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Smiley Smile Stuff => General On Topic Discussions => Topic started by: Galaxy Liz on July 19, 2022, 03:56:16 AM



Title: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 19, 2022, 03:56:16 AM
It seems to me from reading the track list, as recently discussed in the Look Listen thread, and from all the bootleg stuff we accumulated over the years from the original album, that all that could be left to do was some polishing.  The covers were printed - you'd think that would be a pretty late stage item.

I know you're going to shoot me down in flames but I'd like everyone's opinions and some serious reasons what wasn't ready.  They always say the sequencing but clearly from the Look Listen list that was sorted.  Even if they hadn't decided which link track went where, that's not a long job - they'd recorded lots of stuff.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 19, 2022, 06:55:04 AM
I mean, yes and no. I strongly agree that the album was close enough to finished that it’s quite possible to *imagine* what a finished album might have sounded like. I also believe that the Brian was absolutely capable of finishing Smile, and that the reason Smile wasn’t finished was because Brian stopped working on it in a way that made sense or matched with how he had always worked up until that point, and began obsessively rerecording Heroes and Villains instead of finishing the other tracks. That said, there was absolutely still a lot of work to be done.

Re: sequence. The Look Listen Vibrate Smile track sequence represents the general fan-consensus from the 1990s, more or less (and probably helped create it!). There is a kind of intuitive logic to how it fits together, which is why, I think, it has provided the rough template for so many fan mixes up to the present day. However—and I would love to be proven wrong on this—I don’t believe I have ever seen any evidence whatsoever that Brian had *decided* on a sequence in 1966 or 67, let alone that we have any way of knowing what it might have been. The only sequence-related evidence I know of is that Our Prayer would have gone first and been unlisted. Everything else is conjecture. Does it make sense for Heroes to go first, Surf’s Up to go last, the “life” songs to go on the A side and the “element” songs to go on the B side? Sure. Do we have evidence for any of those ideas? I’d love to see it if we do.

Re: track list. This is a contentious topic as well. Personally, I believe that Brian was still enough in command of the process in late ’66 and early ’67 that he must have approved the track list given to Capital Records, that he was aware it was being printed on jackets, and that he planned to use it. I also believe that Smile would have consisted of 12 discretely-banded songs with fades (there are just too many fades recorded for it to be otherwise!), although I suspect some of those fades would not have been faded, making them functionally “link tracks”.

So what was left to do when Smile was abandoned, in my view? The vast majority of songs were in literal pieces. They needed to be "assembled" for lack of a better word, from the various session tapes, mixed down to a finished backing track, and have any missing vocals recorded. For most of these songs, Brian could probably have done this in a session or two, had he put his mind to it. But Surf's Up, the Elements, and I'm in Great Shape still needed much more extensive recording, and Child is the Father of the Man needed lyrics.

Track by track:

Do You Like Worms? - instrumental track needed to be assembled, lead vocal needed to be recorded. This one is a tragedy, in my view, because the Beach Boys could have done this at any point up to the 1980s and given us a track as finished-sounding as Cabin Essence or Surf's Up, two other songs left in fragments and missing vocals in 1967.

Wind Chimes - needed to be assembled, very close.

Heroes and Villains - needed to be assembled, also close, although the question of what to include in it seems to have tortured Brian.

Surf’s Up - Second Movement and Third Movement tracks needed to be arranged and recorded, backing vocals needed to be recorded, lead vocal needed to be recorded. It is very important to remember that the 70s version simply does not represent what Brian would have done with this track in 1967. It is unquestionable that parts 2 and 3 would have gotten backing tracks as sophisticated and beautiful as part 1. What we got instead was a sweetened piano demo. Another heartbreaking loss, in my view.

Good Vibrations - finished

Cabin Essence - backing track needed to be assembled, lead vocal needed to be recorded. This was done in '68, but when the project was abandoned this one was left in a similar state to Do You Like Worms.

Wonderful - track needed to be assembled. Unclear (to me, anyway) what the intention was for the fade, though Brian seems to have planned one.

I’m in Great Shape - track needed to be assembled, possibly additional instrumental sessions needed, vocals needed to be recorded. Possible that Brian didn’t actually know what all the pieces were going to be for this one.

Child is Father of the Man - we have a finished backing track for this, but the lead vocal not only needed to be recorded but Van Dyke doesn’t seem to have gotten around to writing the lyrics. The surviving track makes clear enough, in my view, that this was intended to be a proper song with verses.

The Elements - I believe the evidence is incontrovertible that this would have consisted of four short instrumental (or wordless vocal) pieces, one for each element. Fire needed backing vocals. Earth and Air were yet to be recorded. Status of “water” unclear. This one still needed a lot of work.

Vega-Tables - needed to be assembled, but very close.

the Old Master Painter - needed to be assembled. If Brian had used a version of Heroes and Villains (like the Cantina mix) that used the Old Master Painter fade, than it’s a little unclear what the status of this track would have been, but barring that, it was basically finished.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 19, 2022, 08:24:35 AM
One other point re: sequencing. I don't think there's any evidence that lack of a sequence was ever a barrier to Smile's completion. If Brian had finished the songs, he would have sequenced them, and there's no reason to think that that would have given him any trouble. It's just that because he *didn't* finish the songs and *didn't* sequence them, we have no way of knowing what a finished sequence might have been.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 19, 2022, 10:30:33 AM
I know this is what we have been led to believe but I’m just not sure that what we have in the form of the bootleg tracks substantiates it.  I know that many people have put together their own version but it seems that the whole time Fire was not burnt but was kept safely, that Sail on Sailor was written twice (I know it’s not part of SMiLE), once with Danny Hutton and once with VDP so these are examples of us being led to believe things not strictly speaking true.  We were told that the tapes were in terrible condition in the 70s but then when Alan Boyd went through them he said they were fine.  Then we know that despite Brian not being able to finish SMiLE he went on to re-record much of what he had done.  David Anderle "what Brian tried to do with Smiley Smile is he tried to salvage as much of Smile as he could and at the same time immediately go into his [long-discussed] humor album."so he must have had the ability to function and had not retired to a quivering heap in the corner.

There is an article I read recently which described SMiLE as Brian’s death/rebirth LSD trip and from which the sequence is evident and quite crucial.

We also know that Darian used some bootlegs to work out the sequencing so the majority of the work completed as Brian Wilson Present’s SMiLE is the re-recording of those original tracks in the sequence listed on the  original album.

There are versions which claim to be the album - probably a scam - but how do we really know?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Bicyclerider on July 19, 2022, 10:31:21 AM
I mean, yes and no. I strongly agree that the album was close enough to finished that it’s quite possible to *imagine* what a finished album might have sounded like. I also believe that the Brian was absolutely capable of finishing Smile, and that the reason Smile wasn’t finished was because Brian stopped working on it in a way that made sense or matched with how he had always worked up until that point, and began obsessively rerecording Heroes and Villains instead of finishing the other tracks. That said, there was absolutely still a lot of work to be done.

Re: sequence. The Look Listen Vibrate Smile track sequence represents the general fan-consensus from the 1990s, more or less (and probably helped create it!). There is a kind of intuitive logic to how it fits together, which is why, I think, it has provided the rough template for so many fan mixes up to the present day. However—and I would love to be proven wrong on this—I don’t believe I have ever seen any evidence whatsoever that Brian had *decided* on a sequence in 1966 or 67, let alone that we have any way of knowing what it might have been. The only sequence-related evidence I know of is that Our Prayer would have gone first and been unlisted. Everything else is conjecture. Does it make sense for Heroes to go first, Surf’s Up to go last, the “life” songs to go on the A side and the “element” songs to go on the B side? Sure. Do we have evidence for any of those ideas? I’d love to see it if we do.

Re: track list. This is a contentious topic as well. Personally, I believe that Brian was still enough in command of the process in late ’66 and early ’67 that he must have approved the track list given to Capital Records, that he was aware it was being printed on jackets, and that he planned to use it. I also believe that Smile would have consisted of 12 discretely-banded songs with fades (there are just too many fades recorded for it to be otherwise!), although I suspect some of those fades would not have been faded, making them functionally “link tracks”.

So what was left to do when Smile was abandoned, in my view? The vast majority of songs were in literal pieces. They needed to be "assembled" for lack of a better word, from the various session tapes, mixed down to a finished backing track, and have any missing vocals recorded. For most of these songs, Brian could probably have done this in a session or two, had he put his mind to it. But Surf's Up, the Elements, and I'm in Great Shape still needed much more extensive recording, and Child is the Father of the Man needed lyrics.

Track by track:

Do You Like Worms? - instrumental track needed to be assembled, lead vocal needed to be recorded. This one is a tragedy, in my view, because the Beach Boys could have done this at any point up to the 1980s and given us a track as finished-sounding as Cabin Essence or Surf's Up, two other songs left in fragments and missing vocals in 1967.

Wind Chimes - needed to be assembled, very close.

Heroes and Villains - needed to be assembled, also close, although the question of what to include in it seems to have tortured Brian.

Surf’s Up - Second Movement and Third Movement tracks needed to be arranged and recorded, backing vocals needed to be recorded, lead vocal needed to be recorded. It is very important to remember that the 70s version simply does not represent what Brian would have done with this track in 1967. It is unquestionable that parts 2 and 3 would have gotten backing tracks as sophisticated and beautiful as part 1. What we got instead was a sweetened piano demo. Another heartbreaking loss, in my view.

Good Vibrations - finished

Cabin Essence - backing track needed to be assembled, lead vocal needed to be recorded. This was done in '68, but when the project was abandoned this one was left in a similar state to Do You Like Worms.

Wonderful - track needed to be assembled. Unclear (to me, anyway) what the intention was for the fade, though Brian seems to have planned one.

I’m in Great Shape - track needed to be assembled, possibly additional instrumental sessions needed, vocals needed to be recorded. Possible that Brian didn’t actually know what all the pieces were going to be for this one.

Child is Father of the Man - we have a finished backing track for this, but the lead vocal not only needed to be recorded but Van Dyke doesn’t seem to have gotten around to writing the lyrics. The surviving track makes clear enough, in my view, that this was intended to be a proper song with verses.

The Elements - I believe the evidence is incontrovertible that this would have consisted of four short instrumental (or wordless vocal) pieces, one for each element. Fire needed backing vocals. Earth and Air were yet to be recorded. Status of “water” unclear. This one still needed a lot of work.

Vega-Tables - needed to be assembled, but very close.

the Old Master Painter - needed to be assembled. If Brian had used a version of Heroes and Villains (like the Cantina mix) that used the Old Master Painter fade, than it’s a little unclear what the status of this track would have been, but barring that, it was basically finished.

Excellent summary.  For Wonderful, besides the tag it seems clear Brian intended Carl to sing it.  It seems Brian rejected his original attempt that we now all know and love, recorded two new versions of it - the awful Rock with me Henry version, and then a new track with some beautiful backing vocals  in April at the Vegetables sessions, left unfinished.  If he had completed Smile would he have completed the April version, recorded a new version, or reverted back to the August/October Brian lead vocal take?  

I'm in Great Shape - I'm convinced Barnyard would have been part of the song (essentially making this the "Barnyard suite") but as you say what else he would have included, or if other sections were to be recorded (Barnyard Billy?) is unclear.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Aomdiddlywalla on July 19, 2022, 11:59:18 AM
I mean, yes and no. I strongly agree that the album was close enough to finished that it’s quite possible to *imagine* what a finished album might have sounded like. I also believe that the Brian was absolutely capable of finishing Smile, and that the reason Smile wasn’t finished was because Brian stopped working on it in a way that made sense or matched with how he had always worked up until that point, and began obsessively rerecording Heroes and Villains instead of finishing the other tracks. That said, there was absolutely still a lot of work to be done.

Re: sequence. The Look Listen Vibrate Smile track sequence represents the general fan-consensus from the 1990s, more or less (and probably helped create it!). There is a kind of intuitive logic to how it fits together, which is why, I think, it has provided the rough template for so many fan mixes up to the present day. However—and I would love to be proven wrong on this—I don’t believe I have ever seen any evidence whatsoever that Brian had *decided* on a sequence in 1966 or 67, let alone that we have any way of knowing what it might have been. The only sequence-related evidence I know of is that Our Prayer would have gone first and been unlisted. Everything else is conjecture. Does it make sense for Heroes to go first, Surf’s Up to go last, the “life” songs to go on the A side and the “element” songs to go on the B side? Sure. Do we have evidence for any of those ideas? I’d love to see it if we do.

Re: track list. This is a contentious topic as well. Personally, I believe that Brian was still enough in command of the process in late ’66 and early ’67 that he must have approved the track list given to Capital Records, that he was aware it was being printed on jackets, and that he planned to use it. I also believe that Smile would have consisted of 12 discretely-banded songs with fades (there are just too many fades recorded for it to be otherwise!), although I suspect some of those fades would not have been faded, making them functionally “link tracks”.

So what was left to do when Smile was abandoned, in my view? The vast majority of songs were in literal pieces. They needed to be "assembled" for lack of a better word, from the various session tapes, mixed down to a finished backing track, and have any missing vocals recorded. For most of these songs, Brian could probably have done this in a session or two, had he put his mind to it. But Surf's Up, the Elements, and I'm in Great Shape still needed much more extensive recording, and Child is the Father of the Man needed lyrics.

Track by track:

Do You Like Worms? - instrumental track needed to be assembled, lead vocal needed to be recorded. This one is a tragedy, in my view, because the Beach Boys could have done this at any point up to the 1980s and given us a track as finished-sounding as Cabin Essence or Surf's Up, two other songs left in fragments and missing vocals in 1967.

Wind Chimes - needed to be assembled, very close.

Heroes and Villains - needed to be assembled, also close, although the question of what to include in it seems to have tortured Brian.

Surf’s Up - Second Movement and Third Movement tracks needed to be arranged and recorded, backing vocals needed to be recorded, lead vocal needed to be recorded. It is very important to remember that the 70s version simply does not represent what Brian would have done with this track in 1967. It is unquestionable that parts 2 and 3 would have gotten backing tracks as sophisticated and beautiful as part 1. What we got instead was a sweetened piano demo. Another heartbreaking loss, in my view.

Good Vibrations - finished

Cabin Essence - backing track needed to be assembled, lead vocal needed to be recorded. This was done in '68, but when the project was abandoned this one was left in a similar state to Do You Like Worms.

Wonderful - track needed to be assembled. Unclear (to me, anyway) what the intention was for the fade, though Brian seems to have planned one.

I’m in Great Shape - track needed to be assembled, possibly additional instrumental sessions needed, vocals needed to be recorded. Possible that Brian didn’t actually know what all the pieces were going to be for this one.

Child is Father of the Man - we have a finished backing track for this, but the lead vocal not only needed to be recorded but Van Dyke doesn’t seem to have gotten around to writing the lyrics. The surviving track makes clear enough, in my view, that this was intended to be a proper song with verses.

The Elements - I believe the evidence is incontrovertible that this would have consisted of four short instrumental (or wordless vocal) pieces, one for each element. Fire needed backing vocals. Earth and Air were yet to be recorded. Status of “water” unclear. This one still needed a lot of work.

Vega-Tables - needed to be assembled, but very close.

the Old Master Painter - needed to be assembled. If Brian had used a version of Heroes and Villains (like the Cantina mix) that used the Old Master Painter fade, than it’s a little unclear what the status of this track would have been, but barring that, it was basically finished.

Excellent summary.  For Wonderful, besides the tag it seems clear Brian intended Carl to sing it.  It seems Brian rejected his original attempt that we now all know and love, recorded two new versions of it - the awful Rock with me Henry version, and then a new track with some beautiful backing vocals  in April at the Vegetables sessions, left unfinished.  If he had completed Smile would he have completed the April version, recorded a new version, or reverted back to the August/October Brian lead vocal take?  

I'm in Great Shape - I'm convinced Barnyard would have been part of the song (essentially making this the "Barnyard suite") but as you say what else he would have included, or if other sections were to be recorded (Barnyard Billy?) is unclear.


‘Barnyard Billy loved his chicken’.   Now that’s taken me back to 96, I’d forgotten about that.  Thanks


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 19, 2022, 12:33:10 PM
Excellent summary.  For Wonderful, besides the tag it seems clear Brian intended Carl to sing it.  It seems Brian rejected his original attempt that we now all know and love, recorded two new versions of it - the awful Rock with me Henry version, and then a new track with some beautiful backing vocals  in April at the Vegetables sessions, left unfinished.  If he had completed Smile would he have completed the April version, recorded a new version, or reverted back to the August/October Brian lead vocal take?  

I'm in Great Shape - I'm convinced Barnyard would have been part of the song (essentially making this the "Barnyard suite") but as you say what else he would have included, or if other sections were to be recorded (Barnyard Billy?) is unclear.

My personal interpretation of the surviving evidence is that the moment at which Smile turned irrevocably down the path to "lost album" status was when Brian decided not to release the Cantina mix of Heroes. There is an article from mid-February 1967 where he told a reporter about having finished the A side of Heroes, almost certainly referring to the Cantina mix (which, it's worth noting, is along with Good Vibrations really the only indication we have of what "finished" meant to Brian for a song during these sessions, even if he did turn around and reject it a week later). In that interview, he says that he just needed to figure out what to put on the B side, that he didn't want to use a Pet Sounds track or give something away from the rest of the album, and that he was planning to go into the studio and cut something, just him and the piano. If Brian had done that, at that moment, cut a piano-vocal version of Wonderful, say, or anything else, and released the cantina mix of Heroes and Villains, then he would have had a solid month as it was pressed and distributed and climbed the charts however high it was going to go, in which to finish the rest of the album. Similarly, had he mixed down a two-part single in mid-to-late February (which seems pretty plausible based on what was recorded, but wasn't actually done), he would have been in the same position. In any event, if all the pointless Heroes sessions of late February and March had been dedicated to mixing down and recording vocals for the other songs, the album would have moved fast--probably too fast to stop--and come out that spring. I can't prove it, but that's my hunch. Instead, Brian made no real effort to finish the album after January, 1767. Even the Vegetables sessions were only given so much energy because Brian decided to make *that* the single for a hot second.

That said, in this scenario, Brian would have finished the record as he conceived and recorded it in the fall of 66. Which means he would have used the Wonderful track he'd already recorded, he would have used the track list he'd already given Capital. Any scenario that has Brian reinventing the wheel in 1967 is, in my opinion, a scenario in which Smile doesn't come out.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 19, 2022, 12:55:28 PM
I know this is what we have been led to believe but I’m just not sure that what we have in the form of the bootleg tracks substantiates it.  I know that many people have put together their own version but it seems that the whole time Fire was not burnt but was kept safely, that Sail on Sailor was written twice (I know it’s not part of SMiLE), once with Danny Hutton and once with VDP so these are examples of us being led to believe things not strictly speaking true.  We were told that the tapes were in terrible condition in the 70s but then when Alan Boyd went through them he said they were fine.  Then we know that despite Brian not being able to finish SMiLE he went on to re-record much of what he had done.  David Anderle "what Brian tried to do with Smiley Smile is he tried to salvage as much of Smile as he could and at the same time immediately go into his [long-discussed] humor album."so he must have had the ability to function and had not retired to a quivering heap in the corner.

There is an article I read recently which described SMiLE as Brian’s death/rebirth LSD trip and from which the sequence is evident and quite crucial.

We also know that Darian used some bootlegs to work out the sequencing so the majority of the work completed as Brian Wilson Present’s SMiLE is the re-recording of those original tracks in the sequence listed on the  original album.

There are versions which claim to be the album - probably a scam - but how do we really know?

But there is no sequence listed on the original album! There has never been a sequence listed anywhere, except in the imaginations of overeager fans, that had any basis in historical evidence. The album Brian was recording in December, 1966 had 400,000 album jackets printed for it. It had twelve songs listed on those jackets, with a note to see the record for the correct playing order. It had an elaborate booklet. Every single one of the songs had been heavily worked on. So far as I'm concerned, that album was Smile. 12 songs. It was not finished. It was close, but significant work remained to be done. That is a fact.

In 1967, Brian recorded a lot of material. Very conspicuously, the list I made above of what needed to be done for each track on the December track list? Brian didn't do *any* of it in 1967 (except for arguably the work on Vegetables). Instead, he rerecorded things, he tinkered with Heroes, he started some new songs. Whatever he was doing, it wasn't finishing the album that he had conceived in the fall of 1966. Can a bootlegger make a great track list out of all the pieces Brian recorded during the Smile era? Yes, absolutely. But there is just no evidence whatsoever that Brian Wilson ever knew what the sequence was or that there is any way for anyone to figure out what his intentions were for it.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 19, 2022, 01:08:11 PM
Smiley Smile is Smile.  :)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 19, 2022, 01:10:52 PM
Do You Like Worms? - instrumental track needed to be assembled, lead vocal needed to be recorded. This one is a tragedy, in my view, because the Beach Boys could have done this at any point up to the 1980s and given us a track as finished-sounding as Cabin Essence or Surf's Up, two other songs left in fragments and missing vocals in 1967.

Honestly it kinda broke my heart when that small snippet of the original melody for DYLW was unsurfaced when the Smile Sessions came out. It is so different from the BWPS version (and so much better)...it really is a tragedy that the lead vocal was never recorded. I'm so glad that the melody was brought to light, but it also shows us a glimpse of what could have been.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 19, 2022, 01:18:35 PM
Smiley Smile is Smile.  :)

Smile, especially BWPS always puts a smile on my face, whereas Smiley Smile just puts me in a weird/dark-ish mood. So from a historical context I can see why some would think that Smiley Smile is Smile, but from the context that Brian wanted to make people smile when listening to the album, I will always think the original material (or BWPS) is Smile.

Side note, I actually vastly prefer BWPS over the original Smile material - even with the non-Beach Boys voices. It is just so complete, colorful, and happy.

BWPS is Smile ;D


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 19, 2022, 01:39:08 PM
Smiley Smile is Smile.  :)

Just like we were told in "webisodes" how all the other guys simply LOVED and ADORED the Smile music...

I also have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.  :lol


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Aomdiddlywalla on July 19, 2022, 02:38:00 PM
Do You Like Worms? - instrumental track needed to be assembled, lead vocal needed to be recorded. This one is a tragedy, in my view, because the Beach Boys could have done this at any point up to the 1980s and given us a track as finished-sounding as Cabin Essence or Surf's Up, two other songs left in fragments and missing vocals in 1967.

Honestly it kinda broke my heart when that small snippet of the original melody for DYLW was unsurfaced when the Smile Sessions came out. It is so different from the BWPS version (and so much better)...it really is a tragedy that the lead vocal was never recorded. I'm so glad that the melody was brought to light, but it also shows us a glimpse of what could have been.

Yep,  tragedy that the fast descending melody that follows the bass line was not discovered before 2004. Also surprised no fan mixer has used it on Worms yet ?!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 19, 2022, 03:01:52 PM
My memory is very hazy regarding this, but I could’ve sworn that someone did meld the two together. But it has been so many years that I can’t be sure of it. If anyone remembers anything like this please feel free to post!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 19, 2022, 03:08:40 PM
My memory is very hazy regarding this, but I could’ve sworn that someone did meld the two together. But it has been so many years that I can’t be sure of it. If anyone remembers anything like this please feel free to post!

Someone did, I just can't remember who or where either!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 19, 2022, 06:06:36 PM
Smiley Smile was the album that made me a Beach Boys fan… 26 years ago. Doesn’t even feel that long


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 19, 2022, 06:21:51 PM
Smiley Smile was the album that made me a Beach Boys fan… 26 years ago. Doesn’t even feel that long

I grew up immersed (as a High School Smile obsessive in the early 2000s) in the idea, still widely prevalent at that time, I think, that Smiley Smile was a failure for being not Smile. I absolutely fell in love with Wild Honey, and because it was on a two-fer with Smiley Smile I listened to Smiley Smile a lot too, more or less by accident...and one day I realized... oh my god it's brilliant! One hell of a consolation prize, huh.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 02:16:11 AM
There has never been a sequence listed anywhere, except in the imaginations of overeager fans, that had any basis in historical evidence. The album Brian was recording in December, 1966 had 400,000 album jackets printed for it. It had twelve songs listed on those jackets, with a note to see the record for the correct playing order. It had an elaborate booklet. Every single one of the songs had been heavily worked on. So far as I'm concerned, that album was Smile. 12 songs. It was not finished. It was close, but significant work remained to be done. That is a fact.

In 1967, Brian recorded a lot of material. Very conspicuously, the list I made above of what needed to be done for each track on the December track list? Brian didn't do *any* of it in 1967 (except for arguably the work on Vegetables). Instead, he rerecorded things, he tinkered with Heroes, he started some new songs. Whatever he was doing, it wasn't finishing the album that he had conceived in the fall of 1966. Can a bootlegger make a great track list out of all the pieces Brian recorded during the Smile era? Yes, absolutely. But there is just no evidence whatsoever that Brian Wilson ever knew what the sequence was or that there is any way for anyone to figure out what his intentions were for it.

I got into this from the discussion on the track sequence in Look Listen on another thread.  Dominic after considerable research came up with a list which co-incidentally (or not) matches one in my possession which came with music - all of which we have heard before on the bootlegs so nothing more was needed to complete it as an album.  It may have been complied post 1967 by a fan.
I'm just making the point that it was easily possible to complete what was offered to Capitol with the existing recordings.  I'm sure Brian would have carried on working on it if there hadn't been difficulties with the group and polished it endlessly, just as he did with GV, and probably to it''s betterment but re-recording parts at less quality to produce Smiley Smile was totally unnecessary. 
We are led to believe that during this time Brian was a train wreck but nevertheless he was able to record and produce an album and come up with an innovative method of final mixing which the technician described as a miracle but yet was unable to take the composite parts he had recorded already and form an album.  That had to be left to a much less skilled fan to do without the resources Brian had!  Sorry but I just don't believe it.  Brian no doubt wanted to perfect it and the others just didn't want it released.  It was an excuse.

The sequence of the 4 elements is set by it's subject.  I have an article from 2009 published on thesmileshop.net which sadly no longer exists which explains the lyrics and the sequence is Fire, Water, Air, Water, Earth - with water being very specifically being featured twice.  Unfortunately I've lost the bit with the author's name.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 20, 2022, 02:39:25 AM
I'm Liz's sister. The article is called 'SMiLE and Hawaii: Not Gibberish After All' - I suppose familiar to many here.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: William Bowe on July 20, 2022, 04:19:31 AM
Honestly it kinda broke my heart when that small snippet of the original melody for DYLW was unsurfaced when the Smile Sessions came out. It is so different from the BWPS version (and so much better)...it really is a tragedy that the lead vocal was never recorded. I'm so glad that the melody was brought to light, but it also shows us a glimpse of what could have been.

Pardon my ignorance, but what does this refer to? Where specifically can I find it on The Smile Sessions?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 20, 2022, 04:44:40 AM
Honestly it kinda broke my heart when that small snippet of the original melody for DYLW was unsurfaced when the Smile Sessions came out. It is so different from the BWPS version (and so much better)...it really is a tragedy that the lead vocal was never recorded. I'm so glad that the melody was brought to light, but it also shows us a glimpse of what could have been.

Pardon my ignorance, but what does this refer to? Where specifically can I find it on The Smile Sessions?

Is it this bit? About 0.36 in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxQc1K_kD9E


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 20, 2022, 06:11:22 AM
Honestly it kinda broke my heart when that small snippet of the original melody for DYLW was unsurfaced when the Smile Sessions came out. It is so different from the BWPS version (and so much better)...it really is a tragedy that the lead vocal was never recorded. I'm so glad that the melody was brought to light, but it also shows us a glimpse of what could have been.

Pardon my ignorance, but what does this refer to? Where specifically can I find it on The Smile Sessions?

Track 1 disc 3 (‘Do You Like Worms?, Part 1’), at the 3:17 mark. It starts with Brian talking to VDPs: “Right, Van?” and then he starts singing the melody.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 06:22:21 AM
Honestly it kinda broke my heart when that small snippet of the original melody for DYLW was unsurfaced when the Smile Sessions came out. It is so different from the BWPS version (and so much better)...it really is a tragedy that the lead vocal was never recorded. I'm so glad that the melody was brought to light, but it also shows us a glimpse of what could have been.

Pardon my ignorance, but what does this refer to? Where specifically can I find it on The Smile Sessions?

Track 1 disc 3 (‘Do You Like Worms?, Part 1’), at the 3:17 mark. It starts with Brian talking to VDPs: “Right, Van?” and then he starts singing the melody.

