Song Of The Day 7/20/2012: Van Dyke Parks - "Palm Desert"


I said in yesterday's post that Tony Randall was the originator of twee. I forgot about Van Dyke Parks. He might have been first. Parks, one of American pop music's most idiosyncratic composers, is perhaps best known as the lyricist for the Beach Boys' sprawling, ill-fated, reappraised and vaunted SMiLE album, which was finally issued in proper form last year. Mike Love didn't care for Van Dyke Parks very much, but -- well, just search for something like "what people think of mike love" and you'll see how much weight that character judgement carries, ahem ahem. Parks has also collaborated with everyone from Frank Zappa to Rufus Wainwright and Joanna Newsom.

In 1968 he released an album called Song Cycle, which went on to much notoriety as a dreamlike merger between early 20th century popular music and psychedelic structures, and also as an album on which Warner Brothers Records lost an enormous amount of money. "Palm Desert" is from this album, and there's much more where that came from.
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