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Author Topic: BW's contributions to music  (Read 8338 times)
Swamp Pirate
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« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2008, 04:30:55 AM »

3. A minor footnote will be the Smile Era. Even though the music was not heard by the masses, it WAS legendary for many years in the music field, and influenced enough artists/musicians who tried to emulate some of the music in the ensuing years.

A minor quibble here.  Smile did reach #13 in 2004.   Obviously, enough of the masses heard it and certainly appreciated it. 

Otherwise, you make some good points.
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2008, 05:11:38 AM »


I suppose contributing to music and influencing what comes after are, in fact, and despite what other people here seem to think, very similar things.

Innovation in music can and often does influence others - but if someone does something innovative in music, and no one else picks up on it, doesn't mean it's not innovative.  To try and prove something is innovative because someone else copied it is putting the course before the horse, so to speak.  I believe Brian did influence others with his musical innovations, but one does not guarantee the other was my point.  If a band came out now with a Nirvana grunge style album and it was successful and other bands copied it and a new grunge movement started, it wouldn't make the Nirvana copy cat "innovative," but they would still be influential.

Another "innovation":  Brian's use of tags or fades, which often were separate pieces of music entirely from the rest of the song, instead of the usual fading on the chorus.
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brianc
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« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2008, 09:41:36 AM »

His use of orchestrated instrumentals was innovative - can't think of many rock groups doing that in 65-66.

Maybe not rock groups, but Les Baxter, Henry Mancini or Percy Faith could knock those off in their sleep. The "Pet Sounds" LP instrumentals were celestial and different for a rock group to release, but besides really great melodies, those arrangements were nothing new. Just out of the playbook of exotica and easy listening arrangers.
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brianc
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« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2008, 09:43:31 AM »

Brian developed new ways of writing songs like a symphony with multiple movements

"New" for pop music.
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brianc
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« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2008, 10:06:19 AM »

His enthusiastic adoption of synthesizer and especially syn bass was innovative in the Love You era.

This might be true. I can't think of an example of a straight-ahead rock/pop group that employed keyboard to that extant in 1977. It doesn't strike me as innovative, like a Stockhausen or a Kraftwerk. It more makes me think of a guy that has the keyboard around, and it allows him to not use the other members of his band to create, and so he makes this myopic album about the slice-of-life things around him. However, the splurping sounds and weirdness of tone suggests that he was interested in the texture of the keyboard's possibilities.
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brianc
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« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2008, 10:14:59 AM »

I do stand by my words (and also think that there is a jazzy undertone to Friends as a whole) but for the sake of argument let's assume you are right and I am wrong. The fact that these records have held up, and now more well renowned then many popular items of the day says something. The continuing influence is not to be overlooked. 

The song "Transcendental Meditation" is essentially jazz. "Diamond Head" is somewhere between traditional Hawaiian and the tropical jazz/pop subgenre of exotica. And, as always, the Beach Boys employ a jazz harmony style that they've always put atop pop and rock arrangements. I find "Friends" the album to be very jazzy too.

I also agree that too much is put on this idea of influence the moment it was released. What of the notion that "Smile" has been influential for 40 years? Did Brian have to just influence his generation for his music to be contributive?
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brianc
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« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2008, 10:17:53 AM »

Now, in the grand history of 500 years+of Western music: what contributions to MUSIC did Mozart make? Or Beethoven? How were things changed?

You can't be serious with this...
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Amy B.
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« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2008, 10:43:56 AM »

Brian's work has always been grounded in what came before. That's why it's so accessible.

I still say he took other people's ideas and applied them in a fresh way. Like moving away from the standard pop song structure and into modular stuff or themes with variations, or slowing down the tempo mid-song, or adding on a little coda. Ideas that were hundreds of years old, but you didn't really find them on pop songs. The use of instruments that were generally used in other music genres, like the harpsicord. The exploration of more complex harmonies that were generally relegated to jazz until then.   Even Smile is heavily influenced by Gershwin and steals ideas from Bach, but Brian turned this on its head and made something new.
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brianc
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« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2008, 12:05:35 PM »

His use of orchestrated instrumentals was innovative - can't think of many rock groups doing that in 65-66.