Click on this link and hit play, it's right there as Rab said:

https://youtu.be/zRocIqQSsK8?t=194 (https://youtu.be/zRocIqQSsK8?t=194)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 06:27:40 AM
Interesting to compare the snippet of melody played by the upright bass on the clip Angela posted above to the melody Brian sings in the control room Rab mentioned at the link I just posted: They're in the same rhythmic groove, call it swing 8th's or dotted 8th note and a 16th note, but they're very similar motifs and both could compliment each other perfectly. The bass melody descends in a more smooth way, while the vocal is more angular.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 20, 2022, 06:39:35 AM
Okay, did a little digging:

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11408.msg243878.html#msg243878 (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11408.msg243878.html#msg243878)


I actually synced up two different versions: One with the line doubled during the verse, to show what the melody (obviously with different lyrics each time) would have sounded like over the full verse, and a second with the line set against the BWPS version (still twice, in a different place the second time) to explore the call-and-answer/multiple melodies avenue.


Thanks to Hypehat's help, I uploaded the two songs.  Questions?  Thoughts?

http://www.mediafire.com/?jhz7t9q1o7g53mb

http://www.mediafire.com/?dztw18x2sazl1qb

The first link doesn't appear to work, the second link leads to a WAV file with a mashup of the 2004 RPR and the new (vintage) melody.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 20, 2022, 06:45:56 AM
Interesting to compare the snippet of melody played by the upright bass on the clip Angela posted above to the melody Brian sings in the control room Rab mentioned at the link I just posted: They're in the same rhythmic groove, call it swing 8th's or dotted 8th note and a 16th note, but they're very similar motifs and both could compliment each other perfectly. The bass melody descends in a more smooth way, while the vocal is more angular.

Thanks Rab2591 and Guitarfool2002!

There is just so much to learn it's hard to get your head round, especially as much fits into different places.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 07:03:23 AM
nspicuously, the list I made above of what needed to be done for each track on the December track list? Brian didn't do *any* of it in 1967 (except for arguably the work on Vegetables). Instead, he rerecorded things, he tinkered with Heroes, he started some new songs. Whatever he was doing, it wasn't finishing the album that he had conceived in the fall of 1966. Can a bootlegger make a great track list out of all the pieces Brian recorded during the Smile era? Yes, absolutely. But there is just no evidence whatsoever that Brian Wilson ever knew what the sequence was or that there is any way for anyone to figure out what his intentions were for it.
[/quote]

On 16, 17,18 May Brian worked on Love to Say Dada

On May 19 Capitol abandons the recordings for Smile
"Edited versions of the Love To Say Dada sessions are included in the 2011 Smile Sessions box; Brian certainly doesn’t sound like he knows that Smile is finished with. There is a playfulness to the announcement of each take, over both days of recordings. Brian affects a humorous voice, which he maintains throughout. The ‘Part Two, Second Day’ recordings (ie. 18th May 1967) also has an additional slide-whistle ‘birds singing’ development that suggests that this track is in process, with a finished version in mind.

That the Smile recordings were abandoned the next day does not appear to be reflected in the work the day before. And Smile ‘legend’ would have one believe that these sessions became increasingly weird, and increasingly ‘out of control’. But the recordings show the same Brian Wilson that all the Smile sessions reveal: a composer and a producer in control."

So the accepted history is utter rubbish and probably simply to protect the brand.  And it's funny how the message changed over time from 'it's a nuclear bomb' to 'let's release it' in 2011.

Brian himself in an interview about Smile says he realised he had 'art in the can'. Which rather sounds like he knew there was at least some of it ready.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 07:42:38 AM
nspicuously, the list I made above of what needed to be done for each track on the December track list? Brian didn't do *any* of it in 1967 (except for arguably the work on Vegetables). Instead, he rerecorded things, he tinkered with Heroes, he started some new songs. Whatever he was doing, it wasn't finishing the album that he had conceived in the fall of 1966. Can a bootlegger make a great track list out of all the pieces Brian recorded during the Smile era? Yes, absolutely. But there is just no evidence whatsoever that Brian Wilson ever knew what the sequence was or that there is any way for anyone to figure out what his intentions were for it.

On 16, 17,18 May Brian worked on Love to Say Dada

On May 19 Capitol abandons the recordings for Smile
"Edited versions of the Love To Say Dada sessions are included in the 2011 Smile Sessions box; Brian certainly doesn’t sound like he knows that Smile is finished with. There is a playfulness to the announcement of each take, over both days of recordings. Brian affects a humorous voice, which he maintains throughout. The ‘Part Two, Second Day’ recordings (ie. 18th May 1967) also has an additional slide-whistle ‘birds singing’ development that suggests that this track is in process, with a finished version in mind.

That the Smile recordings were abandoned the next day does not appear to be reflected in the work the day before. And Smile ‘legend’ would have one believe that these sessions became increasingly weird, and increasingly ‘out of control’. But the recordings show the same Brian Wilson that all the Smile sessions reveal: a composer and a producer in control."

So the accepted history is utter rubbish and probably simply to protect the brand.  And it's funny how the message changed over time from 'it's a nuclear bomb' to 'let's release it' in 2011.

Brian himself in an interview about Smile says he realised he had 'art in the can'. Which rather sounds like he knew there was at least some of it ready.


[/quote]

In addition "In contrast to Brian’s own work alone, on sessions and tracks for Friends and 20/20, he does not appear to have been involved in the retrieval and reclamation of Prayer and Cabin Essence. That both tracks have survived intact, with some extra vocal overdubs on the former (plus its possessive retitling), and the new lead vocals (and final resequencing) of the latter, is probably only a reflection of the close-to-completion state of these session tapes."


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 20, 2022, 07:46:36 AM

On 16, 17,18 May Brian worked on Love to Say Dada

On May 19 Capitol abandons the recordings for Smile
"Edited versions of the Love To Say Dada sessions are included in the 2011 Smile Sessions box; Brian certainly doesn’t sound like he knows that Smile is finished with. There is a playfulness to the announcement of each take, over both days of recordings. Brian affects a humorous voice, which he maintains throughout. The ‘Part Two, Second Day’ recordings (ie. 18th May 1967) also has an additional slide-whistle ‘birds singing’ development that suggests that this track is in process, with a finished version in mind.


The voice slating those takes is engineer Jimmy Hilton, and Smile had already been announced scrapped in a press release by Derek Taylor at the beginning of the month, a couple of weeks before the Da Da sessions.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 07:57:22 AM
It has caused some pretty intense arguments in the past, but I still have the opinion (based on the actual timeline, reports from those involved, and interviews with band members from 1967) that the Derek Taylor announcement was premature, if not inaccurate, and that the two weeks between that last "DaDa" session in May, the Beach Boys returning from a European tour where they got some bad reviews in the press, and work starting the first week in June on what would become the "Smiley" working method are KEY and absolutely essential in understanding why things happened as they did.

Literally everything about the band's working methods in terms of recording and production changed in those two weeks, late May into June 1967. If the term to describe the changes could be a "seismic event", it would be appropriate. Things simply do not change that drastically in that short a time without a major catalyst leading to the changes.

One of the main events was the Beach Boys returning from Europe shouldering some criticism about their live sound versus the records.

Unfortunately very few have spoken about those two weeks in late May '67 with any specifics, except perhaps Nick Grillo. And I doubt we'll ever know, because I think some seriously heavy discussions happened that went beyond "what's our next album?".


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 08:04:23 AM
"In the following it is assumed that all the documented sessions, as described by Brad Elliott in his article ”The Facts About SMiLE”, actually did take place. This would mean that some SMiLE fragments, particularly from vocal sessions, have not (yet) leaked out. This is quite possible, since according to Brad Elliott tapes from vocal sessions may have been left behind at the Columbia studios and later been moved to a warehouse. And then there is that other possibility, that they were actually destroyed...

By November 30, when the other Beach Boys returned to the studio to continue recording vocals after being away on tour for several weeks, SMiLE's status was this:

The instrumental sessions for at least seven of the eleven songs (excluding Good Vibrations) may have been finished: Heroes And Villains, Wind Chimes, Wonderful, Cabin Essence, Child Is Father Of The Man, Do You Like Worms and The Old Master Painter. For Surf’s Up only the first movement had been recorded, while Vega-Tables had not been started. No instrumental sessions are documented for I’m In Great Shape, while evidence about The Elements is unclear; session documentation seems to be missing (at least for the ”Water Chant”), so it may or may not have been finished.

As for the vocals, the a capella Our Prayer (the planned ”intro to the album”) had been recorded. Vocals for Wind Chimes and I’m In Great Shape were also laid down by Nov. 30, and some vocals had been recorded for Wonderful, Child Is Father Of The Man, Cabin Essence and Do You Like Worms.

After the other Beach Boys returned, vocals were recorded for The Old Master Painter (on Nov. 30) and Child Is Father Of The Man (Dec. 2 & 6). On Dec. 6 another vocal session was held for Cabin Essence, but the lead vocal for the ”Home On The Range” section seems not to have been recorded. Vocals for Heroes And Villains were recorded on Dec. 13 and for Wonderful on Dec. 15. The status of Heroes And Villains is unclear; possibly the original version incorporating ”Barnyard” had been finished by this time.

Thus, by December 15 it looks as though Wind Chimes, I’m In Great Shape (possibly a capella), The Old Master Painter, Child Is Father Of The Man, Cabin Essence (possibly excepting the ”Home On The Range” lead vocal), Heroes And Villains (”Barnyard” version), Wonderful, The Elements and the intro Our Prayer all could have been finished. That leaves only three tracks that were clearly unfinished: Do You Like Worms (group vocals missing), Surf’s Up (only the instrumental track for the first movement had been recorded) and Vega-Tables (which seems not to have been started).

With so much of SMiLE already in the can, it is difficult to see why the album could not have been finished by the ”deadline” of January 15. To finish, Brian basically only needed to record vocals for Do You Like Worms, instrumental tracks and vocals for Surf's Up and Vega-Tables, probably some more sweetening, and then do the final mixdowns. So why didn’t he finish?"


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 20, 2022, 09:03:44 AM
With so much of SMiLE already in the can, it is difficult to see why the album could not have been finished by the ”deadline” of January 15. To finish, Brian basically only needed to record vocals for Do You Like Worms, instrumental tracks and vocals for Surf's Up and Vega-Tables, probably some more sweetening, and then do the final mixdowns. So why didn’t he finish?"

I agree with this 100%. My list of things to be done is a little bit longer than the one you're quoting here, but not much. The album was very close to finished. And yet, close but no cigar. Why? On one level, the answer to this question is abundantly clear from the timeline of sessions: because Brian Wilson stopped working on Smile the album, and worked on Heroes and Villains the single almost exclusively, with the exception of a burst of work on Vegetables and the Love to Say Da Da sessions.

I agree with you 100% that Brian did not lose control of the sessions in the way the Smile myth once portrayed things; that he did not become bogged down in drugs and that the sessions did not become out of control weird. He was clearly still working at a high level. And, of course, Smiley Smile itself is the work of an artist still operating at a very high level. But the fact remains that Brian didn't finish Smile. And even if it were true that significant additional vocal sessions were done from which the tapes were left at Columbia and lost... the fact remains that had Brian finished any of these songs, as in mixing them down and assembling them onto a master reel... the fact that the session tapes were thrown out by some janitor at Columbia in 1969 wouldn't matter!

All that said, I feel like I'm usually the one arguing that Smile was way closer to being finished and Brian way more in control for longer than people have thought! So I really don't think we disagree much at all! Maybe just on the question of whether an authentic track sequence for the Smile sessions was created in 1967 which is knowable to fans today through research. But on the real substance of what happened in 1967, I think we're saying similar things, honestly.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 20, 2022, 09:08:45 AM
It has caused some pretty intense arguments in the past, but I still have the opinion (based on the actual timeline, reports from those involved, and interviews with band members from 1967) that the Derek Taylor announcement was premature, if not inaccurate, and that the two weeks between that last "DaDa" session in May, the Beach Boys returning from a European tour where they got some bad reviews in the press, and work starting the first week in June on what would become the "Smiley" working method are KEY and absolutely essential in understanding why things happened as they did.

Literally everything about the band's working methods in terms of recording and production changed in those two weeks, late May into June 1967. If the term to describe the changes could be a "seismic event", it would be appropriate. Things simply do not change that drastically in that short a time without a major catalyst leading to the changes.

One of the main events was the Beach Boys returning from Europe shouldering some criticism about their live sound versus the records.

Unfortunately very few have spoken about those two weeks in late May '67 with any specifics, except perhaps Nick Grillo. And I doubt we'll ever know, because I think some seriously heavy discussions happened that went beyond "what's our next album?".

Yea, on some level I think there must have been an explosive confrontation of some sort within the band in the transition to Smiley Smile... I mean, how could there not have been? But then, some things simply cannot be known. And at the same time, if they'd gone straight to Wild Honey, it all would make perfect sense. But Smiley Smile is so incredibly weird, and so incredibly Brian...


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 09:22:20 AM
And in July 1967 it seems that Capitol still planned to issue Smile after Smiley Smile and Smiley Smile used the same reference. 

Capitol Smile memo reads

"After discussing a number of alternatives with Schwartz, Polley, and Brian Wilson, I agreed with Brian that the best course of action would be to not include [the Smile] booklet with the Smiley Smile package, but rather to hold it for the next album which would include the aforementioned 10 selections. The second album which would be packaged with the booklet would not include the selections Heroes and Villains and Vegetables. However, inasmuch as these two selections would have already been released, I believe the consumer would be quick to pick up the connection between the cartoon and these tracks. In fact, some word of explanation could be included in the liner notes of the second album."

(quoted in Brad Elliott’s The Facts About Smile, originally published 1984, reprinted 1988 in Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile! p. 160)

After June 11th Brian home studio was operational.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 09:27:21 AM

On 16, 17,18 May Brian worked on Love to Say Dada

On May 19 Capitol abandons the recordings for Smile
"Edited versions of the Love To Say Dada sessions are included in the 2011 Smile Sessions box; Brian certainly doesn’t sound like he knows that Smile is finished with. There is a playfulness to the announcement of each take, over both days of recordings. Brian affects a humorous voice, which he maintains throughout. The ‘Part Two, Second Day’ recordings (ie. 18th May 1967) also has an additional slide-whistle ‘birds singing’ development that suggests that this track is in process, with a finished version in mind.


The voice slating those takes is engineer Jimmy Hilton, and Smile had already been announced scrapped in a press release by Derek Taylor at the beginning of the month, a couple of weeks before the Da Da sessions.



I can't be sure about the voice - I'd have to listen again but why exactly was there a recording session for Dada if the album was scrapped and why in July did Capitol still plan to issue it post Smiley Smile?  There seems to be quite a bit of revisionist history going on.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 20, 2022, 09:39:30 AM
It has caused some pretty intense arguments in the past, but I still have the opinion (based on the actual timeline, reports from those involved, and interviews with band members from 1967) that the Derek Taylor announcement was premature, if not inaccurate, and that the two weeks between that last "DaDa" session in May, the Beach Boys returning from a European tour where they got some bad reviews in the press, and work starting the first week in June on what would become the "Smiley" working method are KEY and absolutely essential in understanding why things happened as they did.

Literally everything about the band's working methods in terms of recording and production changed in those two weeks, late May into June 1967. If the term to describe the changes could be a "seismic event", it would be appropriate. Things simply do not change that drastically in that short a time without a major catalyst leading to the changes.

One of the main events was the Beach Boys returning from Europe shouldering some criticism about their live sound versus the records.

Unfortunately very few have spoken about those two weeks in late May '67 with any specifics, except perhaps Nick Grillo. And I doubt we'll ever know, because I think some seriously heavy discussions happened that went beyond "what's our next album?".

Yea, on some level I think there must have been an explosive confrontation of some sort within the band in the transition to Smiley Smile... I mean, how could there not have been? But then, some things simply cannot be known. And at the same time, if they'd gone straight to Wild Honey, it all would make perfect sense. But Smiley Smile is so incredibly weird, and so incredibly Brian...

This is exactly what confuses me about the SMiLE to Smiley Smile transition. The music took such a dark/stark turn - it went from mostly happy and jovial to downright haunting. He went from the pinnacle of wall-of-sound with Pet Sounds (a sound that Brian had been using for years that led to so much of their success and fame) to the haunting desolation of Smiley Smile virtually overnight.

Did Brian really think that such a dramatic shift in sound was their key to a successful record? What did the other band members think of the shift in sound?

Guitarfool's quote above "One of the main events was the Beach Boys returning from Europe shouldering some criticism about their live sound versus the records." sheds some light on this, but I just can't see the guys (or Brian for that matter) saying "hey, we got a number 1 record with Good Vibrations, I bet our Woody Woodpecker song is really going to blow their minds next!"

I am way oversimplifying things, and I'm not staunchly fixed in my viewpoints regarding this era (mostly because it is just too confusing of a time, with so many variables, that it's impossible for me to have a logical/concrete perspective on it). But I'd also like to learn more about the band/Brian and this dramatic shift.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 09:54:42 AM
It has caused some pretty intense arguments in the past, but I still have the opinion (based on the actual timeline, reports from those involved, and interviews with band members from 1967) that the Derek Taylor announcement was premature, if not inaccurate, and that the two weeks between that last "DaDa" session in May, the Beach Boys returning from a European tour where they got some bad reviews in the press, and work starting the first week in June on what would become the "Smiley" working method are KEY and absolutely essential in understanding why things happened as they did.

Literally everything about the band's working methods in terms of recording and production changed in those two weeks, late May into June 1967. If the term to describe the changes could be a "seismic event", it would be appropriate. Things simply do not change that drastically in that short a time without a major catalyst leading to the changes.

One of the main events was the Beach Boys returning from Europe shouldering some criticism about their live sound versus the records.

Unfortunately very few have spoken about those two weeks in late May '67 with any specifics, except perhaps Nick Grillo. And I doubt we'll ever know, because I think some seriously heavy discussions happened that went beyond "what's our next album?".

Yea, on some level I think there must have been an explosive confrontation of some sort within the band in the transition to Smiley Smile... I mean, how could there not have been? But then, some things simply cannot be known. And at the same time, if they'd gone straight to Wild Honey, it all would make perfect sense. But Smiley Smile is so incredibly weird, and so incredibly Brian...

One of the articles I read put it down as 6th December over the lyrics to Surfs Up as a result the planned Surf's Up vocal wasn't completed that day.  Which I can't disagree with but despite but  somehow still have a recording of Surfs Up.  We also know that Brian's home studio became operational on 11th June and despite the album supposedly being scrapped in May, in July Capitol still planned its release post Smiley Smile and were using the same reference for both albums.  Perhaps the finishing of some of the Smile music is buried under the records for Smiley Smile?

And Brian very definitely recorded Smiley Smile at his home and tried to make it into the humour album according to Anderle and came up with the 'miracle' way of mixing so he was very much still on top of his game.  I think the accepted history is quite far from what actually happened.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 10:07:43 AM

[/quote]

This is exactly what confuses me about the SMiLE to Smiley Smile transition. The music took such a dark/stark turn - it went from mostly happy and jovial to downright haunting. He went from the pinnacle of wall-of-sound with Pet Sounds (a sound that Brian had been using for years that led to so much of their success and fame) to the haunting desolation of Smiley Smile virtually overnight.

Did Brian really think that such a dramatic shift in sound was their key to a successful record? What did the other band members think of the shift in sound?

Guitarfool's quote above "One of the main events was the Beach Boys returning from Europe shouldering some criticism about their live sound versus the records." sheds some light on this, but I just can't see the guys (or Brian for that matter) saying "hey, we got a number 1 record with Good Vibrations, I bet our Woody Woodpecker song is really going to blow their minds next!"

I am way oversimplifying things, and I'm not staunchly fixed in my viewpoints regarding this era (mostly because it is just too confusing of a time, with so many variables, that it's impossible for me to have a logical/concrete perspective on it). But I'd also like to learn more about the band/Brian and this dramatic shift.
[/quote]

I don't think that Smiley Smile is that dark.  They say it is the ideal chill out album for those coming down from LSD and has been used to help people in this regard.  It's supposed to be the good humour album.  I think Smile is darker or at least more serious.  Of course the other band members hated Smile presumably they hated Smiley Smile less.  VDP's lyrics were dropped from Vegetables and Fire converted to the Woody Woodpecker Symphony which is a little more cheerful than Brian dying in flames and presumably the band preferred removing VDPs lyrics which were known to be a point of contention.
I'd say that the dramatic change was down to Brian wanting to progress (rather than die which is how he sees the alternative) and his collaboration with VDP who brought other aspects to Brian's work and a whole net work of other meanings.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 20, 2022, 10:14:43 AM
I DO find Smiley Smile quite ... well, I'm not sure 'dark' is the right word but a bit shadowy - I've always thought of it as the shadow of SMiLE.

It's such a confusing period of their history, with conflicting reports. Hard to know what to think but interesting trying to find out.

Not directly relevant to the thread but I found someone's suggestion of an explanation for part of the H&V lyric: 'Here's a wild and crazy interpretation on my part:
To ride in the rough and sunny downs.
's 'nough I'm alright (It's enough that I'm alright) with the heroes and villains.
It works with what I hear.' (https://forum.wordreference.com/.../sunny-down-snuff.../)

Sounds typical of a VDP pun....


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 20, 2022, 10:44:12 AM
I don't think that Smiley Smile is that dark.  They say it is the ideal chill out album for those coming down from LSD and has been used to help people in this regard.  It's supposed to be the good humour album.  I think Smile is darker or at least more serious.  Of course the other band members hated Smile presumably they hated Smiley Smile less.  VDP's lyrics were dropped from Vegetables and Fire converted to the Woody Woodpecker Symphony which is a little more cheerful than Brian dying in flames and presumably the band preferred removing VDPs lyrics which were known to be a point of contention.
I'd say that the dramatic change was down to Brian wanting to progress (rather than die which is how he sees the alternative) and his collaboration with VDP who brought other aspects to Brian's work and a whole net work of other meanings.

I completely respect your viewpoint (and your explanation makes sense to me), but I have such a drastically different opinion about the Smiley tracks.

While the original Fire song is rather out there, the creepy deep "whomp whomp" (really for lack of a better way to describe it :lol) that start the Woody Woodpecker track (and is repeated throughout) is so darn haunting. And 'She's Goin Bald' gives me the most disturbing mental image of some poor woman suffering from a severe case of alopecia. That and the organ playing in many of the songs just puts me in a weird mood. Never done LSD, will never do LSD, but for the life of me I don't see how this isn't a one way ticket to a bad trip! But then again, I have no experience with it, and am completely ignorant about such matters.
_______

I can see why Brian would want to progress in his style/sound - he really brought about this stripped down style that bands started adopting post-67. But it is such a crazy shift - I just can't believe the guys were okay with it, especially after the wild success of Good Vibrations.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 20, 2022, 10:46:48 AM
Everyone has their own filter for this stuff of course, but I think "dark" is one of many apt descriptors for certainly large hunks of "Smiley Smile."

"Fall Breaks..." is not exactly a light, fluffy major key remake. When they laid the "Fall Breaks" elements onto the "Smile" track for the "Smile Sessions" box, it arguably made the song *more* ominous.

I guess creepy or spooky or whatnot are equally apt. There's a fine line between the songs sounding just kind of stoned and starting to sound kind of ominous. Less lyrically than in terms of texture and vibe and music. "Wonderful", "Wind Chimes", even some of the sort of peppy-sounding stuff like "Gettin' Hungry" and "She's Goin' Bald" has this kind of jarring, jutting nature to elements of those tracks.

Also, it's a huge oversimplification to say the rest of the band "hated" Smile. Most of the band members knew they were hearing brilliant stuff (and they sang on it). Most of them were only skeptical about the logistics of it much more than the music itself, beyond the well-documented issues (Mike and the lyrics, etc.).

Looking at the subsequent history of the band, passing on releasing music or even actively shutting down work on tracks doesn't necessarily equate to any particular hate. We're currently in the middle of an archival release program where the band laid down HOURS of amazing music that in some cases they simply wrote, recorded, and then forgot about. Simultaneously brilliant and foolish of course.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 20, 2022, 10:53:58 AM
One way I would describe how “close” the “Smile” album ever was to being “finished” would be to point to the circa 1995 Paley sessions. The comparison is only apt in this specific way: Andy Paley has gone on record saying the Beach Boys could have cut vocals for *an entire album* of that material in two days.

Similarly, it’s easy to look at the “Smile” assembly presented at the front of the “Smile Sessions” box and say “well, all we need is the following overdubs…..” Even if we ignore that the circa 2003 work on compiling a “finished” album accomplished a lot of the compositional work to getting the track flow to seem “complete”, and we just assume for the sake of argument that the assembly as presented on the 2011 set could have existed in 1967 and just needed X number of overdubs, a very similar problem presents itself as what happened decades later on the Paley material.

Namely, get all of the creators and band members in there to do the work. There are approximately 87 roadblocks to making that happen. Yes, the Paley project had more business/internal politics issues than “Smile” did (arguably, certainly *different* types of those issues). But there’s a TON of BB material, and just projects in general, that are seemingly *so* close to happening, yet are a million miles away.

And that’s not even getting into truly actual *finished* projects that have been shelved.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: JakeH on July 20, 2022, 10:58:15 AM
As ever, it is useful to keep in mind that the Beach Boys is not just a band, or group, that makes music.  Before that, they are a family. It so happens that this family makes music and then found commercial success with that music, but they are a family first and foremost.

For the Beach Boys, Smiley Smile is preferable to whatever Smile could or would have been because Smiley is, in their collective mindset, a collective endeavor by the whole band ("Produced by the Beach Boys") with all members engaged in the creation of the album.  The album is recorded in sequestered  family space, Brian Wilson's home, away from the outsiders and various external "bad influences" that are perceived to the cause of Brian's problems.  In this way, Smiley Smile is indeed Smile - but only the Beach Boys' version of Smile, not that of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.

During the time period in question, they primary operating goal of the collective Beach Boys is not musical, let alone artistic.  As of mid-1967, the main purpose of the Beach Boys is to stay together as a family/band. Their career is, arguably, in jeopardy during the Smile-era, and once Smile collapses, it becomes more apparent that something must be done, and done quickly, to right the ship, or to revert the Beach Boys back to its prior equilibrium state - that of a unified family organization, rather than an artistic dictatorship whereby all members of the family are at the mercy of the whims of one eccentric family member.

Stability is goal number one, because if they cannot do that, then everything else - chart ranking, singles, musical quality, etc. - is moot.  Because of Brian's actions circa 1966-67, the family foundation of the Beach Boys had been in jeopardy.  If that hadn't been the case - for example, if, hypothetically, Brian had hired Tony Asher to help him write happy, up-tempo songs about boy-girl relationships - there wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  If the family foundation is strong and secure (i.e., nobody in the band is going to leave, or go solo, or do anything that threatens the existence of the band) then yes, it is possible to move on and try to make good music. This was the state of things in, say, 1963, and into the first half of 1964. In those days the Beach Boys, as a whole, single entity, is in good shape (especially if they can put some distance between themselves and Murry, which they did)  Brian Wilson, however, as an individual, is progressively in worse and worse shape, as signified by the nervous breakdown at the end of 1964.

Anybody can fill in the rest... it's basically a tug-of-war between Brian and what he represents (both positive and negative) and the Beach Boys business family and what it represents (both positive and negative). Anyway, this dynamic is a significant (though not the only) reason Smiley Smile sounds the way it does in comparison to the Smile Sessions music. Smiley was a function of business necessity (survival) , not just unfettered artistic license on the part of the band members, as if they could easily choose what they wanted Smiley to sound like.

Smiley is a a reflection of the Beach Boys as of mid-1967: talented, but hopelessly dysfunctional.  I appreciate Smiley too, but to really celebrate the album, you need to push the dysfunction and family problems out of your mind and pretend that the Beach Boys are happily unified and are intending to make a cool, weird, left-field album.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 20, 2022, 11:52:08 AM
One way I would describe how “close” the “Smile” album ever was to being “finished” would be to point to the circa 1995 Paley sessions. The comparison is only apt in this specific way: Andy Paley has gone on record saying the Beach Boys could have cut vocals for *an entire album* of that material in two days.

Similarly, it’s easy to look at the “Smile” assembly presented at the front of the “Smile Sessions” box and say “well, all we need is the following overdubs…..” Even if we ignore that the circa 2003 work on compiling a “finished” album accomplished a lot of the compositional work to getting the track flow to seem “complete”, and we just assume for the sake of argument that the assembly as presented on the 2011 set could have existed in 1967 and just needed X number of overdubs, a very similar problem presents itself as what happened decades later on the Paley material.

