Songs that Sergio should have arranged and Lani should have sung

Harry

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It's not that we don't appreciate the majesty that is "The Circle Game" - it's the challenge and the fun of doing edits.
 

Michael Hagerty

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I've not matched years, but these were all around that same time - late 60s/ early 70s.

Carole King - It's Too Late - 3:55
Cat Stevens - Peace Train - 4:03
Herb Alpert - This Guy's - 3:58
Don McLean - Vincent - 4:00
Second Avenue - Garfunkel - 3:59
Elton John - Daniel - 3:56

I know that radio programmers liked shorter records, and would more easily slip them into their programming, but I still think that 4:00 was about the limit in those days.

I'm under no illusion that "The Circle Game" by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77 could've been a hit, let alone a single. The thing is 18 minutes long. But it's a fun exercise to play with if you're into music editing. I just did a quick attempt at a 4:00 version and am not satisfied. I chopped out one of the opening fanfares and seamlessly edited the two pieces together. Then I simply faded it at just before 4:00, ending at 4:01. But the instrumental piece I left at the fade was not spectacular enough to end a single. It just sort of lays there. I need to do more research to see what a better ending might be.

Difference between "limit" and standard, Harry. Every one of the artists above was white hot at the time, with the possible exception of Art Garfunkel and "Second Avenue" stiffed at #34. The single edit on "Peace Train" was 3:40.

PRIMAL ROOTS has a full page ad in Billboard the week of January 22, 1972. Here are the top ten singles that week:

1. Don McLean - American Pie - 4:11
2. Melanie - Brand New Key - 2:28
3. Al Green - Let's Stay Together - 3:15
4. Jonathon Edwards - Sunshine - 2:16
5. Badfinger - Day After Day - 3:02
6. Dennis Coffey- Scorpio - 3:59
7. New Seekers - I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing - 2:23
8. Betty Wright - Clean Up Woman - 2:45
9. Stylistics - You Are Everything - 2:55
10. Jackson Five - Sugar Daddy - 2:34
 

lj

Well-Known Member
Eumir Deodato had a good short 45 single version of 2001. Of course the long album version was superior. Creed Taylor was a master at producing music that had both artistic and commercial value, e.g., Getz/Gilberto "Girl From Ipanema" and Deodato "2001."
 

Michael Hagerty

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Eumir Deodato had a good short 45 single version of 2001. Of course the long album version was superior. Creed Taylor was a master at producing music that had both artistic and commercial value, e.g., Getz/Gilberto "Girl From Ipanema" and Deodato "2001."
I have to disagree about the "good" part, LJ. You could hear every splice on that thing. And it still ran 5:06.
 

Harry

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Like I said, I didn't investigate specific weeks or even years. It was just a trend I'd noted in my own listening and working in the field. Songs were getting longer, and mostly FM stations were adapting to that trend. AM hit stations still wanted the 2:50-and-out records. While this thread certainly proves that Sergio Mendes wasn't "white hot", he also wasn't chopped liver. And again, I'm under no illusions that "The Circle Game" would ever have a chance at radio, even if it were severely edited.

Elsewhere, I was challenged to come up with an edit of "Aquarius (Let The Sunshine In)" to match a YouTube video of a WABC airing. As we know, that song on its album was 4:49. There was a general radio edit that shortened it to 3:48 or so.

But this WABC airing, taped from radio had the song in and out in less than 3:00 as it was fading. I utilized my skills to match that edit and came up with:


 

Michael Hagerty

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Nice work, Harry!

Long fades are an editor's friend----especially repetitious ones. A lot of stations got away with being out of "Hey Jude" in 4:50 by beginning the fade at Paul's first scream, saving 2:15, which, in those days, was another whole record.

My thought is that when you're dealing with extra-long source material, you can either do what they did with Peter Frampton's "Do You Feel Like We Do" or George Benson's "On Broadway" and come up with a long edit (7:19 for Frampton, 5:14 for Benson), or break the piece up as Jethro Tull did with "Thick As A Brick".
 
