Howard Wyman – “Original Beach Boys’ Version of ‘Smile’ Finally Being Released” (2011)

February 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles, The Beach Boys)

Even though we’ve heard this many times before, it looks like the legendary original Smile (or as much of it as was completed before being abandoned in 1967) will finally be released this year by Capitol Records. If this is indeed true, let us begin celebrating. This article comes from the Crawdaddy! website, Feb. 8th of this year…

By now we’re all pretty well versed in the lore of Smile, the album written by Brian Wilson and recorded by the Beach Boys in ’66-’67 as a would-be follow-up to their landmark Pet Sounds, but was never released. Conflict within the band, between the band and Capitol Records, in the individual lives of band members and in Wilson’s own wavering psyche caused the album to be shelved for almost 40 years, until just a few years ago when Wilson decided to resurrect the project and re-record it on his own (with help from Van Dyke Parks). Brian Wilson Presents Smile came out in 2004, scored a 13 on the Billboard charts and earned three Grammy nominations, including Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow”, which Wilson won in the first Grammy victory of his solo career. The version of Smile that the Beach Boys recorded in the late ’60s has still never been released, although it has been announced that that will change this summer.

At the end of a recent interview with mostly discussing his own solo album A Postcard from California, founding Beach Boys guitarist Al Jardine let slip the fact that Capitol Records intends to give the long-shelved original artifact a proper release this summer as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Beach Boys’ formation. “I don’t have many details on it, although we didn’t do any new recording,” Jardine said. “I’m happy to see it finally come out.  Brian’s changed his mind about releasing the material, but it was inevitable, wasn’t it?”

Most of the material that would have been on Smile has been released on other subsequent releases including the acquiescent 1967 album Smiley Smile and the 1993 box set Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys, but the release this summer bring a sense of genuine if belated fruition. Here’s to good vibes!

Howard Wyman


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