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GV Box Set, Disc One
Capitol Compact Disc C2 -777 7 81295 2 3

1. Surfin’ USA

(C. Berry/B. Wilson)
(Demo Version) [Previously Unreleased]
Previously unreleased “Demo” version / Recorded circa 1963

2. Little Surfer Girl
(Brian Wilson)
[Previously Unreleased]
Previously unreleased “Demo” / Recorded circa 1963

3. Surfin’
(B. Wilson/M. Love)
(Rehearsal) [Previously Unreleased]
Previously unreleased rehearsals / Recorded circa 9/1961

4. Surfin’
(B. Wilson/M. Love)
Produced by Hite and Dorinda Morgan
Entered the Billboard Singles chart 2/17/62. Peaked at #75.

5. Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring
(Bobby Troup)
(Demo) [Previously Unreleased]
Previously unreleased / Recorded circa 4/19/62
Produced by Murry Wilson

6. Surfin’ Safari

(B. Wilson/M. Love)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 8/11/62. Peaked at #14.
Produced by Murry Wilson

7. 409
(B. Wilson/G. Usher)
Recorded circa 4/19/62. The “B” Side of “Surfin’ Safari”
Entered the Billboard singles chart 10/13/62. Peaked at #76.
Produced by Murry Wilson.

Tracks #4, #6 and #7 were included on the Surfin’ Safari album. The album entered the Billboard LP chart on 11/24/62. It peaked at #32, spending 37 weeks on the charts.

8. Punchline
(Brian Wilson)
(Instrumental) [Previously Unreleased]
Previously unreleased / Recorded 1/2/63

9. Surfin’ USA

(C. Berry/B. Wilson)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 3/23/63. It peaked at #3.
On 8/17/74, “Surfin’ USA” re-entered the Billboard singles chart. It peaked at #36.
Produced by Nick Venet

10. Shut Down
(B. Wilson/R. Christian)
The “B” side of “Surfin’ USA”
Entered the Billboard singles chart 4/27/3. It peaked at #23.
Produced by Nick Venet.

Tracks #9 and #10 are from the Surfin’ USA album. The album entered the Billboard LP chart on 5/4/63. It peaked at #2, spent two weeks at that spot, 78 weeks overall on the chart.

11. Surfer Girl
(Brian Wilson)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 8/3/63. It peaked at #7.

12. Little Deuce Coupe
(B. Wilson/R. Christian)
The “B” Side of “Surfer Girl” Entered the Billboard singles chart 11/2/63. It peaked at #23.

13. In My Room
(B. Wilson/G. Usher)
The “B” side of “Be True To Your School” Entered the Billboard singles chart 11/2/63. It peaked at #23.

14. Catch A Wave
(Brian Wilson)

15. The Surfer Moon

(Brian Wilson)

Tracks #11 - #15 are from the Surfer Girl album, which entered the Billboard LP Chart 10/12/63. It peaked at #7 and spent 56 weeks on the chart.

16. Be True To Your School

(Brian Wilson)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 11/2/63. It peaked at #6.

17. Spirit Of America

(B. Wilson/R. Christian)

Track #17 is from the Little Deuce Coupe album which entered the Billboard LP chart on 11/9/63. It peaked at #4 and spent 46 weeks on the chart.

18. Little Saint Nick
(45 RPM)
(Brian Wilson)
A slightly different version of “Little St. Nick” was included on 1964’s The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album. That record entered the Billboard LP chart 12/5/64 and peaked at #6.

19. Things We Did Last Summer
(J. Styne/S. Cahn)
[Previously Unreleased]
Previously unreleased / Recorded circa 1963.

20. Fun, Fun, Fun

(B. Wilson/M. Love)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 2/15/64. It peaked at #5. 

21. Don’t Worry Baby
(B. Wilson/R. Christian)
The “B” side of “I Get Around” Entered the Billboard singles chart 5/30/64. It peaked at #5.

22. Why Do Fools Fall In Love
(F. Lymon/M. Levy)

23. The Warmth Of The Sun

(B. Wilson/M. Love)

Tracks #20-23 are from the Shut Down, Vol. 2 album. It entered the Billboard LP chart 4/11/64. It peaked at #13 and spent 38 weeks on the chart. 

