subsequently Brian is working with Redwood - Does Time To Get Alone sound like the "new sound" of The Beach Boys with R&B flavor? Of course it does not, in fact it sounds more like a Smile-era production with all the sonic trappings. A waltz, no less! There are no waltzes in heavy 60's R&B to speak of unless it's a slow ballad. "Darlin" is what it is, and of course it worked out for the Beach Boys, but as mentioned earlier the way it was done is still pretty shitty. And it was originally designated as a Redwood song, whether or not the BB's did the definitive hit version.

I guess the question could be along the lines of "What more did they want Brian to do?". He had given them the lead single Wild Honey which became the lead track on the album, sessions were still happening for the Beach Boys as he was cutting tracks for Redwood...it seems like more than sometimes gets said on the surface. Perhaps it was closer in origin (and emotion) to Murry's reasons for blasting Brian over letting Surf City go to J&D than anything else. There is no reason why it couldn't all have coexisted as Surf City ended up doing while the Beach Boys were doing their thing in 63-64.

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« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2021, 11:35:38 PM »

I don't have a copy of it handy, but I seem to remember from Paul Williams' extended print interview with David Anderle from 1968 something along the lines that Mike had been fully on board with and excited about the Brother Records concept.  Anderle's recollection of ML's attitude at that point seems to be at odds with the latter's handling of the Redwood situation.  On the other hand, it's possible that ML truly did have favorable opinion about the Brother enterprise in early '67 when Anderle was running it and everyone was still basking in the glow of Good Vibrations success, but Love's opinion had soured by the fall of the year as the group's fortunes had faded and Anderle was long gone.
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« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2021, 02:49:50 AM »

Do I'd Love Just Once to See You, or Country Air, or Mama Says, or Cool Cool Water sound like the "new sound" R&B Beach Boys? I just don't fly with the idea that any of the music Brian made in late '67 was anything other than him following his muse in that moment. Brian didn't care about cultivating a sound for the Beach Boys that melded them on stage and in the studio. If he did, he wouldn't still be lugging that Baldwin organ everywhere, or stacking overdubs on top of his piano, or making a conscious effort to de-emphasise the role of guitars in his arrangements, or pushing loops and tape splices to an even further extreme than he had previously. There were tastes and inspirations that floated up at the time and passed like in any other period. Brian's "R&B album" concept was one angle to the picture. Wild Honey, the album, isn't heavy R&B.

Darlin' isn't apart to the rest of Wild Honey. In some ways sparser than much of it, besides a small horn section, which Aren't You Glad also has. Let the Wind Blow is a waltz. Time to Get Alone is the lone late '67 large production scale exception, and that was hardly alike Smile in its construction. It's Wild Honey but bigger. Also something new, in a different way. The music and arrangement flag Brian's direction in the first half of 1968, and the parts that don't (the stacked keyboards) were Danny Hutton's input. Not to erase conflict that did happen, but to me viewing the rest of his music in those months as a watered-down compromise for a band he was trapped by is a reductive and, honestly, just boring way to approach Brian as an artist at that stage of his career.
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« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2021, 06:57:25 AM »

Do I'd Love Just Once to See You, or Country Air, or Mama Says, or Cool Cool Water sound like the "new sound" R&B Beach Boys? I just don't fly with this. I reject the idea that any of the music Brian made in late '67 was anything other than him following his muse in that moment. Brian didn't care about cultivating a sound for the Beach Boys that melded them on stage and in the studio. If he did, he wouldn't still be lugging that Baldwin organ everywhere, or stacking overdubs on top of his piano, or making a conscious effort to de-emphasise the role of guitars in his arrangements, or pushing loops and tape splices to an even further extreme than he had previously. There were tastes and inspirations that floated up at the time and passed like in any other period. Brian's "R&B album" concept was one angle to the picture. Wild Honey, the album, isn't heavy R&B.

Darlin' isn't apart to the rest of Wild Honey. In some ways sparser than much of it, besides a small horn section, which Aren't You Glad also has. Let the Wind Blow is a waltz. Time to Get Alone is the lone late '67 large production scale exception, and that was hardly alike Smile in its construction. It's Wild Honey but bigger. Also something new, in a different way. The music and arrangement flag Brian's direction in the first half of 1968, and the parts that don't (the stacked keyboards) were Danny Hutton's input. Not to erase conflict that did happen, but to me viewing the rest of his music in those months as a watered-down compromise for a band he was trapped by is a reductive and, honestly, just boring way to approach Brian as an artist at that stage of his career.

