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Songs Cycled

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Editors’ Notes

Though Van Dyke Parks' name is often seen on other musicians’ records (especially those of The Beach Boys), the man’s own solo career has largely been a critical success, with 1968’s Song Cycle receiving glowing reviews but little in sales. Just as that album fused unexpected and out-of-sync genres such as ragtime and showtunes, 2013’s Songs Cycled wanders around the stylistic map, highlighted mostly by gorgeous orchestration, with the songs he released as a series of six vinyl singles starting in 2011. The recordings feature newly recorded songs, re-recorded versions of old songs, and even covers. “The All Golden” from the original Song Cycle is done with superior fidelity and greater confidence. The warped calypso of “Money Is King” deals in human greed, while the ominously orchestrated “Wall Street” wanders back to the dark days of 9/11. “Hold Back Time” revisits a mid-'90s collaboration with Brian Wilson. “Dreaming of Paris” breaks out an accordion for a shot at European romance. There’s never a shortage of ideas when you're exploring alongside one of the rock era’s most eccentric geniuses.


Born: January 3, 1941 in Hattiesburg, MS

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In a field where the term "genius" is handed out freely, Van Dyke Parks is the real article. As a session musician, composer, arranger, lyricist, and singer, he's contributed significantly to several decades' worth of inimitable masterpieces credited to other artists, as well as generating two or three masterpieces of his own. Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1941, he was a musical prodigy and attended the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey. He studied the clarinet and also worked...
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