24. I Get Around
(Brian Wilson)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 5/23/64. It peaked at #1 and spent two weeks in the top spot.

25. All Summer Long
(Brian Wilson)

26. Little Honda

(B. Wilson/M. Love)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 10/17/64. It peaked at #65. 

27. Wendy
(Brian Wilson)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 10/17/64. It peaked at #44 included on an EP titled “4-by The Beach Boys.” 

28. Don’t Back Down

(Brian Wilson)

Tracks #24-28 are from the All Summer Long album. It entered the Billboard LP chart 8/1/64. It peaked at #4 and spent 49 weeks on the chart.

29. Do You Wanna Dance

(Bobby Freeman)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 2/27/65. It peaked at #12.

30. When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)
(Brian Wilson)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 9/5/64. It peaked at #39.

31. Dance, Dance, Dance
(B. Wilson/C. Wilson)
Entered the Billboard singles chart 11/7/64. It peaked at #8

32. Please Let Me Wonder
(B. Wilson/M. Love)
The “B” side of “Do You Wanna Dance” Entered the Billboard singles chart 3/6/5. It peaked at #52.

33. She Knows Me Too Well

(Brian Wilson)
Tracks #29-33 are from the Beach Boys Today! Album. It entered the Billboard LP chart 3/27/65. It peaked at #4 and spent 50 weeks on the chart.

34. Radio Station Jingles

[Previously Unreleased]

35. Concert Promo/Hushabye
[Previously Unreleased]
“Hushabye” is an outtake from Beach Boys Concert. That entered the Billboard LP chart 11/7/64. It peaked at #1, spent 4 weeks at the top spot and 62 weeks overall on the chart. ___________________________________________________________________________

Our journey begins with a demo tape, the earliest such tape known to be in existence. The set starts with it for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that this box has been released on the thirtieth anniversary of this song becoming the Beach Boys’ first top ten hit. But more importantly, it demonstrates what Brian Wilson said in a 1988 interview: “I could play a piano and make it happen without anything else. I could make the groove to a point where we wouldn’t need anything else. Although records need more than piano, I could do it. A piano and a voice, that would be perfect.”

Here he proves just that, with an exciting “home” rendition of “Surfin’ U.S.A.”  Without any guitar from Carl, without any harmonies, Brian sketches out what would become the group’s first signature record. As you listen to this, close your eyes and try to imagine what it must have been like in the Wilson home when Brian was at the piano working out this arrangement, over thirty years ago. For me, it’s revelatory, like being present at the moment of conception.

Now, before getting into a roll of classic hits, let’s musically step back in time for a few tracks that will set the stage for the success of “Surfin’ U.S.A.”

CD#1 continues with a very brief but revealing piece of music that, based on the lyric, is titled, “Little Surfer Girl.” This fragment, all that survives of this approximately 30 year old, never-before-released song; it’s presented here not as a curio but as a glimpse into his artistic process.

Other than what’s on the recently released CD, The Beach Boys / Lost and Found 1961-1962, there is very little existing Beach Boys music from their pre-Capitol Records days. For this set, from that era, three historic recordings (two of which are previously unreleased) have been included to illustrate the group’s earliest sound and technique.

The “Surfin’” rehearsals (CD#1 / Track #3) were probably recorded in late September, ’61 at the Wilson home in Hawthorne. Listening to the between-take chatter, one can hear in essence, the entire character of the band already formed.

“Surfin’” (CD#1 / Track #4), the Beach Boys’ first record, was pressed on “X” and Candix Records and released on December 8, 1961; it entered the KFWB “top forty” survey at #33 the week of December 29, 1961. Dennis: “The first time we ever heard our record played [on the radio], we were on Hawthorne Boulevard in Brian’s 1957 Ford. They said, ‘Here’s a group from Hawthorne, California, the Beach Boys, with their song, ‘Surfin’”.’ That was the biggest high ever. Nothing will ever top the expression on Brian’s face. Ever…that is the all-time moment.”

