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12.20-LONG PROMISED ROAD (Beach Boys)

Brian & Carl Wilson
Brian & Carl Wilson

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So hard to answer future's riddle
When ahead is seeming so far behind.
So hard to laugh a child-like giggle
When the tears start to torture my mind.
So hard to shed the life of before
To let my soul automatically soar

        But I hit hard at the battle that's confronting me
        Knock down all the roadblocks a-stumbling me
        Throw off all the shackles that are binding me down.

Sew up the wounds of evolution
And the now starts to get in my way.
So what if life's a revelation
If the mind speaks of only today?
So real, the pain of growing in soul
Of climbing up to reality's goal

        [Chorus]

                Long promised road
                Trail starts at dawn
                Carries on to the season's ending.
                Long promised road
                Flows to the source, gentle force
                Never ending, never ending.

So hard to lift the jeweled scepter
When the weight turns a smile to a frown.
So hard to drink of passion nectar
When the taste of life's holding me down.
So hard to plant the seed of reform
To set my sights on defeating the storm

        [Chorus]

        [Break]

        [Chorus (2x)]

        I'd love to see you. (5x)


Long Promised Road is reportedly Carl Wilson’s first complete composition for the Beach Boys. He performed all instrumental parts including harpsichord and Moog synthesizer, provided lead vocals and harmonized with himself. In its reflective spirituality it breathes the same atmosphere as his brother’s compositions in the album Surf’s Up. Though chosen to be the first single to be released from the album, it hardly broke into the Top 100 in the U.S.

The lyrics to Long Promised Road are a “buck up” for weary spirits who had experienced so much disappointment in the realization of their dreams of peace and love. It seemed that progress had turned into retro, that childlike laughter had turned to tears of frustration, and that old perceptions kept the soul from “automatically” soaring into enlightenment. I especially like the question So what if life’s a revelation / If the mind speaks of only today? It was difficult sensing the “truth” through LSD or meditation or whatever means only to find that the truth tended to slip away under the weight of present trivial details. In the C section the “long promised road” takes on the aspect of a river that flows, the aspect of time passing. Of course, the title is reminiscent of The Long and Winding Road by Paul McCartney, released in May 1970, the last Beatles single before the group broke up, though McCartney’s lyrics have less spiritual observations about life’s journey. The song ends with what appears to be a prayer I’d love to see you. George Harrison had already released My Sweet Lord in November 1970, and the feeling expressed here is similar to Harrison’s I really want to see you. The Rolling Stones in their album Exile on Main Street, released in May 1972, also share this desire to see God in the song I Just Want to See His Face.Seeing is believing, and some psychedelic artists believed they had seen God while under the influence of hallucinogens or meditation, a vision that disappeared upon return to the world. But faith remained in the desire to see what has been promised in the apparition.

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