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Mike Blakesley

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Biggest editing problem with "Circle Game" for me is, I want to get all my favorite bits into the song somehow, but they are scattered throughout the piece. And, I love the original ending too. So, it's a work in progress. It has to sound(to me) like a complete work before I'll be happy with it. I first started on it maybe two years ago and I revisit it from time to time when I'm feeling extra-creative. I'm shooting for around 4:30 to 5:00.

I think I started on it when I was thinking how much I like the tune but there's rarely a time when I have 19 minutes to spare. So an edit would be a fun thing to put into my Sergio rotation.

But yeah, I agree with the above thoughts that it would never make it as a single, edit or no edit. It's not a pop tune by any means.

My favorite bit of editing was done "live." I was DJ'ing a dance and started to play "Disco Inferno" by the Trammps. After it started I realized to my that I was nearing up against closing time, and I wanted to play a "slow" song at the end, and I only had about four minutes. So I managed to cross-fade the 10-minute LP version into the 45rpm version seamlessly. How I managed to pull that off and stay on the beat will always be a mystery.

This has gone a little off track, maybe an "editing music" thread might be a good idea! (Sorry about that)
 

Harry

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Hey, if "Crystal Illusions" can be a single at 7:50, then a long-ish "Circle Game" single should be fair game.

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Rudy

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I don't envy the engineer who had to cut that single!
 

Michael Hagerty

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Hey, if "Crystal Illusions" can be a single at 7:50, then a long-ish "Circle Game" single should be fair game.

View attachment 5910
Proof that, even at A&M, they weren't always thinking it through (and 1969 was a rough year).

What are singles for? To get airplay and sell albums.

I'm not at all sure what they were thinking with a promo 45 of a song that wasn't going to be a single.
 

Rudy

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I blame Edu Lobo for the long compositions. 😁

Was "Crystal Illusions" the A-side of that single?
 

Harry

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It's the same on both sides. It's a Monarch pressing on what feels like heavy vinyl. Label is smooth, like vinyl singles would be, not wrinkled or bubbled. Etched runout reads A&M 1802S-15 Δ77302, and there's not much room for it!

It's stereo on both sides. Volume fells like it's a little reduced to squeeze that much onto a 45.

Catalog number is strange - "SMP-97-S". I suspect it was some special promo pressed for DJs to promote the album.
 

Rudy

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It's possible it was pushed out to stations that weren't single-oriented, so no worries about the long running time. Still, you'd think they would send the LP out to those stations instead.

The 45 RPM EPs that RCA used to put out starting in the early 50s could have almost as much time on them, but they compensated by cutting the bass content compared to the LP. And they were mono also. The Peter Gunn EP sounds good until you get to the weak bass.
 

Michael Hagerty

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I don't believe "Crystal Illusions" was ever a commercial single. The releases from the LP were "Pretty World" and "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay".

Chart trajectory---"The Look of Love" peaked at #4, "Fool on the Hill" at #6, "Scarborough Fair" at #16, "Pretty World" at #64 and "Dock of the Bay" at #66.

The singles from YE-ME-LE did even worse.
 

lj

Well-Known Member
Hey, if "Crystal Illusions" can be a single at 7:50, then a long-ish "Circle Game" single should be fair game.

View attachment 5910
Label shows arranged by Sergio Mendes. Surely he handled the vocal and rhythm arrangements. However the album has Dave Grusin as the orchestrator. No doubt about that and a bit over the top on this track. Many years ago in this forum someone said back in 1969 the group could have been named Brasil 66 featuring Lani Hall and Dave Grusin. I personally like Grusin as an arranger, but I can see how some are rubbed the wrong way by his charts. Interestingly, only the first two Brasil 66 albums were without orchestrations. They had a pure Brazilian pop/jazz vibe and HA Presents album is the only Sergio Mendes album in the Grammy Hall of Fame. After that Sergio dropped the jazz angle and pumped up his sound--but in the late 60s everyone was doing that--look at the orchestrations from the Beatles Sgt Peppers. I liked the stripped down and the pumped up sound of Brasil 66, but arguably the quintessential sound that Brasil 66 will be remembered for will be from the first two albums.
 

