A Pocket Symphony - The Making of Good Vibrations

The Beach Boys
The Making of Good Vibrations - Front Cover The Making of Good Vibrations - Rear Cover
The Making of Good Vibrations - Front Cover The Making of Good Vibrations - Rear Cover

Label * none *
Catalogue No. BB 66
Receiving Date:   2008
Total Time :   76:52
Comments:   There are two versions of Good Vibrations:
The first a more traditional R'n'B influenced version recorded as early as February 1966.
But Brian was not satisfied with it and after completing Pet Sounds started anew.
He and the band then spent six months (on and off) working on the track, which finally emerged in October 1966 as the colourful masterpiece we all know.

"Good Vibrations" is a song by American rock band the Beach Boys, released as a single in October 1966,
and backed with the Pet Sounds instrumental "Let's Go Away For Awhile".
The song was composed and produced by Brian Wilson with lyrics by Mike Love.
Initiated during the sessions for the Pet Sounds album, it was not taken from or issued as a lead single for an album, but as a stand-alone single.

Building upon the layered production approach he had previously formulated on Pet Sounds,
Wilson recorded it piecemeal using several Los Angeles studios throughout the course of eight months,
resulting in a cut-up mosaic of musical episodes marked by several discordant key and modal shifts which underlay choral fugues.
Band publicist Derek Taylor dubbed the work a "pocket symphony," as it features an exotic array of instruments considered unusual for a popular song of its time,
including prominent use of a jaw harp and the relatively new device the Electro-Theremin, along with conventional instruments played in ways novel to a pop hit,
such as its cello and string bass which play a bowed tremolo over the song's chorus.

Its production costs were the most expensive of any single ever produced.

The instrumental of the first version of the song was recorded on 17th February 1966 at Gold Star Studios and was logged as a Pet Sounds session.
On that day's session log, it was given the name "#1 Untitled" or "Good, Good, Good Vibrations", but on its master tape, Wilson distinctly states "'Good Vibrations'... take one".
After twenty-six takes, a rough mono mix completed the session.
Some additional instruments and rough guide vocals were overdubbed on March 3.
The original version of "Good Vibrations" contains the characteristics of a "funky rhythm and blues number" and would not yet resemble a "pocket symphony."
There was no cello at this juncture, but the Electro-Theremin was present, being played by its inventor Paul Tanner.
It was Brian's second ever recorded use of the instrument following the Pet Sounds track "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" three days before.
Brian then placed "Good Vibrations" on hold in order to devote attention to the Pet Sounds album, later to be released on May 16.

More instrumental sections for "Good Vibrations" were recorded between April and June.
Brian then forewent additional instrumental tracking until early September when it was decided to revisit the song's bridge section and apply Electro-Theremin overdubs.

Recording of the vocals for "Good Vibrations" took place at CBS Columbia Square on 24th August and continued sporadically until the very last day of assembly on 21st September.
Dennis Wilson was intended to sing the lead vocal, but due to a bout of laryngitis, Carl replaced him at the last minute.
The final lead vocal in the verses is largely sung by Carl with Brian taking over for the "I hear the sound of a" and "when I look in her eyes" falsetto parts.
The two bridges and chorus bass vocal are sung by Love with Brian on top of the harmony stack during the "good, good, good vibrations" part of the chorus.

On 21st September Brian completed the track after a final Electro-Theremin overdub was added by Tanner.

In summary:
Recorded 17th February - 21st September 1966.
Released 10th October 1966.

The C.D.

No Tracklisting Information Time
1 Good Vibrations Take 1 - Backing track (breakdown) - February 1966 0:55
2 Good Vibrations Take 2 - Backing track exerpt - February 1966 1:58
3 Good Vibrations Backing track 6 - 1st Version February 1966 3:35
4 Good Vibrations
(A Pocket Symphony)
Various attempts at perfecting the many different musical sections,
all rolled into one long continuous piece - April to October 1966
5 Good Vibrations Stereo backing track of finished 1st version - February 1966 3:10
6 Good Vibrations Stereo mix with vocals of 1st version - February 1966 3:37
7 Good Vibrations Finished mono master of 1st version - February 1966 3:00
8 Good Vibrations Stereo backing track of 2nd version - October 1966 3:47
9 Good Vibrations Unreleased Stereo mix of 2nd version - October 1966 3:33
10 Good Vibrations Variation of 2nd version (with different part) - October 1966 3:32
11 Good Vibrations Original Mono single mix - November 1966 3:37
12 Good Vibrations 2nd ever live performance, Michigan - 22nd October 1966 5:18

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