Also, Jan Berry and Jack Nietzsche were doing orchestrated rock instrumentals in 1963-64. Nietzsche had a hit with one of them.
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shelter
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« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2008, 12:34:02 PM »

He combined other people's ideas and made something new out of them by constantly pushing the envelope.

Musically, he was so talented and creative that he created a standard by which derivative bands are judged (and by which he too is now judged), and he set the bar high. He also put a lot of himself into his music, and since his personality is so singular, that intangible element is hard to duplicate.

I agree. I think his most important contribution was raising the bar and making people try harder. Maybe there aren't too many bands that have tried to copy the Beach Boys' sound, but I'm sure that Brian Wilson inspired a lot of bands to just try harder to be 'great' instead of just 'good'...
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brianc
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« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2008, 01:10:40 PM »

Maybe there aren't too many bands that have tried to copy the Beach Boys' sound

Say wha?

You must be kidding with that statement. There were a million imitators of Brian's sound during the early-to-mid-'60s. Hundreds more after "Pet Sounds." And since that time, not only has his sound been a part of the musical lexicon, but it's influenced pop music to such an extant that we can hardly imagine not having it as part of our reference book for describing other songs.

The second half of the '90s had so much Wilson imprint on indie music, I can't imagine that not being recognized as a major part of that decade.
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shelter
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« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2008, 01:43:57 PM »

Maybe there aren't too many bands that have tried to copy the Beach Boys' sound

Say wha?

You must be kidding with that statement. There were a million imitators of Brian's sound during the early-to-mid-'60s. Hundreds more after "Pet Sounds." And since that time, not only has his sound been a part of the musical lexicon, but it's influenced pop music to such an extant that we can hardly imagine not having it as part of our reference book for describing other songs.

The second half of the '90s had so much Wilson imprint on indie music, I can't imagine that not being recognized as a major part of that decade.

The number of bands that obviously tried to copy The Beatles is infinitely higher than the number of bands that tried to copy the Beach Boys...
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Jonas
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« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2008, 04:03:21 PM »

Nothing like Good Vibrations had been done before in th 500+ years of music.

Because tape machines and studio gear didnt exist in the previous 500+ years of music.
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We would like to record under an atmosphere of calmness. - Brian Wilson
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2008, 04:09:53 PM »

His use of orchestrated instrumentals was innovative - can't think of many rock groups doing that in 65-66.

Also, Jan Berry and Jack Nietzsche were doing orchestrated rock instrumentals in 1963-64. Nietzsche had a hit with one of them.

What Jan Berry orchestrated rock instrumental was done in 63-64?  And Jack Nietzsche isn't a rock group, is he?
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2008, 04:11:00 PM »

Brian developed new ways of writing songs like a symphony with multiple movements

"New" for pop music.

Exactly.  Glad you agree.
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brianc
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« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2008, 04:17:31 PM »

What Jan Berry orchestrated rock instrumental was done in 63-64?  And Jack Nietzsche isn't a rock group, is he?

"Quasimoto" and "Skateboarding Part 1," not to mention the Pop Symphony No. 1 album.

As for Jack Nietzsche, well, he was an arranger and performer of rock 'n' roll that used orchestration over instrumentals. And besides, "The Lonely Surfer" was by the Jack Nietzsche Orchestra. Grin
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brianc
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« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2008, 04:20:05 PM »

The number of bands that obviously tried to copy The Beatles is infinitely higher than the number of bands that tried to copy the Beach Boys...

How does that do away with the comment that you made that "there aren't too many bands that have tried to copy the Beach Boys' sound"? Maybe there are MORE Beatles-influenced acts, but there's been so much Beach Boys-influenced product, it just boggles the mind.
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Jason
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« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2008, 08:00:06 PM »

Now, in the grand history of 500 years+of Western music: what contributions to MUSIC did Mozart make? Or Beethoven? How were things changed?

Are. You. KIDDING?!?

Whoa....colour me shocked. We're comparing Brian Wilson's contributions to music to Mozart's or Beethoven's? That's like a boxing match with Mike Tyson vs. Fred Savage. Or to use an example closer to home, Dennis vs. Bruce. Smiley
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Wirestone
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« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2008, 10:21:02 PM »

Simple.

BW's real contribution was the concept of the rock star as auteur -- that is, the same single person wrote, produced and performed the records. And the artifact being produced wasn't just a song that anyone could play, but instead a recorded artifact that was shaped to his specifications.

