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Author Topic: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul  (Read 5103 times)

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Joost

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Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« on: November 20, 2009, 12:11:45 PM »

A pretty cool article from Times Online:

Quote
It must have been in November of 1965. I was living in this house in the Hollywood Hills then, way up on Laurel Way, and I remember sitting in the living room one night talking with some friends when another friend came in with a copy of the Beatles’ new one, Rubber Soul, I don’t know if it had even come out yet. But he had it and so we put it on the record player and, wow. As soon as I started hearing it I loved it. I mean, LOVED it!

I still remember hearing Michelle for the first time, and Girl. What an incredible song! Everything about the way John Lennon sang, and the lyrics he was writing. “Oh, girl, girl.” It sounded amazing.

Norwegian Wood is my favourite, too. The lyrics are so good, and so creative, right from the first line: “I once had a girl/ Or should I say, she once had me.” It’s so mysterious. Is he into her, or she into him? It just blew my mind. And in the end, when he wakes up and she’s gone, so he lights a fire. “Isn’t it good? Norwegian wood.” Is he setting her house on fire? I didn’t know. I still don’t know. I thought that was fantastic. I can’t forget the sitar, too, I’d never heard that before, that unbelievable sound. No one had heard that in rock’n’roll back then, this amazing, exotic sound. It really did inspire the instrumentation I ended up using for Pet Sounds.

So many other songs are on there, too. You Won’t See Me is like a cheerful pop song, and Think for Yourself is kind of dark. I’d forgotten that was George’s song. He really wrote that? Well, I know it has that cool fuzzy bass sound. I’d used that already on Little Honda, so it was more familiar to me. But then came The Word, and that was something else, too. A song about love, but not just about girls and boys.

Then there’s In My Life, that’s another John song. And that’s my favorite song on the record too, except for Norwegian Wood. I loved the sound of John’s voice. I’d never heard a collection of songs that were all that good before. It’s like a collection of folk songs, and they’re all just really, really great songs. And not just about love. They’re about a lot of different things, but they all go together, somehow.

Listening to Rubber Soul didn’t clarify my ideas for Pet Sounds, exactly. But it inspired me. When we were listening to it that night I said to myself, “Now I’m gonna make an album just as good as Rubber Soul.” Not the same album. Obviously there can only be one album that’s Rubber Soul, just like there can only be one Pet Sounds. But it inspired me to do my own thing, and so the next morning I went to the piano and wrote God Only Knows with Tony Asher.

And it’s still my favourite Beatles album. That and Let It Be. Obviously, they’re very different records. But the Beatles changed musically, and got better over the years. So did I.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2009, 12:15:47 PM »

Nice piece of history. Cheers for that.
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georgeharrisonluver

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2009, 04:04:24 AM »

very interesting!
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fendertele

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2009, 05:07:57 AM »

Always had Brian down for Macca guy  ::) but i stand corrected
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tkitna

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2009, 11:41:56 PM »

Hmm, Rubber Soul and Let It Be are his favorites. Surprised he didnt mention Sgt. Peppers.

(Sorry, bad joke)

Joost

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2009, 03:36:20 PM »

Hmm, Rubber Soul and Let It Be are his favorites. Surprised he didnt mention Sgt. Peppers.

(Sorry, bad joke)

Brian has always denied that Sgt. Pepper traumatized him or anything. The Beach Boys even recorded a cover of 'With A Little Help From My Friends' in 1967 and Brian said on several occasions that 'She's Leaving Home' is one of his favorite songs.
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dcowboys107

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2009, 12:06:38 AM »

I bet he liked Sgt. Pepper's but I always have seen Brian as more the type to dig melodies and folk songs over the overtly complex.  True, he "had" SMiLE but it never panned out and seemed more of an experiment than anything.  I've also seen that some Christmas album is his favorite. Can't remember whose. 
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tkitna

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2009, 01:07:33 AM »

I bet he liked Sgt. Pepper's but I always have seen Brian as more the type to dig melodies and folk songs over the overtly complex.  True, he "had" SMiLE but it never panned out and seemed more of an experiment than anything.  I've also seen that some Christmas album is his favorite. Can't remember whose. 

I think 'Smile' was going to be his masterpiece (so he thought) and then he heard Sgt. Peppers and it crushed him because that was the vision he was looking for.

dcowboys107

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2010, 09:57:57 PM »

I think 'Smile' was going to be his masterpiece (so he thought) and then he heard Sgt. Peppers and it crushed him because that was the vision he was looking for.