Namely, get all of the creators and band members in there to do the work. There are approximately 87 roadblocks to making that happen. Yes, the Paley project had more business/internal politics issues than “Smile” did (arguably, certainly *different* types of those issues). But there’s a TON of BB material, and just projects in general, that are seemingly *so* close to happening, yet are a million miles away.

And that’s not even getting into truly actual *finished* projects that have been shelved.


along those lines, Brian must have considered Van Dyke Park's work unfinished, or else it wouldn't have been such a big deal when he quit the project. So assuming that the lyrics we have represent the lyrics that Brian and Van Dyke Parks assumed they would need is also probably a mistake.

Edit: another thought on this theme: during the Pet Sounds sessions, Brian often seems to have recorded a scratch vocal while the band was away for songs, like Here Today or I know There's an Answer, that were presumably always intended for other band members, or like Wouldn't it be Nice that weren't. I was *going* to say that Brian didn't do that as often on the Smile material, probably because before he could record a scratch vocal, he had to assemble the backing track from its various pieces, and that this extra step ended up getting on the way of things getting finished. But then it occurred to me, thinking about Bicycle Rider's comment early in the thread about Wonderful possibly being intended for Carl from the beginning, that actually Brian *was* doing this, and that the vocals we have on songs like Wonderful or Wind Chimes were just guide vocals, in which case actually Brian had done almost no recording of lead vocals at all. Which would feed into the theory that getting the Beach Boys together to do the necessary work was a big part of the problem.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Jay on July 20, 2022, 12:34:22 PM
I don't think that Smiley Smile is that dark.  They say it is the ideal chill out album for those coming down from LSD and has been used to help people in this regard.  It's supposed to be the good humour album.  I think Smile is darker or at least more serious.  Of course the other band members hated Smile presumably they hated Smiley Smile less.  VDP's lyrics were dropped from Vegetables and Fire converted to the Woody Woodpecker Symphony which is a little more cheerful than Brian dying in flames and presumably the band preferred removing VDPs lyrics which were known to be a point of contention.
I'd say that the dramatic change was down to Brian wanting to progress (rather than die which is how he sees the alternative) and his collaboration with VDP who brought other aspects to Brian's work and a whole net work of other meanings.

I completely respect your viewpoint (and your explanation makes sense to me), but I have such a drastically different opinion about the Smiley tracks.

While the original Fire song is rather out there, the creepy deep "whomp whomp" (really for lack of a better way to describe it :lol) that start the Woody Woodpecker track (and is repeated throughout) is so darn haunting. And 'She's Goin Bald' gives me the most disturbing mental image of some poor woman suffering from a severe case of alopecia. That and the organ playing in many of the songs just puts me in a weird mood. Never done LSD, will never do LSD, but for the life of me I don't see how this isn't a one way ticket to a bad trip! But then again, I have no experience with it, and am completely ignorant about such matters.
_______

I can see why Brian would want to progress in his style/sound - he really brought about this stripped down style that bands started adopting post-67. But it is such a crazy shift - I just can't believe the guys were okay with it, especially after the wild success of Good Vibrations.
Truth be told, the first time I heard "Fall Breaks..." is scared the hell out of me. It still creeps me out a bit. But you know what really creeps me out? Believe it or not, it's "With Me Tonight". I have no idea why. It just gives me an unsettled feeling. Same with "Wonderful", "Wind Chimes", and "She's Goin' Bald". The thing about the whole Smile saga that confuses me the most is, if everybody was so worried about Brian getting so freaked out with making weird music that would alienate their fans, why on earth would the group instead release an album that is approximately 1000% percent weirder(not to mention commercially polarizing)?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 20, 2022, 01:52:54 PM
I don't think that Smiley Smile is that dark.  They say it is the ideal chill out album for those coming down from LSD and has been used to help people in this regard.  It's supposed to be the good humour album.  I think Smile is darker or at least more serious.  Of course the other band members hated Smile presumably they hated Smiley Smile less.  VDP's lyrics were dropped from Vegetables and Fire converted to the Woody Woodpecker Symphony which is a little more cheerful than Brian dying in flames and presumably the band preferred removing VDPs lyrics which were known to be a point of contention.
I'd say that the dramatic change was down to Brian wanting to progress (rather than die which is how he sees the alternative) and his collaboration with VDP who brought other aspects to Brian's work and a whole net work of other meanings.

I completely respect your viewpoint (and your explanation makes sense to me), but I have such a drastically different opinion about the Smiley tracks.

While the original Fire song is rather out there, the creepy deep "whomp whomp" (really for lack of a better way to describe it :lol) that start the Woody Woodpecker track (and is repeated throughout) is so darn haunting. And 'She's Goin Bald' gives me the most disturbing mental image of some poor woman suffering from a severe case of alopecia. That and the organ playing in many of the songs just puts me in a weird mood. Never done LSD, will never do LSD, but for the life of me I don't see how this isn't a one way ticket to a bad trip! But then again, I have no experience with it, and am completely ignorant about such matters.
_______

I can see why Brian would want to progress in his style/sound - he really brought about this stripped down style that bands started adopting post-67. But it is such a crazy shift - I just can't believe the guys were okay with it, especially after the wild success of Good Vibrations.
Truth be told, the first time I heard "Fall Breaks..." is scared the hell out of me. It still creeps me out a bit. But you know what really creeps me out? Believe it or not, it's "With Me Tonight". I have no idea why. It just gives me an unsettled feeling. Same with "Wonderful", "Wind Chimes", and "She's Goin' Bald". The thing about the whole Smile saga that confuses me the most is, if everybody was so worried about Brian getting so freaked out with making weird music that would alienate their fans, why on earth would the group instead release an album that is approximately 1000% percent weirder(not to mention commercially polarizing)?


Exactly! If  anything , it was *further* from The Beach Boys’s “formula”. If the issue was time…why instead start a new album and re-record most everything? And…why in the hell would you choose the name “Smiley Smile” and risk confusing the public , especially if the goal was to allegedly release Smile later?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Jay on July 20, 2022, 02:02:35 PM
So many things about this time period are confusing.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 02:09:52 PM
As ever, it is useful to keep in mind that the Beach Boys is not just a band, or group, that makes music.  Before that, they are a family. It so happens that this family makes music and then found commercial success with that music, but they are a family first and foremost.

For the Beach Boys, Smiley Smile is preferable to whatever Smile could or would have been because Smiley is, in their collective mindset, a collective endeavor by the whole band ("Produced by the Beach Boys") with all members engaged in the creation of the album.  The album is recorded in sequestered  family space, Brian Wilson's home, away from the outsiders and various external "bad influences" that are perceived to the cause of Brian's problems.  In this way, Smiley Smile is indeed Smile - but only the Beach Boys' version of Smile, not that of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.

During the time period in question, they primary operating goal of the collective Beach Boys is not musical, let alone artistic.  As of mid-1967, the main purpose of the Beach Boys is to stay together as a family/band. Their career is, arguably, in jeopardy during the Smile-era, and once Smile collapses, it becomes more apparent that something must be done, and done quickly, to right the ship, or to revert the Beach Boys back to its prior equilibrium state - that of a unified family organization, rather than an artistic dictatorship whereby all members of the family are at the mercy of the whims of one eccentric family member.

Stability is goal number one, because if they cannot do that, then everything else - chart ranking, singles, musical quality, etc. - is moot.  Because of Brian's actions circa 1966-67, the family foundation of the Beach Boys had been in jeopardy.  If that hadn't been the case - for example, if, hypothetically, Brian had hired Tony Asher to help him write happy, up-tempo songs about boy-girl relationships - there wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  If the family foundation is strong and secure (i.e., nobody in the band is going to leave, or go solo, or do anything that threatens the existence of the band) then yes, it is possible to move on and try to make good music. This was the state of things in, say, 1963, and into the first half of 1964. In those days the Beach Boys, as a whole, single entity, is in good shape (especially if they can put some distance between themselves and Murry, which they did)  Brian Wilson, however, as an individual, is progressively in worse and worse shape, as signified by the nervous breakdown at the end of 1964.

Anybody can fill in the rest... it's basically a tug-of-war between Brian and what he represents (both positive and negative) and the Beach Boys business family and what it represents (both positive and negative). Anyway, this dynamic is a significant (though not the only) reason Smiley Smile sounds the way it does in comparison to the Smile Sessions music. Smiley was a function of business necessity (survival) , not just unfettered artistic license on the part of the band members, as if they could easily choose what they wanted Smiley to sound like.

Smiley is a a reflection of the Beach Boys as of mid-1967: talented, but hopelessly dysfunctional.  I appreciate Smiley too, but to really celebrate the album, you need to push the dysfunction and family problems out of your mind and pretend that the Beach Boys are happily unified and are intending to make a cool, weird, left-field album.


No, The Beach Boys are a band that makes music.  Brian has other cousins who are not in the band.  Al and Bruce are no relation at all.  If the group disbanded those who are family would still be family.

If your primary aim is to keep the group (family and non-family) together then it still is way off target since it started the decline in Brian’s creative involvement in the group and his decline in health and into drug taking and remaining in his room which eventually ended with them expelling him from the group. 

But that isn’t the primary aim of a group.  It is to make music and the best music that they can.  As they very soon started trading off Smile - not The Beach Boys version but the version by Brian and VDP - by promising its release and then putting pieces of it on various albums it’s obvious that they realised its worth eventually.  Brian puts a version of it out to great acclaim and then in 2011 The Smile Sessions are released which presumably was approved by the remaining band.

Smiley Smile was labelled ‘produced by the Beach Boys’ yet they over ruled Brian’s wishes not to include GV.  It is made in Brian Wilson’s home not the Beach Boys family home!

Mike Love was not happy with Tony Asher’s lyrical contribution either.  There was a problem during Pet Sounds.

What it basically amounted to was that Brian had musical acumen which the other band members lacked but they didn’t trust him.  Them forcing Brian to abandon 3 Dog Night who he had signed to Brother and then blaming Brian for not keeping them when they went on to be extremely successful is another case in point of them not trusting Brian’s skill and then blaming him for them not doing so. So basically instead of keeping the band together, they shot themselves in the foot.

According to David Anderle Brian did intend to make a good humour album and THAT is Smiley Smile.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 20, 2022, 02:18:12 PM
I don't think that Smiley Smile is that dark.  They say it is the ideal chill out album for those coming down from LSD and has been used to help people in this regard.  It's supposed to be the good humour album.  I think Smile is darker or at least more serious.  Of course the other band members hated Smile presumably they hated Smiley Smile less.  VDP's lyrics were dropped from Vegetables and Fire converted to the Woody Woodpecker Symphony which is a little more cheerful than Brian dying in flames and presumably the band preferred removing VDPs lyrics which were known to be a point of contention.
I'd say that the dramatic change was down to Brian wanting to progress (rather than die which is how he sees the alternative) and his collaboration with VDP who brought other aspects to Brian's work and a whole net work of other meanings.

I completely respect your viewpoint (and your explanation makes sense to me), but I have such a drastically different opinion about the Smiley tracks.

While the original Fire song is rather out there, the creepy deep "whomp whomp" (really for lack of a better way to describe it :lol) that start the Woody Woodpecker track (and is repeated throughout) is so darn haunting. And 'She's Goin Bald' gives me the most disturbing mental image of some poor woman suffering from a severe case of alopecia. That and the organ playing in many of the songs just puts me in a weird mood. Never done LSD, will never do LSD, but for the life of me I don't see how this isn't a one way ticket to a bad trip! But then again, I have no experience with it, and am completely ignorant about such matters.
_______

I can see why Brian would want to progress in his style/sound - he really brought about this stripped down style that bands started adopting post-67. But it is such a crazy shift - I just can't believe the guys were okay with it, especially after the wild success of Good Vibrations.
Truth be told, the first time I heard "Fall Breaks..." is scared the hell out of me. It still creeps me out a bit. But you know what really creeps me out? Believe it or not, it's "With Me Tonight". I have no idea why. It just gives me an unsettled feeling. Same with "Wonderful", "Wind Chimes", and "She's Goin' Bald". The thing about the whole Smile saga that confuses me the most is, if everybody was so worried about Brian getting so freaked out with making weird music that would alienate their fans, why on earth would the group instead release an album that is approximately 1000% percent weirder(not to mention commercially polarizing)?


Exactly! If  anything , it was *further* from The Beach Boys’s “formula”. If the issue was time…why instead start a new album and re-record most everything? And…why in the hell would you choose the name “Smiley Smile” and risk confusing the public , especially if the goal was to allegedly release Smile later?

In his discussions with Capitol Brian seems to want to link the Smiley with Smile but I suspect that Smiley enabled Brian to continue working on Smile when the rest of the group were against it being released.  It also seems that the greatest objection to Smile were VDPs lyrics.  Vege-tables had VDP's lyrics removed and replacements put in and the whole album is dumbed down lyrically - too late for H&V though and Wonderful survived.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 20, 2022, 02:40:49 PM
As ever, it is useful to keep in mind that the Beach Boys is not just a band, or group, that makes music.  Before that, they are a family. It so happens that this family makes music and then found commercial success with that music, but they are a family first and foremost.

For the Beach Boys, Smiley Smile is preferable to whatever Smile could or would have been because Smiley is, in their collective mindset, a collective endeavor by the whole band ("Produced by the Beach Boys") with all members engaged in the creation of the album.  The album is recorded in sequestered  family space, Brian Wilson's home, away from the outsiders and various external "bad influences" that are perceived to the cause of Brian's problems.  In this way, Smiley Smile is indeed Smile - but only the Beach Boys' version of Smile, not that of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.

During the time period in question, they primary operating goal of the collective Beach Boys is not musical, let alone artistic.  As of mid-1967, the main purpose of the Beach Boys is to stay together as a family/band. Their career is, arguably, in jeopardy during the Smile-era, and once Smile collapses, it becomes more apparent that something must be done, and done quickly, to right the ship, or to revert the Beach Boys back to its prior equilibrium state - that of a unified family organization, rather than an artistic dictatorship whereby all members of the family are at the mercy of the whims of one eccentric family member.

Stability is goal number one, because if they cannot do that, then everything else - chart ranking, singles, musical quality, etc. - is moot.  Because of Brian's actions circa 1966-67, the family foundation of the Beach Boys had been in jeopardy.  If that hadn't been the case - for example, if, hypothetically, Brian had hired Tony Asher to help him write happy, up-tempo songs about boy-girl relationships - there wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  If the family foundation is strong and secure (i.e., nobody in the band is going to leave, or go solo, or do anything that threatens the existence of the band) then yes, it is possible to move on and try to make good music. This was the state of things in, say, 1963, and into the first half of 1964. In those days the Beach Boys, as a whole, single entity, is in good shape (especially if they can put some distance between themselves and Murry, which they did)  Brian Wilson, however, as an individual, is progressively in worse and worse shape, as signified by the nervous breakdown at the end of 1964.

Anybody can fill in the rest... it's basically a tug-of-war between Brian and what he represents (both positive and negative) and the Beach Boys business family and what it represents (both positive and negative). Anyway, this dynamic is a significant (though not the only) reason Smiley Smile sounds the way it does in comparison to the Smile Sessions music. Smiley was a function of business necessity (survival) , not just unfettered artistic license on the part of the band members, as if they could easily choose what they wanted Smiley to sound like.

Smiley is a a reflection of the Beach Boys as of mid-1967: talented, but hopelessly dysfunctional.  I appreciate Smiley too, but to really celebrate the album, you need to push the dysfunction and family problems out of your mind and pretend that the Beach Boys are happily unified and are intending to make a cool, weird, left-field album.


No, The Beach Boys are a band that makes music.  Brian has other cousins who are not in the band.  Al and Bruce are no relation at all.  If the group disbanded those who are family would still be family.

If your primary aim is to keep the group (family and non-family) together then it still is way off target since it started the decline in Brian’s creative involvement in the group and his decline in health and into drug taking and remaining in his room which eventually ended with them expelling him from the group. 

But that isn’t the primary aim of a group.  It is to make music and the best music that they can.  As they very soon started trading off Smile - not The Beach Boys version but the version by Brian and VDP - by promising its release and then putting pieces of it on various albums it’s obvious that they realised its worth eventually.  Brian puts a version of it out to great acclaim and then in 2011 The Smile Sessions are released which presumably was approved by the remaining band.

Smiley Smile was labelled ‘produced by the Beach Boys’ yet they over ruled Brian’s wishes not to include GV.  It is made in Brian Wilson’s home not the Beach Boys family home!

Mike Love was not happy with Tony Asher’s lyrical contribution either.  There was a problem during Pet Sounds.

What it basically amounted to was that Brian had musical acumen which the other band members lacked but they didn’t trust him.  Them forcing Brian to abandon 3 Dog Night who he had signed to Brother and then blaming Brian for not keeping them when they went on to be extremely successful is another case in point of them not trusting Brian’s skill and then blaming him for them not doing so. So basically instead of keeping the band together, they shot themselves in the foot.

According to David Anderle Brian did intend to make a good humour album and THAT is Smiley Smile.

This is a vast, vast oversimplification of the rest of the band's attitude towards Brian (and their attitude towards the "Smile" music), especially if we're lumping *all* of the other members together.

There's no successful reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of "Smile", and certainly no reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of Brian, both within the group and outside of the group.

And if we're getting into "expelling Brian from the group", which I have to assume means the late 1982 "firing", then that's a *whole* other ball of a wax full of tons of moving parts.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 20, 2022, 03:39:17 PM
Brian's first mono mix of Wonderful from October 6 was labeled as a master.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 06:51:08 PM
I absolutely believe some heavy, heavy discussions took place in those last weeks in May '67 that radically changed the course of the music, in nearly every way possible. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Beach Boys had just returned from that tour, and that Brian was still working on Smile music, using his Smile working methods in the studio, and then just like that it all changed. That includes everything about Brian's process of recording music which he had been doing for the last 2 years.

Factor in too that there were reports of a major blow-out style meeting/argument at the end of December '66 among the family-slash-band. Unfortunately, like the May '67 time period, few details of what actually happened have been made public and probably never will. But it could be suggested that the directions Brian was going changed in January 1967 too from what they had been. Not nearly as drastic as May into June 67, but still a change to be noticed. Listen to the January '67 sessions and just how many fragments and pieces labeled under the "Heroes" umbrella were done, versus what seemed to be a pretty focused working method he had going in Fall '66. Not to mention the way some absolutely beautiful, stunning tracks from Fall 66 were given reworkings or even, I'd suggest, sabotaged to make them less poignant and more "comical". And others just sat on the shelf waiting.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 07:12:05 PM
I know it was controversial in the past to suggest this, but I stand by this theory: When the band returned from Europe, they were getting roasted in the music press by reviews and articles suggesting their stage show did not sound enough like the records. Insult to injury, they had even traveled with extra musicians, at a much higher cost, to supplement the core band but had issues getting those musicians to even play because of some silly union rules.

When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I think Brian, in some ways, fell on the sword on this one. A compromise had to be reached, and one of the main points could have been returning to making music which a self-contained band could reproduce on stage. That way the records and the stage show would be one and the same, as far as the overall sound. To do this, they stripped everything down. They would apply this "new sound" to some of their biggest hits of the past 2 years, which were pretty grand studio productions featuring larger studio ensembles, and a majority of instruments not played by the actual Beach Boys. The stage band, the core band as it were, would be more involved in the process. They would make records more as a core band rather than adding vocals to backing tracks Brian had created.

That's the theory at least, but it explains why things got changed so radically in multiple aspects of the process.

The proof? Listen to what the band actually did from summer '67 into Fall '67. Smiley Smile, the revamped and less densely orchestrated Heroes, the Hawaii shows, etc. Hawaii especially showed this new sound perfectly. They gave their recent hits the "Smiley Smile" treatment, made them more mellow, stripped down, organic, etc. No one knew whether "Smiley Smile" or the "new sound" would be a hit, because it had not come out yet. It could be a massive hit that the public embraced, or it could fall flat...no one knew. But here, at least in Hawaii and perhaps thinking beyond that into the Fall tour season, was a stage band sounding like the records.

I think it was a compromise. Brian was tired of the hassles from within (for proof, listen to Marilyn's interview in the Don Was doc and other sources...he was tired of arguing with them). In Hawaii, in one newspaper interview, he's even suggesting he doesn't know how long the Beach Boys will be around, and does not sound positive. Here, then, was a chance to bring everyone back home as a core band, involved in the records, and sporting a new sound that was radically different from the Beatles who were leading the way at this time.

That solved the Beach Boys problem for now. So what did Brian do outside the Beach Boys? He continues to record using his Smile methods, shown most prominently in Redwood and "Time To Get Alone". Large studio ensembles, some pretty avant garde ideas, and a general feeling that this was closer to what he was doing on Smile instead of what he was doing with The Beach Boys. And he's also doing Smile-like tracks like Been Way Too Long, Cool Cool Water, and later in the fall even a revisit of "Surf's Up", perhaps the keystone track of the entire Smile project. Yet for the Beach Boys, after he got called back to produce them for a Wild Honey album, he was doing stripped down R&B. And the album produced was under 30 minutes long. Hardly the scope of Smile, right?

It's difficult not to think a compromise was made when you actually hear the output of the band in the 6 months or so following the group's return from Europe in May '67. Then compare that to what Brian was doing outside the Beach Boys at this same time.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 20, 2022, 07:29:55 PM
When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I'm extremely confused... you think that the Beach Boys accidentally announced that their new album was scrapped, and then happened to scrap the new album later? All because Love to Say Da Da has clarinets instead of melodicas and children's choirs? The latter being somehow easier to reproduce on stage?

??? ??? ??? ??? ???


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 07:39:27 PM
When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I'm extremely confused... you think that the Beach Boys accidentally announced that their new album was scrapped, and then happened to scrap the new album later? All because Love to Say Da Da has clarinets instead of melodicas and children's choirs? The latter being somehow easier to reproduce on stage?

??? ??? ??? ??? ???

The album itself, according to multiple interviews with Carl, Dennis, and even Mike from this time period, was never scrapped. Each of them went on the record saying it was still very much "alive" and would probably be coming out in some form. I've posted relevant quotes and sources for that on this board previously, I can easily pull up those links.

So either the band was outright lying to the interviewers for whatever reasons they had, or the announcement of it being "scrapped" wasn't quite the truth when it was published.

I think you're incorrectly focusing solely on the "DaDa" track from May '67, that just happened to be the track Brian was working on at that time and not indicative of the majority of the other Smile material he was working on since Fall '66. But take the "Dada" example for this question: Did Brian use those studios, those Wrecking Crew musicians, and go for that same kind of production with the Beach Boys after that track? No, until some of the Friends sessions. But he did use those same methods, same musicians, same larger ensembles, and an external studio (Heider) when he worked with Redwood. Is that a coincidence? "Dada" was the last example of the way Brian was recording Smile, Pet Sounds, and much of what he recorded in '65 minus the Party album.

Edit to add, as mentioned earlier in this thread there were also the Capitol memos stating the song titles on the Smile cover tracklist not on Smiley Smile would be coming out later, and this was as of late July '67. It never materialized, obviously, but clearly if Capitol had a memo stating the tracks would be released in the future, Derek Taylor's press release saying the entire thing had been scrapped didn't seem to match what Capitol was being told two months after Taylor's announcement.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 20, 2022, 08:11:17 PM
.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 20, 2022, 08:12:06 PM
"Did Brian use those studios, those Wrecking Crew musicians, and go for that same kind of production with the Beach Boys after that track?"


Yes, yes, and yes.

If by "those studios" you mean Gold Star, then no, Love to Say Da Da was really the last time he worked there. But if you mean the general Hollywood studio scene, then yes, there were a few sessions at Sound Recorders and Western before Brian's home studio became the home base for the next project.

Chuck Berghofer, although not present on Da Da, was a wrecking crew musician who did a few sessions for the Beach Boys after this. It's not much but, look at what came before Da Da... Vegetables, which, beyond the elaborate fade section (which came halfway into the song's production), only used one session musician - Chuck Berghofer. And for months before that? Bridge to Indians, Mission Pak, Tag to Part 1, Cantina, Piano Theme, Whistling Bridge, all the chants... these feature vocals with no instrumental accompaniment, a single piano, or a piano + 1 or 2 extra instruments. Again, there wasn't a sudden change, but a general shift from track complexity to vocal complexity from October-July, with countermelodies being given more to singers than players, which was a gradual change, over months and months of Brian's music making. Once Brian got into a groove with his home studio recordings, he started to play everything himself.

And what are we classifying as "same kind of production"? From the start of Smile to the end of Smiley Smile, I hear Brian's production shifting toward this:

- songs recorded in sections, which often contradict each other in feel or style
- a focus on humor, darkness, and beauty, all at once sometimes
- a continuing shift toward vocal complexity, with countermelodies being given more often to singers than to instrumentalists
- lots of hard splices within songs
- group harmonies recorded together, with tighter parts and more unison
- backing tracks often limited to just a piano and a few more instruments

What is consistently there up to Da Da that suddenly drops off? What am I missing?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 20, 2022, 08:19:57 PM
And again, how exactly is ANYTHING on Smiley Smile easier to reproduce on stage? Why would the Beach Boys get mad at Brian because they couldn't reproduce clarinets and flutes in a concert, and then happily accept songs with 4 different keyboards and a children's choir overdubbed?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 08:41:24 PM
Consider this question: How would The Beach Boys, the core band, reproduce the Smile version ("cantina" version, the Chuck Britz edit) of Heroes on stage? How would they reproduce the Smile version of Vegetables on stage? And consider not just the instruments and sound, but playing the song and arrangement itself. They're studio creations, like Good Vibrations, etc. And the press and fans in some circles were hammering the band because they didn't sound like the records. It's like the Beatles trying to reproduce "Tomorrow Never Knows" or Penny Lane on stage, and obviously they just stopped touring so it was never an issue.

If you make it a self-contained unit, and have the guys who are on the records also on stage (as it was before 1964 for the most part), it becomes a little less of an issue. And Good Vibrations will probably come up as an argument, but consider that record may have been one specific that had fans and the critics saying the stage show didn't sound like the record. Those reviews were hurting the band.

I think you're still missing the point by focusing too much on Dada and the clarinets. For one, ok so Chuck Berghofer was on sessions after Smile and so was Jim Gordon and so was whoever else, but it was nothing like what Brian had been doing throughout 65-66-67 up to "DaDa" on Beach Boys records where the majority of those tracks (and especially the singles) were being recorded in the studio by session musicians, and larger groups of them. DaDa stands as the last Beach Boys track that had that same working method, whether Berghofer played later or not. The only sessions to resemble Brian's previous method of recording were the Redwood sessions. Again, is that a coincidence that when Brian was removed from the Beach Boys, he did what he had been doing prior to May '67 in the studio?

He simply did not use the groups of musicians he had previously as consistently nor in as large of an ensemble as he had been doing. It was all stripped down, and having a session bass player and drummer in on some Wild Honey tracks is laughably nothing like having 10-15 session players in the same room regularly.

Also, regarding DaDa again: Realistically would the stage band have played that anyway for a live show? Probably not, no more than they played most of the Pet Sounds album on the 66-67 tours minus the singles. And there's another key point to consider: The singles, or proposed singles, from the Smile project were pretty lavish, complex compositions and song constructions as they originally were recorded. Just compare how the songs were stripped down from Smile to Smiley, not just in sonics but also in song form and flow. They were easier to perform in their Smiley versions than they had been earlier. And look at how "Gettin Hungry", the actual single next to Heroes, sounded in Hawaii. It sounds pretty damn close to what it sounds like on Smiley. Coincidence?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 08:47:38 PM
And again, how exactly is ANYTHING on Smiley Smile easier to reproduce on stage? Why would the Beach Boys get mad at Brian because they couldn't reproduce clarinets and flutes in a concert, and then happily accept songs with 4 different keyboards and a children's choir overdubbed?

Just listen to the songs, consider they most likely wouldn't be playing the full album start to finish any more than they had done with their previous albums, and consider the spotlight tracks which would have been the singles that would be more likely candidates for the band's live setlist. Gettin Hungry, Vegetables, the Smiley Heroes, and even With Me Tonight let's say are far less complex, far simpler arrangements, and feature a much more stripped down instrumentation and sound than anything on Smile, and surely moreso than the 1966 tracks which they were getting hammered about in the press because they didn't sound like the records.

Just listen to the Hawaii concerts, both shows, and it's like hearing the Smiley Smile sound live on stage, including California Girls and Help Me Rhonda which received new arrangements and different feels for the "new sound" on display in Hawaii.

To say The Beach Boys were mad at Brian because they couldn't reproduce flutes and clarinets on stage is too much of an oversimplification of what's being discussed, it's missing the larger issues entirely. 