Other, earlier performers came close. Les Paul and Buddy Holly both made inroads in that direction. Neither followed through, through. Brian was really alone in terms of the specificity of his vision and the quality of what he ultimately produced. He laid the groundwork for so many one-man bands who followed -- from Todd Rundgren to Lindsey Buckingham to Trent Reznor -- who saw the studio as not just a place to record product, but a place to create something that was ultimately, entirely them.

You see, Brian's ultimate genius as a musician is not that he necessarily invented anything new. It's that he combined and revised what was around him (including the talents of co-writers and studio engineers and players) to create nearly perfect gems of recorded feeling. That is, he used the same notes as other folks, he used the same musicians, he used the same studios -- but how he put them together expresses profound love, spirituality and yearning in a way few others have managed.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 10:37:20 PM by claymcc » Logged
lance
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« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2008, 11:33:31 PM »

Nothing like Good Vibrations had been done before in th 500+ years of music.

Because tape machines and studio gear didnt exist in the previous 500+ years of music.

I know.


That doesn't make what I said untrue.

How else could you "contribute" to "Western music" if not through either

a)new inventions(say the piano a few hundred years back--it had to be invented and made and gotten hold of by a great composer to fully realize it's potential, and therefore be considered a significant "contribution" to "Western Music". (I use quotes, because as far as I'm concerned, neither contribution nor Western Music have been properly defined for this conversation.)


or
b) adding or blending pre-existing, "non-Western" forms, say Indian or African forms making their way into Western music--Rock deftly blends all forms of music, from Classical or whatevah you wanna call it, to European folk, to a variety of African forms, to Indian, and so on...

.Brian is one of the many "vocabulary makers" of modern rock, and therefore did help "contribute"--along with many others in the sixties--Beatles, Phil Spector, Dylan, et al-- to the stretching of the boundaries of the rock form--The stretching of those boundaries WAS a "contribution" to Western music", IMO.

I would say rather than :"Brian Wilson contributed to music", "Brian Wilson was part of a soci-cultural movement that contributed to music."
Again though: neither contribution or "Western music" has really been properly defined in the context of this conversation.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 02:56:35 AM by lance » Logged
Aegir
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« Reply #45 on: July 24, 2008, 02:06:55 AM »

Popularizing vocal harmony surf music?
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Every time you spell Smile as SMiLE, an angel's wings are forcibly torn off its body.
shelter
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« Reply #46 on: July 24, 2008, 05:46:32 AM »

We're comparing Brian Wilson's contributions to music to Mozart's or Beethoven's?

Why not? I take pop music just as seriously as any other art form. I don't see why Brian Wilson or John Lennon & Paul McCartney should be taken less seriously as artists as Mozart, Beethoven, Van Gogh, Shakespeare, Dickens or Picasso. I sure they will be a few hundred years from now.
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2008, 07:47:44 AM »

What Jan Berry orchestrated rock instrumental was done in 63-64?  And Jack Nietzsche isn't a rock group, is he?

"Quasimoto" and "Skateboarding Part 1," not to mention the Pop Symphony No. 1 album.

As for Jack Nietzsche, well, he was an arranger and performer of rock 'n' roll that used orchestration over instrumentals. And besides, "The Lonely Surfer" was by the Jack Nietzsche Orchestra. Grin

Pop Symphony was released in 66, not 63-64.  Not familiar with the other tracks.

An orchestrated track by something called the Jack Nietzsche Orchestra isn't as far a stretch as a rock band doing them on an album or Bside in 1965, IMO.
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brianc
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« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2008, 09:27:57 AM »

"The Lonely Surfer" was a Top 40 single on the Pop/Rock charts in 1963.

Pop Symphony was released in 1965, more than six months before Pet Sounds hit shelves.

Also, "Miserlou Twist" on Dick Dale's first album, Surfer's Choice, melded a scorching Dale guitar lead with wildly dramatic string parts.
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knewthink
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« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2008, 11:02:13 AM »

The astounding variety of the body of work that Brian Wilson created is unequalled in popular music.  I am still caught off guard when listening to many of the records and songs he produced.  Brian tried everything and often times it resulted in beautiful songs and sounds.  After thirty years of listening to the Beach Boys I can never tire of it: that is his genius.
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