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I Went To Sleep ( Beach Boys Brian Wilson And Carl Wilson Cover ) 08.04.10

I learned how to play the song I Went To Sleep in 1996, I believe. I always put this song in the same stable of songs as Busy Doin’ Nothin’ and We’re Together Again, from the Friends era of Beach Boys recordings. Late 1960s, post-SMiLE. Brian’s style of song construction was becoming progressively more ornate, yet the songs were getting shorter and shorter, sounding more cinematic and orchestral. Even distilled down to a single piano and vocal melody, one can hear so many arrangement possibilities, because Wilson utilizes so many chords and passing tones here, which are placed so close together in the timeline of the song.

The Edward Gorey-inspired Walter Simonson “I Went To Sleep” illustration honouring the song comes to mind as well when I play this song, found in the indispensable Byron Preiss Beach Boys biography/appreciation from 1978.

I’ve always marveled at the dense jazzy and sometimes dissonant chord changes Brian chose when writing the piece, married to such a contrasting yet satisfying high-pitched melody. Together they suggest a breezy summer day relaxing in the hazy sun, lying under a shady tree perhaps, with leaves swaying in the late afternoon air; thoughts of happier, simpler times just a memory away.

The chords lull me into a fantastical slumberland of waltz time and 5/4 dreams.

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