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 20, 2022, 09:01:33 PM
Just compare how the songs were stripped down from Smile to Smiley, not just in sonics but also in song form and flow.

Sure: Heroes on Smiley has the same number of sections, and some parts of the song have more instruments than sections in the Cantina edit. Both edits use the main "wall of sound" verse section, although the cantina edit only uses 2.5 of these verses, while the June edit uses 3. The part 2 bridge section (Cantina, then Chorus) goes from piano and mandolin to electric harpsichord, piano, various percussion, and organ. Children Were Raised goes from just a piano to electric harpsichord and organ. The "flow" of both edit is very musical, which doesn't make either version a more difficult performance. And neither version of the song, nor any song on Smiley Smile, was played on the fall 1967 tour.

Compare how Wonderful was "stripped down" from Smile to Smiley: Instead of 2 keyboards playing similar parts, we have 4 different textures (piano, organ, melodica, and celeste) all playing against each other, and a bridge section in a completely different tempo which comes after a long pause. No version of Wonderful was added to the live set.

Going from April Vegetables to June Vegetables: Instead of a single piano and bass, it's now a bass and carefully tuned containers of water. A very simple song, not made much simpler. In October 1966, it was just a piano. The April verse shows up at the end anyways, with yet another keyboard. No version of Vegetables was added to the live set.

If Brian was trying to make it easy for the guys to do these songs, and that was the entire reason for scrapping the album called "Smile" (after accidentally predicting the future in a press release anyways), he wasn't doing a good job... and they didn't even end up performing them.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 09:14:24 PM
They performed "Heroes" and "Gettin Hungry" in Hawaii. Those were the lead singles from the Smiley album. Heroes sounded very thin and weak, Gettin Hungry sounded almost like the record. As I just said, the chances they'd perform the whole album were very slim, if nonexistent, anyway because no band on the road in '67 played their full album at a live show. That was never an issue. What other Pet Sounds tracks did they play in '66 and '67 besides the three singles? The sound of the Smiley tracks is more streamlined, less loaded with sound and parts on the surface, and yes that sound does contradict how much work was actually done on the Smiley album. My previous term for it was "deceptively simple", where it sounds more basic than it is. But how many fans in 1967 listening on a cheap record player would pick out how many harpsichord tracks are on a given song? It's not as prominent as, say, the original Smile's "Wind Chimes".

To simplify it a bit, when The Beatles made music in the studio which were 100% studio creations not designed or created to perform live, they not only didn't play those songs live, but they stopped touring entirely in August '66. When Brian was taking the art of making music in and for the recording studio to an even higher level than he had on Pet Sounds, where did that leave the live band and any plans to perform this music on stage as the mostly self-contained band they were on tour in 66 and 67?

Maybe that's the question that gets more to the issues at hand.

And please don't put words in my mouth, I *never* said nor suggested this or anything else was the "entire reason" Smile didn't happen. I'm not that naive, nor am I that uninformed on the topic to make such a statement.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 20, 2022, 09:32:18 PM
The sound of the Smiley tracks is more streamlined, less loaded with sound and parts on the surface, and yes that sound does contradict how much work was actually done on the Smiley album. My previous term for it was "deceptively simple", where it sounds more basic than it is.

That's where I'm lost. While we're on Wind Chimes, here's a direct comparison:

Both versions start off with the verse, so here are the differences. The Smile version includes a few different marimba and upright bass parts. That's it. The lead vocal is delivered over the top of that, with no harmonies. It's very sparse. Of course, there's nothing bad about this at all - it's one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. The marimba parts bouncing off each other under Carl's beautiful voice are very effective, and that one bass break under "now and then..." is perfection.

The Smiley verses include Brian's Baldwin organ, a few tracks of piano string plucking, and some actual wood chimes over a silent piano guide track. The steady tempo of the original version is gone, and so is the solo vocal - now all 5 Beach Boys at the time (sorry Bruce) take turns at the lead, sing harmonic response parts, and sometimes take lines in unison. Instead of the "one chord every 2 measures" harmonic rhythm, loads of minor and diminished chords are added to embellish and complicate the song - that's right, COMPLICATE it. This music is not streamlined in any way, shape, or form.

How is organ, plucked piano strings, and wind chimes a more streamlined arrangement than marimba and bass? What about this free-tempo, multi-layered, heavily overdubbed, 5-part vocal piece of music is streamlined compared to what came before? And why would any of this have to do easing the the touring band, who will never perform it, ever? Or, again... any of these songs, outside of 2 very unique shows with Brian Wilson?

 ??? ??? ??? ??? ???

By the way, if you're wondering why I'm not talking about the wrecking crew August verses, it's because Brian scrapped that verse section in favor of the simplified track (only featuring Chuck Berghofer and Van Dyke) before doing vocals. Yes, he simplified the arrangement... in October 1966... during the Smile era... and no, it had nothing to do with the touring band.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 20, 2022, 09:51:07 PM
Just consider if an informal poll were taken among average Beach Boys fans, and they were asked if Smiley Smile sounded thin or heavy, densely orchestrated or sparse, simple or complex, etc. And I think the results would be predictable. Smiley Smile when compared to the Smile tracks sounds like a more stripped down, "basic" kind of production. And I'll use the term "deceptively simple" because it fits: The album sounds much less produced and loaded with tracks than Smile's productions, yet there was a lot of work put into it. But it isn't regarded by many if not most listeners as a complex production because of its overall sound, and it sounds like a stripped down production.

Why did Brian make any of the changes or revisions he did, and which track would he ultimately have used on a final tracklist of the Smile album? Does anyone have that answer? Does anyone know why he put "Rock with me Henry" on "Wonderful", and was it an experiment he tried to see if it would work, or would that have replaced what he had done previously? I surely don't have the answer. I know the "Wind Chimes" version with the huge orchestral and vocal explosion after that split second of silence, to be followed by his multilayered keyboard overdubs is one of my favorite pieces of music in the history of Western music...but do I know if he would have gone back to that for a final mix over the more basic take? I have no idea. It would be like trying to figure out which test edits and sequences of Heroes would have been "the one" master and which ones were experiments from any given day where he wanted to see if something worked or didn't work.

I'll ask the question again: If Brian was making music in the studio in 1966 and 1967 that was designed to take advantage of the studio recording process as an art form and used technology only available in the studio, where would that leave the self-contained live band in terms of having to perform it? Would two guitars, bass, and one keyboard as in the group's 1966-67 stage lineup be able to cut it on the new songs and singles? We only have Hawaii as audio proof, and it's not much to refer to.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Don Malcolm on July 20, 2022, 10:22:33 PM
GF, as I read this thread I was wondering if you were going to tie it all into the August Hawaii shows/media quotes, which strike me as the best evidence supporting your rendition of the overall events that led to the “produced by the Beach Boys” phase (even though that credit isn’t really accurate until 20/20). I’m glad you got there again, because despite some of the mini-discrepancies that can be pointed to, it’s really the only scenario that makes sense given what we now know about the production process at Brian’s house from summer 67 to early 69.

I think we can lay it out as a series of dot points:

--SMiLE as "grand project" was variably alienating to the rest of the band, divided between loving the material and worrying that their career as a band would go down a rabbit hole.
--December '66 strife ultimately caused a shift toward looking for a follow-up single (H&V) that could tide things over until they fully could sort out what to do.
--Brian, suffering from cognitive dissonance, floundered in his attempts to turn H&V into a version that managed to marry art and commerce.
--He sets aside those versions of H&V in March; Vegetables becomes the next (unsuccessful) attempt.
--Speculation here--Brian has a despairing conversation with Derek Taylor, where he suggests that SMILE is going to put away. Taylor overreacts, sends out his press release about SMiLE being "scrapped."
--With the band back on the road, Brian gets back into the studio with the Wrecking Crew ("Love to Say DaDa").
--Band returns from the road, ears on fire from criticism about their inability to match the more advanced material, which triggers a massive pow-wow about the future of the band, how to tailor tracks in order to make them more playable live, the need for the band to become more involved in the songwriting/production process, etc. Home studio idea comes into play here as (partially) a way for on-the-job production training for the band, primarily Carl and Dennis.
--Recasting existing SMiLE tracks for Smiley Smile begins, LP is recorded, assembled, mixed as fast as Brian can get through it; he's still got a plan to bring out the original concept of SMiLE, as captured in the Engemann memo, but this never comes to pass.
--LEAVING TWO MYSTERIES: 1) if Smiley was mixed by mid-July, why wait two months to release it? Was there further wrangling about the SMiLE tracks? Was the status of the royalty lawsuit and did it affect the timing? Were they thinking that H&V would be the catalyst for the record and when it didn't do that well, was there then wrangling about putting GV onto Smiley Smile? When exactly did that decision get made?
2) Why did the 10-track SMiLE LP disappear along with the Brother Records logo? Engemann memo suggests that it would appear as Brother 9002 and Wild Honey as 9003.
2a) Ten track SMiLE LP would have some added Smiley Smile overlap on it that Engemann etal may have missed, including very different versions of “Wind Chimes” and “Wonderful.” Could they have recognized some conceptual glitches about a 10-track SMiLE LP that had been initially overlooked?
--Hawaii trip reveals Brian contemplating a change/end to "Beach Boying" (at least for him), intimating some kind of transition to come.
--Brian works on songs for Wild Honey, but decides to give Darlin' to Redwood, which prompts another showdown. The band prevails; Brian sets aside more elaborate production plans ("Can't Wait Too Long" variants shelved when it can't successfully be turned into a "Wild Honey"-style song).
--Wild Honey single released in October, LP rushed out in December, "Darlin'" gives them a Top 20 hit.
--Mike goes off to India in early '68 and Brian comes out of hibernation with a lot of varied material, only a portion of which makes it onto the subsequent "Friends" LP. Dennis moves into songwriting/production.
--"Friends" single released, is a big chart disappointment; FRIENDS LP comes out late June, "Do It Again" rushed out as 45 from post-FRIENDS sessions.
--Brian makes one more attempt to build "Can't Wait Too Long" into a GV-type track, but can't pull it off; disillusionment and depression take over, and his reclusive phase begins. Even that is fraught, as the band is increasingly in his house recording tracks. He's apart from the band, but simultaneously surrounded by them.
--The band builds its first LP without him to the extent possible at the time, producing material that winds up as about half of 20/20. They didn’t quite have enough material ready to go, so they had to add “Our Prayer” and “Cabinessence” to the track list, which was another “twist of the knife” for Brian, meaning that he’d lost de facto control over how SMiLE would be handled.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Zenobi on July 20, 2022, 10:35:54 PM
Wow, this thread is like a sudden explosion of energy and colour in this forum. Makes me feel younger. Thanks to Galaxy Liz (love that nickname, btw) for starting it, and to all participants.
Also particular thanks to Guitarfool, Angela and Rab for the links about Do You Like Worms.
I listened again, several times, to the session at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRocIqQSsK8&t=194s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRocIqQSsK8&t=194s)
where the "new melody" for Worms surfaced, and now to my (admittedly untrained) ears the melody Brian sings at 3'18'' is not truncated as I had thought before.
Actually, the melody is present in the session in 3 slightly different versions, both vocal and instrumental.

Version 1 is what the upright bass plays at 1'34'', twice. I hear it as:
TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TAAAA

Version 2 is what Brian sings, with no words, at 1'46', and the upright bass plays, twice, at 2'45'' and again, a bit less clearly, at 5'07''. I hear it as:
TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TA TA TAA

Version 3 is what Brings sings, with words, at 3'18''. I hear it like version 1, rhythmically, but sprightlier and with like a bouncing dynamic. I think it's awesome. By the way, does anybody understand what Brian exactly says at 3'18'' ?

However I think this melody can be sung with the known lyrics and works well when followed by the Plymouth Rock refrain, like this:
Brian melody in TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TAAAA rhythm.      (Oh, once upon the Sandwich iiiisles)
Brian melody in TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TA TA TAA rhythm. (the social structure steamed upon Hawaii)
"Rock, rock, roll, Plymouth Rock, roll over ..."



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Zenobi on July 20, 2022, 11:07:40 PM
I think SMiLE is not any single thing. It's at the same time Smiley Smile (which I adore), BWPS, the 2011 Sessions, the fanmixes, and several other things. Navigating the immense complexity of SMiLE is the most exhilarating music voyage imaginable.
Also, it's uncanny how the Paley sessions created such a similar situation. The worst myth about Brian is that he was creatively toast in 1967, or even in 1966. What BS.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 01:16:00 AM
As ever, it is useful to keep in mind that the Beach Boys is not just a band, or group, that makes music.  Before that, they are a family. It so happens that this family makes music and then found commercial success with that music, but they are a family first and foremost.

For the Beach Boys, Smiley Smile is preferable to whatever Smile could or would have been because Smiley is, in their collective mindset, a collective endeavor by the whole band ("Produced by the Beach Boys") with all members engaged in the creation of the album.  The album is recorded in sequestered  family space, Brian Wilson's home, away from the outsiders and various external "bad influences" that are perceived to the cause of Brian's problems.  In this way, Smiley Smile is indeed Smile - but only the Beach Boys' version of Smile, not that of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.

During the time period in question, they primary operating goal of the collective Beach Boys is not musical, let alone artistic.  As of mid-1967, the main purpose of the Beach Boys is to stay together as a family/band. Their career is, arguably, in jeopardy during the Smile-era, and once Smile collapses, it becomes more apparent that something must be done, and done quickly, to right the ship, or to revert the Beach Boys back to its prior equilibrium state - that of a unified family organization, rather than an artistic dictatorship whereby all members of the family are at the mercy of the whims of one eccentric family member.

Stability is goal number one, because if they cannot do that, then everything else - chart ranking, singles, musical quality, etc. - is moot.  Because of Brian's actions circa 1966-67, the family foundation of the Beach Boys had been in jeopardy.  If that hadn't been the case - for example, if, hypothetically, Brian had hired Tony Asher to help him write happy, up-tempo songs about boy-girl relationships - there wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  If the family foundation is strong and secure (i.e., nobody in the band is going to leave, or go solo, or do anything that threatens the existence of the band) then yes, it is possible to move on and try to make good music. This was the state of things in, say, 1963, and into the first half of 1964. In those days the Beach Boys, as a whole, single entity, is in good shape (especially if they can put some distance between themselves and Murry, which they did)  Brian Wilson, however, as an individual, is progressively in worse and worse shape, as signified by the nervous breakdown at the end of 1964.

Anybody can fill in the rest... it's basically a tug-of-war between Brian and what he represents (both positive and negative) and the Beach Boys business family and what it represents (both positive and negative). Anyway, this dynamic is a significant (though not the only) reason Smiley Smile sounds the way it does in comparison to the Smile Sessions music. Smiley was a function of business necessity (survival) , not just unfettered artistic license on the part of the band members, as if they could easily choose what they wanted Smiley to sound like.

Smiley is a a reflection of the Beach Boys as of mid-1967: talented, but hopelessly dysfunctional.  I appreciate Smiley too, but to really celebrate the album, you need to push the dysfunction and family problems out of your mind and pretend that the Beach Boys are happily unified and are intending to make a cool, weird, left-field album.


No, The Beach Boys are a band that makes music.  Brian has other cousins who are not in the band.  Al and Bruce are no relation at all.  If the group disbanded those who are family would still be family.

If your primary aim is to keep the group (family and non-family) together then it still is way off target since it started the decline in Brian’s creative involvement in the group and his decline in health and into drug taking and remaining in his room which eventually ended with them expelling him from the group. 

But that isn’t the primary aim of a group.  It is to make music and the best music that they can.  As they very soon started trading off Smile - not The Beach Boys version but the version by Brian and VDP - by promising its release and then putting pieces of it on various albums it’s obvious that they realised its worth eventually.  Brian puts a version of it out to great acclaim and then in 2011 The Smile Sessions are released which presumably was approved by the remaining band.

Smiley Smile was labelled ‘produced by the Beach Boys’ yet they over ruled Brian’s wishes not to include GV.  It is made in Brian Wilson’s home not the Beach Boys family home!

Mike Love was not happy with Tony Asher’s lyrical contribution either.  There was a problem during Pet Sounds.

What it basically amounted to was that Brian had musical acumen which the other band members lacked but they didn’t trust him.  Them forcing Brian to abandon 3 Dog Night who he had signed to Brother and then blaming Brian for not keeping them when they went on to be extremely successful is another case in point of them not trusting Brian’s skill and then blaming him for them not doing so. So basically instead of keeping the band together, they shot themselves in the foot.

According to David Anderle Brian did intend to make a good humour album and THAT is Smiley Smile.

This is a vast, vast oversimplification of the rest of the band's attitude towards Brian (and their attitude towards the "Smile" music), especially if we're lumping *all* of the other members together.

There's no successful reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of "Smile", and certainly no reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of Brian, both within the group and outside of the group.

And if we're getting into "expelling Brian from the group", which I have to assume means the late 1982 "firing", then that's a *whole* other ball of a wax full of tons of moving parts.


Of course it’s a simplification though I think it was Van Dyke Parks who said something like ‘all of them disliked it, even the lesser known members of the group’.  VDP may feel a little bitterly toward everyone considering what happened and it may be tainting his recollection but you’d think that it would have to be more than 3 who disliked it enough to want it scrapped especially considering the difficulties that decision would cause them.

I’m not actually trying to explain the ‘demise’ of Smile - the reverse. I’m trying to explain how it may have survived and how it was actually ready and that it was only the decision of the band - or the majority of the band - which prevented its release.

As for ‘explaining the demise’ of Brian.  He is not yet dead, not actually nor musically.  He has written and performed music and produced many albums both within and outside the group.

Of course I’m referring to the firing and we all know it was done to try and give Brian the motivation to quit drugs though I’m not sure that saying he couldn’t ever rejoin the group even if he stopped taking drugs would be a motivation to stop, probably a reason to take more.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 01:36:32 AM
One way I would describe how “close” the “Smile” album ever was to being “finished” would be to point to the circa 1995 Paley sessions. The comparison is only apt in this specific way: Andy Paley has gone on record saying the Beach Boys could have cut vocals for *an entire album* of that material in two days.

Similarly, it’s easy to look at the “Smile” assembly presented at the front of the “Smile Sessions” box and say “well, all we need is the following overdubs…..” Even if we ignore that the circa 2003 work on compiling a “finished” album accomplished a lot of the compositional work to getting the track flow to seem “complete”, and we just assume for the sake of argument that the assembly as presented on the 2011 set could have existed in 1967 and just needed X number of overdubs, a very similar problem presents itself as what happened decades later on the Paley material.

Namely, get all of the creators and band members in there to do the work. There are approximately 87 roadblocks to making that happen. Yes, the Paley project had more business/internal politics issues than “Smile” did (arguably, certainly *different* types of those issues). But there’s a TON of BB material, and just projects in general, that are seemingly *so* close to happening, yet are a million miles away.

And that’s not even getting into truly actual *finished* projects that have been shelved.


They had 7 complete tracks which just needed some sweetening and mixing (which Brian did over one night with a couple of technicians for Smiley Smile - though he may want to take more time for Smile especially considering its complexity).   
They planned to record the vocals for Surf’s Up in December 1966 but for some reason this didn’t happen and it seems likely that this was the time when the poop hit the fan.  We know that the vocals were done at some point.  I’ve been trying to find that picture of the master tapes to see if there is one for the Surf’s Up vocals because if it was recorded in 66-67 that means it was worked on outside of the listed schedules and therefore probably in Brian’s home studio post the probably fictional ‘scrapping’ in May.  If that is the case who can say exactly how much was left to be finished.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 03:33:14 AM
One way I would describe how “close” the “Smile” album ever was to being “finished” would be to point to the circa 1995 Paley sessions. The comparison is only apt in this specific way: Andy Paley has gone on record saying the Beach Boys could have cut vocals for *an entire album* of that material in two days.

Similarly, it’s easy to look at the “Smile” assembly presented at the front of the “Smile Sessions” box and say “well, all we need is the following overdubs…..” Even if we ignore that the circa 2003 work on compiling a “finished” album accomplished a lot of the compositional work to getting the track flow to seem “complete”, and we just assume for the sake of argument that the assembly as presented on the 2011 set could have existed in 1967 and just needed X number of overdubs, a very similar problem presents itself as what happened decades later on the Paley material.

Namely, get all of the creators and band members in there to do the work. There are approximately 87 roadblocks to making that happen. Yes, the Paley project had more business/internal politics issues than “Smile” did (arguably, certainly *different* types of those issues). But there’s a TON of BB material, and just projects in general, that are seemingly *so* close to happening, yet are a million miles away.

And that’s not even getting into truly actual *finished* projects that have been shelved.


along those lines, Brian must have considered Van Dyke Park's work unfinished, or else it wouldn't have been such a big deal when he quit the project. So assuming that the lyrics we have represent the lyrics that Brian and Van Dyke Parks assumed they would need is also probably a mistake.

Edit: another thought on this theme: during the Pet Sounds sessions, Brian often seems to have recorded a scratch vocal while the band was away for songs, like Here Today or I know There's an Answer, that were presumably always intended for other band members, or like Wouldn't it be Nice that weren't. I was *going* to say that Brian didn't do that as often on the Smile material, probably because before he could record a scratch vocal, he had to assemble the backing track from its various pieces, and that this extra step ended up getting on the way of things getting finished. But then it occurred to me, thinking about Bicycle Rider's comment early in the thread about Wonderful possibly being intended for Carl from the beginning, that actually Brian *was* doing this, and that the vocals we have on songs like Wonderful or Wind Chimes were just guide vocals, in which case actually Brian had done almost no recording of lead vocals at all. Which would feed into the theory that getting the Beach Boys together to do the necessary work was a big part of the problem.

VDP - Good point.

Perhaps the project was stretching beyond the original plan and that the track list Brian gave to Capitol was just to keep them off his back so he could get on with it.  In which case there may be truth in both of what we are saying.  That Brian had completed the version of Smile to fulfil his contractual obligations whilst continuing to work on it and expand it.

Wonderful is weird because Brian forbade them to use any of the recorded Smile stuff for Smiley Smile (so they say).  H&V had already been released so that was a done deal. I’d guess at that time he intended to complete Smile and didn’t want it used - except Wonderful was used and used with VDP’s lyrics.  Wind Chimes is credited to Wilson only but was still used.  Was it just the VDP lyrics which caused the problem and the complexity of the instrumental arrangements, hence the paring down (as other people have suggested the ability to perform the music on stage may have been an issue)?  Vega-tables lyrics weren’t used.  New lyrics were written and it changed to Vegetables. But why was Wonderful allowed to go on Smiley Smile and did VDP write other lyrics to Wind Chimes?

The Beach Boys were on tour until 30th November.  Wind Chimes was done before they returned so likely Brian sang lead - the whole group were credited on Smiley. Wonderful was recorded on 15th December so the band were back and there would be no reason for Carl not to sing the lead and he is credited lead on Smiley so presumably that would be a re-recording.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 03:40:22 AM
When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I'm extremely confused... you think that the Beach Boys accidentally announced that their new album was scrapped, and then happened to scrap the new album later? All because Love to Say Da Da has clarinets instead of melodicas and children's choirs? The latter being somehow easier to reproduce on stage?

??? ??? ??? ??? ???

I'd like to know who told Derek Taylor to make that announcement.  Capitol didn't - they still had recording sessions scheduled after that date.  Brian could have but in July was still discussing the cover for Smile so it seems unlikely.  Who would that serve?  Who would Derek Taylor believe and accept their authority to act upon it?  Was the announcement made to cause the scrapping of the album?  Seems to have worked that way.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 03:42:35 AM
And again, how exactly is ANYTHING on Smiley Smile easier to reproduce on stage? Why would the Beach Boys get mad at Brian because they couldn't reproduce clarinets and flutes in a concert, and then happily accept songs with 4 different keyboards and a children's choir overdubbed?

Good point


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 21, 2022, 04:01:19 AM
Wow, this thread is like a sudden explosion of energy and colour in this forum. Makes me feel younger. Thanks to Galaxy Liz (love that nickname, btw) for starting it, and to all participants.
Also particular thanks to Guitarfool, Angela and Rab for the links about Do You Like Worms.
I listened again, several times, to the session at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRocIqQSsK8&t=194s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRocIqQSsK8&t=194s)
where the "new melody" for Worms surfaced, and now to my (admittedly untrained) ears the melody Brian sings at 3'18'' is not truncated as I had thought before.
Actually, the melody is present in the session in 3 slightly different versions, both vocal and instrumental.

Version 1 is what the upright bass plays at 1'34'', twice. I hear it as:
TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TAAAA

Version 2 is what Brian sings, with no words, at 1'46', and the upright bass plays, twice, at 2'45'' and again, a bit less clearly, at 5'07''. I hear it as:



TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TA TA TAA

Version 3 is what Brings sings, with words, at 3'18''. I hear it like version 1, rhythmically, but sprightlier and with like a bouncing dynamic. I think it's awesome. By the way, does anybody understand what Brian exactly says at 3'18'' ?

However I think this melody can be sung with the known lyrics and works well when followed by the Plymouth Rock refrain, like this:
Brian melody in TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TAAAA rhythm.      (Oh, once upon the Sandwich iiiisles)
Brian melody in TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TA TA TAA rhythm. (the social structure steamed upon Hawaii)
"Rock, rock, roll, Plymouth Rock, roll over ..."



Thanks for the thanks!

TBH I find SMiLE so huge, so confusing, that it is easier to focus on small details of it like the above snippet. I can definitely hear what sounds like 'for once upon' in Brian's vocal but the rest is unclear.  The Sandwich Isles lyric might fit if Brian sang 'Oh once upon the Sandwich Isles ' dum dumdy dum dum (sorry I don't write music!) but 'the social structure steamed upon Hawaii' doesn't scan. The song as per BWPS goes "once upon the Sa-nd-wich I-isles", drawling out the words 'Sandwich Isles'. The bit Brian sings is faster, jauntier.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 04:32:25 AM
Wow, this thread is like a sudden explosion of energy and colour in this forum. Makes me feel younger. Thanks to Galaxy Liz (love that nickname, btw) for starting it, and to all participants.
Also particular thanks to Guitarfool, Angela and Rab for the links about Do You Like Worms.
I listened again, several times, to the session at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRocIqQSsK8&t=194s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRocIqQSsK8&t=194s)
where the "new melody" for Worms surfaced, and now to my (admittedly untrained) ears the melody Brian sings at 3'18'' is not truncated as I had thought before.
Actually, the melody is present in the session in 3 slightly different versions, both vocal and instrumental.

Version 1 is what the upright bass plays at 1'34'', twice. I hear it as:
TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TAAAA

Version 2 is what Brian sings, with no words, at 1'46', and the upright bass plays, twice, at 2'45'' and again, a bit less clearly, at 5'07''. I hear it as:
TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TA TA TAA

Version 3 is what Brings sings, with words, at 3'18''. I hear it like version 1, rhythmically, but sprightlier and with like a bouncing dynamic. I think it's awesome. By the way, does anybody understand what Brian exactly says at 3'18'' ?

However I think this melody can be sung with the known lyrics and works well when followed by the Plymouth Rock refrain, like this:
Brian melody in TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TAAAA rhythm.      (Oh, once upon the Sandwich iiiisles)
Brian melody in TA TA TA TA | TA TA TA TA | TA TA TAA rhythm. (the social structure steamed upon Hawaii)
"Rock, rock, roll, Plymouth Rock, roll over ..."


Glad I posted it too (I was worried it go down like a damp squib and no one would reply or I'd be shot down in flames) and thanks to everyone for the lively and interesting discussion - though my head is throbbing.  I'm trying to keep all the music threads in my head along with the dates of sessions, who said what and why.  But that's Smile for you!  Ang is playing this stuff over and over.  I can't hear Brian either.  She's good at working out this stuff - I'm rubbish. (The nickname has a silly origin but is also a nod to my sister's avatar of Dennis surfing in space and our associated email address.)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 04:36:13 AM
I think SMiLE is not any single thing. It's at the same time Smiley Smile (which I adore), BWPS, the 2011 Sessions, the fanmixes, and several other things. Navigating the immense complexity of SMiLE is the most exhilarating music voyage imaginable.
Also, it's uncanny how the Paley sessions created such a similar situation. The worst myth about Brian is that he was creatively toast in 1967, or even in 1966. What BS.


Absolutely!!!!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Jay on July 21, 2022, 06:26:22 AM
GF, as I read this thread I was wondering if you were going to tie it all into the August Hawaii shows/media quotes, which strike me as the best evidence supporting your rendition of the overall events that led to the “produced by the Beach Boys” phase (even though that credit isn’t really accurate until 20/20). I’m glad you got there again, because despite some of the mini-discrepancies that can be pointed to, it’s really the only scenario that makes sense given what we now know about the production process at Brian’s house from summer 67 to early 69.

