Surf’s Up indeed.

Posted: January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

I’m going to eschew the introductory post, and dive right in.

One of the things that draws all of us to music is what I call a “chill” moment.  A point in time where it all seems to come together perfectly to evoke chills.  Whether it’s a perfect chord change, a lyric that hits us particularly well, a guitar riff that just evokes awe, or something produced just right.

Here’s one of my favorites.

The song “Surf’s Up” from the great lost “Smile” album from the Beach Boys is one of the best songs written, in my opinion.  The melody is delicious, and the lyric evocative of how Brian Wilson’s musical world was falling apart and his yearning to get back to the “simpler” time when he was just free to write.  Through bootlegs, and the release of the “Smile Sessions” box set, there are many different versions floating around.

First, lets hear the best version of the song, which is the Brian Wilson demo, just him and the piano. I particularly enjoy this because it’s so very personal.


Now, here is the session for the backing track, edited to just the first verse.  Pay particular attention at 19 seconds, after the descending guitar, to the xylophone(maybe a vibraphone?  I would love to be enlightened).  Absolutely a gorgeous drop-in, and a testament to the genius within the genius of Brian Wilson.  Genius to come up with the song in the first place, and genius to know EXACTLY what to drop in at EXACTLY the right moment.


And, the whole song, with the backing track.  Headphones are recommended, because so much of what Brian does is so subtle.


And, as a present, an awesome version by Jeff Beck:

  1. corpuscle2 says:

    From Paige:

    The instrument you mentioned is a glockenspiel.
    I agree, a perfect choice to evoke the innocence yearned for. It reminds me of a half remembered dream .

  2. corpuscle2 says:

    That was driving me crazy — Curt

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