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Topic: Van Dyke Parks - Speeches?



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You're right, Eric. Looking the lyrics over, only 'satire' and 'persuasion' strike me as particularly Parksian diction, and there are a couple of sub-"surf's up" images (those streetlights at the end, for instance). Maybe Brian credited Parks because the general inspiration came from him; a song about a politician, however ham-fisted, is more Parksian than Wilsonian, isn't it? I can't imagine a song like this on Pet Sounds, for example. Hmm. Interesting.

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Good question - although I think VDP might be spot-on about this one. Speeches seems much more in the BW/Vosse Posse cornball 'humour' vein, displaying little if any of VDP's wit and lyrical legerdemain. It's much more a ham-fisted, cartoonish attempt to lampoon an authority figure with his own appetites (one of the oldest 'humour' bits going), a subject I'd imagine VDP having little time for. Indeed, there are portions of Smiley that seem less bad Parks and more a reversion to the Vosse Posse 'humour' style.

I have no problem accepting that VDP had nothing to do with it. VDP has also repeatedly commented upon BW's generosity, and crediting him for a song that he had little if anything to do with doesn't seem overly far fetched.

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Really good work, Jon. I wouldn't even know where to beging communicating with yer actual famous people...

Is there any chance, what with the briefness of the Speeches fragment, that this was an attempt by someone else to write a pastiche of Parks' style? I've tried lots of times, and once you get the trick of putting lots of big words in (does that make me sound like a moron?) then you can write something that might pass for (bad) Parks, if it turned up on the right tape reel. When he says he's embarrassed, does he mean because he received credit for something he didn't write, or actually that it wasn't up to his high standards?

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I think it safe to say it will sound sort of like that, only a bit less "he doesn't remember, but he DID" and a bit more "who knows for sure, but he says..."

Maybe he inhaled that day?

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Thanks for asking him again, Jon. You are doing well as a researcher.

So, for your book, do you feel it would be fair to state something along the lines of "It is reasonable to guess that Parks penned the lyrics to the "Speeches" fragment, based on his being credited in the composition, along with Brian and Mike, of "She's Going Bald" from the Smiley Smile album, and perhaps even more tellingly, based on the style of the lyrics themselves. However, it would be just that: a guess. The authorship of those lines is not known for certain and Parks has no memory of writing them."...

...or, do you plan on ruling out Van Dyke altogether?

I still think he wrote 'em. It doesn't surprise me if he doesn't remember.

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See? I knew he wouldn't be bugged. But I think this is the last time we need to ask -- I included the history of the track, the title (both of 'em), the credits, and the full lyric. I don't think there's the least possibility now that he failed to understand.

Dear Jon,
No problem. I cannot remember having written any of those words. I believe I was embarrassed by being credited for any of the song (however fine it may be) when I first heard I received credit. I am certain that I never had the opportunity to work with Mike Love on "Smile", however lovely that might have been. Credit where credit's due.
Sailing On---
Van Dyke Parks

See, nice guy, really!



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