I think we can lay it out as a series of dot points:

--SMiLE as "grand project" was variably alienating to the rest of the band, divided between loving the material and worrying that their career as a band would go down a rabbit hole.
--December '66 strife ultimately caused a shift toward looking for a follow-up single (H&V) that could tide things over until they fully could sort out what to do.
--Brian, suffering from cognitive dissonance, floundered in his attempts to turn H&V into a version that managed to marry art and commerce.
--He sets aside those versions of H&V in March; Vegetables becomes the next (unsuccessful) attempt.
--Speculation here--Brian has a despairing conversation with Derek Taylor, where he suggests that SMILE is going to put away. Taylor overreacts, sends out his press release about SMiLE being "scrapped."
--With the band back on the road, Brian gets back into the studio with the Wrecking Crew ("Love to Say DaDa").
--Band returns from the road, ears on fire from criticism about their inability to match the more advanced material, which triggers a massive pow-wow about the future of the band, how to tailor tracks in order to make them more playable live, the need for the band to become more involved in the songwriting/production process, etc. Home studio idea comes into play here as (partially) a way for on-the-job production training for the band, primarily Carl and Dennis.
--Recasting existing SMiLE tracks for Smiley Smile begins, LP is recorded, assembled, mixed as fast as Brian can get through it; he's still got a plan to bring out the original concept of SMiLE, as captured in the Engemann memo, but this never comes to pass.
--LEAVING TWO MYSTERIES: 1) if Smiley was mixed by mid-July, why wait two months to release it? Was there further wrangling about the SMiLE tracks? Was the status of the royalty lawsuit and did it affect the timing? Were they thinking that H&V would be the catalyst for the record and when it didn't do that well, was there then wrangling about putting GV onto Smiley Smile? When exactly did that decision get made?
2) Why did the 10-track SMiLE LP disappear along with the Brother Records logo? Engemann memo suggests that it would appear as Brother 9002 and Wild Honey as 9003.
2a) Ten track SMiLE LP would have some added Smiley Smile overlap on it that Engemann etal may have missed, including very different versions of “Wind Chimes” and “Wonderful.” Could they have recognized some conceptual glitches about a 10-track SMiLE LP that had been initially overlooked?
--Hawaii trip reveals Brian contemplating a change/end to "Beach Boying" (at least for him), intimating some kind of transition to come.
--Brian works on songs for Wild Honey, but decides to give Darlin' to Redwood, which prompts another showdown. The band prevails; Brian sets aside more elaborate production plans ("Can't Wait Too Long" variants shelved when it can't successfully be turned into a "Wild Honey"-style song).
--Wild Honey single released in October, LP rushed out in December, "Darlin'" gives them a Top 20 hit.
--Mike goes off to India in early '68 and Brian comes out of hibernation with a lot of varied material, only a portion of which makes it onto the subsequent "Friends" LP. Dennis moves into songwriting/production.
--"Friends" single released, is a big chart disappointment; FRIENDS LP comes out late June, "Do It Again" rushed out as 45 from post-FRIENDS sessions.
--Brian makes one more attempt to build "Can't Wait Too Long" into a GV-type track, but can't pull it off; disillusionment and depression take over, and his reclusive phase begins. Even that is fraught, as the band is increasingly in his house recording tracks. He's apart from the band, but simultaneously surrounded by them.
--The band builds its first LP without him to the extent possible at the time, producing material that winds up as about half of 20/20. They didn’t quite have enough material ready to go, so they had to add “Our Prayer” and “Cabinessence” to the track list, which was another “twist of the knife” for Brian, meaning that he’d lost de facto control over how SMiLE would be handled.

What an incredible post! Seriously, its one of the better posts I've seen here in a while, and about an endlessly fascinating, albeit confounding as hell, subject.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 07:31:21 AM

--Speculation here--Brian has a despairing conversation with Derek Taylor, where he suggests that SMILE is going to put away. Taylor overreacts, sends out his press release about SMiLE being "scrapped."

--LEAVING TWO MYSTERIES: 1) if Smiley was mixed by mid-July, why wait two months to release it?

2) Why did the 10-track SMiLE LP disappear along with the Brother Records logo?

I can’t honestly imagine Derek Taylor, a publicist, rushing off to send out a press release without some serious approval and authority when there is no up side to the message and which would likely cause some damage to the group.  That’s exactly the opposite of what a publicist does.

I’m not sure that 2 months is a great deal of time considering it has to be pressed, advertised, jackets prepared and printed, orders received and processed - though it is not the kind of business I’ve been involved in so I could be wrong.

My point in the first place was that Smile may have been finished and that it was deliberately pulled by Capitol, Brian or the band.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 21, 2022, 08:00:56 AM
When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I'm extremely confused... you think that the Beach Boys accidentally announced that their new album was scrapped, and then happened to scrap the new album later? All because Love to Say Da Da has clarinets instead of melodicas and children's choirs? The latter being somehow easier to reproduce on stage?

??? ??? ??? ??? ???

I'd like to know who told Derek Taylor to make that announcement.  Capitol didn't - they still had recording sessions scheduled after that date.  Brian could have but in July was still discussing the cover for Smile so it seems unlikely.  Who would that serve?  Who would Derek Taylor believe and accept their authority to act upon it?  Was the announcement made to cause the scrapping of the album?  Seems to have worked that way.

Brian Wilson. Derek was a publicist working for the Beach Boys, and Brian was the guy who was making all the decisions, especially about Smile. Any theory that Taylor went rogue and accidentally predicted the future, or just straight up lied (and became right), comes directly from crazy town. Smile was announced as "scrapped" (which meant temporarily put aside in favor of something else) on May 6, but it had not been worked on for many months before that. The Beach Boys still had recording sessions after that date because they never stopped working on an album. These recording sessions continued all the way until July 20.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 09:10:19 AM
When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I'm extremely confused... you think that the Beach Boys accidentally announced that their new album was scrapped, and then happened to scrap the new album later? All because Love to Say Da Da has clarinets instead of melodicas and children's choirs? The latter being somehow easier to reproduce on stage?

??? ??? ??? ??? ???

I'd like to know who told Derek Taylor to make that announcement.  Capitol didn't - they still had recording sessions scheduled after that date.  Brian could have but in July was still discussing the cover for Smile so it seems unlikely.  Who would that serve?  Who would Derek Taylor believe and accept their authority to act upon it?  Was the announcement made to cause the scrapping of the album?  Seems to have worked that way.

Brian Wilson. Derek was a publicist working for the Beach Boys, and Brian was the guy who was making all the decisions, especially about Smile. Any theory that Taylor went rogue and accidentally predicted the future, or just straight up lied (and became right), comes directly from crazy town. Smile was announced as "scrapped" (which meant temporarily put aside in favor of something else) on May 6, but it had not been worked on for many months before that. The Beach Boys still had recording sessions after that date because they never stopped working on an album. These recording sessions continued all the way until July 20.

I know who he was but why would Brian have told him to do a press release saying the album was scrapped in early May when he had studio sessions booked for a week or 2 later?  The Beach Boys were in Germany during that time so the sessions were not booked for them.  Someone in this thread said that someone else ran the session.  I must try and check.  I can't imagine someone other than Brian directing the session.  Capitol cancelled the sessions the next day.   Brian and Capitol are still in discussions about the cover for Smile in July.  I don't think Derek Taylor went rogue.  I think someone told him to issue the release I just don't know who or why. 

You say "It hadn't been worked on for many months"  and "they never stopped working on an album" - which is it?  In May there wasn't another album and Da Da was for Smile and that was the scheduled session.  Plus they didn't start working on Smiley until Brian's home studio was operational on 11 June.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 09:26:30 AM
I'm going to drop this quote here, from a post in 2016 in a discussion about the same issues we're discussing here, and I hope everyone reading it forms their own opinions on what Carl said. For the record, the article itself is 100% legitimate, and since this 2016 discussion I have gotten a clipping of the full article from the LA Times as it was published in that Sunday edition, October 8 1967. The quotes are accurate and in context.

Excerpts from "The Beach Boys' Quickest Album" , LA Times, October 8th 1967:

"Well, the album didn't really head for any direction. We just decided to, or I should say Brian decided to, make a real simple album. So, with that in mind, we recorded it at his house and it's the quickest album we've ever done." (Carl Wilson quote)

"You see, the whole thing is that 'Pet Sounds' was really an expanded type of musical thing. It's really quite a musical album and we got into a thing where we just wanted to ease up and make a simple album. It was a nice change. It's very hard on a person to keep on doing a 'Pet Sounds.'" (Carl Wilson quote)

Last year, when "Good Vibrations" was racking up its million-plus sales, Capitol had the follow-up album scheduled under the title of "Smile." The album jacket already had been printed, a picture of a shop which dispensed smiles. But the album never came out and the Beach Boys became embroiled in a royalty suit against Capitol. Rumors said that Brian, a perfectionist, had destroyed all the tapes for the LP. "We didn't scrap them," Carl said. "We just haven't used them yet. We did it all from scratch when we started again. We actually had finished the album but then a lot of things didn't turn out the way Brian liked. We all didn't agree on different types of things. We decided to do something new."

"If he gets an idea it's now and it's better than something from the past. I've seen it a hundred times. We've seen a lot of potentially great songs just be shelved. They come out maybe two or three years later, but they're in his mind somehow. If that particular idea seems to fit what he's working on at the time it will just come naturally." (Mike Love quote)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 21, 2022, 09:32:10 AM
One way I would describe how “close” the “Smile” album ever was to being “finished” would be to point to the circa 1995 Paley sessions. The comparison is only apt in this specific way: Andy Paley has gone on record saying the Beach Boys could have cut vocals for *an entire album* of that material in two days.

Similarly, it’s easy to look at the “Smile” assembly presented at the front of the “Smile Sessions” box and say “well, all we need is the following overdubs…..” Even if we ignore that the circa 2003 work on compiling a “finished” album accomplished a lot of the compositional work to getting the track flow to seem “complete”, and we just assume for the sake of argument that the assembly as presented on the 2011 set could have existed in 1967 and just needed X number of overdubs, a very similar problem presents itself as what happened decades later on the Paley material.

Namely, get all of the creators and band members in there to do the work. There are approximately 87 roadblocks to making that happen. Yes, the Paley project had more business/internal politics issues than “Smile” did (arguably, certainly *different* types of those issues). But there’s a TON of BB material, and just projects in general, that are seemingly *so* close to happening, yet are a million miles away.

And that’s not even getting into truly actual *finished* projects that have been shelved.


They had 7 complete tracks which just needed some sweetening and mixing (which Brian did over one night with a couple of technicians for Smiley Smile - though he may want to take more time for Smile especially considering its complexity).  
They planned to record the vocals for Surf’s Up in December 1966 but for some reason this didn’t happen and it seems likely that this was the time when the poop hit the fan.  We know that the vocals were done at some point.  I’ve been trying to find that picture of the master tapes to see if there is one for the Surf’s Up vocals because if it was recorded in 66-67 that means it was worked on outside of the listed schedules and therefore probably in Brian’s home studio post the probably fictional ‘scrapping’ in May.  If that is the case who can say exactly how much was left to be finished.


What I was saying with the Paley analogy is that it's not about the total amount of work so much as the machinations to get everybody to do that work. For Brian to decide what he wanted, for the band to get in there and do it, and for Brian to make a final decision and mix and master. Granted, I don't think it's as simple as a few "Smile" tracks needing "sweetening", but as I've mentioned, even if we stipulate to that idea, it's not as if it was anywhere close to simple to get that work done.

There was a lot of "for some reason, this didn't happen" going on around that time, as has been the case throughout the band's history. The deal is that there *were* reasons. Many, and most of them were not about the actual amount of time it could have theoretically taken for firmly decided-upon overdubs to be added.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 21, 2022, 09:32:32 AM
When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I'm extremely confused... you think that the Beach Boys accidentally announced that their new album was scrapped, and then happened to scrap the new album later? All because Love to Say Da Da has clarinets instead of melodicas and children's choirs? The latter being somehow easier to reproduce on stage?

??? ??? ??? ??? ???

I'd like to know who told Derek Taylor to make that announcement.  Capitol didn't - they still had recording sessions scheduled after that date.  Brian could have but in July was still discussing the cover for Smile so it seems unlikely.  Who would that serve?  Who would Derek Taylor believe and accept their authority to act upon it?  Was the announcement made to cause the scrapping of the album?  Seems to have worked that way.

Brian Wilson. Derek was a publicist working for the Beach Boys, and Brian was the guy who was making all the decisions, especially about Smile. Any theory that Taylor went rogue and accidentally predicted the future, or just straight up lied (and became right), comes directly from crazy town. Smile was announced as "scrapped" (which meant temporarily put aside in favor of something else) on May 6, but it had not been worked on for many months before that. The Beach Boys still had recording sessions after that date because they never stopped working on an album. These recording sessions continued all the way until July 20.

I know who he was but why would Brian have told him to do a press release saying the album was scrapped in early May when he had studio sessions booked for a week or 2 later?  The Beach Boys were in Germany during that time so the sessions were not booked for them.  Someone in this thread said that someone else ran the session.  I must try and check.  I can't imagine someone other than Brian directing the session.  Capitol cancelled the sessions the next day.   Brian and Capitol are still in discussions about the cover for Smile in July.  I don't think Derek Taylor went rogue.  I think someone told him to issue the release I just don't know who or why. 

You say "It hadn't been worked on for many months"  and "they never stopped working on an album" - which is it?  In May there wasn't another album and Da Da was for Smile and that was the scheduled session.  Plus they didn't start working on Smiley until Brian's home studio was operational on 11 June.

The sessions for Love to Say Da Da are run by Brian, as can be heard on the 2011 box, as they are Beach Boys sessions, and Brian Wilson was their producer. Brian consulted with Derek Taylor about the press release because the Beach Boys would not be releasing an album called Smile as their next LP. There were sessions booked because the Beach Boys were recording artists under a contract that needed to deliver an album. Nothing about that is different from before the press release. It is specified in the press release itself that Smile is not being completely thrown away, and Smile discussions between the Beach Boys and record companies continued for many years. It seems like there's a big misunderstanding here, based on the way people want to classify Brian's recording sessions. There is nothing on the paperwork that suggests that something is a "Smile session" or "not a Smile session." They are all sessions for The Beach Boys and their new music, whether the album was called Smile or not. After May 6, it was not.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 09:37:51 AM
So I'll ask in reference to Carl's October 1967 interview, was Carl also a resident of "crazy town" with the way he directly contradicted Taylor's statement?

Carl specifically said it wasn't scrapped, and specifically said they started again from scratch (on Smiley Smile). If Carl is to be believed, that all but destroys the narrative that Smile and Smiley Smile were part of the same project timeline, that Smiley Smile *is* Smile, and that sessions merely blended into each other. Carl suggested a definite breaking point in the timeline switching from work on Smile to work on what became "Smiley Smile", with the phrase "starting from scratch" being pretty definite.

That breaking point, as pointed out earlier, was the two weeks at the end of May, into the first week of June '67 when the Boys returned from the European tour, held sessions at Western and Sound Recorders for "Vegetables", "With Me Tonight", and "Cool Cool Water", then in the span of one week drastically changed the entire working method and moved to Brian's house to start recording what ended up on Smiley Smile.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 21, 2022, 09:47:41 AM
As ever, it is useful to keep in mind that the Beach Boys is not just a band, or group, that makes music.  Before that, they are a family. It so happens that this family makes music and then found commercial success with that music, but they are a family first and foremost.

For the Beach Boys, Smiley Smile is preferable to whatever Smile could or would have been because Smiley is, in their collective mindset, a collective endeavor by the whole band ("Produced by the Beach Boys") with all members engaged in the creation of the album.  The album is recorded in sequestered  family space, Brian Wilson's home, away from the outsiders and various external "bad influences" that are perceived to the cause of Brian's problems.  In this way, Smiley Smile is indeed Smile - but only the Beach Boys' version of Smile, not that of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.

During the time period in question, they primary operating goal of the collective Beach Boys is not musical, let alone artistic.  As of mid-1967, the main purpose of the Beach Boys is to stay together as a family/band. Their career is, arguably, in jeopardy during the Smile-era, and once Smile collapses, it becomes more apparent that something must be done, and done quickly, to right the ship, or to revert the Beach Boys back to its prior equilibrium state - that of a unified family organization, rather than an artistic dictatorship whereby all members of the family are at the mercy of the whims of one eccentric family member.

Stability is goal number one, because if they cannot do that, then everything else - chart ranking, singles, musical quality, etc. - is moot.  Because of Brian's actions circa 1966-67, the family foundation of the Beach Boys had been in jeopardy.  If that hadn't been the case - for example, if, hypothetically, Brian had hired Tony Asher to help him write happy, up-tempo songs about boy-girl relationships - there wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  If the family foundation is strong and secure (i.e., nobody in the band is going to leave, or go solo, or do anything that threatens the existence of the band) then yes, it is possible to move on and try to make good music. This was the state of things in, say, 1963, and into the first half of 1964. In those days the Beach Boys, as a whole, single entity, is in good shape (especially if they can put some distance between themselves and Murry, which they did)  Brian Wilson, however, as an individual, is progressively in worse and worse shape, as signified by the nervous breakdown at the end of 1964.

Anybody can fill in the rest... it's basically a tug-of-war between Brian and what he represents (both positive and negative) and the Beach Boys business family and what it represents (both positive and negative). Anyway, this dynamic is a significant (though not the only) reason Smiley Smile sounds the way it does in comparison to the Smile Sessions music. Smiley was a function of business necessity (survival) , not just unfettered artistic license on the part of the band members, as if they could easily choose what they wanted Smiley to sound like.

Smiley is a a reflection of the Beach Boys as of mid-1967: talented, but hopelessly dysfunctional.  I appreciate Smiley too, but to really celebrate the album, you need to push the dysfunction and family problems out of your mind and pretend that the Beach Boys are happily unified and are intending to make a cool, weird, left-field album.


No, The Beach Boys are a band that makes music.  Brian has other cousins who are not in the band.  Al and Bruce are no relation at all.  If the group disbanded those who are family would still be family.

If your primary aim is to keep the group (family and non-family) together then it still is way off target since it started the decline in Brian’s creative involvement in the group and his decline in health and into drug taking and remaining in his room which eventually ended with them expelling him from the group.  

But that isn’t the primary aim of a group.  It is to make music and the best music that they can.  As they very soon started trading off Smile - not The Beach Boys version but the version by Brian and VDP - by promising its release and then putting pieces of it on various albums it’s obvious that they realised its worth eventually.  Brian puts a version of it out to great acclaim and then in 2011 The Smile Sessions are released which presumably was approved by the remaining band.

Smiley Smile was labelled ‘produced by the Beach Boys’ yet they over ruled Brian’s wishes not to include GV.  It is made in Brian Wilson’s home not the Beach Boys family home!

Mike Love was not happy with Tony Asher’s lyrical contribution either.  There was a problem during Pet Sounds.

What it basically amounted to was that Brian had musical acumen which the other band members lacked but they didn’t trust him.  Them forcing Brian to abandon 3 Dog Night who he had signed to Brother and then blaming Brian for not keeping them when they went on to be extremely successful is another case in point of them not trusting Brian’s skill and then blaming him for them not doing so. So basically instead of keeping the band together, they shot themselves in the foot.

According to David Anderle Brian did intend to make a good humour album and THAT is Smiley Smile.

This is a vast, vast oversimplification of the rest of the band's attitude towards Brian (and their attitude towards the "Smile" music), especially if we're lumping *all* of the other members together.

There's no successful reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of "Smile", and certainly no reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of Brian, both within the group and outside of the group.

And if we're getting into "expelling Brian from the group", which I have to assume means the late 1982 "firing", then that's a *whole* other ball of a wax full of tons of moving parts.


Of course it’s a simplification though I think it was Van Dyke Parks who said something like ‘all of them disliked it, even the lesser known members of the group’.  VDP may feel a little bitterly toward everyone considering what happened and it may be tainting his recollection but you’d think that it would have to be more than 3 who disliked it enough to want it scrapped especially considering the difficulties that decision would cause them.

I’m not actually trying to explain the ‘demise’ of Smile - the reverse. I’m trying to explain how it may have survived and how it was actually ready and that it was only the decision of the band - or the majority of the band - which prevented its release.

As for ‘explaining the demise’ of Brian.  He is not yet dead, not actually nor musically.  He has written and performed music and produced many albums both within and outside the group.

Of course I’m referring to the firing and we all know it was done to try and give Brian the motivation to quit drugs though I’m not sure that saying he couldn’t ever rejoin the group even if he stopped taking drugs would be a motivation to stop, probably a reason to take more.

I think it's pretty well-established that VDP is an important source of information, and that he also has his own spin on things as far as recollections and impressions, and so on. I don't know how much he understood *all* of the elements of the dynamics within the band. Like, how often did he have a long conversation with Al Jardine about how Al felt about the quality of the music, separate from the commercial/business outlook?

I think when anybody, whether it's VDP or fans/scholars, try to say that "all" of the rest of the band felt one way about the "Smile" material at any given point, that's not telling the full story. Yes, I think generalizing and maybe a bit of hyperbole from someone, including VDP, to drive home the point that the band's lack of hearty support for the material played a role in the album's demise, is fine. But when we're delving deep into the story, the reality is that the various members had simultaneous conflicting feelings about the stuff, and how they acted in response also shifted over time. Dennis and Carl could be very supportive of Brian, and also had times where they stood by and let Brian be torn down a bit (e.g. the Redwood tracks). I think Mike is the only member of the group that, at certain points, had actual skepticism about the *music* itself, in terms of just saying "that is really good, interesting material", again totally separate from misgivings about the commercial nature of the material. And even Mike has been able over the years to acknowledge the quality of the some of the material, including Brian's vocal on "Wonderful."

I'm not here to vociferously defend the other band members. But it's a very hazy, complex situation in terms of how they felt and how they acted. It's easy decades later to just look at the material and say "how could anybody stand in the way?." There are many, many reasons. The power dynamic on multiple levels was shifting. The amount of clout people had shifted. It starts to get murky trying to parse the difference between "not championing" something versus actively standing in the way.

And obviously,  by "demise of Brian", I was referring to his several downward tracks, in the mid-70s and then again in the early 80s. And that 1982 "firing", while obviously tied as *everything* in the band's history is to their previous history, was a pretty different animal from what was going on during the "bedroom" years of the mid-70s-ish. Brian was in some ways in a much darker and dangerous place in 1982, and the status of the touring operation was more of a factor in decisions they made about Brian, both positive and negative. By 1982, they weren't really a studio band anymore. They were a touring act that occasionally did studio work.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 21, 2022, 09:56:15 AM
I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest that performing “Smiley Smile” material/arrangements would be easier for the band than “Smile” material/arrangements. It’s important to keep in mind that any live concert scenario would involve performing only a few songs from whatever version had been released.

“Smiley Smile” material (and “Wild Honey” material for that matter) could require less *stripping down* of the arrangements to play well enough on stage. They were going to be doing a few tracks, so in the extreme example, “Getting’ Hungry” would be far, far less demanding on the 1967 tour lineup than performing “Surf’s Up” or the full “Smile” version of “Wind Chimes” or something. Either version of “Vegetables” would have been among the easier tracks to arrange for their live show.

Now, how much this played a role in what happened with “Smile”, I don’t know. I don’t weigh this aspect particularly heavily.

I think all of this becomes much more germane of course when we get to “Wild Honey”, and you can see with those late ’67 shows that they seemed more into trying to do stripped-back versions of “Wild Honey” songs; they required less stripping back than like “Child is Father of the Man” or “Look” or “Surf’s Up”, etc.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 10:00:08 AM
When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I'm extremely confused... you think that the Beach Boys accidentally announced that their new album was scrapped, and then happened to scrap the new album later? All because Love to Say Da Da has clarinets instead of melodicas and children's choirs? The latter being somehow easier to reproduce on stage?

??? ??? ??? ??? ???

I'd like to know who told Derek Taylor to make that announcement.  Capitol didn't - they still had recording sessions scheduled after that date.  Brian could have but in July was still discussing the cover for Smile so it seems unlikely.  Who would that serve?  Who would Derek Taylor believe and accept their authority to act upon it?  Was the announcement made to cause the scrapping of the album?  Seems to have worked that way.

Brian Wilson. Derek was a publicist working for the Beach Boys, and Brian was the guy who was making all the decisions, especially about Smile. Any theory that Taylor went rogue and accidentally predicted the future, or just straight up lied (and became right), comes directly from crazy town. Smile was announced as "scrapped" (which meant temporarily put aside in favor of something else) on May 6, but it had not been worked on for many months before that. The Beach Boys still had recording sessions after that date because they never stopped working on an album. These recording sessions continued all the way until July 20.

Asking about the point in bold: Where did you get that information that it had not been worked on for many months? Work was done on various Smile tracks every month in 1967 from January up to June. It stopped in mid-April because the Beach Boys would leave for a 5-6 week tour of the US and then Europe and were not available to record in LA. Brian held the DaDa sessions in May while the band was still in Europe, after Taylor's comments had been published.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Don Malcolm on July 21, 2022, 10:21:15 AM
It's clear that most of the original SMiLE tracks were not worked on for months--held in limbo by the centripetal actions that ensued when there was some form of blowback against the project as a whole. What comes next is two months of grappling with H&V in an attempt to get the right follow-up to GV.

The central point of a thesis that "SMiLE was ready in 1967" hinges on the idea that all of the vocals were recorded for the backing tracks. We know that this is not true, and that efforts went off in related but tangential directions in the first three months of '67.

Clearly H&V in some form would also have appeared on the SMiLE LP, but the waters are very muddy about what that would have been, and it became moot when the band started over for SMILEY SMILE and (mostly) re-recorded H&V (along with "Woody","Wind Chimes," "Wonderful" and "Whistle In").

The fact that they'd not been worked on for awhile was part of the lingering crisis about what to do, one that didn't get resolved until (as GF suggests) the band returned from its April-May tour with their own agenda items for SMiLE and the band's future. The album was in limbo, but the Engemann memo suggests that Brian was trying to keep SMiLE in play as a separate entity, at least for awhile. Did he give up and abandon all that when he was confronted by Mike etal over Redwood?

SMiLE was almost ready in '67, for sure. But the impediments that cropped up in terms of taking it over the finish line just got larger and more onerous. The more Brian worked on workarounds, the farther the finish line seemed to be. Carl's description omits the pain involved in it, but otherwise has the ring of truth.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Don Malcolm on July 21, 2022, 10:31:48 AM

--Speculation here--Brian has a despairing conversation with Derek Taylor, where he suggests that SMILE is going to put away. Taylor overreacts, sends out his press release about SMiLE being "scrapped."

--LEAVING TWO MYSTERIES: 1) if Smiley was mixed by mid-July, why wait two months to release it?

2) Why did the 10-track SMiLE LP disappear along with the Brother Records logo?

I can’t honestly imagine Derek Taylor, a publicist, rushing off to send out a press release without some serious approval and authority when there is no up side to the message and which would likely cause some damage to the group.  That’s exactly the opposite of what a publicist does.

I’m not sure that 2 months is a great deal of time considering it has to be pressed, advertised, jackets prepared and printed, orders received and processed - though it is not the kind of business I’ve been involved in so I could be wrong.

My point in the first place was that Smile may have been finished and that it was deliberately pulled by Capitol, Brian or the band.


From the data at Bellagio, we see that PET SOUNDS was released a bit less than a month after it was mastered.

And there is about a month between the last recording session for WILD HONEY (mid-November 1967) and its release date (December 18).

By the time SMILEY SMILE came out it was sixteen months since PET SOUNDS, and there was a lot of consternation about the non-appearance of the follow-up LP. With the mastering finished in late July and H&V released at just about the same moment, it's odd that it took another month UNLESS something else came up to delay it.

An analogous example is the FRIENDS LP, which also languished for a couple months after the mastering was complete. With the single doing poorly, and with a sizable amount of turmoil over touring dates, there may have been some second-guessing about the LP, which clearly had no other potential hits on it...which explains the flurry of additional recording activity at the time, including "Do It Again," which came out as a 45 just two weeks after the FRIENDD LP was finally release.

Delays of this type likely involve some other issues behind the scenes, most likely within the band. And the band had to be concerned about their career viability in May-June 1968...