"We all really dug Motown, right? So Brian reckoned we should get more into a white R&B bag. I also recall around that time the band, and Brian in particular, getting criticized very heavily for sounding like choirboys."  - Carl Wilson

I think you may have misunderstood my use of the word "heavy" - A heavier R&B influence meaning more of an R&B influence, not that the Boys were trying to cut Sam & Dave or Aretha records. Although worth noting is that Wild Honey did feature a Stevie Wonder cover.

The R&B influence comes out in the vocals, just listen to Carl wail on the two singles' lead vocal and the Stevie cover, the chorus of Here Comes The Night has that same R&B-flavored lead up front, and listen to Brian on his section of "Let The Wind Blow", the chorus of Aren't You Glad, etc. The original tracklist also had The Letter featured, again an example of that R&B sound they were both into and going for. Carl was a big fan of that vocal style and these new songs gave him a chance to truly blow soul in his vocals probably for the first time on a Beach Boys album - Did any previous BB's albums have that kind of obvious R&B/soul vocal style featured as the lead? And Mama Says has it's roots in 50's street-corner R&B and doo-wop which Mike loved to sing and all the guys cut their teeth on years ago.

I'd say at least 75% of the album's tracks have that R&B lead vocal style featured prominently in either the entire track or in key parts of the tracks like choruses or hooks. It's clear they were featuring a new sound on their records, and that sound was a heavier (as in *more*) R&B influence than what they had done before.

I don't know where someone was viewing or describing Brian's work in Fall '67 as a watered down compromise, but you can clearly hear a separation in the Beach Boys' sound from what had come before and what they were doing now as on Wild Honey, especially in the vocals and Carl's leads in particular. The album was a chance for them to try a new R&B flavored sound, give Carl a chance to wail on lead vocals in that style, and Brian was involved in all of this (unlike previous narratives) yet he was still making music that seemed to be more for him or more akin to what he had been doing in the previous year.

There's no reason why both the Wild Honey recordings and Brian's work with Redwood could not have coexisted. I think it's a simple case of Brian - as was his usual way of making records - had songs which he thought the Boys could do best and songs which he thought Redwood could do best, and then songs and ideas which he perhaps wanted to explore and create himself. It's hard to see a reason why something had to happen which still caused him pain decades after the fact.
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« Reply #32 on: May 04, 2021, 07:29:39 AM »

Sure, the R&B influence is obviously all over the place, and I'll take misunderstanding 'heavy'. I'm not denying the R&B angle that was the driving motivation behind making that album the way it was made. But the point is that it wasn't exclusively that, and it wasn't about rethinking their studio sound for the sake of live performance. The interpretation I read there is that what Brian was doing with Redwood was somehow the true expression of his musical growth post-Smile, while Wild Honey was an artistic pulled punch that Brian was manoeuvred into doing, which I just don't think is the case. It's all on the same trail.
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« Reply #33 on: May 04, 2021, 07:30:52 AM »

would Darlin' - both as a song and a Beach Boys recording - even have existed if it were not for Danny Hutton, and the need for Redwood to have a hit song with the start of their association w/ Brian?  I think not.  Remember the simple fact the song title emanates from Dannys' penchant for casually calling everybody 'Darlin', and Brian took that and quickly fashioned a song use then.  If it were not for that origin......no Darlin'

Check out 3 Dog Night's very first 45 "It's For You" from 1968.  It's a compact and catchy little a-capella rendition of a lennon/McCartney tune which showcases their own 3-voice blend exceptionally.  The very type of thing i'm sure Brian picked up on just a year earlier and figured he'd like to try producing himself (as Redwood)
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« Reply #34 on: May 04, 2021, 07:43:22 AM »

I just don't fly with the idea that any of the music Brian made in late '67 was anything other than him following his muse in that moment. Brian didn't care about cultivating a sound for the Beach Boys that melded them on stage and in the studio.

This I just don't agree with at all and will have to agree to disagree. The proof is in the tapes from the second half of '67 and in numerous articles and interviews specifically from spring into summer '67. It could have been an issue Brian wasn't as concerned about while making records in LA, but it absolutely was a concern for the Beach Boys who had been touring and getting plenty of heat from the reviews of their shows that they didn't sound like the records when they played live and that they sounded thinner or weaker on stage than the records fans wanted to hear them play.

That kind of thing not only wears on the psyche of the performer, but it also starts affecting the bottom line financially when the rap on a touring group is that they don't sound like the records in person, which implies it's not a ticket worth buying.

They tried to fix that by bringing along extra musicians like that string section in Europe, but even that caused issues for them. And how practical was it in terms of 1967 live touring to travel everywhere with a large ensemble of musicians to better capture the sound of the recordings?