On New Year’s Eve, 1961, the Beach Boys played three tunes at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. Mike: “We got three hundred dollars to play Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance. I can still remember it because we got paid for something besides working…we got paid for playing music.”

 With that one exception, the money wasn’t exactly rolling in. “Surfin" peaked locally in the top ten and in Billboard’s national charts at #75 in March of ’62; when the royalties were paid, Murry Wilson had to dig into his own pocket to make the total $1,000, which was then split five ways.

In the spring of 1962, Candix Records folded, which contractually freed the Beach Boys. Just prior to that, Al Jardine had left the group to go back to college; Wilson neighbor David Marks, Carl’s buddy, was enlisted to play rhythm guitar.

Naturally, the Beach Boys were anxious to make another record, but nobody really wanted them. The business is littered with garage band groups who have had one hit and disappeared. In 1962, there were two factors that made the Beach Boys different: Brian’s talent and Murry’s determination.

Murry knew his oldest boy was gifted and that with his guidance, his boys could make it big. And Murry had the tenacity, nerve and persistence to do whatever it took to get them a deal. But Murry Wilson also knew he needed a weapon besides the “Surfin’” single, so they went into Western Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, with engineer Chuck Britz at the controls, and recorded a “demo” tape that Murry believed would get them a contract. (One important aside: Chuck Britz, the engineer on that and other early pre-Capitol “demo” sessions, ultimately became Brian’s second ear. Britz, an unsung hero in this story, probably spent more time in the studio with Brian than anyone else. In addition to his regular engineering duties, Britz, thanks to his years of experience, provided an adult, steadying influence on Brian. Most importantly, Britz was the person in the booth that Brian trusted to help him make the records that were in his head.)

But we’re ahead of the story. There would be no more Beach Boys records unless something happened. However, as hard as Murry tried, the “demo” tape didn’t do the trick, and the Beach Boys were rejected by several labels.

Then, Russ Regan (who, Brian recalls, is the man who named the group) suggested to Murry that Nick (Nik) Venet at Capitol might have the youthful ears needed to hear the potential in the tape. So Murry made both an appointment with Venet and a small addition to the “demo.” A tape box, dated April, 1962 lists these (interestingly spelled) titles, all of which have been released: “Surf & Safari (“Surfin’ Safari”), “Judy” (written for Brian’s first serious girlfriend, Judy Bowles), “Lonely Sea,” and Four-Oh-Nine.” On the tape, the group also sings “Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring,” followed by a short message from Murry. “That was a sample of the Beach Boys, Nick…Venet.” (On CD#! / Track#5, that “demo” version of “Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring” is made available for the first time. It shows how fully developed the Beach Boys’ vocal sound was before they ever recorded for Capitol.)

The tape worked. The exact events of the day will forever be in dispute, but what is know is that Venet almost immediately signed the Beach Boys to Capitol, which in June of ’62, released a 45 RPM, “Surfin’ Safari” and “409.” A radio station in Phoenix, Arizona made “Surfin’ Safari” an almost instant hit, and it topped out nationally at #14. (Note: The versions of these songs on the box are from the aforementioned “demo” tape, without the fades used on the commercial releases.)

As on “Surfin’,” lead vocalist Mike Love had handled the lyrical chores on “Surfin’ Safari.” “409,” however, was co-authored by Gary Usher, who had recently begun collaborating with Brian. (They also wrote “In My Room” and “Lonely Sea” among others.) “409” a minor chart success, established the Beach Boys tradition of double-sided hit singles that continued through 1966’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” b/w “God Only Knows.”

With two new hits, Venet took the band into the studio to record enough additional tracks to fill out an LP. The Surfin’ Safari album, released in October, 1962, was recorded at the Capitol Tower and produced by Nik Venet. Overall, it really offered few hints of the musical magic that was to come from the Beach Boys, but it was successful enough (first charting in November, 1962, it reached #32) that Capitol sent the group back into the studio for another.

CD#1 / Track #8, the never-before-released “Punchline,” is a newly-discovered outtake from that era. It was recorded on January 2, 1963, and it’s clear that the group’s instrumental prowess had quickly improved. For some long-forgotten reason, it wasn’t included on the Beach Boy’s next album; it makes its debut appearance on this set.