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 10:36:25 AM
It's pretty clear to see what was worked on and to assume why those tracks were worked on, not just from the session dates but also by various articles and interviews where it can be pieced together. They needed a single to follow up GV, obviously, so there are Heroes and Vegetables getting the majority of the sessions after January. Those were the two titles specifically mentioned as single material, but they would also be included on the album and were on the tracklist (and back cover slick). So they had to be worked on with perhaps more of a priority than some of the others if they were tagged as potential singles. But that's not enough to suggest because they were single material and getting more of the attention after January and into May that they were not "Smile" album tracks too, or that work was not being done on the album "for months". It was all part of the same thing. The only examples that were not part of the bigger picture after January were the Jasper Daily sessions and Carl's "Tones" sessions.

What's also crucial to consider in terms of asking why wasn't more work done on those existing album tracks during this time opens up the issues of Carl being arrested for evading the draft, the lawsuit against Capitol being filed in March '67, and of course the fact that the band who still had to add vocals to the tracks recorded in '66 would be unavailable due to that 5-6 week tour in April and May. You can assume all that work was done on Vegetables in April to get what was needed before they left, and so another potential single would be "in the can" for a possible single, along with Heroes.

I don't think any of that suggests work on the album overall was halted in any way if there were Smile-related sessions held every month from January to May '67 and some issues that were purely external such as the lawsuit, the draft arrest, and others like the tour simply made work impossible since key members would be unavailable.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 10:42:41 AM
When the Boys returned to the US that May, Brian was still recording Smile. The Derek Taylor announcement, I think, was either premature or simply wrong when it was published. So the Boys return, upset at the criticism and here's Brian still recording tracks which could not be reproduced on the stage. There are possibly arguments, finger pointing, anger, etc.

I'm extremely confused... you think that the Beach Boys accidentally announced that their new album was scrapped, and then happened to scrap the new album later? All because Love to Say Da Da has clarinets instead of melodicas and children's choirs? The latter being somehow easier to reproduce on stage?

??? ??? ??? ??? ???

I'd like to know who told Derek Taylor to make that announcement.  Capitol didn't - they still had recording sessions scheduled after that date.  Brian could have but in July was still discussing the cover for Smile so it seems unlikely.  Who would that serve?  Who would Derek Taylor believe and accept their authority to act upon it?  Was the announcement made to cause the scrapping of the album?  Seems to have worked that way.

Brian Wilson. Derek was a publicist working for the Beach Boys, and Brian was the guy who was making all the decisions, especially about Smile. Any theory that Taylor went rogue and accidentally predicted the future, or just straight up lied (and became right), comes directly from crazy town. Smile was announced as "scrapped" (which meant temporarily put aside in favor of something else) on May 6, but it had not been worked on for many months before that. The Beach Boys still had recording sessions after that date because they never stopped working on an album. These recording sessions continued all the way until July 20.

I know who he was but why would Brian have told him to do a press release saying the album was scrapped in early May when he had studio sessions booked for a week or 2 later?  The Beach Boys were in Germany during that time so the sessions were not booked for them.  Someone in this thread said that someone else ran the session.  I must try and check.  I can't imagine someone other than Brian directing the session.  Capitol cancelled the sessions the next day.   Brian and Capitol are still in discussions about the cover for Smile in July.  I don't think Derek Taylor went rogue.  I think someone told him to issue the release I just don't know who or why. 

You say "It hadn't been worked on for many months"  and "they never stopped working on an album" - which is it?  In May there wasn't another album and Da Da was for Smile and that was the scheduled session.  Plus they didn't start working on Smiley until Brian's home studio was operational on 11 June.

The sessions for Love to Say Da Da are run by Brian, as can be heard on the 2011 box, as they are Beach Boys sessions, and Brian Wilson was their producer. Brian consulted with Derek Taylor about the press release because the Beach Boys would not be releasing an album called Smile as their next LP. There were sessions booked because the Beach Boys were recording artists under a contract that needed to deliver an album. Nothing about that is different from before the press release. It is specified in the press release itself that Smile is not being completely thrown away, and Smile discussions between the Beach Boys and record companies continued for many years. It seems like there's a big misunderstanding here, based on the way people want to classify Brian's recording sessions. There is nothing on the paperwork that suggests that something is a "Smile session" or "not a Smile session." They are all sessions for The Beach Boys and their new music, whether the album was called Smile or not. After May 6, it was not.

Someone else here said it wasn't Brian, not me.  As I said I don't believe that anyone else would run the session but I'm trying to be fair and consider it as a possibility.  So the album was scrapped 2 weeks before a studio session to record a track which is well known to be a track for Smile (it doesn't need to be written down on the studio paperwork for us to know that Da Da was intended for Smile and was not on Smiley Smile).  According to Badham (not always reliable) Capitol cancelled the final day scheduled for DaDa.  So it seems they didn't know about Smiley Smile on 19th May or else it would have gone ahead. In any case Brian insisted all the original Smile recordings should not be used for Smiley and re-recorded them at home.  So it seems that Brian didn't know the album was scrapped either.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 10:51:29 AM

--Speculation here--Brian has a despairing conversation with Derek Taylor, where he suggests that SMILE is going to put away. Taylor overreacts, sends out his press release about SMiLE being "scrapped."

--LEAVING TWO MYSTERIES: 1) if Smiley was mixed by mid-July, why wait two months to release it?

2) Why did the 10-track SMiLE LP disappear along with the Brother Records logo?

I can’t honestly imagine Derek Taylor, a publicist, rushing off to send out a press release without some serious approval and authority when there is no up side to the message and which would likely cause some damage to the group.  That’s exactly the opposite of what a publicist does.

I’m not sure that 2 months is a great deal of time considering it has to be pressed, advertised, jackets prepared and printed, orders received and processed - though it is not the kind of business I’ve been involved in so I could be wrong.

My point in the first place was that Smile may have been finished and that it was deliberately pulled by Capitol, Brian or the band.


From the data at Bellagio, we see that PET SOUNDS was released a bit less than a month after it was mastered.

And there is about a month between the last recording session for WILD HONEY (mid-November 1967) and its release date (December 18).

By the time SMILEY SMILE came out it was sixteen months since PET SOUNDS, and there was a lot of consternation about the non-appearance of the follow-up LP. With the mastering finished in late July and H&V released at just about the same moment, it's odd that it took another month UNLESS something else came up to delay it.

An analogous example is the FRIENDS LP, which also languished for a couple months after the mastering was complete. With the single doing poorly, and with a sizable amount of turmoil over touring dates, there may have been some second-guessing about the LP, which clearly had no other potential hits on it...which explains the flurry of additional recording activity at the time, including "Do It Again," which came out as a 45 just two weeks after the FRIENDD LP was finally release.

Delays of this type likely involve some other issues behind the scenes, most likely within the band. And the band had to be concerned about their career viability in May-June 1968...

Don, I think this may explain the delay in some part:

(https://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n295/guitarfool2002/billboard%20july%2022%201967_zps2uawl1hn.jpg)

That was published in Billboard, July 22 1967. This was when the "deal" between Capitol and the band, establishing Brother Records and the distribution agreement was finalized. With the deal involving terms of the previous lawsuit settlement, I can imagine there were mountains of legal documents to sign and approve before anything could be put in motion. As noted in the article, KHJ (and other radio stations) had already been playing exclusive tape dubs of the Heroes single, but it had not seen an official release on 45rpm until 2 days after this article, so the machine moved pretty quickly. Note the dates on the Capitol/Engemann Smile memos too, concerning the booklets and album art - July 25th. It took the sealing of the deal to get all of these parts moving.

I can imagine there were more legal issues at work as well which delayed the album release, and also worth noting is that the "Gettin Hungry" single was released at almost the same time (within weeks at least) as the Smiley album that September.

Also worth noting is how Capitol released "Best Of volume 2" at the end of July, so maybe they staggered the releases so the shelves wouldn't be filled with two Beach Boys albums, one showing their old sound and the latest showcasing a radically different sound. Give the Greatest Hits vol 2 a chance to sell, run its course throughout the remaining summer months, then drop the new album? Just a thought.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 10:55:22 AM
As ever, it is useful to keep in mind that the Beach Boys is not just a band, or group, that makes music.  Before that, they are a family. It so happens that this family makes music and then found commercial success with that music, but they are a family first and foremost.

For the Beach Boys, Smiley Smile is preferable to whatever Smile could or would have been because Smiley is, in their collective mindset, a collective endeavor by the whole band ("Produced by the Beach Boys") with all members engaged in the creation of the album.  The album is recorded in sequestered  family space, Brian Wilson's home, away from the outsiders and various external "bad influences" that are perceived to the cause of Brian's problems.  In this way, Smiley Smile is indeed Smile - but only the Beach Boys' version of Smile, not that of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.

During the time period in question, they primary operating goal of the collective Beach Boys is not musical, let alone artistic.  As of mid-1967, the main purpose of the Beach Boys is to stay together as a family/band. Their career is, arguably, in jeopardy during the Smile-era, and once Smile collapses, it becomes more apparent that something must be done, and done quickly, to right the ship, or to revert the Beach Boys back to its prior equilibrium state - that of a unified family organization, rather than an artistic dictatorship whereby all members of the family are at the mercy of the whims of one eccentric family member.

Stability is goal number one, because if they cannot do that, then everything else - chart ranking, singles, musical quality, etc. - is moot.  Because of Brian's actions circa 1966-67, the family foundation of the Beach Boys had been in jeopardy.  If that hadn't been the case - for example, if, hypothetically, Brian had hired Tony Asher to help him write happy, up-tempo songs about boy-girl relationships - there wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  If the family foundation is strong and secure (i.e., nobody in the band is going to leave, or go solo, or do anything that threatens the existence of the band) then yes, it is possible to move on and try to make good music. This was the state of things in, say, 1963, and into the first half of 1964. In those days the Beach Boys, as a whole, single entity, is in good shape (especially if they can put some distance between themselves and Murry, which they did)  Brian Wilson, however, as an individual, is progressively in worse and worse shape, as signified by the nervous breakdown at the end of 1964.

Anybody can fill in the rest... it's basically a tug-of-war between Brian and what he represents (both positive and negative) and the Beach Boys business family and what it represents (both positive and negative). Anyway, this dynamic is a significant (though not the only) reason Smiley Smile sounds the way it does in comparison to the Smile Sessions music. Smiley was a function of business necessity (survival) , not just unfettered artistic license on the part of the band members, as if they could easily choose what they wanted Smiley to sound like.

Smiley is a a reflection of the Beach Boys as of mid-1967: talented, but hopelessly dysfunctional.  I appreciate Smiley too, but to really celebrate the album, you need to push the dysfunction and family problems out of your mind and pretend that the Beach Boys are happily unified and are intending to make a cool, weird, left-field album.


No, The Beach Boys are a band that makes music.  Brian has other cousins who are not in the band.  Al and Bruce are no relation at all.  If the group disbanded those who are family would still be family.

If your primary aim is to keep the group (family and non-family) together then it still is way off target since it started the decline in Brian’s creative involvement in the group and his decline in health and into drug taking and remaining in his room which eventually ended with them expelling him from the group.  

But that isn’t the primary aim of a group.  It is to make music and the best music that they can.  As they very soon started trading off Smile - not The Beach Boys version but the version by Brian and VDP - by promising its release and then putting pieces of it on various albums it’s obvious that they realised its worth eventually.  Brian puts a version of it out to great acclaim and then in 2011 The Smile Sessions are released which presumably was approved by the remaining band.

Smiley Smile was labelled ‘produced by the Beach Boys’ yet they over ruled Brian’s wishes not to include GV.  It is made in Brian Wilson’s home not the Beach Boys family home!

Mike Love was not happy with Tony Asher’s lyrical contribution either.  There was a problem during Pet Sounds.

What it basically amounted to was that Brian had musical acumen which the other band members lacked but they didn’t trust him.  Them forcing Brian to abandon 3 Dog Night who he had signed to Brother and then blaming Brian for not keeping them when they went on to be extremely successful is another case in point of them not trusting Brian’s skill and then blaming him for them not doing so. So basically instead of keeping the band together, they shot themselves in the foot.

According to David Anderle Brian did intend to make a good humour album and THAT is Smiley Smile.

This is a vast, vast oversimplification of the rest of the band's attitude towards Brian (and their attitude towards the "Smile" music), especially if we're lumping *all* of the other members together.

There's no successful reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of "Smile", and certainly no reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of Brian, both within the group and outside of the group.

And if we're getting into "expelling Brian from the group", which I have to assume means the late 1982 "firing", then that's a *whole* other ball of a wax full of tons of moving parts.


Of course it’s a simplification though I think it was Van Dyke Parks who said something like ‘all of them disliked it, even the lesser known members of the group’.  VDP may feel a little bitterly toward everyone considering what happened and it may be tainting his recollection but you’d think that it would have to be more than 3 who disliked it enough to want it scrapped especially considering the difficulties that decision would cause them.

I’m not actually trying to explain the ‘demise’ of Smile - the reverse. I’m trying to explain how it may have survived and how it was actually ready and that it was only the decision of the band - or the majority of the band - which prevented its release.

As for ‘explaining the demise’ of Brian.  He is not yet dead, not actually nor musically.  He has written and performed music and produced many albums both within and outside the group.

Of course I’m referring to the firing and we all know it was done to try and give Brian the motivation to quit drugs though I’m not sure that saying he couldn’t ever rejoin the group even if he stopped taking drugs would be a motivation to stop, probably a reason to take more.

I think it's pretty well-established that VDP is an important source of information, and that he also has his own spin on things as far as recollections and impressions, and so on. I don't know how much he understood *all* of the elements of the dynamics within the band. Like, how often did he have a long conversation with Al Jardine about how Al felt about the quality of the music, separate from the commercial/business outlook?

I think when anybody, whether it's VDP or fans/scholars, try to say that "all" of the rest of the band felt one way about the "Smile" material at any given point, that's not telling the full story. Yes, I think generalizing and maybe a bit of hyperbole from someone, including VDP, to drive home the point that the band's lack of hearty support for the material played a role in the album's demise, is fine. But when we're delving deep into the story, the reality is that the various members had simultaneous conflicting feelings about the stuff, and how they acted in response also shifted over time. Dennis and Carl could be very supportive of Brian, and also had times where they stood by and let Brian be torn down a bit (e.g. the Redwood tracks). I think Mike is the only member of the group that, at certain points, had actual skepticism about the *music* itself, in terms of just saying "that is really good, interesting material", again totally separate from misgivings about the commercial nature of the material. And even Mike has been able over the years to acknowledge the quality of the some of the material, including Brian's vocal on "Wonderful."

I'm not here to vociferously defend the other band members. But it's a very hazy, complex situation in terms of how they felt and how they acted. It's easy decades later to just look at the material and say "how could anybody stand in the way?." There are many, many reasons. The power dynamic on multiple levels was shifting. The amount of clout people had shifted. It starts to get murky trying to parse the difference between "not championing" something versus actively standing in the way.

And obviously,  by "demise of Brian", I was referring to his several downward tracks, in the mid-70s and then again in the early 80s. And that 1982 "firing", while obviously tied as *everything* in the band's history is to their previous history, was a pretty different animal from what was going on during the "bedroom" years of the mid-70s-ish. Brian was in some ways in a much darker and dangerous place in 1982, and the status of the touring operation was more of a factor in decisions they made about Brian, both positive and negative. By 1982, they weren't really a studio band anymore. They were a touring act that occasionally did studio work.

They were all at the Surfs Up recording session with VDP and David Anderle.  Anderle said there was ‘no ringleader’ that they all expressed concerns so VDP’s remark is substantiated and likely related to the discussion that took place then in December 1966.

I was not telling the full story simply because it is off the topic we are discussing and was only answering the points made by someone else. I am not trying to apportion blame and as I’ve just said Anderle said there was no ringleader and that they all had concerns.

I know what you meant by ‘demise’ I was just pointing out that ‘rumours of [his] death have been exaggerated’.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 21, 2022, 10:56:02 AM
Brian Wilson (and the other guys for that matter) could of course be unpredictable and do things with little apparent (immediate) logic. We have Brian taking stabs at "Surf's Up" during the "Wild Honey" sessions.

This guy also cut "Shortenin' Bread" in the studio in 1980 *after* numerous recordings had led to *releasing* the song on their '79 LP.

I could absolutely picture the Beach Boys doing a "Smile session" (either just as "more work on whatever the next album is" or "specifically work for the 'Smile' album") after a press release ostensibly announcing the album's scrapping.

This is mostly a sidebar, but it goes to the idea that all of these guys could have weird short-term memory issues about the music they were recording. I remember a fan running into Al before or after a concert in the 70s, and they asked Al to sign the "Smiley Smile" album. Al grabbed the album and acted as if he was seeing some rare, long-lost item. He asked "where did you get this?" as if the album had never come out or was like the Beatles butcher cover or something. Now, we know Al can be extra weird about inexplicably temporarily forgetting very obvious things. But I think all of the machinations around the band at any given time could kind of blur things very quickly. Look at all the amazing songs they wrote and recorded in the later 60s into the 70s that they just immediately dropped and forgot about, while moving on to record like "Child of Winter" or "Belles of Paris" or whatever.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 10:58:49 AM
I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest that performing “Smiley Smile” material/arrangements would be easier for the band than “Smile” material/arrangements. It’s important to keep in mind that any live concert scenario would involve performing only a few songs from whatever version had been released.

“Smiley Smile” material (and “Wild Honey” material for that matter) could require less *stripping down* of the arrangements to play well enough on stage. They were going to be doing a few tracks, so in the extreme example, “Getting’ Hungry” would be far, far less demanding on the 1967 tour lineup than performing “Surf’s Up” or the full “Smile” version of “Wind Chimes” or something. Either version of “Vegetables” would have been among the easier tracks to arrange for their live show.

Now, how much this played a role in what happened with “Smile”, I don’t know. I don’t weigh this aspect particularly heavily.

I think all of this becomes much more germane of course when we get to “Wild Honey”, and you can see with those late ’67 shows that they seemed more into trying to do stripped-back versions of “Wild Honey” songs; they required less stripping back than like “Child is Father of the Man” or “Look” or “Surf’s Up”, etc.


They're working with one of the finest composers and arrangers of the time - couldn't they just ask Brian to arrange a version of these tracks which could be played on stage?  Brian played Surf's Up with a piano and a voice...


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 21, 2022, 11:07:13 AM
As ever, it is useful to keep in mind that the Beach Boys is not just a band, or group, that makes music.  Before that, they are a family. It so happens that this family makes music and then found commercial success with that music, but they are a family first and foremost.

For the Beach Boys, Smiley Smile is preferable to whatever Smile could or would have been because Smiley is, in their collective mindset, a collective endeavor by the whole band ("Produced by the Beach Boys") with all members engaged in the creation of the album.  The album is recorded in sequestered  family space, Brian Wilson's home, away from the outsiders and various external "bad influences" that are perceived to the cause of Brian's problems.  In this way, Smiley Smile is indeed Smile - but only the Beach Boys' version of Smile, not that of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.

During the time period in question, they primary operating goal of the collective Beach Boys is not musical, let alone artistic.  As of mid-1967, the main purpose of the Beach Boys is to stay together as a family/band. Their career is, arguably, in jeopardy during the Smile-era, and once Smile collapses, it becomes more apparent that something must be done, and done quickly, to right the ship, or to revert the Beach Boys back to its prior equilibrium state - that of a unified family organization, rather than an artistic dictatorship whereby all members of the family are at the mercy of the whims of one eccentric family member.

Stability is goal number one, because if they cannot do that, then everything else - chart ranking, singles, musical quality, etc. - is moot.  Because of Brian's actions circa 1966-67, the family foundation of the Beach Boys had been in jeopardy.  If that hadn't been the case - for example, if, hypothetically, Brian had hired Tony Asher to help him write happy, up-tempo songs about boy-girl relationships - there wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  If the family foundation is strong and secure (i.e., nobody in the band is going to leave, or go solo, or do anything that threatens the existence of the band) then yes, it is possible to move on and try to make good music. This was the state of things in, say, 1963, and into the first half of 1964. In those days the Beach Boys, as a whole, single entity, is in good shape (especially if they can put some distance between themselves and Murry, which they did)  Brian Wilson, however, as an individual, is progressively in worse and worse shape, as signified by the nervous breakdown at the end of 1964.

Anybody can fill in the rest... it's basically a tug-of-war between Brian and what he represents (both positive and negative) and the Beach Boys business family and what it represents (both positive and negative). Anyway, this dynamic is a significant (though not the only) reason Smiley Smile sounds the way it does in comparison to the Smile Sessions music. Smiley was a function of business necessity (survival) , not just unfettered artistic license on the part of the band members, as if they could easily choose what they wanted Smiley to sound like.

Smiley is a a reflection of the Beach Boys as of mid-1967: talented, but hopelessly dysfunctional.  I appreciate Smiley too, but to really celebrate the album, you need to push the dysfunction and family problems out of your mind and pretend that the Beach Boys are happily unified and are intending to make a cool, weird, left-field album.


No, The Beach Boys are a band that makes music.  Brian has other cousins who are not in the band.  Al and Bruce are no relation at all.  If the group disbanded those who are family would still be family.

If your primary aim is to keep the group (family and non-family) together then it still is way off target since it started the decline in Brian’s creative involvement in the group and his decline in health and into drug taking and remaining in his room which eventually ended with them expelling him from the group.  

But that isn’t the primary aim of a group.  It is to make music and the best music that they can.  As they very soon started trading off Smile - not The Beach Boys version but the version by Brian and VDP - by promising its release and then putting pieces of it on various albums it’s obvious that they realised its worth eventually.  Brian puts a version of it out to great acclaim and then in 2011 The Smile Sessions are released which presumably was approved by the remaining band.

Smiley Smile was labelled ‘produced by the Beach Boys’ yet they over ruled Brian’s wishes not to include GV.  It is made in Brian Wilson’s home not the Beach Boys family home!

Mike Love was not happy with Tony Asher’s lyrical contribution either.  There was a problem during Pet Sounds.

What it basically amounted to was that Brian had musical acumen which the other band members lacked but they didn’t trust him.  Them forcing Brian to abandon 3 Dog Night who he had signed to Brother and then blaming Brian for not keeping them when they went on to be extremely successful is another case in point of them not trusting Brian’s skill and then blaming him for them not doing so. So basically instead of keeping the band together, they shot themselves in the foot.

According to David Anderle Brian did intend to make a good humour album and THAT is Smiley Smile.

This is a vast, vast oversimplification of the rest of the band's attitude towards Brian (and their attitude towards the "Smile" music), especially if we're lumping *all* of the other members together.

There's no successful reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of "Smile", and certainly no reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of Brian, both within the group and outside of the group.

And if we're getting into "expelling Brian from the group", which I have to assume means the late 1982 "firing", then that's a *whole* other ball of a wax full of tons of moving parts.


Of course it’s a simplification though I think it was Van Dyke Parks who said something like ‘all of them disliked it, even the lesser known members of the group’.  VDP may feel a little bitterly toward everyone considering what happened and it may be tainting his recollection but you’d think that it would have to be more than 3 who disliked it enough to want it scrapped especially considering the difficulties that decision would cause them.

I’m not actually trying to explain the ‘demise’ of Smile - the reverse. I’m trying to explain how it may have survived and how it was actually ready and that it was only the decision of the band - or the majority of the band - which prevented its release.

As for ‘explaining the demise’ of Brian.  He is not yet dead, not actually nor musically.  He has written and performed music and produced many albums both within and outside the group.

Of course I’m referring to the firing and we all know it was done to try and give Brian the motivation to quit drugs though I’m not sure that saying he couldn’t ever rejoin the group even if he stopped taking drugs would be a motivation to stop, probably a reason to take more.

I think it's pretty well-established that VDP is an important source of information, and that he also has his own spin on things as far as recollections and impressions, and so on. I don't know how much he understood *all* of the elements of the dynamics within the band. Like, how often did he have a long conversation with Al Jardine about how Al felt about the quality of the music, separate from the commercial/business outlook?

I think when anybody, whether it's VDP or fans/scholars, try to say that "all" of the rest of the band felt one way about the "Smile" material at any given point, that's not telling the full story. Yes, I think generalizing and maybe a bit of hyperbole from someone, including VDP, to drive home the point that the band's lack of hearty support for the material played a role in the album's demise, is fine. But when we're delving deep into the story, the reality is that the various members had simultaneous conflicting feelings about the stuff, and how they acted in response also shifted over time. Dennis and Carl could be very supportive of Brian, and also had times where they stood by and let Brian be torn down a bit (e.g. the Redwood tracks). I think Mike is the only member of the group that, at certain points, had actual skepticism about the *music* itself, in terms of just saying "that is really good, interesting material", again totally separate from misgivings about the commercial nature of the material. And even Mike has been able over the years to acknowledge the quality of the some of the material, including Brian's vocal on "Wonderful."

I'm not here to vociferously defend the other band members. But it's a very hazy, complex situation in terms of how they felt and how they acted. It's easy decades later to just look at the material and say "how could anybody stand in the way?." There are many, many reasons. The power dynamic on multiple levels was shifting. The amount of clout people had shifted. It starts to get murky trying to parse the difference between "not championing" something versus actively standing in the way.

And obviously,  by "demise of Brian", I was referring to his several downward tracks, in the mid-70s and then again in the early 80s. And that 1982 "firing", while obviously tied as *everything* in the band's history is to their previous history, was a pretty different animal from what was going on during the "bedroom" years of the mid-70s-ish. Brian was in some ways in a much darker and dangerous place in 1982, and the status of the touring operation was more of a factor in decisions they made about Brian, both positive and negative. By 1982, they weren't really a studio band anymore. They were a touring act that occasionally did studio work.

They were all at the Surfs Up recording session with VDP and David Anderle.  Anderle said there was ‘no ringleader’ that they all expressed concerns so VDP’s remark is substantiated and likely related to the discussion that took place then in December 1966.

I was not telling the full story simply because it is off the topic we are discussing and was only answering the points made by someone else. I am not trying to apportion blame and as I’ve just said Anderle said there was no ringleader and that they all had concerns.

I know what you meant by ‘demise’ I was just pointing out that ‘rumours of [his] death have been exaggerated’.

I've bought every solo album and have seen Brian in concert a dozen-plus times since 1999; I've picked apart the most inane of minutia about his most obscure 80s and 90s material and so on; I've never tried to minimize his continuing his career.

As far as VDP and "Surf's Up" and whatnot, yes, that is an important snapshot. And it may even be representative enough of the general consensus opinion of the rest of the group at a given moment. I'm just saying, the other guys are human beings and were professional musicians and singers with their own feelings and opinions, and I'm not sure how much VDP was having like heart-to-hearts with them about their musical philosophy. And that may not even be VDP's fault. I think we have a pretty decent insight into how the band had misgivings and concerns. Probably both justified and in some cases maybe not so much. But I'm probably honing in a lot here (and it's perhaps becoming more of a sidebar) on how they *felt* about the music. As in, did they think it was good? I think they all knew things like "Wonderful" and "Surf's Up" were amazing pieces. Even Mike. They had and have more of a keen insight into what's *good* than we sometimes might think (listen to Mike's running commentary on that Brian 1976 piano demo reel). The story in some cases is less about what they thought about the music, and more about how factors *outside* of their musical instincts led them away from their musical instincts. Like ego and money related to songwriting credits. What they thought the label wanted. What they thought fans wanted. Not only how they might *perform* music on stage, but how the audience would *respond* to that music in concert. And so on.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 11:07:37 AM
It's clear that most of the original SMiLE tracks were not worked on for months--held in limbo by the centripetal actions that ensued when there was some form of blowback against the project as a whole. What comes next is two months of grappling with H&V in an attempt to get the right follow-up to GV.

The central point of a thesis that "SMiLE was ready in 1967" hinges on the idea that all of the vocals were recorded for the backing tracks. We know that this is not true, and that efforts went off in related but tangential directions in the first three months of '67.

Clearly H&V in some form would also have appeared on the SMiLE LP, but the waters are very muddy about what that would have been, and it became moot when the band started over for SMILEY SMILE and (mostly) re-recorded H&V (along with "Woody","Wind Chimes," "Wonderful" and "Whistle In").

The fact that they'd not been worked on for awhile was part of the lingering crisis about what to do, one that didn't get resolved until (as GF suggests) the band returned from its April-May tour with their own agenda items for SMiLE and the band's future. The album was in limbo, but the Engemann memo suggests that Brian was trying to keep SMiLE in play as a separate entity, at least for awhile. Did he give up and abandon all that when he was confronted by Mike etal over Redwood?

SMiLE was almost ready in '67, for sure. But the impediments that cropped up in terms of taking it over the finish line just got larger and more onerous. The more Brian worked on workarounds, the farther the finish line seemed to be. Carl's description omits the pain involved in it, but otherwise has the ring of truth.