I think the shortest path to a solution - not using the word compromise although it could be one - would be to cut records that were better able to be reproduced on stage. The main evidence of the results of this surrounding Smiley Smile are the Hawaii concerts and the Heider re-records. It's the Beach Boys' current and previous records given different arrangements and featuring that Smiley vibe. The tapes from the late '67 Wild Honey era shows feature the songs being played on stage not too far different from what they sound like on the records, with additional musicians as or if needed.

I think that was a conscious decision that may have been as much practical or business as it was following a muse. I'm sure the band who was taking heat for their stage show not sounding like the records had a say in the matter, and to me at least it's no coincidence that after they returned from that tour of Europe in May '67 the entire scope of the music they were putting their names on changed drastically. Their records sounded like arrangements that could be reproduced on stage with maybe adding a few horns (like the Stax and Motown touring shows were doing) and not trying to reproduce studio creations.

I think the practical and business concerns of wanting to square up the sound of the live show with the recordings to answer the criticism needed to balance the artistic and creative aspects of actually writing and producing the records, and if any time was crucial in that balance it was this time in the latter half of '67. No matter how much splicing and vari-speeding and cut-n-paste editing and other studio work was done at this time, the final result of the records themselves still sounded more like a sound that could be reproduced on stage with a core band. The question is how much did that pendulum swing either way and what was the ripple effect of that pendulum swinging. I think you can hear it on the tapes from '67 and even into '68, others may not.

And I also think the timing of this unfortunately hit when live rock shows were not yet developed into a process and a revue as they would soon be. It was still primarily the band standing on stage in front of a curtain playing through amplifiers, with no monitors, and at best an 4 or 8-channel mixer through PA speakers if that. Often the necessity of creative innovation exceeds the capabilities of available technology. So something has to be...yes...compromised in the process. All bands went through it at this time unless they were a truly self-contained unit who cut records that sounded like live tracks.
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« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2021, 08:01:03 AM »

Sure, the R&B influence is obviously all over the place, and I'll take misunderstanding 'heavy'. I'm not denying the R&B angle that was the driving motivation behind making that album the way it was made. But the point is that it wasn't exclusively that, and it wasn't about rethinking their studio sound for the sake of live performance. The interpretation I read there is that what Brian was doing with Redwood was somehow the true expression of his musical growth post-Smile, while Wild Honey was an artistic pulled punch that Brian was manoeuvred into doing, which I just don't think is the case. It's all on the same trail.

I also don't think the work on Wild Honey was necessarily a pulled punch either, but I do think the issue of the studio sound versus the live sound was a concern that was on the table at this time. It was expressed numerous times by various band members in interviews in '67, and we know they tried numerous "fixes" on their tours to ease those criticisms and concerns. But again agreeing to disagree perhaps, I do think that issue found its way into the studio process as well. There had to be a balance struck between "hey, let's make these amazing studio creations" and "hey, how are we going to play this stuff live?".

You know me and my Beatles comparisons... Grin . With all the attention about to come to "Let It Be", look at how the arrangements and the sound of the Beatles overall changed when the "Get Back" project was planned for some kind of live performance. They literally got back to being a 4-piece self-contained band, and both the songs they were writing and featuring and the arrangements of those songs changed the sound of the band considerably as a result. One could argue it was as much a case of "getting back" to being a raw self-contained rock group stripping down to the basic elements like it was 1962 all over again, or it was an aesthetic or creative choice to do so. I think there was an element of needing to have songs that could work for a 4-piece live band playing on stage versus writing songs which were designed to have openings for all kinds of studio sounds and techniques added to enhance them, which had been the band's M.O. since 1966. And since they quit touring after Revolver changed the game, they didn't need to think in those terms when bringing in new material to work on. The necessities of playing live seemed to dictate the way they were working and recording more than it had previously, at least since '66.

It may be a stretch, but I can see a parallel in what the Beach Boys were going through in '67. There had to be a balance struck somewhere. 
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« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2021, 09:34:27 AM »

It should be worth noting that the only songs the boys played live for more than one day on their next tour were Wild Honey and Darlin' - both tracks having pretty layered productions with lots of percussion overdubs, electro-theremin on the former, and horns on the latter.
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« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2021, 09:50:20 AM »

Most if not all of their shows and setlists in late 1967 into '68 (and even beyond that) averaged between 12-14 songs. How many more "album cuts" could they have fit in when they were doing mostly their previous hits and the current single or singles and only had enough time for roughly a dozen songs at each show? They also added additional musicians to the stage on a more permanent basis during this time and that would soon include horns as well. That setup and organization of their setlists didn't seem to change throughout 1969, they played mostly the current singles and previous hit singles fans wanted to hear even during this period.
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« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2021, 03:30:14 PM »

So why would Brian change the sound for the purpose of live shows when they weren't going to play those songs live? I'm just not hearing that idea in the arrangements or the songwriting in any of Wild Honey.
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« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2021, 03:52:35 PM »


I've said it many times including above, but something big happened to change the dynamic after the band returned from Europe in May 1967.