With a taste of the kind of guitar licks from Carl that will dominate the Surfin’ USA LP, and the organ sound that will be central to the “Surfin’ USA,” single, “Punchline” is a welcome addition to the Beach Boys catalogue. Early Beach Boys albums always had at least one surf-flavored instrumental, and “Punchline” has been included as an example of that usually-overlooked aspect of their repertoire.

In 1962, when the Beach Boys signed with Capitol, standard industry custom was to assign an A&R man (i.e., Nick Venet) to a group; his job was to select the songs and produce the records in the company’s studios. At first, the Beach Boys tolerated that tradition, but in 1963, in an unparalleled act of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion, Brian and the Beach Boys, with Murry running interference, turned the system upside down, demanding and winning the right to control their records. The Beach Boys declaration of independence smashed all precedents; with Murry’s help, Brian won his creative freedom. The Beach Boys were the first major rock group to completely control the musical output of their career, and Brian now had the opportunity he needed to become on of the consummate arrangers and producers of his era.

As Chuck Britz recalls, “Right after they finished “Surfin’ Safari,” I got a call from Murry, asking me if I could possibly fit ‘em in to start getting some songs together.” Britz humbly adds, “I got ‘em in, and we had a pretty good run for four or five years.”

For everyone concerned, the move out of the Capitol Tower to Western worked out well. The Beach Boys were freed from record company meddling, and with Surfin’ USA, Capitol got what they wanted, an album that went to #2 and became the first of eight consecutive gold LPs for the Beach Boys. And, as Beach Boys historian Peter Reum points out, “Surfin’ USA was the LP which made surf music a national phenomenon, the first brick in Brian Wilson’s ‘California Myth." From Surfin’ USA, you’ll hear the hit single, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” (Billboard #3) and its “B” side, “Shut Down” (Billboard #23), the first hit Brian wrote with L.A. disc-jockey and hot-rod poet, Roger Christian.

Up next are five selections from Surfer Girl (the first Beach Boys album to bear the credit “Produced by Brian Wilson”)..starting with “Surfer Girl” (CD#1/ Track #11), the first song Brian ever wrote, through “The Surfer Moon,” notable for begin the first Beach Boys track with a string arrangement. Again, Peter Reum: “The vocal arrangements on Surfer Girl make it the prototype for most of the complex harmonies that would be the building blocks of the Beach Boys’ recording career.” In retrospect, the groups’ sound jumped to this new level very quickly; clearly, all Brian had needed was a free reign.

Less than a month after releasing Surfer Girl came Little Deuce Coupe, the group’s third album on 1963. Included here are the 45 versions of the anthemic “Be True To Your School” (Billboard #6) and the Beach Boys’ tribute to land-speed record holder Craig Breedlove’s courage, “Spirit Of America.”

Before the next album was released, the Beach Boys world was shaken up, both internally and externally. To fill in for Brian onstage, original beach boy Al Jardine returned; several months later, rhythm guitarist David Marks departed.

More significantly, on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Then, less than a month later, Capitol began devoting an inordinate amount of time and promotional muscle to the imminent arrival from England of the Beatles. Brian: “The Beatles invasion shook me up…they eclipsed a lot of what we’d worked for…eclipsed the whole music world. Michael and I got together and had a meeting, and we talked it over. We were very threatened by the whole thing.”

Their first response was one of the most electrifying of all Beach boys records, “Fun, Fun, Fun,” which it the charts just a week after the Beatles touched down on American soil, peaking at #5. From the era’s Shut Down Volume 2, three tracks are included that showcase some of Brian’s best lead vocals: “Don’t Worry Baby” (Billboard #24 and the B”B: side of “I Get Around,” one of the greatest double-sided hits ever), “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” and “The Warmth Of The Sun.”

In 1964, the Beach Boys continued with their successful and prolific pace, releasing four albums, all of which (except for Shut Down Volume 2 which peaked at #13) made the top ten. All Summer Long (Their second release of 1964 and sixth LP in less than three years) was the first album recorded after the British invaded. It yielded their very first #1 single, “I Get Around” (which helped break the Beatles’ stranglehold on the top chart positions) “Little Honda,” “Wendy,” the brilliant but brief “Don’t Back Down” and “All Summer Long” (made famous ten years later as the closing titles music for “American Graffiti”).