True that. I read somewhere that he heard Strawberry Fields on he radio or something and he knew at that point that The Beatles had gotten there before him.  Brian's still a boss though.
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peterbell1

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2010, 11:28:22 PM »

The mid-60s was such an amazingly creative time in music - I wonder if there has ever been a time like it in music, when bands played off each other like they did back then?
I can't imagine a modern band hearing a rival band's record, like Brian Wilson did with Rubber Soul, and rushing into the studio determined to outdo it.
Today, listening to an album for the first time isn't so much of an event. But back then it seems to have been a major thing (I was born in '67 so can't claim to have been there).
People back then (as Brian Wilson exemplifies) can still remember where they were the first time they heard a record and what their reactions were to it.
It must have been an amazing period - not just for the musicians, but for the average record buyer as well.
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Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2010, 02:42:14 AM »

It seems to me we've gotten to a point where there's really very little actual innovation anymore. It's not necessarily the fault of modern artists. It's just that we've gotten to the point where, with the power of modern computers, there's no sound we can't create anymore, and stylistically, anything close to innovation is really just taking one style of music and combining it with another. There's nothing really shocking anymore, at least not on the scale of Rubber Soul through Sgt. Pepper. I hate the term "postmodern" because really the word "modern" doesn't describe an era but in fact means "the current time", as opposed to "contemporary" which means "at the time of the subject being discussed" (just a pet peeve of mine), but nevertheless it seems to me like we've reached what postmodernists describe as inevitable: You can do anything you want. You no longer have to follow the trends necessarily, because ultimately there will be a market for it no matter what you do, as long as you do it well.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's certainly less exciting.
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Bobber

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2010, 08:32:24 AM »

I think you got a point there. I enjoyed your post as usual by the way.
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Joost

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2010, 09:42:54 AM »

I've also seen that some Christmas album is his favorite. Can't remember whose. 

Phil Spector's christmas album.
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peterbell1

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2010, 09:44:04 AM »

I think there is still innovation going on in music today - but it's difficult to see it at the time it's happening.
It takes a few years before you can look back at things in perspective and recognize the leap forward an artist (or a group of artists) has made.

One example from the 1990s - I'm not a fan of Radiohead at all, but I think they did push a few boundaries with albums like OK Computer. It's not an album I enjoy listening to myself, but it was hugely influential, I think.
It sits up there with Beatles albums at the top of many "Best album ever" polls.

Over the past few years there has been a trend towards manufactured artists - the winners of X-Factor or Pop Idol or whatever, plucked from obscurity then getting instant number one hit singles. This Christmas in the UK an internet group was set up to challenge that, and succeeded in getting a song by Rage Against the Machine to number one. OK, the song by RATM was an old one, so not exactly innovation, but the idea behind the internet group and the way that the power was (albeit temporarily) taken away from record company execs and handed back to the public is certainly innovative.

Having said that, I still think there hasn't been a time for innovation in music comparable to what was going on in the mid-60s, and Rubber Soul and Pet Sounds are both great examples of that innovation.
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Joost

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2010, 10:12:18 AM »

I think 'Smile' was going to be his masterpiece (so he thought) and then he heard Sgt. Peppers and it crushed him because that was the vision he was looking for.

I believe that the impact that Sgt. Pepper had on Brian has always been hugely overstated.

There are several reasons I can think of why Brian abandoned Smile:
- Some members of the band, especially Mike Love, hated most of the new material (according to Brian this was the main reason).
- Brian's dad Murry, who still treated him like a little kid, hated the new material as well.
- Brian was seriously mentally ill (he has later been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) and was doing too much drugs at the time.
- Pet Sounds had (relatively) been a commercial failure. Smile was sceduled to be released in time for Christmas 1966 but it still wasn't finished in May 1967. Needless to say Capitol Records also wasn't very happy with the way things were going.
- Brian's lyricist for the project, Van Dyke Parks, had quit because he had a hard time dealing with Brian's drug use and behavior, and the criticism of especially Mike Love.
- The band had several legal problems at the time, most notably a dispute with Capitol over royalty payments and Carl Wilson's call-up for the draft.