The currently fashionable term for what occurred in 1967 is "deplatforming." How or why that happened is up for debate (not really) but that's what it was. 

Deplatforming is a term from a few years ago (possibly pre-dating the alt-right being named the alt-right even) & probably out of date by now, meaning removing a platform from fascists, ie stopping them from'debating' at universities / spreading hate speech in public. Doesn't really apply to The Beach Boys becoming unpopular in late 60s America.
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« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2021, 07:31:34 PM »

So why would Brian change the sound for the purpose of live shows when they weren't going to play those songs live? I'm just not hearing that idea in the arrangements or the songwriting in any of Wild Honey.

Unless the Beach Boys or most bands for that matter have ESP, they don't know which songs will either catch on with the public or which ones they'll have to play while the songs are still being written. All that stuff gets worked out in rehearsals, after a lead-off single is chosen and in 1967 terms had to be played live to promote it, and in a lot of cases if a song lays an egg with crowds when a band performs it, or if the band just isn't jazzed about it, that song gets dropped from the set. It's the fact these sets back then were averaging 12-14 songs that made the choices even more difficult considering they could simply run the old hits and a new single and most crowds would be OK with that. But when the most recent hits and singles were as complex as Good Vibrations, Heroes, and material from Pet Sounds not to mention 1965 and 66 in general, and both fans and reviewers were blasting their live shows in '67 for not sounding like the records and sounding too thin, I definitely think it became a priority on how to fix that.

Worth noting they did try multiple songs from the Wild Honey album live in '67 but dropped them from the sets, only to bring some back in later years. "Aren't You Glad" in particular, from the Live In London album, is simply amazing. Maybe the '67 crowds just weren't into them in '67 when they first played them on stage.


In terms of the songs that are on Wild Honey, as short of an album as it is compared to what it was originally going to be, the songs are written within a more traditional song format and song form overall, and with more sparse and traditional arrangements, which would be easier to play on stage than almost anything Brian had been writing and recording in the past year. The Theremin line on Wild Honey for example is an octave sweep that anyone could be shown how to play, and Mike could play it on stage easily. Wild Honey (the song) also had the first actual bluesy keyboard solo break on a Beach Boys record in well over a year or more. The songs with horns don't have the Wrecking Crew full horn sections from 65-66, but are right in line with the Memphis Horns and what Stax was doing, or Motown, or even the smaller brass sections heard on everything from Motown to The Beatles to The Buckinghams in 66-67. The songs were not full of different movements, odd transitions, discordant breakdowns, abrupt tempo shifts, grand orchestrations with counterpoint lines and guitar sectionals, or any of the other hallmarks of Brian's productions from the previous year. They were songs which a band could take to the stage and play through, and they were more standard pop and soul song forms to further make that easier.

And even with Smiley Smile, I think one of the themes running through that process was how the band could play on these recordings versus calling in more session players than band members. In that case the pendulum may have swung too far, and a better balance was struck over the next two albums and subsequent sessions.

But I definitely hear on Wild Honey a return to more standard song forms and more standard orchestrations and arrangements, which, coincidence or not, would make those songs easier to reproduce on stage if they needed to be played live. And with more traditional song forms, like Wild Honey and Darlin to name two, the two main singles, they had a better chance of getting those songs on the radio too which would necessitate them being played on tour.
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« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2021, 09:01:21 PM »

Unless the Beach Boys or most bands for that matter have ESP

They may not have had ESP, but they knew someone who allegedly did... i.e., Jules Siegel's chick who messed with their brains so badly with ESP that they couldn't work.  Cool   
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« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2021, 09:09:10 PM »

Wild Honey does sound like an album fashioned for a live band to play, I can absolutely hear that. What I find interesting is how only a couple of months later, it seems like Brian already had something else on his mind again when the band recorded Friends which abandoned the RnB approach and had several songs that don't lend themselves to a faithful live reproduction for multiple reasons (especially Busy Doin' Nothin', Diamond Head, Transcendental Meditation). I love the music on all of these records but I feel like the Beach Boys, for the first time ever, were struggling for direction around this time and they probably never fully recovered from that. In the years that followed they were trying out new directions all the time, like following up the celebrated Surf's Up with an album that sounds like The Band with some songs that almost sound like Wagner. To me it feels like they were constantly searching for a new sound in those years (going for "all over the place" and cover versions on 20/20, for lush and soft on Sunflower, for dark and contemporary on Surf's Up, etc.). Holland I think sounds like the most successful attempt at coming up with a consistent 70s sound but of course that's when they stopped recording for a couple of years so they didn't really pursue this direction either.
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« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2021, 08:18:55 AM »

