One of my favourites from the Beach Boy’s excellent 20/20. I love the surpise echo effect on the ‘deep and wide’ part around the 1.46 mark. There is an interesting story about this song. Brian Wilson actually wrote it for Redwood (who would later become Three Dog Night), but the rest of the Beach Boys had no intention of letting Brian write for other bands.
According to Chuck Negron: “It all came to a head…when Mike Love, Carl Wilson and Al Jardine came to the studio and heard our version of ‘Time To Get Alone’…They manoeuvred Brian into the control booth and reduced him to tears. It was a cruel and pathetic scene. Danny, Cory and I were in the studio and could see it all happening through the control-booth window. It was as if Brian had turned into a little boy. The conversation appeared quiet and calm, but we could tell it was emotional and intense. The others were doing most of the talking, like overbearing, controlling parents. Brian would move away, and they would block his escape. We couldn’t hear what was being said, but I think a good lip-reader would have picked up something like, ‘We don’t give a shit about these guys, and we want those songs for us.’ We could actually feel Brian crumbling, and when he came out of the booth, a tear dropped down his cheek. His head was lowered and his shoulders sagged. It was the body language of a child who had just been scolded and punished. And this brilliant musical icon – whose songs defined one generation and influenced another – weepingly told us, ‘We can’t do this. I have to give the songs to them. They’re family and I have to take care of my family. They want the songs. I’ll give you any amount of money you want to finish an album, but I can’t produce it. They won’t let me.'”
It’s saddening that such a beautiful rendition of this song can have such torment behind it. As with most of the Beach Boys work, there’s a lot of sorrow behind the splendor. Brian’s autobiography Wouldn’t it be Nice is one of the most harrowing music memoirs I’ve ever read, but at it’s core it’s an inspirational story of redemption.
More Beach Boys posts on the way.