That fall, two more Beach Boys LPs, Christmas and Concert, scored big. “Little St. Nick” (a Christmas hit single in 1963) was the lead-off track on 1964’s Christmas album and “Hushabye,” which was originally recorded for All Summer Long, is a never-before-released outtake from the hugely successful Concert album (the group’s first #1 LP). (NOTE: “Things We Did Last Summer” [CD #1 / Track #19] is a Christmas song (recorded circa 1963), similar in style to several cuts on The Beach Boys’ Christmas LP. Brian remembers that the Beach Boys recorded it for a movie, but that it didn’t make the soundtrack. It’s an example of how the Beach Boys harmonies often echoed the vocal arrangements of the Four Freshman and after languishing in the vaults for nearly 30 years, it’s presented here for the very first time.)

All Summer Long was the last regular studio album the Beach Boys recorded before Brian quit the touring band. In ’63, he had often been absent, preferring to devote his time to composing and arranging, buy after making All Summer Long, Brian returned to the stage full-time as the Beach Boys embarked on what was to be of the most important tours of their career…a national trip that included New York (and “The Ed Sullivan Show”) and a promotional visit to England and Europe that established their beachhead overseas. Eager audience greeted them everywhere.

Back at home, Beach Boys records were flying out of the stores. For example, the Billboard album chart for the week of 12/5/64 has Beach Boys Concert at #1, All Summer Long #12 and Shut Down Volume 2, Surfer Girl and The Beach Boys Christmas albums all in the Top 200.

Everything appeared sunny to the public, but they didn’t know the heights and depths of Brian’s moods…that his emotional concerns were starting to dominate the records. But, as Brian explained in a mid-‘60s interview, he saw the process as cathartic. Brian: “This art form can draw out so much emotion and channel it into music…I find it possible to spill beautiful melodies in moments of great despair…a lot of the songs are the result of emotional experiences, sadness and pain…joy, exultation in nature and sunshine.” "She Knows Me Too Well” (one of the best of these “emotional” songs) and “When I Grow Up” with its uniquely reflective lyric, were recorded in the summer of 1964, when Brian was still a full-time Beach Boy. But before those tracks made it onto an album, everything changed, for Brian and the group. In late December of 1964, just two weeks after getting married, Brian had a nervous breakdown; in early ’65, he decided to quit touring so he could concentrate on the group’s records.

1965 saw this “new” Beach Boys set-up working to perfection. Brian stayed home, cutting backing tracks. The band (first with Glen Campbell and then Bruce Johnston taking Brian’s place on stage) continued to spread his music all over the world.

The Beach Boys Today! Album, the first fruit of that arrangement, turned out to be one of the best LPs the group ever released. And as you can hear from the five cuts included from that album (CD #1 / Tracks #29-33), Brian’s production technique was leaping forward. It was on this record that Brian really began to work in the studio as if he were composing miniature symphonies, creating increasingly complex arrangements, turning a musical idea into a full-blown production. How did he do it? Engineer Chuck Britz recalls how this painstaking compositional/arranging/recording process worked. “Basically, Brian knew every instrument he wanted to hear and how he wanted to hear it. He had a form in his mind where he had a sound he wanted to hear. What he’d do was call in all the musicians at one time and, [working individually, teach each musician his part]. Usually, the horns were the last thing we’d work on. There’d be a guy in the horn section [sax player Steve Douglas] who would take Brian’s idea and transpose it for the others,” (Bassist Ray Pohlman did a similar thing for the guitar players.)

Then, bringing everyone into the studio, the tracks would be cut “live” until Brian had a take that satisfied him. Through creative interplay during those session (listen to “God Only Knows” on CD #5), often sparked by an idea from one of the musicians, Brian would change and improve his “head” arrangement. Many of the innovative musical ideas on Beach Boys records were created spontaneously at these sessions, and the musicians’ valuable contributions can’t be overlooked.