Unless the Beach Boys or most bands for that matter have ESP

They may not have had ESP, but they knew someone who allegedly did... i.e., Jules Siegel's chick who messed with their brains so badly with ESP that they couldn't work.  Cool   

Haha, very true!  LOL
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« Reply #44 on: May 05, 2021, 08:25:22 AM »

Wild Honey does sound like an album fashioned for a live band to play, I can absolutely hear that. What I find interesting is how only a couple of months later, it seems like Brian already had something else on his mind again when the band recorded Friends which abandoned the RnB approach and had several songs that don't lend themselves to a faithful live reproduction for multiple reasons (especially Busy Doin' Nothin', Diamond Head, Transcendental Meditation). I love the music on all of these records but I feel like the Beach Boys, for the first time ever, were struggling for direction around this time and they probably never fully recovered from that. In the years that followed they were trying out new directions all the time, like following up the celebrated Surf's Up with an album that sounds like The Band with some songs that almost sound like Wagner. To me it feels like they were constantly searching for a new sound in those years (going for "all over the place" and cover versions on 20/20, for lush and soft on Sunflower, for dark and contemporary on Surf's Up, etc.). Holland I think sounds like the most successful attempt at coming up with a consistent 70s sound but of course that's when they stopped recording for a couple of years so they didn't really pursue this direction either.

I don't really think they were ever on the hunt for a consistent sound to settle into. Growth and change, and hopping from whim to whim, was what motivated their creativity, especially in Brian's case. Wild Honey was never a 'new sound' so much as it was 'the type of sound we want this one album to have'. That's why I just don't buy that it had anything to do with the live act - they were entering into it consciously knowing this would be a one time in-the-moment deal. I think they were all aware that they would want to try something else later, in whatever form that arrived to them. Brian claimed that he'd 'almost run out of ideas' in January '68... and then within a month or so that new spark had come to him in the shape of Maharishi, Steve Kalinich's poetry, becoming a father, getting a kick out of unexplored genres, and all of the many other changes happening around the group in the first part of that year.
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« Reply #45 on: May 05, 2021, 08:42:15 AM »

Wild Honey does sound like an album fashioned for a live band to play, I can absolutely hear that. What I find interesting is how only a couple of months later, it seems like Brian already had something else on his mind again when the band recorded Friends which abandoned the RnB approach and had several songs that don't lend themselves to a faithful live reproduction for multiple reasons (especially Busy Doin' Nothin', Diamond Head, Transcendental Meditation). I love the music on all of these records but I feel like the Beach Boys, for the first time ever, were struggling for direction around this time and they probably never fully recovered from that. In the years that followed they were trying out new directions all the time, like following up the celebrated Surf's Up with an album that sounds like The Band with some songs that almost sound like Wagner. To me it feels like they were constantly searching for a new sound in those years (going for "all over the place" and cover versions on 20/20, for lush and soft on Sunflower, for dark and contemporary on Surf's Up, etc.). Holland I think sounds like the most successful attempt at coming up with a consistent 70s sound but of course that's when they stopped recording for a couple of years so they didn't really pursue this direction either.

Good points to consider for the bigger picture! They were shifting gears from album to album, and while the lack of cohesiveness would be a concern, at the same time consider how an album like Revolver broke open the floodgates in terms of an artist being able to present a hodge-podge of sometimes jarringly different genres and sounds on a pop album yet still have it be considered a cohesive work by one group. Then there's the trifecta of Smiley Smile/Wild Honey/Friends, and across three albums we hear three radically different "sounds" and even genres from the same band, all released to fans in under one year's time. And each relatively short, averaging under 30 minutes run time. Then 20/20 comes next, and as much as I love the album it's basically a catch-all featuring some tracks recorded three years ago sitting next to a collection of singles and assorted odds and ends. As good as it is, it really isn't a statement as a complete album, right?

I think they were searching for direction, absolutely. And beyond the albums released, consider their live shows as well. They ranged from individually great shows mixed in with downright sloppy ones, and amazing concert lineups of supporting acts mixed in with travesties like The Pickle Brothers getting heckled every night and the debacle of the Maharishi tour.  Even when they did find or have a direction, it tended not to go well for varieties of reasons. Yet contrary to some reports, they were still charting Top-40 singles and getting media exposure.

