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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Beach Boys "Wouldn't It Be Nice" Isolated Vocals

The Beach Boys in the studio image
"Wouldn't It Be Nice" is the opening track of The Beach Boys triumphant Pet Sounds, an album that many think is the group's best ever. The song's basic track was cut in 21 takes by the famous studio band The Wrecking Crew at Gold Star Studio in Hollywood as leader Brain Wilson tried to capture some of the famous Phil Spector "Wall of Sound."

The vocals were cut over two sessions at the long defunct Columbia Recording Studios, also in Hollywood, with the ever-meticulous Wilson demanding take after take from the band to reach his vision. Here's the isolated vocals from the final product, and a list of things to listen for.

1. Like most songs of the era, the lead vocal is doubled. The difference is how tight the doubling is, which was unusually precise for the time.

2. The background vocals are also doubled and spread slightly left and right. Sometimes, the harmony stacking is a little different on each side as well.

3. As with most Beach Boy songs, there's lots of long reverb on the vocals.

4. What's unusual for most pop harmony vocals is the use of the low bass voice, which is used so well during the bridge.

5. Listen through to the end where you can hear a little snippet of discussion after the take.

6. All of the outtakes from the sessions for Pet Sounds are available in an album called The Pet Sounds Sessions.



Gary Ewer said...

Love the bridge. You can really hear the influence of the Hi-Lo's, and Gene Puerling's influence (I'm assuming) on the writing.

Rand said...

Gorgeous vocals and inspirational talent. Even the great Sir Paul was impressed and heavily influenced by the sound and songwriting on Pet Sounds. That alone speaks volumes, doesn't it?


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