Once the track was done, it was time to record the vocals. Britz’s home base, Western Studios 3, was the site of most of the Beach Boys’ sessions from late 1962 through mid-1967. Brian loved the echo chamber there. When the Beach Boys came in for a vocal session, Britz remembers, “they would rehearse to the track, which was actually better for them because then they could hear all the different pieces that were going on that enhanced the voices because that’s the way Brian would write.”

Brian (in 1966) explained “I write and think in terms of what the Beach Boys can do. Not what they would find easy to do, but what I know they are capable of doing, which isn’t always the same thing…I love the human voice for its own sake. But I can treat it, with some detachment, as another musical instrument.”

As “a musical instrument,” the Beach Boys in those days had no peer. The intricate harmonies were difficult to master, but rising to the challenge, their singing was, simply put, perfectly beautiful (listen on CD #5 to the “vocals only” tracks). Still, back in 1965, as good as they had become, they knew that Brian wouldn’t be satisfied with anything but their best, so they were prepared to work hard at the vocal sessions. Often, a session for one song lasted for hours.

Once the vocals were cut, one final step remained: mixing the record. Brian always mixed in mono, not because of his hearing disability (he’s deaf in one ear) but because of his desire to control how the listener would hear his creation. Brian: “I look at sound like a painting, you have a balance and the balance is conceived in your mind. You finish the sound, dub it down, and you’ve stamped out a picture your balance with the mono dubdown. But in stereo, you leave that dubdown to the listener – to his speaker placement and speaker balance. It just doesn’t seem complete to me,” which explains why he mixed his records in mono, and why CDs #1 and #2 are presented in that format on this set. (On CD #5, you can hear a few tracks in stereo.)

What (besides record company demands) drove the Beach Boys to make twelve albums in less than five years? Well, in part, Brian’s almost compulsive creative outpouring was a response to strong competition: great records from Phil Spector, the Beatles and Motown…great songs from Brill Building songwriters (Goffin/King, Greenwich/Barry & Mann/Weil) and writer/producer/arranger teams like Burt Bacharach and Hal David. These and other creators were a competitive inspiration for Brian. Brian: “every record had some kind of twist in it that gave you the feeling that says, ‘Oh man!’ you’d go to the piano, you’d say, ‘How’d they do that?’ Start learning about it. It’s an education. Anybody with a good ear is gonna pick up on those songs and go to the piano.”

In 1955, “Rock Around The Clock” turned Brian (and the rest of white America) on to rock ‘n’ roll. In the 1950s, white “covers” of R&B classics often kept the real artists off the “Hit Parade.” It wasn’t until the mid-1960s that racial segregation on the charts ended, making it an exceptional time on AM radio. It’s almost unimaginable by today’s standards, but in 1965 (before FM radio began to take over), a rock station would play Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Nat “King” Cole and Louis Armstrong mixed in with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Supremes and the Beatles.

AM radio was Brian’s arena, and increasingly motivated by the desire to express himself creatively and to be the “fastest gun” in town, he rode an amazing musical wave, basically achieving everything he had ever dreamed of. And having done that, he set out to do the impossible.

His artistic search began most noticeably on side two of Today which opens with “Please Let Me Wonder,” the first of a series of emotional ballads. Listen for the “fat” bass line, a signpost on the way to Pet Sounds. Similarly, “She Knows Me Too Well” is a gorgeous production, and if ever the phrase “soaring falsetto” applies in a Brian Wilson vocal, his singing on the chorus of this one is it. All of side two of Today (excepting “Bull Session With ‘Big Daddy’”) is of a piece, and in its moodiness, it lyrical questioning and production grandeur, it alerted everybody (be it fans, musicians or the record company) that Brian Wilson was traveling in an exciting new direction. On CD#2, we’ll hear where he was headed.

However, before we get there, here’s a little “bonus” fun. First (CD #1 / Track #34), you’ll hear samples of the promotional jingles the Beach Boys made for radio stations and disc jockeys (N.Y.’s “Murray The K”). Those are followed by a concert promotional spot and an outtake from the shows recorded for the Beach Boys Concert album. On “Hushabye” (and others on CD#5), you’ll hear how the Beach Boys re-produced their gorgeous harmonies on stage.
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