All of it tends to bring up the hypothetical speculations going back to late '66 and early '67, coming to a head around that last week of May '67. What if everyone had stayed the course? Once the working method set up back in '65 was halted, the band was searching and spinning around looking for a new direction when they basically already had one that had just generated a worldwide smash #1 single and industry buzz.

Going back to Dennis shopping for a house on Hawaii in July '67, followed by Brian in an interview done during the Hawaii rehearsals openly talking about the longevity of the band, I wonder what kind of feelings were in the air at that exact time about continuing the band. And underneath all of that was a newly-formed record label which would have allowed them to cultivate outside artists and potentially sustain the business through those plans.





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« Reply #46 on: May 05, 2021, 08:50:07 AM »

Wild Honey does sound like an album fashioned for a live band to play, I can absolutely hear that. What I find interesting is how only a couple of months later, it seems like Brian already had something else on his mind again when the band recorded Friends which abandoned the RnB approach and had several songs that don't lend themselves to a faithful live reproduction for multiple reasons (especially Busy Doin' Nothin', Diamond Head, Transcendental Meditation). I love the music on all of these records but I feel like the Beach Boys, for the first time ever, were struggling for direction around this time and they probably never fully recovered from that. In the years that followed they were trying out new directions all the time, like following up the celebrated Surf's Up with an album that sounds like The Band with some songs that almost sound like Wagner. To me it feels like they were constantly searching for a new sound in those years (going for "all over the place" and cover versions on 20/20, for lush and soft on Sunflower, for dark and contemporary on Surf's Up, etc.). Holland I think sounds like the most successful attempt at coming up with a consistent 70s sound but of course that's when they stopped recording for a couple of years so they didn't really pursue this direction either.

I don't really think they were ever on the hunt for a consistent sound to settle into. Growth and change, and hopping from whim to whim, was what motivated their creativity, especially in Brian's case. Wild Honey was never a 'new sound' so much as it was 'the type of sound we want this one album to have'. That's why I just don't buy that it had anything to do with the live act - they were entering into it consciously knowing this would be a one time in-the-moment deal. I think they were all aware that they would want to try something else later, in whatever form that arrived to them. Brian claimed that he'd 'almost run out of ideas' in January '68... and then within a month or so that new spark had come to him in the shape of Maharishi, Steve Kalinich's poetry, becoming a father, getting a kick out of unexplored genres, and all of the many other changes happening around the group in the first part of that year.

The lines in bold: No one had any way of knowing what would or wouldn't sell, surely not the Beach Boys nor any other group for that matter. There is no proof that they were entering into Smiley, Wild Honey, or any of the others knowing it was a one-off deal. The proof of this would be in another hypothetical, "what if" the band's new white R&B sound struck gold and that new sound was riding the charts alongside The Buckinghams or The Box Tops who were among the biggest-selling acts of 1967-68, and doing a similar sound? I can see a scenario where if either single from Wild Honey had gone nationwide #1 as GV had done earlier in the year, their next offerings would probably be featuring the same white-soul sound and we might have seen another album primarily featuring Carl belting soul vocals instead of quiet subdued group-heavy vocals.
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« Reply #47 on: May 05, 2021, 12:50:13 PM »

GF and I had a bit of a tiff some years back when this subject (Redwood/"Darlin'") came up in the context of taking the Lovester to task. I think the context has been broadened in several recent threads to where we can see that the entire band was clearly concerned by Brian's decision to rekindle his outside producer activities with tunes that were within the same zip code as Beach Boys material at a time when...

1) they were taking a drubbing in the press over the release of SMILEY SMILE;
2) they were actively in the process of developing a new direction to counteract 1);
3) that direction was taking shape in R&B/soul-inflected material, as manifested in the "Wild Honey" single.

Clearly "Darlin'" was a track that fit like a glove into that new direction, and it makes 1000% sense to me that the band would be, at the very least, non-plussed to discover that Brian had decided to give it to an outside band. "Time to Get Alone" not so much, though it's quite a fine tune and certainly seems to have been written with the BBs blend in mind. (But thi

Still, the hammer that's been on Mike for this incident has always seemed to be overstated to me, with what certainly seems like retrospective projection of his future behavior onto an incident in which a sizable portion of the band took part. What never seems to get mentioned whenever this item comes up is: why did the band have to go to the studio session in order to confront Brian about these songs? Is it evidence of bullying, or is it evidence of Brian not being completely transparent about what he was doing? Did he not tell the rest of the BBs about this session? Given the state of affairs within the group, would such an action of Brian's part seem like a reasonable thing to do, even given his privileged status as the band's primary musical architect?

