The Ghost Of Christmas: The Beach Boys, “The Gong”

 

Deep inside this year’s Beach Boys copyright extension series is a mysterious number entitled “The Gong.” For the first three minutes or so it is a noise piece—first a drone, and then the sound of gears in motion, a sound so uncharacteristically like anything they did before—which gives way to a spoken word piece of a mentally troubled person clearly in the throes of desperation. On first reaction I thought it was evident that Brian Wilson had indeed come to realize he lost his mind, only to discover that it wasn’t Brian on the track at all but his brother Dennis, who was an equally haunted and troubled individual. This crack up on tape, it’s hard to listen to, but it is compelling to hear a demon-ravaged soul confronting itself,  especially considering the ravages 1968 had brought them…

 

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