Steve Hoffman very interesting commenting to a video detailing the creative process behind "Wouldn't It Be Nice" from The Beach Boys' 1966 Album "Pet Sounds”…
Beach Boys "Wouldn't It Be Nice" music recorded at Gold Star by Larry Levine in 1966, what a sound! I've heard these backing tracks many times and I can't get over how much I like the live sound that my friend the late Larry Levine got at Gold Star on the Ampex three-track machine.
We are so used to hearing Larry's engineering work on TJB or Phil Spector produced stuff after 10 overdub bounces that we forget how organic live recordings sounded in that room.
Watch this video and contrast how wonderful the music sounds and, all of a sudden, how thin and piercing (but still wonderful) the vocals recorded at Columbia sound. Now, I've not heard the 8-track of this song so it's possible that the Columbia engineer captured the vocals as beautifully as Gold Star captured the music but the vocal tracks might have been tweaked to etched unpleasantness by a modern engineer. Don't know.
But it's fun to hear the great music and how nicely it was done. We miss Larry Levine and Stan Ross, two of the greatest engineers of the rock era. Thank goodness Dave Gold is still with us!
Personnel on the session were:
Hal Blaine – drums
Frank Capp – percussion, bells, tympani
Roy Caton – trumpet
Jerry Cole – detuned 12-string guitar
Steve Douglas – tenor saxophone
Carl Fortina – accordion
Plas Johnson – tenor saxophone
Carol Kaye – electric bass
Barney Kessel – mandolin
Larry Knechtel – organ
Larry Levine – engineer
Al De Lory – piano
Frank Marocco – accordion
Jay Migliori – baritone saxophone
Bill Pitman – guitar
Ray Pohlman – mandolin
Lyle Ritz – string bass