Rudy

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Maybe they should remix and reissue the albums from Fool onward with the orchestrations removed. Fool On The Hill: Unstrung. And so on. 😁 If only Universal hadn't had their barbecue featuring Original Masters a la Flambé. 🙄

Not a fan of Grusin's overbearing orchestrations. At. All. When I hear some of those I'm like, "Dude, lighten up!" There's a way to orchestrate and enhance a performance; when they become front and center, the band ends up as sidemen on their own record. But I also consider this--can I really blame him for the outcome? Dave Grusin was only paid to do the orchestrations at someone else's direction. If someone else insisted on him bludgeoning those tunes with strings, it certainly wasn't his fault--he delivered what he was paid to do. So... 🤷‍♂️
 
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lj

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Maybe they should remix and reissue the albums from Fool onward with the orchestrations removed. Fool On The Hill: Unstrung. And so on. 😁 If only Universal hadn't had their barbecue featuring Original Masters a la Flambé. 🙄

Not a fan of Grusin's overbearing orchestrations. At. All. When I hear some of those I'm like, "Dude, lighten up!" There's a way to orchestrate and enhance a performance; when they become front and center, the band ends up as sidemen on their own record. But I also consider this--can I really blame him for the outcome? Dave Grusin was only paid to do the orchestrations at someone else's direction. If someone else insisted on him bludgeoning those tunes with strings, it certainly wasn't his fault--he delivered what he was paid to do. So... 🤷‍♂️
Really insightful analysis, Rudy. I like the way you put it: "The band ends up as sidemen on their own record". And: "Paid to do the orchestrations at someone else's direction"--which would of course be Herb and Sergio. This is my theory: Sergio was hot musically after the Academy Awards show, so the "Fool on the Hill" single was destined to be a hit after the "Look of Love". And that popularity carried over into the "Fool" album. And I'm sure just like the Brass "Whipped Cream" album cover generated interest and sales, so too did the album cover with "Fool". "Young People" are the ones who generally buy the records, and after they heard all those strings and things orchestrated on the "Fool" album--that was a turn off--it sounded too much like the music their parents listened to. Next came "Crystal Illusions". More of the same lush orchestrations, and the album dropped like a rock on the Billboard charts, as the baby boomers stopped buying that musical product. Take "You Stepped Out of Dream" from that album--beautifully performed--but that arrangement could have been a fixture on what they called "Beautiful Music" radio stations back then. Now I'm a baby boomer born in 1949, so I am a witness to what was going on musically back then. Now don't get me wrong--I love strings and horns orchestrated properly. Richard Hazard's arrangement of "Like A Lover" brings tears to my eyes. And Dave Grusin's arrangement of "The Frog" was masterful. But by "Crystal Illusions" and "Ye Me Le" their record sales plummeted--a lot of it due to those lush easy listening arrangements.
 

Rudy

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Take "You Stepped Out of Dream" from that album--beautifully performed--but that arrangement could have been a fixture on what they called "Beautiful Music" radio stations back then.
That's funny, since this is the song that always comes into my mind when I think of the tunes being over-orchestrated. At times on that album, all you hear is the vocals and a conga plonking away in the background. I can vouch for record buyers in the late 70s through the mid 80s, they wanted nothing to do with the "old fogie music" their parents had (we certainly could never admit this in school without being subjected to massive ridicule!), and I'm sure it was the same a decade and more earlier.

Some of Tom Jobim's records were heavily orchestrated as well (especially at Warner/Reprise), but I've read a few articles where it's clear that this was the sound he liked and wanted on his records. Being the composer, vs. performing cover songs, he's putting onto record what he's hearing in his head for songs he created.