My point was that much of the work was complete prior to the scrapping, that the same reference was used for Smiley Smile as was used for Smile so it may have been possible for any unfinished work to have been done in Brian’s studio quoting that reference.  Indeed Carl’s statement which Guitar Fool posted said that  Smile was completed.

It may have been the Redwood incident but apparently there was also a problem with Capitol and perhaps that’s when the Brother logo was removed.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 21, 2022, 11:17:25 AM
I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest that performing “Smiley Smile” material/arrangements would be easier for the band than “Smile” material/arrangements. It’s important to keep in mind that any live concert scenario would involve performing only a few songs from whatever version had been released.

“Smiley Smile” material (and “Wild Honey” material for that matter) could require less *stripping down* of the arrangements to play well enough on stage. They were going to be doing a few tracks, so in the extreme example, “Getting’ Hungry” would be far, far less demanding on the 1967 tour lineup than performing “Surf’s Up” or the full “Smile” version of “Wind Chimes” or something. Either version of “Vegetables” would have been among the easier tracks to arrange for their live show.

Now, how much this played a role in what happened with “Smile”, I don’t know. I don’t weigh this aspect particularly heavily.

I think all of this becomes much more germane of course when we get to “Wild Honey”, and you can see with those late ’67 shows that they seemed more into trying to do stripped-back versions of “Wild Honey” songs; they required less stripping back than like “Child is Father of the Man” or “Look” or “Surf’s Up”, etc.


They're working with one of the finest composers and arrangers of the time - couldn't they just ask Brian to arrange a version of these tracks which could be played on stage?  Brian played Surf's Up with a piano and a voice...

The question with a lot of bands around this time, including the Beach Boys and the Beatles, was why didn't they just add more ancillary musicians on stage to perform either elements they couldn't, or elements needed to fill the sound out?

It just wasn't happening at that time. Maybe it was a money issue. Maybe it was just not what bands did in 1966/67.

I don't think they'd even need Brian to arrange the stuff for concert. They did that just fine on other material. I mean, I think they actually did a pretty good job of doing "Wild Honey" and "Friends" material in 1967/68 with minimal additional musicians.

Again, I think a lot of factors were at play. Even by 1966/67, there might have been a bit of animosity or resentment towards Brian for not being out on the road. And that could fork out into multiple areas. Resentment because they're doing the schlepping out on the road and he's not. Resentment because Brian isn't the one who has to play bass on those songs; they've got to learn the parts. Resentment that they had to face a possibly stone-faced audience who is confused by the material. Some of these things would have been more legit/real concerns than others. And some of these concerns wouldn't just be directed at Brian.

Keep in mind that the band past the time of even Carl's death were still usually *very hesitant* about doing non-hits in concert. They obviously have specific eras where they felt freer to do so (e.g. early-mid 70s, etc.). But since the 60s, and certainly into the 80s and 90s, they seemed *convinced* that doing a lot of deep cuts or new stuff was *this close* to like making the audience walk out in protest or something. It's fascinating. They still pushed through and did it sometimes of course. I think even in 1967 they were self-conscious about doing new material. You hear more awkward semi-apologetic tones on some of those live shows from the guys rather than a feeling of "holy s**t, you need to hear this amazing new song!"


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 11:28:13 AM
As ever, it is useful to keep in mind that the Beach Boys is not just a band, or group, that makes music.  Before that, they are a family. It so happens that this family makes music and then found commercial success with that music, but they are a family first and foremost.

For the Beach Boys, Smiley Smile is preferable to whatever Smile could or would have been because Smiley is, in their collective mindset, a collective endeavor by the whole band ("Produced by the Beach Boys") with all members engaged in the creation of the album.  The album is recorded in sequestered  family space, Brian Wilson's home, away from the outsiders and various external "bad influences" that are perceived to the cause of Brian's problems.  In this way, Smiley Smile is indeed Smile - but only the Beach Boys' version of Smile, not that of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.

During the time period in question, they primary operating goal of the collective Beach Boys is not musical, let alone artistic.  As of mid-1967, the main purpose of the Beach Boys is to stay together as a family/band. Their career is, arguably, in jeopardy during the Smile-era, and once Smile collapses, it becomes more apparent that something must be done, and done quickly, to right the ship, or to revert the Beach Boys back to its prior equilibrium state - that of a unified family organization, rather than an artistic dictatorship whereby all members of the family are at the mercy of the whims of one eccentric family member.

Stability is goal number one, because if they cannot do that, then everything else - chart ranking, singles, musical quality, etc. - is moot.  Because of Brian's actions circa 1966-67, the family foundation of the Beach Boys had been in jeopardy.  If that hadn't been the case - for example, if, hypothetically, Brian had hired Tony Asher to help him write happy, up-tempo songs about boy-girl relationships - there wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  If the family foundation is strong and secure (i.e., nobody in the band is going to leave, or go solo, or do anything that threatens the existence of the band) then yes, it is possible to move on and try to make good music. This was the state of things in, say, 1963, and into the first half of 1964. In those days the Beach Boys, as a whole, single entity, is in good shape (especially if they can put some distance between themselves and Murry, which they did)  Brian Wilson, however, as an individual, is progressively in worse and worse shape, as signified by the nervous breakdown at the end of 1964.

Anybody can fill in the rest... it's basically a tug-of-war between Brian and what he represents (both positive and negative) and the Beach Boys business family and what it represents (both positive and negative). Anyway, this dynamic is a significant (though not the only) reason Smiley Smile sounds the way it does in comparison to the Smile Sessions music. Smiley was a function of business necessity (survival) , not just unfettered artistic license on the part of the band members, as if they could easily choose what they wanted Smiley to sound like.

Smiley is a a reflection of the Beach Boys as of mid-1967: talented, but hopelessly dysfunctional.  I appreciate Smiley too, but to really celebrate the album, you need to push the dysfunction and family problems out of your mind and pretend that the Beach Boys are happily unified and are intending to make a cool, weird, left-field album.


No, The Beach Boys are a band that makes music.  Brian has other cousins who are not in the band.  Al and Bruce are no relation at all.  If the group disbanded those who are family would still be family.

If your primary aim is to keep the group (family and non-family) together then it still is way off target since it started the decline in Brian’s creative involvement in the group and his decline in health and into drug taking and remaining in his room which eventually ended with them expelling him from the group.  

But that isn’t the primary aim of a group.  It is to make music and the best music that they can.  As they very soon started trading off Smile - not The Beach Boys version but the version by Brian and VDP - by promising its release and then putting pieces of it on various albums it’s obvious that they realised its worth eventually.  Brian puts a version of it out to great acclaim and then in 2011 The Smile Sessions are released which presumably was approved by the remaining band.

Smiley Smile was labelled ‘produced by the Beach Boys’ yet they over ruled Brian’s wishes not to include GV.  It is made in Brian Wilson’s home not the Beach Boys family home!

Mike Love was not happy with Tony Asher’s lyrical contribution either.  There was a problem during Pet Sounds.

What it basically amounted to was that Brian had musical acumen which the other band members lacked but they didn’t trust him.  Them forcing Brian to abandon 3 Dog Night who he had signed to Brother and then blaming Brian for not keeping them when they went on to be extremely successful is another case in point of them not trusting Brian’s skill and then blaming him for them not doing so. So basically instead of keeping the band together, they shot themselves in the foot.

According to David Anderle Brian did intend to make a good humour album and THAT is Smiley Smile.

This is a vast, vast oversimplification of the rest of the band's attitude towards Brian (and their attitude towards the "Smile" music), especially if we're lumping *all* of the other members together.

There's no successful reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of "Smile", and certainly no reductionist approach to trying to explain the demise of Brian, both within the group and outside of the group.

And if we're getting into "expelling Brian from the group", which I have to assume means the late 1982 "firing", then that's a *whole* other ball of a wax full of tons of moving parts.


Of course it’s a simplification though I think it was Van Dyke Parks who said something like ‘all of them disliked it, even the lesser known members of the group’.  VDP may feel a little bitterly toward everyone considering what happened and it may be tainting his recollection but you’d think that it would have to be more than 3 who disliked it enough to want it scrapped especially considering the difficulties that decision would cause them.

I’m not actually trying to explain the ‘demise’ of Smile - the reverse. I’m trying to explain how it may have survived and how it was actually ready and that it was only the decision of the band - or the majority of the band - which prevented its release.

As for ‘explaining the demise’ of Brian.  He is not yet dead, not actually nor musically.  He has written and performed music and produced many albums both within and outside the group.

Of course I’m referring to the firing and we all know it was done to try and give Brian the motivation to quit drugs though I’m not sure that saying he couldn’t ever rejoin the group even if he stopped taking drugs would be a motivation to stop, probably a reason to take more.

I think it's pretty well-established that VDP is an important source of information, and that he also has his own spin on things as far as recollections and impressions, and so on. I don't know how much he understood *all* of the elements of the dynamics within the band. Like, how often did he have a long conversation with Al Jardine about how Al felt about the quality of the music, separate from the commercial/business outlook?

I think when anybody, whether it's VDP or fans/scholars, try to say that "all" of the rest of the band felt one way about the "Smile" material at any given point, that's not telling the full story. Yes, I think generalizing and maybe a bit of hyperbole from someone, including VDP, to drive home the point that the band's lack of hearty support for the material played a role in the album's demise, is fine. But when we're delving deep into the story, the reality is that the various members had simultaneous conflicting feelings about the stuff, and how they acted in response also shifted over time. Dennis and Carl could be very supportive of Brian, and also had times where they stood by and let Brian be torn down a bit (e.g. the Redwood tracks). I think Mike is the only member of the group that, at certain points, had actual skepticism about the *music* itself, in terms of just saying "that is really good, interesting material", again totally separate from misgivings about the commercial nature of the material. And even Mike has been able over the years to acknowledge the quality of the some of the material, including Brian's vocal on "Wonderful."

I'm not here to vociferously defend the other band members. But it's a very hazy, complex situation in terms of how they felt and how they acted. It's easy decades later to just look at the material and say "how could anybody stand in the way?." There are many, many reasons. The power dynamic on multiple levels was shifting. The amount of clout people had shifted. It starts to get murky trying to parse the difference between "not championing" something versus actively standing in the way.

And obviously,  by "demise of Brian", I was referring to his several downward tracks, in the mid-70s and then again in the early 80s. And that 1982 "firing", while obviously tied as *everything* in the band's history is to their previous history, was a pretty different animal from what was going on during the "bedroom" years of the mid-70s-ish. Brian was in some ways in a much darker and dangerous place in 1982, and the status of the touring operation was more of a factor in decisions they made about Brian, both positive and negative. By 1982, they weren't really a studio band anymore. They were a touring act that occasionally did studio work.

They were all at the Surfs Up recording session with VDP and David Anderle.  Anderle said there was ‘no ringleader’ that they all expressed concerns so VDP’s remark is substantiated and likely related to the discussion that took place then in December 1966.

I was not telling the full story simply because it is off the topic we are discussing and was only answering the points made by someone else. I am not trying to apportion blame and as I’ve just said Anderle said there was no ringleader and that they all had concerns.

I know what you meant by ‘demise’ I was just pointing out that ‘rumours of [his] death have been exaggerated’.

I've bought every solo album and have seen Brian in concert a dozen-plus times since 1999; I've picked apart the most inane of minutia about his most obscure 80s and 90s material and so on; I've never tried to minimize his continuing his career.

As far as VDP and "Surf's Up" and whatnot, yes, that is an important snapshot. And it may even be representative enough of the general consensus opinion of the rest of the group at a given moment. I'm just saying, the other guys are human beings and were professional musicians and singers with their own feelings and opinions, and I'm not sure how much VDP was having like heart-to-hearts with them about their musical philosophy. And that may not even be VDP's fault. I think we have a pretty decent insight into how the band had misgivings and concerns. Probably both justified and in some cases maybe not so much. But I'm probably honing in a lot here (and it's perhaps becoming more of a sidebar) on how they *felt* about the music. As in, did they think it was good? I think they all knew things like "Wonderful" and "Surf's Up" were amazing pieces. Even Mike. They had and have more of a keen insight into what's *good* than we sometimes might think (listen to Mike's running commentary on that Brian 1976 piano demo reel). The story in some cases is less about what they thought about the music, and more about how factors *outside* of their musical instincts led them away from their musical instincts. Like ego and money related to songwriting credits. What they thought the label wanted. What they thought fans wanted. Not only how they might *perform* music on stage, but how the audience would *respond* to that music in concert. And so on.
orry I didn’t mean to upset you I’m just being a little facetious.  TBH I’ve always liked your posts and admired your breadth of knowledge.  Whilst I’ve been a fan since 1968 and have all of their albums and Brian's albums and seen the Beach Boys play in all flavours and Brian so many times I’ve lost count, but don’t have the memory or the interest in the minutia to remember it. 

As I said I’m not trying to apportion blame but I do get a bit fed up with the ‘they’re all a big happy family” description especially when in the same post they then describe them as dysfunctional.   But however you look at it whoever thought Smile was a bad idea was wrong.  Music was changing and the not all the fans wanted sex on a surf board. Smile has been a selling point for several albums since and is still hugely popular and influential.  I remember during a concert in London in the 70s we were asked what we wanted to hear them play “Surf’s Up” was the deafening response - they played “Surfin USA”!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 21, 2022, 12:51:31 PM
From the fan point of view, it’s easy to come to a number of conclusions (or I guess just opinions) about “Smile.”

It’s interesting if we start getting into whether not putting it out was a bad idea. On many levels, on many fronts, the answer is of course an easy yes. It’s amazing music. Even those that don’t like the modular music approach can’t deny the pieces are stunning.

But if we’re looking at how “Smile” would have been received in 1967, that’s a whole other beast. I don’t think anybody can say with any certainty how it would have performed with critics or on the charts. But I think it’s not outrageous to say that it’s unlikely it would have surpassed something like Sgt. Pepper on the charts or with the broad critical consensus. It would have likely been received by the enlightened both in and outside of the industry in a similar if not grander fashion than “Pet Sounds” had been.

Would it have led to more hits for the band in the immediate? I don’t know. I think it’s fair to say quite possibly not. It quickly becomes a case of stacking a lot of “What Ifs” on top of each other. But one scenario is that things, at least in the immediate aftermath of a release of “Smile”, would have played out similarly to how it actually did, in terms of musical releases and chart performance/sales. “Smile” may have been less noticed and met with more confusion than “Pet Sounds.” We obviously would not have then seen a “Smiley Smile”, but something akin to “Wild Honey” could have easily materialized I think.

I don’t think if “Smile” had been released that we would have then seen the setlist there on out filled with a bunch of “Smile” selections. They would not have been playing “Wind Chimes” and “Look” at Anaheim Stadium in 1976.

“Smile” has been discussed so heavily, I’m sure someone else has already floated the theory that things would have still played out much the same had it been released. I’m not even endorsing that theory; it’s a few too many what if’s I think. But it’s interesting to ponder the idea of a universe where the BB story played out pretty much the same in the studio and on the road, only we had a finished “Smile” instead of “Smiley Smile”, and I guess “20/20” and “Surf’s Up” would have been somewhat different?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 21, 2022, 01:27:53 PM
From the fan point of view, it’s easy to come to a number of conclusions (or I guess just opinions) about “Smile.”

It’s interesting if we start getting into whether not putting it out was a bad idea. On many levels, on many fronts, the answer is of course an easy yes. It’s amazing music. Even those that don’t like the modular music approach can’t deny the pieces are stunning.

But if we’re looking at how “Smile” would have been received in 1967, that’s a whole other beast. I don’t think anybody can say with any certainty how it would have performed with critics or on the charts. But I think it’s not outrageous to say that it’s unlikely it would have surpassed something like Sgt. Pepper on the charts or with the broad critical consensus. It would have likely been received by the enlightened both in and outside of the industry in a similar if not grander fashion than “Pet Sounds” had been.

Would it have led to more hits for the band in the immediate? I don’t know. I think it’s fair to say quite possibly not. It quickly becomes a case of stacking a lot of “What Ifs” on top of each other. But one scenario is that things, at least in the immediate aftermath of a release of “Smile”, would have played out similarly to how it actually did, in terms of musical releases and chart performance/sales. “Smile” may have been less noticed and met with more confusion than “Pet Sounds.” We obviously would not have then seen a “Smiley Smile”, but something akin to “Wild Honey” could have easily materialized I think.

I don’t think if “Smile” had been released that we would have then seen the setlist there on out filled with a bunch of “Smile” selections. They would not have been playing “Wind Chimes” and “Look” at Anaheim Stadium in 1976.

“Smile” has been discussed so heavily, I’m sure someone else has already floated the theory that things would have still played out much the same had it been released. I’m not even endorsing that theory; it’s a few too many what if’s I think. But it’s interesting to ponder the idea of a universe where the BB story played out pretty much the same in the studio and on the road, only we had a finished “Smile” instead of “Smiley Smile”, and I guess “20/20” and “Surf’s Up” would have been somewhat different?


I don't think it's possible to know what would have happened if Smile had been released.  The Beach Boys existing fan base would probably not have taken to it - although some would - the UK fans especially.  But they may have attracted other new followers with more esoteric interests and with less of a high value on hits.  If there had been any kind of success in this way then perhaps Brian would have been able to do what he wanted which was to progress musically.  The band should really have split instead of just making each other unhappy and things may have turned out better for Brian personally. 
Perhaps Brian would have been prepared to throw them a hit single now and again had they separated and in any case Carl and Dennis were beginning to write their own music and so could have supported the band.  Another alternative that they could continue with the touring band and release records of their own individually under their own name.  The current touring band cannot make music under the name of The Beach Boys but have been making a comfortable living out of it for years.
On the other hand a complete flop may have been curtains and the plus side of withholding of Smile was it allowed its legend to carry on growing until in the end it was the fans who caused it to be released.

As you say there are too many what if's.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 21, 2022, 01:43:10 PM
There's a lot going on in here and I don't want to wade into all of it, but I do want to comment on a few things.

The silly voice slating the Love to Say Da Da takes is engineer Jimmy Hilton, who sounds a lot like Brian. Brian was out on the studio floor playing on all three sessions. That has nothing to do with who ran or produced the sessions - it's just who that voice is.

Capitol didn't cancel a session on May 19th, Brian did. Capitol had nothing to do with the studio time Brian did or didn't book for himself. He cancelled a number of recording sessions over those months out of not feeling it, vibrations being off, etc.

Brian recording Love to Say Da Da at Gold Star really doesn't bring any contradiction to Taylor's press statement. Since Christmas (mysterious excursions into Surf's Up and Jasper Dailey aside), Brian's entire focus in the studio had essentially been to produce a single and its B-side, and that single would've ended up on the next Beach Boys album, which at the time was supposed to be Smile. The rest of the project was hanging on standby with Brian giving little consideration to the other songs as he deconstructed and transplanted musical ideas from various pieces into Heroes. As the months went by, Brian got stuck in a rut, wrapped up in the lawsuit, wrapped up in personal difficulties, lost the ability to judge the merits of the material after spending too long with it, lost sight of the original vision, couldn't take the pressure of expectation, became creatively dissatisfied with what he was doing, and wanted to start fresh on something new that he could enjoy making ('non-competitive' music, as Mike put it).

There's nothing evidentially tying the May Love to Say Da Da sessions to Smile. If anything, Brian doing that strongly supports that the album he was supposed to deliver had been put on the shelf - these are a run of sessions for new music not among the 12 song titles printed on the back sleeves for the first time since fall '66, besides You're Welcome and the embryonic December Da Da (neither of which were done on the books with a master number assignment). Yes, it's not really a production departure yet - but so? Taylor's piece had been published, obviously at Brian's behest, and here's Brian working on new material outside of the album he'd promised to deliver. In any case, something wasn't clicking with him, as he cancelled a session and never used the track.

When the Beach Boys returned from Europe they started working on more new material (You're With Me Tonight and Cool Cool Water, both of which were potentially B-sides for Vegetables), but they're at Western, there's a harpsichord, there's a session bassist, and the production approach isn't practically any different to most of those sessions throughout the Smile era for Wonderful, He Gives Speeches, Surf's Up, You're Welcome, all the Heroes and Vegetables sections, parts of Do You Like Worms, Wind Chimes, etc. The only thing that sets Da Da apart is it was the last ensemble Wrecking Crew track recorded at Gold Star, but those were already few and far between as '66 moved into '67. Then Brian finally gets the home studio that he’s been asking after and has a wind of inspiration to return to Heroes and Villains as the single following a rewrite, so they spend a few days finishing that off at the house and it’s… basically the same thing? He’s in a new place and has a new organ, sure, but the actual arrangement and production style doesn’t differ in any meaningful way to what he’d been doing with Heroes at Columbia months earlier. On the heels of that, the environment and available instrumentation inspires a new arrangement of Vegetables – and in my mind that’s when a new sound clicks and Smiley Smile is conceptually born. Brian had been sliding towards that type of organic-feeling minimalism for a long time. The transition up to then is natural and traceable and obvious. It’s just a kick up to the next level, really – he jumped into a new bag and got excited by it, to put it in Brian lingo.

I think to say that there’s any one single creative leap from Smile to Smiley Smile and that it can be pegged to Love to Say Da Da is an extremely reductive way to look at it all. But on a practical level, as in, “the next Beach Boys album won’t be Smile as conceived in 1966,” it’s the Taylor article.

For posterity, here’s that whole thing, Disk & Music Echo, 6th May 1967:

BEACH BOYS fly in for a hot tour - and this is why there’s no new single to launch it...

BEACH BOYS WEEK IN BRITAIN! Out of a sleek, silver jet at London Airport come Igor Horoshevsky, Frank St Peters, Jim Carther and Richard Thompson - plus the five better-known Beach Boys…
    Who, then, are Igor and Co.? A fair question. Igor is up there in huge letters on the side of the Beach Boys’ aircraft. “The Beach Boys and Igor,” says the sign, without explanation or apology.
    The answer is the fine big band the group promised last time they came to Britain.
    Frank plays saxophone, flute and clarinet; Jim plays flute and sax; Richard dabbles in flugelhorn, harpsichord, flute, organ, saxophone and clarinet.
    And who’s this Horoshevsky cat? He plays cello. And he will steer the band on a path of rich, red music across the nation and set these isles once again vibrating good and strong to the Beach Boys.
It will be fine music this tour. It wasn’t all bad last November, either, when the Beach Boys’ potential new LP “Dumb Angel” was about to become “Smile” far away in the Beverly Hills at Brian Wilson’s piano set grandly in the sandbox in the drawing room.
    So why, people may be asking, has the genius Wilson not offered us a new single since “Good Vibrations?” Where, too, is the album? It’s a long story…
    Last November, as the Beach Boys toured Britain, Wilson had NEARLY completed “Heroes And Villains,” scheduled as their follow-up single.
    The rest of the “Smile” LP songs lay in dry dock, in varying states of completion. And when Carl, Dennis, Al, Mike and Bruce - full of pubs, laden with Portobello Road, wreathed in holiday smiles and British pop-battle honours - inhaled again the sun-sealed smog of their home-Golden State, the final construction work began.
BUT ALAS…
    Brian Wilson began to stare at the glittering ships of tape and as the day of the launch became nearer than a date on the never-never calendar, he gazed at his plans and he turned his mind’s ear inwards and the longer he stared and the more he heard, the clearer it became that he was now in his jet age, building steamships.
    Which couldn’t be right.
    In truth, every beautifully designed, finely-wrought inspirationally-welded piece of music made these last months by Brian and his Beach Boy craftsmen has been SCRAPPED.
    Not destroyed, but scrapped. For what Wilson seals in a can and destroys is scrapped.
    As an average fan of the Beach Boys, I think it is bitterly disappointing. But it isn’t as if one is bereft of the group’s essential spirit - there are 14 albums, many of them incredibly pure and full of life and lovely.
    One is, however, deprived of renewal. It is like waiting for an heir when the pregnancy is total. It has to come. Has to.
    What, then? I don’t know. The Beach Boys don’t know. Brian Wilson, God grant him peace of mind … he doesn’t know.
    He is waiting with his nearest Mike and Al and Bruce and his dearest Carl and Dennis. And if it is difficult for them, it is absolutely unbearable for Brian.
    It has to come. New single, new album.
    Until it does, I trust we can all be patient and enjoy the substance of the Beach Boy family which is still young and new, and continually justifying its place in an exclusive pop hierarchy which has never admitted charlatans or pretenders.
    “THE BEACH BOYS AND IGOR” are flying.
    Switch off the lights, turn on “Pet Sounds,” and you know that there are in the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson some eclectic, elegant, ethereal elements which transcend the transitory Top 30, and which makes nonsense of “now music.”
    The Beach Boys are with you now.
    For now they are yours.
    Enjoy them.
    That is why they came.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 02:08:30 PM
You seem very certain the Taylor piece was published "at Brian's behest". How do you know this with any degree of certainty or proof? It was never proven where or how Taylor got the word (or if he even did) to publish that statement.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 21, 2022, 02:13:37 PM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you honestly contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it in a magazine?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 02:20:18 PM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 21, 2022, 02:26:05 PM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?

"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting", even if at the time, there was a thought that he would eventually return to the material after clearing the air.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 02:34:56 PM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?

"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting".

Word is they were also working with another publicist for that leg of the tour, I'll get his name when I can. But seriously though, no one told the band that the album had been scrapped after Taylor's article appeared? They talk as if they had no idea, and that Smile would be coming out. Not that it was scrapped, shelved, put in the can, or whatever semantic would fit.  :)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Don Malcolm on July 21, 2022, 02:52:27 PM

--Speculation here--Brian has a despairing conversation with Derek Taylor, where he suggests that SMILE is going to put away. Taylor overreacts, sends out his press release about SMiLE being "scrapped."

--LEAVING TWO MYSTERIES: 1) if Smiley was mixed by mid-July, why wait two months to release it?

2) Why did the 10-track SMiLE LP disappear along with the Brother Records logo?

I can’t honestly imagine Derek Taylor, a publicist, rushing off to send out a press release without some serious approval and authority when there is no up side to the message and which would likely cause some damage to the group.  That’s exactly the opposite of what a publicist does.

I’m not sure that 2 months is a great deal of time considering it has to be pressed, advertised, jackets prepared and printed, orders received and processed - though it is not the kind of business I’ve been involved in so I could be wrong.

My point in the first place was that Smile may have been finished and that it was deliberately pulled by Capitol, Brian or the band.


From the data at Bellagio, we see that PET SOUNDS was released a bit less than a month after it was mastered.

And there is about a month between the last recording session for WILD HONEY (mid-November 1967) and its release date (December 18).

By the time SMILEY SMILE came out it was sixteen months since PET SOUNDS, and there was a lot of consternation about the non-appearance of the follow-up LP. With the mastering finished in late July and H&V released at just about the same moment, it's odd that it took another month UNLESS something else came up to delay it.

An analogous example is the FRIENDS LP, which also languished for a couple months after the mastering was complete. With the single doing poorly, and with a sizable amount of turmoil over touring dates, there may have been some second-guessing about the LP, which clearly had no other potential hits on it...which explains the flurry of additional recording activity at the time, including "Do It Again," which came out as a 45 just two weeks after the FRIENDD LP was finally release.

Delays of this type likely involve some other issues behind the scenes, most likely within the band. And the band had to be concerned about their career viability in May-June 1968...

Don, I think this may explain the delay in some part:

(https://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n295/guitarfool2002/billboard%20july%2022%201967_zps2uawl1hn.jpg)

That was published in Billboard, July 22 1967. This was when the "deal" between Capitol and the band, establishing Brother Records and the distribution agreement was finalized. With the deal involving terms of the previous lawsuit settlement, I can imagine there were mountains of legal documents to sign and approve before anything could be put in motion. As noted in the article, KHJ (and other radio stations) had already been playing exclusive tape dubs of the Heroes single, but it had not seen an official release on 45rpm until 2 days after this article, so the machine moved pretty quickly. Note the dates on the Capitol/Engemann Smile memos too, concerning the booklets and album art - July 25th. It took the sealing of the deal to get all of these parts moving.

I can imagine there were more legal issues at work as well which delayed the album release, and also worth noting is that the "Gettin Hungry" single was released at almost the same time (within weeks at least) as the Smiley album that September.

Also worth noting is how Capitol released "Best Of volume 2" at the end of July, so maybe they staggered the releases so the shelves wouldn't be filled with two Beach Boys albums, one showing their old sound and the latest showcasing a radically different sound. Give the Greatest Hits vol 2 a chance to sell, run its course throughout the remaining summer months, then drop the new album? Just a thought.

Good point, GF. I tend to think that Capitol was again hedging its bets with the band at this point with a Best of vol 2, given that they'd gone so long without a new LP. (Which seems pretty wacky to us today, but they really wanted--and expected--three LPs a year in those days).

