Monday, September 14, 2009


This obscure Beach Boys song has a beguiling and slightly mind-bending harmonic progression. Anyone who's tried to figure out the chords for the songs from the Pet Sounds era knows there's some crazy-beautiful stuff going on in that period of Brian Wilson's composing (props should probably go to Van Dyke Parks for some of the more arcane harmonies). I'm thinking of songs like "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times," "I Know There's an Answer," "Caroline, No," and of course the classic "God Only Knows." The key with transcribing these harmonies, I've found, is to listen closely to the bass; it's very often not the root of the chord, or there's a movement in the bass that functions as a chord change but doesn't really change the harmony.

Here's the recording:

And here's my chart (I've stopped short before the "hey baba reba" goof ending).

(I got some help from this guy, though he's transcribed the "new" Brian Wilson version, not the old bootleg one I've always known, and I hear some of the chords differently)

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