THE (SURVIVING) BEACH BOYS WILL REUNITE ON THE GRAMMYS TONIGHT AS PART OF THEIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION.
YES, that includes Brian Wilson!
In the meantime, here’s an excellent article on SMiLE from Goldmine that explains not only the “Bicycle Rider” sections’ origin, but the inspiration for the American Indian references.
Looped a capella track (reportedly) culled from a 1968 studio session known in fan circles as “Unknown Harmony.” I copped this five or so years ago via the fan-made compilation You’re Welcome: A Beach Boys Sequel to SMiLE. From what I gather, the source material is thought to be clipped from the isolated vocal track of the Beach Boys “Break Away.”
HEROES AND VILLAINS.
Fingerprints Music in Long Beach did up their store like the SMiLE Shop on the cover of the album; this was for a Brian Wilson signing appearance. You can read more about it here.
The Beach Boys’ SMiLE Sessions animated unboxing. Wow.
Rolling Stone has the SMiLE tracklist for the various versions. Click here.
SMiLE and a new Beach Boys album in the next year? Mike Love says so, and that Brian’s written some new songs. It’s the band’s 50th anniversary, and a mighty fine time for all the surviving members to bury all the hatchets, legal and otherwise. Read more at Billboard.
Beach Boys fans should SMiLE… Mojo special ’60s issue with free yellow vinyl 45 of Cabin Essence/Wonderful out now. Single says “from the forthcoming release THE SMiLE SESSIONS.” Can it really be happening this year?
The release of the Beach Boys’ SMiLE is really happening after all.
[mind officially blown]
It’s nice that the people behind it will actually make some money after being ripped off by bootleggers since 1967. If you’re not familiar with the tortured history of this LP, it’s the never-completed album that would’ve been the follow-up to the legendary (but unsuccessful at the time) Pet Sounds. It would’ve included Brian Wilson’s masterpiece, Good Vibrations (at Capitol Records’ request), as well as Heroes and Villains.
For a multitude of reasons, the album was never finished. Some of the material has trickled out over the years. A number of tracks were retooled and they released Smiley Smile, which Carl Wilson described as “a bunt instead of a home run.” Wikipedia has a decent article on the history, but there are fan sites all over the internet if you’d want to learn more. Brian Wilson famously re-recorded the material for release in 2004, a major recovery, as the collapse of SMiLE was something that haunted him for years if not decades.
I’ll caution you - sifting through the rubble to discern what SMiLE may or may not have been is a bit of a rabbit hole to go down. There are multiple fan-made versions that take very seriously every scrap of info in order to come as close as they might to how it would’ve sounded upon release. Entire books and documentary films have been made about SMiLE, and while the quest is interesting it can also be frustrating. The fact that an official release is coming will certainly not quell the arguing about it; even Brian’s own version was not without controversy, and he was one of the principals of the original project along with lyricist Van Dyke Parks. The official release will, however, provide a new Rosetta Stone of what the album really could’ve been.
And… The Second Disc reports that Beach Boy Al Jardine is now backpedaling on his prior “announcement” regarding an official release of the SMiLE album and/or sessions.
It should be noted Al is promoting a solo record at this time.
CAPITOL RECORDS PLANNING TO RELEASE THE BEACH BOYS’ VERSION OF SMiLE?
From our “I’ll believe it when I see it” Dept. and by way of The Second Disc comes a big bombshell that Al Jardine dropped on Beach Boys fans: Capitol may be readying a deluxe (box?) release of the Beach Boys recordings that comprised SMiLE. Click on the photo to read the full story. It’d be a kickoff to a 50th anniversary salute to the Beach Boys. Crawdaddy also has some news on it here.
Having traveled to Carnegie Hall to see Brian Wilson perform this finally realized suite of songs, I can say that it’d definitely be on my shopping list. Am hoping they would add Brian’s stirring solo piano rendition of Surf’s Up from the Leonard Bernstein special.