In conclusion: I think Brian had more weight on his shoulders than a man in his mental state was able to bear. Sure it bummed him out that The Beatles had released their masterpiece before he'd finished his, but I don't think it was one of the main reasons why he shelved Smile. I think that's just a myth that Beatles fans and sensationalist journalists would like to believe. "The Beatles were so good that it literally drove their biggest rival insane!". Based on the dozen+ books (and countless articles and interviews) that I've read about Brian and The Beach Boys, I'm sure that what happened to Brian was bound to happen anyway. With or without Sgt. Pepper.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2010, 02:06:24 PM by Joost »
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Kevin

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2010, 10:13:04 AM »

Holy sh*t. I'm agreeing with Joost again! My thoughts exactly.
Also, I think it's a matter of perspective. Being 51 I feel comfortable in saying that people over 40 miss a lot of what goes on in music because we're know longer the target audience of the innovators.
I know throughout the sixties many black artists said The Beatles were just simply recycling and repackaging their music. And plenty of 40 plus types were shaking their heads and saying it all sounded the same and why wasn't music like the good old days.
I aqlso agree though that the mid sixties was a very unique time, and maybe reached a level of innivation unmatched since.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2010, 10:21:45 AM by Kevin »
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Joost

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2010, 10:54:43 AM »

Being 51 I feel comfortable in saying that people over 40 miss a lot of what goes on in music because we're know longer the target audience of the innovators.

I'm 31 and sometimes I already feel like I'm getting to old to keep up with today's music. Sometimes I have to review a CD of a band I've never heard of, then I do some research and find out that they have literally half a million friends on MySpace.
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dcowboys107

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2010, 06:02:00 AM »

I believe that the impact that Sgt. Pepper had on Brian has always been hugely overstated.

There are several reasons I can think of why Brian abandoned Smile:
- Some members of the band, especially Mike Love, hated most of the new material (according to Brian this was the main reason).
- Brian's dad Murry, who still treated him like a little kid, hated the new material as well.
- Brian was seriously mentally ill (he has later been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) and was doing too much drugs at the time.
- Pet Sounds had (relatively) been a commercial failure. Smile was sceduled to be released in time for Christmas 1966 but it still wasn't finished in May 1967. Needless to say Capitol Records also wasn't very happy with the way things were going.
- Brian's lyricist for the project, Van Dyke Parks, had quit because he had a hard time dealing with Brian's drug use and behavior, and the criticism of especially Mike Love.
- The band had several legal problems at the time, most notably a dispute with Capitol over royalty payments and Carl Wilson's call-up for the draft.

In conclusion: I think Brian had more weight on his shoulders than a man in his mental state was able to bear. Sure it bummed him out that The Beatles had released their masterpiece before he'd finished his, but I don't think it was one of the main reasons why he shelved Smile. I think that's just a myth that Beatles fans and sensationalist journalists would like to believe. "The Beatles were so good that it literally drove their biggest rival insane!". Based on the dozen+ books (and countless articles and interviews) that I've read about Brian and The Beach Boys, I'm sure that what happened to Brian was bound to happen anyway. With or without Sgt. Pepper.
I Have to agree hjere withJoost. Joost no doubtedly is the Beach Boy expert but I too have done my researching. I think Brian was already feeling a lot of weight at his point at 23 years old and ever since pratically the beginning he became the de facto producer, arranger, composer, bass player in the touring band you know. On top of that he had a very over bearing father in Murry and countless other hassels.  I don't know about you but that much work for anyone, (mentally instable or not).  Drug use, and the stress of being a one man show and have to meet deadlines added to his problems. So yeah, Sgt. Pepper probably was a head bonker for him but I mean that's just one thing to add to a list too long to compile.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 10:37:22 AM by Bobber »
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Joost

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2010, 08:10:58 AM »

Brian on the Let It Be album:
Quote
When I'm scared and lost, I play this album and it gets me cool. I first heard it in 1970 and I couldn't believe how great the Beatles looked on the cover. This album came to me through my brother Carl. He said, You gotta hear Let It Be by the Beatles. It'll knock you out. And it totally blew me out of my chair. This is probably my favourite album because of the sound of the track Let It Be. Also because of John's voice on the tracks - that blew me out. And just the way the songs all blended together. It's an album I play ever couple of weeks for spiritual guidance.
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: Brian Wilson's review of Rubber Soul
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2010, 02:40:49 PM »

^ Wow, what a quote. :)
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