The band certainly had some right to be panicked about where things were at for them in October 1967. And that panic and consternation could have pretty reasonably escalated to a flashpoint if they only found out about Brian's Redwood session via some back channel. I still think there is some missing context to this story that we have yet to discover.

And it's clear that in the short term at least, the rest of the band was right to wrangle "Darlin'" back into their bailiwick. It was a Top 20 hit for them when they really needed it, and it boosted the sales of the WILD HONEY album, helping to ensure a pretty respectable sales performance for it. Mike might well have left for his trip to India in early '68 feeling as though the band had weathered the storm; nobody could have anticipated that FRIENDS would perform so poorly and their touring in 1968 would be so fraught with catastrophes, pretty much dropping them right back into the same situation they found themselves in the fall of '67. Only in the fall of '68 Brian had clearly deteriorated psychologically and was no longer up to being in charge. The pain that Brian experienced in this time frame was part of a much deeper problem that had been "building up inside of him" for quite awhile, and it should be noted that the Redwood incident, awkward and mortifying as it must have been, did NOT plunge Brian into a non-creative state: that seems to have taken hold only after the poor performance of FRIENDS, and a "writer's block" that seems to have been triggered by his inability to complete "Can't Wait Too Long."
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« Reply #48 on: May 05, 2021, 02:09:30 PM »

Don - You make some good points, but I do think those who would point a finger directly at Mike Love over this incident and subsequent events would do so because Mike from most accounts was the one who took the lead in confronting Brian and essentially putting the kibosh on the deal. It was Mike who went to Danny Hutton with an ultimatum, either accept a single or get nothing. That left Brian in the dark more or less, and it's also telling that decades later Brian was *still* apologizing to Danny Hutton over the incident, as if he felt guilty that the whole thing fell apart. There is the notion coming from those inside the inner circle during this time and for years after that Mike's goal was to either be the boss, or be seen as the leader of the band. Jack Reiley said the reason Mike took to wearing sea captain's hats was because he wanted to be seen as the skipper of the band. I think that's pretty well known.

Not to turn this into a discussion solely on Mike, because as mentioned there are other facets to what went down and why (as in most cases), but if Mike were acting as the leader and the point man in this, both confronting Brian and then going to Hutton with the ultimatum, some of the contradictions need to be pointed out as well for the record.

This was filed in the 2005 lawsuit against Brian:

Mike and Brian are recognized as prodigious song-writing pioneers in the early development of this musical genre. But beginning in 1965, drugs began to destroy Brian Wilson. By 1967, Brian lived either in his bed or in his sand-box in his Beverly Hills mansion. While Mike Love and The Beach Boys were touring without him, Brian was surrounded by drug addicts, drug dealers, parasites, and plagiarizers. In 1967, while Brian was living in an environment of drugs and physical and mental illness, Brian and The Beach Boys created the “Smile” album pursuant to their contract with Capitol Records, and paid for by Capitol. Brian also consulted some of the hangers-on that surrounded him at the time.
7. Between 1967 and 2002, Brian was essentially too ill to do anything but collect his royalties, including revenues from BRI and his 25% share of Mike Love’s license royalties.


That, right there, is contradicted directly by the push to stop Brian's work with Redwood and a push to get him back to producing the Beach Boys, specifically Wild Honey in October 1967. So if according to that legal filing Brian was either in his bed or in his sandbox and "too ill to do anything but collect his royalties", how did it come to be that the band pulled him out of producing another act which was going to potentially be on the Brother label and needed him so badly to come back and produce them instead? If the guy portrayed in that legal document was doing what was described, he wouldn't be able to do anything for them, right? Then fast-forward to Friends, again if the same guy is that bad in his daily life and emotional/physical health, how or why was he able to write and produce the bulk of the Friends album?

There's something lingering over all that which I guess a lot of people who have read and heard the backstories, myself included, get a little upset over it. Not to mention Brian himself, who again was still feeling apologetic and guilty over the whole thing decades after the fact. And having people tell false narratives about it decades later doesn't help ease any of that. I'll say again, if Mike was not the one who took the lead, or who acted in a leadership role (whether real or in his own mind) during all of this, he would not be the one singled out. But he did, and therefore he is. The only other Brother voting board members at that time in '67 were Carl and Dennis. According to Danny Hutton in a video interview, Dennis had Brian's back as he almost always did. And Carl didn't say much at the actual incident but ultimately he was siding more with Mike when they shut down the Redwood sessions.