Whoever decided to add orchestrations to Sergio's records had this particular "crank the strings to 11" sound in mind, but they had to know it wouldn't sell records to anyone but the older demographic.
 

Harry

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I remember bringing home CRYSTAL ILLUSIONS and playing it through. When "You Stepped Out Of A Dream" came on, my Dad's eyes lit up - "Hey, I know that song! Oh, that sounds great!"

I like big orchestrations, so it's one of my favorites too. It's all up to the taste of the listener. But as this thread has pointed out many times, popular tastes were headed in the stripped-down singer-songwriter direction, so Sergio & Co were going against the tide.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
I've not matched years, but these were all around that same time - late 60s/ early 70s.

Carole King - It's Too Late - 3:55
Cat Stevens - Peace Train - 4:03
Herb Alpert - This Guy's - 3:58
Don McLean - Vincent - 4:00
Second Avenue - Garfunkel - 3:59
Elton John - Daniel - 3:56

I know that radio programmers liked shorter records, and would more easily slip them into their programming, but I still think that 4:00 was about the limit in those days.

I'm under no illusion that "The Circle Game" by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77 could've been a hit, let alone a single. The thing is 18 minutes long. But it's a fun exercise to play with if you're into music editing. I just did a quick attempt at a 4:00 version and am not satisfied. I chopped out one of the opening fanfares and seamlessly edited the two pieces together. Then I simply faded it at just before 4:00, ending at 4:01. But the instrumental piece I left at the fade was not spectacular enough to end a single. It just sort of lays there. I need to do more research to see what a better ending might be.

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension ran for 4:49 in 1969 and was not edited by the radio stations so Circle Game could be stretched a bit longer than 4 minutes. I have played Circle Game for a few people and they loved it as it is.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
Like I said, I didn't investigate specific weeks or even years. It was just a trend I'd noted in my own listening and working in the field. Songs were getting longer, and mostly FM stations were adapting to that trend. AM hit stations still wanted the 2:50-and-out records. While this thread certainly proves that Sergio Mendes wasn't "white hot", he also wasn't chopped liver. And again, I'm under no illusions that "The Circle Game" would ever have a chance at radio, even if it were severely edited.

Elsewhere, I was challenged to come up with an edit of "Aquarius (Let The Sunshine In)" to match a YouTube video of a WABC airing. As we know, that song on its album was 4:49. There was a general radio edit that shortened it to 3:48 or so.

But this WABC airing, taped from radio had the song in and out in less than 3:00 as it was fading. I utilized my skills to match that edit and came up with:



When the 5th's "Greatest Hits" came out in 1970, it had a shortened version of Aquarius. That version was getting airplay off and on.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
I don't believe "Crystal Illusions" was ever a commercial single. The releases from the LP were "Pretty World" and "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay".

Chart trajectory---"The Look of Love" peaked at #4, "Fool on the Hill" at #6, "Scarborough Fair" at #16, "Pretty World" at #64 and "Dock of the Bay" at #66.

The singles from YE-ME-LE did even worse.
Crystal Illusions did get some radio play in the Eastern area of Virginia back in 1969. it was played in the mornings on one local station. People I knew thought it was a great song.
 

Harry

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When the 5th's "Greatest Hits" came out in 1970, it had a shortened version of Aquarius. That version was getting airplay off and on.

True, I was upset by that too when I bought GREATEST HITS. I wanted the full version. And that short version has the "Aquarius" portion the same way as that ultra-short version I edited.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension ran for 4:49 in 1969 and was not edited by the radio stations so Circle Game could be stretched a bit longer than 4 minutes. I have played Circle Game for a few people and they loved it as it is.
Actually, the promo copy that radio played was 3:50, and a lot of stations faded early.

R-9553590-1482615479-6713.jpeg.jpg
 
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