No doubt the Boys taking Darlin as a single for themselves was a good move. It's a great song, an amazing song, and it got them on the charts again. But to bust into a session and basically browbeat Brian (or anyone) in that manner is ridiculous and unprofessional to the Nth degree. It's just not done that way, in a purely professional manner, made worse by the fact that this was family doing this in a professional studio in front of other professional musicians and staff. Absurd, no excuse for that behavior.

Interesting point about how much the band members knew about Redwood. Brother was holding regular meetings and updates as a business, and the band was actively recording the songs for Wild Honey before and after (and during) the Redwood sessions. Sure it's a possibility they may not have known, but does it make sense that no one in the band, surrounding the band, or doing work for the band was aware Brian was booking time at Heider's and bringing large ensembles of session players to cut tracks with Redwood? I don't know how this activity would have been kept secret when so much was involved in the process, so I have to think it was known among the group and the Brother business overall. And the Beach Boys themselves were cutting records at Heider's too during this same time, so it's not like Brian was driving to Calabasas or something to record under the name "John Smith" to hide the sessions from the group.  LOL

I agree with your points Don and respect your opinions on these issues, and yes it is a more nuanced and wider-angle situation than basic finger-pointing. But there are some things that happened which can be called out and have been for reasons beyond grudges or whatever else. Needless to say it was not a very stable time for the band, and part of me goes back to what Marilyn said in the documentary which I quoted earlier in this discussion. I think that type of feeling and reaction played a part in Brian's choices, for sure. 
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« Reply #49 on: May 05, 2021, 06:51:06 PM »


Still, the hammer that's been on Mike for this incident has always seemed to be overstated to me, with what certainly seems like retrospective projection of his future behavior onto an incident in which a sizable portion of the band took part. What never seems to get mentioned whenever this item comes up is: why did the band have to go to the studio session in order to confront Brian about these songs? Is it evidence of bullying, or is it evidence of Brian not being completely transparent about what he was doing? Did he not tell the rest of the BBs about this session?

Speculation about Brian's lack of "transparency" is an entirely fair point to raise; he had a track record of not being forthcoming with the "organization" that dates back to, literally, the formation of the group in 1961 and he behaves in this manner time and time again at various critical junctures in the group's early history.   Usually, if not always, Brian’s lack of forthrightness manifested itself in him doing things unannounced, when others who would likely object were not aware of it or who were not well-positioned to stop him from doing what he wanted to do.  It's a good point to raise, but the more interesting and important question is why is Brian like that - why does he do things that way. Very, very short answer: Because he never had a choice, and this goes back to his childhood. There are very few ways to survive, or adapt to a childhood like that, and this was Brian's way of doing it.  Patterns of behavior like that - adaptations - work when they work, don't work when they don't work. As the person like Brian gets older, he usually runs out of road, and the pattern of behavior that worked for him under impossible conditions of childhood stops working. This is what happened to Brian. In effect, the Beach Boys were calling Brian out during the Redwood incident.  Chuck Negron of Redwood/Three Dog Night was of course there, and he remembered Brian's childlike demeanor and the parent-child aspect of the scene because that's basically what it was. Brian behaving the way he had as a child and younger man, and the opposing forces - which are also family forces and therefore "loving" forces, doing what they do to correct the child's misbehavior.

It is fair to take Brian to task for his way of avoiding confrontation and doing things behind certain people's backs (by the way, in my opinion Pet Sounds would not exist if Brian didn't do things this way) but then you have to dig deeper and ask why, and the answer to that question reflects poorly on Brian's entire family and the Beach Boys organization. 


Given the state of affairs within the group, would such an action of Brian's part seem like a reasonable thing to do, even given his privileged status as the band's primary musical architect?


Being the "musical architect" for this family organization is not necessarily a role that signifies "privileged status." Generally, one might say that Brian would be "privileged" if his songs were given priority over those of other competing songwriters in the group. Since there were no other songwriters, Brian isn't, in most instances, privileged to be the source of music.  During the time in question - late '67 and beyond - it is hardly a "privilege."  Brian is not privileged to work on Wild Honey; rather, he is obligated to do that.  However, in some other contexts, and at some points in time, Brian could be privileged.   Brian was in a position of privilege when both internal and external circumstances had fallen into place such that the Beach Boys came to be all about him - Pet Sounds, Good Vibrations, and into Smile.  Those are the days of Brian’s “privilege” (Brian himself acknowledged this in his first autobiography) and it is precisely that privilege which rubbed people the wrong way at the time.  Still, even then there were tremendous creative and commercial burdens to carry along with the musical privileges he enjoyed during that time.  What the Redwood incident signifies is that Brian is being stripped of his privileges, although that process had started already, at an earlier point in 1967, as Guitarfool has been alluding to.
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