"Gettin' Hungry" was only kinda sorta a Beach Boys single; its release was rather perfunctory and was put out as "Brian and Mike." A certain amount of fence-mending and ego-stroking might have been at work there. And Capitol probably figured that it was worth it to do so in order to mark time for an impending LP release that they may have already suspected was going to have some amount of backlash associated with it.

My point was that the turnaround mechanism at Capitol at that time would pretty easily accommodate a month from mastering to in-the-stores. So the decision to do a Best of vol 2 must have been made in May or June, when things were still up in the air regarding exactly what was coming from the band in terms of a new LP. As it turned out, Best of vol 2 was a misfire, only getting up to the 50s on the sales charts.

But here's a question I don't think we've ever discussed previously. Presumably Capitol and the band overruled Brian about putting GV on SMILEY SMILE. If Brian had prevailed, however, you'd have a big hole on Side Two; without GV, the other five tracks amount to about 11 minutes of music. Seems that they would've needed to come up with something else to put on the record--but what would it have been? "Good Time Mama"?!

BTW, thanks to Will for grabbing the Taylor piece--I hadn't seen it in years and its tone confirms some things I remember sensing in it when I first encountered it. It's as paradoxical as anything else that surfaced in the "nether region" period--frankly, it reads like Taylor had downed half a bottle of single malt before he sat down at the typewriter. It confirms the idea that Taylor was channeling the strangeness that was abounding around the project and the band--and, of course, Brian--and was making his own odd call for help as he found himself slipping down the rabbit hole with his clients.

It's almost as if Derek is a go-between for Brian and the band, letting them know that he's open to some parallel prospect for the future--SMiLE "scrapped" as a Beach Boy project, with something else TBD in its place.

And the best guess that I think is available to us is that by doing so, he still hoped to keep most of SMiLE intact as his own project, while moving on to some rapprochement with the band. That explains Engemann's memo.

Only what happened was that the band, faced with Brian's depression in the "fall breaking back to winter" in 68-69, decided that they had no choice but to take away his sovereignty over the SMiLE material. Turning it into a "myth" and an ongoing mystery, a bauble they could use as needed.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 03:15:56 PM
Arthur Howes was the promoter for that May '67 leg of the tour, a man named Roger Easterby was working at Howes' office as the publicist for the tour. Derek Taylor eventually stopped working for the band as their official hired publicist, I can't recall when that happened though.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Bicyclerider on July 21, 2022, 03:21:43 PM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?



"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting".

Word is they were also working with another publicist for that leg of the tour, I'll get his name when I can. But seriously though, no one told the band that the album had been scrapped after Taylor's article appeared? They talk as if they had no idea, and that Smile would be coming out. Not that it was scrapped, shelved, put in the can, or whatever semantic would fit.  :)

There are two different Smile albums at play here.  There is the originally planned 12 track Smile with the associated tracks and songs Brian worked on from August 66- March 67.  This is what Derek Taylor is saying has been sealed in a can and "scrapped."  Someone - presumably Brian - informed him that he was abandoning these tracks (but not necessarily the songs, as we see with Smiley).  As has been pointed out, Dada was Brian starting something new, whether for a B side of a single or a track for an album.

Then there is Smile as the name of "the next Beach Boys album" - whatever Brian decided it would consist of.  That's what the Beach Boys are talking about.  An album was continuing to be worked on.  An album would eventually come out.  And to be fair to them, Brian probably wasn't communicating to Mike, Al, Carl et al what he was going to exclude or include on "the next album" from what he had been recording - as it turns out very little was included, only about half of Heroes and the end of Vegetables.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 21, 2022, 03:28:59 PM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?



"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting".

Word is they were also working with another publicist for that leg of the tour, I'll get his name when I can. But seriously though, no one told the band that the album had been scrapped after Taylor's article appeared? They talk as if they had no idea, and that Smile would be coming out. Not that it was scrapped, shelved, put in the can, or whatever semantic would fit.  :)

There are two different Smile albums at play here.  There is the originally planned 12 track Smile with the associated tracks and songs Brian worked on from August 66- March 67.  This is what Derek Taylor is saying has been sealed in a can and "scrapped."  Someone - presumably Brian - informed him that he was abandoning these tracks (but not necessarily the songs, as we see with Smiley).  As has been pointed out, Dada was Brian starting something new, whether for a B side of a single or a track for an album.

Then there is Smile as the name of "the next Beach Boys album" - whatever Brian decided it would consist of.  That's what the Beach Boys are talking about.  An album was continuing to be worked on.  An album would eventually come out.  And to be fair to them, Brian probably wasn't communicating to Mike, Al, Carl et al what he was going to exclude or include on "the next album" from what he had been recording - as it turns out very little was included, only about half of Heroes and the end of Vegetables.

Exactly, thanks for succinctly putting that into words.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 21, 2022, 03:34:57 PM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?



"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting".

Word is they were also working with another publicist for that leg of the tour, I'll get his name when I can. But seriously though, no one told the band that the album had been scrapped after Taylor's article appeared? They talk as if they had no idea, and that Smile would be coming out. Not that it was scrapped, shelved, put in the can, or whatever semantic would fit.  :)

There are two different Smile albums at play here.  There is the originally planned 12 track Smile with the associated tracks and songs Brian worked on from August 66- March 67.  This is what Derek Taylor is saying has been sealed in a can and "scrapped."  Someone - presumably Brian - informed him that he was abandoning these tracks (but not necessarily the songs, as we see with Smiley).  As has been pointed out, Dada was Brian starting something new, whether for a B side of a single or a track for an album.

Then there is Smile as the name of "the next Beach Boys album" - whatever Brian decided it would consist of.  That's what the Beach Boys are talking about.  An album was continuing to be worked on.  An album would eventually come out.  And to be fair to them, Brian probably wasn't communicating to Mike, Al, Carl et al what he was going to exclude or include on "the next album" from what he had been recording - as it turns out very little was included, only about half of Heroes and the end of Vegetables.

Two quick points: First, DaDa wasn't new at all, it was Brian's "All Day" from  January '67 with more instruments.

Second, consider what Carl said in the LA Times interview:

Excerpts from "The Beach Boys' Quickest Album" , LA Times, October 8th 1967:

"Well, the album didn't really head for any direction. We just decided to, or I should say Brian decided to, make a real simple album. So, with that in mind, we recorded it at his house and it's the quickest album we've ever done." (Carl Wilson quote)

"You see, the whole thing is that 'Pet Sounds' was really an expanded type of musical thing. It's really quite a musical album and we got into a thing where we just wanted to ease up and make a simple album. It was a nice change. It's very hard on a person to keep on doing a 'Pet Sounds.'" (Carl Wilson quote)

Last year, when "Good Vibrations" was racking up its million-plus sales, Capitol had the follow-up album scheduled under the title of "Smile." The album jacket already had been printed, a picture of a shop which dispensed smiles. But the album never came out and the Beach Boys became embroiled in a royalty suit against Capitol. Rumors said that Brian, a perfectionist, had destroyed all the tapes for the LP. "We didn't scrap them," Carl said. "We just haven't used them yet. We did it all from scratch when we started again. We actually had finished the album but then a lot of things didn't turn out the way Brian liked. We all didn't agree on different types of things. We decided to do something new."

"If he gets an idea it's now and it's better than something from the past. I've seen it a hundred times. We've seen a lot of potentially great songs just be shelved. They come out maybe two or three years later, but they're in his mind somehow. If that particular idea seems to fit what he's working on at the time it will just come naturally." (Mike Love quote)

"We didn't scrap them". Isn't it interesting that Carl used the word "scrap", as if he were responding to the Taylor comment 4 months later?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 22, 2022, 01:25:57 AM
I'm going to drop this quote here, from a post in 2016 in a discussion about the same issues we're discussing here, and I hope everyone reading it forms their own opinions on what Carl said. For the record, the article itself is 100% legitimate, and since this 2016 discussion I have gotten a clipping of the full article from the LA Times as it was published in that Sunday edition, October 8 1967. The quotes are accurate and in context.

Excerpts from "The Beach Boys' Quickest Album" , LA Times, October 8th 1967:

"Well, the album didn't really head for any direction. We just decided to, or I should say Brian decided to, make a real simple album. So, with that in mind, we recorded it at his house and it's the quickest album we've ever done." (Carl Wilson quote)

"You see, the whole thing is that 'Pet Sounds' was really an expanded type of musical thing. It's really quite a musical album and we got into a thing where we just wanted to ease up and make a simple album. It was a nice change. It's very hard on a person to keep on doing a 'Pet Sounds.'" (Carl Wilson quote)

Last year, when "Good Vibrations" was racking up its million-plus sales, Capitol had the follow-up album scheduled under the title of "Smile." The album jacket already had been printed, a picture of a shop which dispensed smiles. But the album never came out and the Beach Boys became embroiled in a royalty suit against Capitol. Rumors said that Brian, a perfectionist, had destroyed all the tapes for the LP. "We didn't scrap them," Carl said. "We just haven't used them yet. We did it all from scratch when we started again. We actually had finished the album but then a lot of things didn't turn out the way Brian liked. We all didn't agree on different types of things. We decided to do something new."

"If he gets an idea it's now and it's better than something from the past. I've seen it a hundred times. We've seen a lot of potentially great songs just be shelved. They come out maybe two or three years later, but they're in his mind somehow. If that particular idea seems to fit what he's working on at the time it will just come naturally." (Mike Love quote)

Thanks so much for finding this.  I really appreciate it.  Your wealth of knowledge is amazing.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 22, 2022, 01:40:29 AM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?

"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting", even if at the time, there was a thought that he would eventually return to the material after clearing the air.

"Not destroyed, but scrapped. For what Wilson seals in a can and destroys is scrapped."  Doesn't sound much like he thought he'd be going back to it any time.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 22, 2022, 02:20:37 AM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?

"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting", even if at the time, there was a thought that he would eventually return to the material after clearing the air.

"Not destroyed, but scrapped. For what Wilson seals in a can and destroys is scrapped."  Doesn't sound much like he thought he'd be going back to it any time.

True. For all the Engemann memo was circulating with that discussion about using the sleeves and booklets, I don't think Brian ever expressed a serious interest in returning to Smile. Others would occasionally bring it up under the assumption that they'd eventually go back to it (including Bruce in early '68 who said they had half an album in the can) but Brian made an intriguing comment that year about a big group argument over his decision to not use those songs.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 22, 2022, 02:29:59 AM


There's nothing evidentially tying the May Love to Say Da Da sessions to Smile. If anything, Brian doing that strongly supports that the album he was supposed to deliver had been put on the shelf - these are a run of sessions for new music not among the 12 song titles printed on the back sleeves for the first time since fall '66, besides You're Welcome and the embryonic December Da Da (neither of which were done on the books with a master number assignment). Yes, it's not really a production departure yet - but so? Taylor's piece had been published, obviously at Brian's behest, and here's Brian working on new material outside of the album he'd promised to deliver. In any case, something wasn't clicking with him, as he cancelled a session and never used the track.

When the Beach Boys returned from Europe they started working on more new material (You're With Me Tonight and Cool Cool Water, both of which were potentially B-sides for Vegetables), but they're at Western, there's a harpsichord, there's a session bassist, and the production approach isn't practically any different to most of those sessions throughout the Smile era for Wonderful, He Gives Speeches, Surf's Up, You're Welcome, all the Heroes and Vegetables sections, parts of Do You Like Worms, Wind Chimes, etc. The only thing that sets Da Da apart is it was the last ensemble Wrecking Crew track recorded at Gold Star, but those were already few and far between as '66 moved into '67. Then Brian finally gets the home studio that he’s been asking after and has a wind of inspiration to return to Heroes and Villains as the single following a rewrite, so they spend a few days finishing that off at the house and it’s… basically the same thing? He’s in a new place and has a new organ, sure, but the actual arrangement and production style doesn’t differ in any meaningful way to what he’d been doing with Heroes at Columbia months earlier. On the heels of that, the environment and available instrumentation inspires a new arrangement of Vegetables – and in my mind that’s when a new sound clicks and Smiley Smile is conceptually born. Brian had been sliding towards that type of organic-feeling minimalism for a long time. The transition up to then is natural and traceable and obvious. It’s just a kick up to the next level, really – he jumped into a new bag and got excited by it, to put it in Brian lingo.

I think to say that there’s any one single creative leap from Smile to Smiley Smile and that it can be pegged to Love to Say Da Da is an extremely reductive way to look at it all. But on a practical level, as in, “the next Beach Boys album won’t be Smile,” it’s the Taylor article.

For posterity, here’s that whole thing, Disk & Music Echo, 6th May 1967:

BEACH BOYS fly in for a hot tour - and this is why there’s no new single to launch it...

BEACH BOYS WEEK IN BRITAIN! Out of a sleek, silver jet at London Airport come Igor Horoshevsky, Frank St Peters, Jim Carther and Richard Thompson - plus the five better-known Beach Boys…
    Who, then, are Igor and Co.? A fair question. Igor is up there in huge letters on the side of the Beach Boys’ aircraft. “The Beach Boys and Igor,” says the sign, without explanation or apology.
    The answer is the fine big band the group promised last time they came to Britain.
    Frank plays saxophone, flute and clarinet; Jim plays flute and sax; Richard dabbles in flugelhorn, harpsichord, flute, organ, saxophone and clarinet.
    And who’s this Horoshevsky cat? He plays cello. And he will steer the band on a path of rich, red music across the nation and set these isles once again vibrating good and strong to the Beach Boys.
It will be fine music this tour. It wasn’t all bad last November, either, when the Beach Boys’ potential new LP “Dumb Angel” was about to become “Smile” far away in the Beverly Hills at Brian Wilson’s piano set grandly in the sandbox in the drawing room.
    So why, people may be asking, has the genius Wilson not offered us a new single since “Good Vibrations?” Where, too, is the album? It’s a long story…
    Last November, as the Beach Boys toured Britain, Wilson had NEARLY completed “Heroes And Villains,” scheduled as their follow-up single.
    The rest of the “Smile” LP songs lay in dry dock, in varying states of completion. And when Carl, Dennis, Al, Mike and Bruce - full of pubs, laden with Portobello Road, wreathed in holiday smiles and British pop-battle honours - inhaled again the sun-sealed smog of their home-Golden State, the final construction work began.
BUT ALAS…
    Brian Wilson began to stare at the glittering ships of tape and as the day of the launch became nearer than a date on the never-never calendar, he gazed at his plans and he turned his mind’s ear inwards and the longer he stared and the more he heard, the clearer it became that he was now in his jet age, building steamships.
    Which couldn’t be right.
    In truth, every beautifully designed, finely-wrought inspirationally-welded piece of music made these last months by Brian and his Beach Boy craftsmen has been SCRAPPED.
    Not destroyed, but scrapped. For what Wilson seals in a can and destroys is scrapped.
    As an average fan of the Beach Boys, I think it is bitterly disappointing. But it isn’t as if one is bereft of the group’s essential spirit - there are 14 albums, many of them incredibly pure and full of life and lovely.
    One is, however, deprived of renewal. It is like waiting for an heir when the pregnancy is total. It has to come. Has to.
    What, then? I don’t know. The Beach Boys don’t know. Brian Wilson, God grant him peace of mind … he doesn’t know.
    He is waiting with his nearest Mike and Al and Bruce and his dearest Carl and Dennis. And if it is difficult for them, it is absolutely unbearable for Brian.
    It has to come. New single, new album.
    Until it does, I trust we can all be patient and enjoy the substance of the Beach Boy family which is still young and new, and continually justifying its place in an exclusive pop hierarchy which has never admitted charlatans or pretenders.
    “THE BEACH BOYS AND IGOR” are flying.
    Switch off the lights, turn on “Pet Sounds,” and you know that there are in the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson some eclectic, elegant, ethereal elements which transcend the transitory Top 30, and which makes nonsense of “now music.”
    The Beach Boys are with you now.
    For now they are yours.
    Enjoy them.
    That is why they came.


I Love to Say Da Da is one of the 2 water element pieces of the The Elements and so IS tied to Smile and is on the list.  It was changed to Cool Cool Water.

As I understand it by the end of 1966 they only had left to do vocals for the Home on the Range section on Cabin Essence, vocals for Do You Like Worms, vocals for Surf's Up and the 2nd movement, Vega-tables and I Love To Say Da Da.  So there was not a lot to actually do so why at the 11th hour would you give the whole thing up?  He was struggling with reworking H&V in 1967 but managed to finish that so that couldn't have been the trigger to 'scrap' the whole album.  Even if he felt like that for 10 minutes and told Derek Taylor when he overcame the problems with H&V and the opportunity to release the album was still open, why didn't he?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 22, 2022, 02:32:17 AM

--Speculation here--Brian has a despairing conversation with Derek Taylor, where he suggests that SMILE is going to put away. Taylor overreacts, sends out his press release about SMiLE being "scrapped."

--LEAVING TWO MYSTERIES: 1) if Smiley was mixed by mid-July, why wait two months to release it?

2) Why did the 10-track SMiLE LP disappear along with the Brother Records logo?

I can’t honestly imagine Derek Taylor, a publicist, rushing off to send out a press release without some serious approval and authority when there is no up side to the message and which would likely cause some damage to the group.  That’s exactly the opposite of what a publicist does.

I’m not sure that 2 months is a great deal of time considering it has to be pressed, advertised, jackets prepared and printed, orders received and processed - though it is not the kind of business I’ve been involved in so I could be wrong.

My point in the first place was that Smile may have been finished and that it was deliberately pulled by Capitol, Brian or the band.


From the data at Bellagio, we see that PET SOUNDS was released a bit less than a month after it was mastered.

And there is about a month between the last recording session for WILD HONEY (mid-November 1967) and its release date (December 18).

By the time SMILEY SMILE came out it was sixteen months since PET SOUNDS, and there was a lot of consternation about the non-appearance of the follow-up LP. With the mastering finished in late July and H&V released at just about the same moment, it's odd that it took another month UNLESS something else came up to delay it.

An analogous example is the FRIENDS LP, which also languished for a couple months after the mastering was complete. With the single doing poorly, and with a sizable amount of turmoil over touring dates, there may have been some second-guessing about the LP, which clearly had no other potential hits on it...which explains the flurry of additional recording activity at the time, including "Do It Again," which came out as a 45 just two weeks after the FRIENDD LP was finally release.

Delays of this type likely involve some other issues behind the scenes, most likely within the band. And the band had to be concerned about their career viability in May-June 1968...

Don, I think this may explain the delay in some part:

(https://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n295/guitarfool2002/billboard%20july%2022%201967_zps2uawl1hn.jpg)

That was published in Billboard, July 22 1967. This was when the "deal" between Capitol and the band, establishing Brother Records and the distribution agreement was finalized. With the deal involving terms of the previous lawsuit settlement, I can imagine there were mountains of legal documents to sign and approve before anything could be put in motion. As noted in the article, KHJ (and other radio stations) had already been playing exclusive tape dubs of the Heroes single, but it had not seen an official release on 45rpm until 2 days after this article, so the machine moved pretty quickly. Note the dates on the Capitol/Engemann Smile memos too, concerning the booklets and album art - July 25th. It took the sealing of the deal to get all of these parts moving.

I can imagine there were more legal issues at work as well which delayed the album release, and also worth noting is that the "Gettin Hungry" single was released at almost the same time (within weeks at least) as the Smiley album that September.

Also worth noting is how Capitol released "Best Of volume 2" at the end of July, so maybe they staggered the releases so the shelves wouldn't be filled with two Beach Boys albums, one showing their old sound and the latest showcasing a radically different sound. Give the Greatest Hits vol 2 a chance to sell, run its course throughout the remaining summer months, then drop the new album? Just a thought.

Good point, GF. I tend to think that Capitol was again hedging its bets with the band at this point with a Best of vol 2, given that they'd gone so long without a new LP. (Which seems pretty wacky to us today, but they really wanted--and expected--three LPs a year in those days).

"Gettin' Hungry" was only kinda sorta a Beach Boys single; its release was rather perfunctory and was put out as "Brian and Mike." A certain amount of fence-mending and ego-stroking might have been at work there. And Capitol probably figured that it was worth it to do so in order to mark time for an impending LP release that they may have already suspected was going to have some amount of backlash associated with it.

My point was that the turnaround mechanism at Capitol at that time would pretty easily accommodate a month from mastering to in-the-stores. So the decision to do a Best of vol 2 must have been made in May or June, when things were still up in the air regarding exactly what was coming from the band in terms of a new LP. As it turned out, Best of vol 2 was a misfire, only getting up to the 50s on the sales charts.

But here's a question I don't think we've ever discussed previously. Presumably Capitol and the band overruled Brian about putting GV on SMILEY SMILE. If Brian had prevailed, however, you'd have a big hole on Side Two; without GV, the other five tracks amount to about 11 minutes of music. Seems that they would've needed to come up with something else to put on the record--but what would it have been? "Good Time Mama"?!

BTW, thanks to Will for grabbing the Taylor piece--I hadn't seen it in years and its tone confirms some things I remember sensing in it when I first encountered it. It's as paradoxical as anything else that surfaced in the "nether region" period--frankly, it reads like Taylor had downed half a bottle of single malt before he sat down at the typewriter. It confirms the idea that Taylor was channeling the strangeness that was abounding around the project and the band--and, of course, Brian--and was making his own odd call for help as he found himself slipping down the rabbit hole with his clients.

It's almost as if Derek is a go-between for Brian and the band, letting them know that he's open to some parallel prospect for the future--SMiLE "scrapped" as a Beach Boy project, with something else TBD in its place.

And the best guess that I think is available to us is that by doing so, he still hoped to keep most of SMiLE intact as his own project, while moving on to some rapprochement with the band. That explains Engemann's memo.

Only what happened was that the band, faced with Brian's depression in the "fall breaking back to winter" in 68-69, decided that they had no choice but to take away his sovereignty over the SMiLE material. Turning it into a "myth" and an ongoing mystery, a bauble they could use as needed.

The band overruled Brian's decision to put GV on Smiley Smile - it was the first time they ever did that.

Certainly by not allowing any of the Smile recordings to go on Smiley Smile Brian was certainly keeping Smile in the hope of putting it out and probably wanted to include GV.  Perhaps Brian told Derek Taylor about scrapping the album as part of that plan - preserve Smile unchanged for a later release and give the band something else which would get them off his back about their concerns about it.  No wonder he got very depressed later when they started raiding his jewellery box to support themselves when they didn't have the nerve to support him in the first place.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 22, 2022, 04:51:00 AM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?

"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting", even if at the time, there was a thought that he would eventually return to the material after clearing the air.

"Not destroyed, but scrapped. For what Wilson seals in a can and destroys is scrapped."  Doesn't sound much like he thought he'd be going back to it any time.

True. For all the Engemann memo was circulating with that discussion about using the sleeves and booklets, I don't think Brian ever expressed a serious interest in returning to Smile. Others would occasionally bring it up under the assumption that they'd eventually go back to it (including Bruce in early '68 who said they had half an album in the can) but Brian made an intriguing comment that year about a big group argument over his decision to not use those songs.

The group were involved in litigation with Capitol over royalties so they may not have been sympathetic to Brian attempting to release this under his own name.  The group had had another big group argument in which all of the others in the band thought the music was not right for them (to put it diplomatically).  Brian would need to get around their disapproval.  Was Brian contractually tied to the group or did they just brow beat him to stay as they reportedly did with the Redwood incident which happened in the same year?  Was that incident enough to persuade Brian that any attempt for him to go solo with Smile was impossible? David Anderle was suggesting to Brian at the time that The Beach Boys shouldn't be involved in Smile.  Brian reportedly junked a lot of their vocals and recorded them in his own voice after the arguments - was he just unhappy with their performance or was he producing it for himself.

I expect his response to Bruce was a bit of passive aggressiveness on Brian's part and I can well understand it.  At the time Brian was making the album it wasn't right and suddenly they want to use it.   Brian seems to have wanted to preserve Smile  and not to allow them to use it and seemingly they argued about that too.  It could just be to punish them or just that he didn't want it watered down as with Vegetables or it could be that he wanted the opportunity to do what he wanted with it himself.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 22, 2022, 05:04:31 AM
Derek... worked for their Beach Boys as their publicist? Are you seriously contending that there's any possibility it didn't run through Brian, or that someone else passed the word to Derek who didn't communicate with Brian at all before writing and publishing it?

If Derek was their publicist, and had all this information about the tour, the musicians, even the airplane, then why were the Beach Boys seemingly unaware the album had been "scrapped" when interviewed shortly *after* this piece was published? Read the comment from Bruce especially, but also Mike and Dennis too, they're talking as if the album is still being worked on and will come out. That's odd considering their publicist probably would have told them at some point, right?



"If Derek was their publicist"? He... was? He was that? Yes?

It's not exactly a gigantic semantic leap from "scrapped" to "Brian doesn't want to use most of the things he's recorded over the last several months and complete the list of songs the record label are expecting".

Word is they were also working with another publicist for that leg of the tour, I'll get his name when I can. But seriously though, no one told the band that the album had been scrapped after Taylor's article appeared? They talk as if they had no idea, and that Smile would be coming out. Not that it was scrapped, shelved, put in the can, or whatever semantic would fit.  :)

There are two different Smile albums at play here.  There is the originally planned 12 track Smile with the associated tracks and songs Brian worked on from August 66- March 67.  This is what Derek Taylor is saying has been sealed in a can and "scrapped."  Someone - presumably Brian - informed him that he was abandoning these tracks (but not necessarily the songs, as we see with Smiley).  As has been pointed out, Dada was Brian starting something new, whether for a B side of a single or a track for an album.

Then there is Smile as the name of "the next Beach Boys album" - whatever Brian decided it would consist of.  That's what the Beach Boys are talking about.  An album was continuing to be worked on.  An album would eventually come out.  And to be fair to them, Brian probably wasn't communicating to Mike, Al, Carl et al what he was going to exclude or include on "the next album" from what he had been recording - as it turns out very little was included, only about half of Heroes and the end of Vegetables.

I Love to Say Da Da is the first of the 2 water chants which form a vital part of Smile.  He may have been working on it to use on the reverse of a single and it changed into Cool Cool Water which he also didn't use on Smiley Smile.  I read somewhere that Brian was unhappy that they had put this on Sunflower.  Vegetables was a change from the original also which had VDP lyrics and was called Vega-tables.   It is quite obvious he was trying to protect as much of the original Smile as possible from use.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: myonlysunshine on July 22, 2022, 08:18:08 AM
There are two different Smile albums at play here.  There is the originally planned 12 track Smile with the associated tracks and songs Brian worked on from August 66- March 67.  This is what Derek Taylor is saying has been sealed in a can and "scrapped."  Someone - presumably Brian - informed him that he was abandoning these tracks (but not necessarily the songs, as we see with Smiley).  As has been pointed out, Dada was Brian starting something new, whether for a B side of a single or a track for an album.

Then there is Smile as the name of "the next Beach Boys album" - whatever Brian decided it would consist of.  That's what the Beach Boys are talking about.  An album was continuing to be worked on.  An album would eventually come out.  And to be fair to them, Brian probably wasn't communicating to Mike, Al, Carl et al what he was going to exclude or include on "the next album" from what he had been recording - as it turns out very little was included, only about half of Heroes and the end of Vegetables.

I Love to Say Da Da is the first of the 2 water chants which form a vital part of Smile.  He may have been working on it to use on the reverse of a single and it changed into Cool Cool Water which he also didn't use on Smiley Smile.  I read somewhere that Brian was unhappy that they had put this on Sunflower.  Vegetables was a change from the original also which had VDP lyrics and was called Vega-tables.   It is quite obvious he was trying to protect as much of the original Smile as possible from use.

I'm enjoying reading this thread, but I want to chime in here on this point even though I rarely post: I Love to Say Da Da was not supposed to be water in the context of Smile, although that is what the track eventually grew into during the period of time being discussed here (i.e., during the time when Smile was transitioning/being reworked into Smiley Smile). According to Stephen Desper, the song was originally about a baby and more likely than not was initially envisioned as part of the 'cycle of life' songs that Wonderful, Child is Father of the Man, and Surf's Up all belonged to. The "wa-wa" 'chant' that you're referring to were baby sounds, and theme of the song being about a baby is referenced in its title and the fact that Brian reportedly sucked on a baby bottle filled with chocolate milk when he was composing it. It was only after Smile that the song's theme changed into being about water. You can read Stephen's comments about how I Love to Say Da Da morphed into Cool, Cool Water here: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238603.html#msg238603 (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238603.html#msg238603) and here: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238790.html#msg238790 (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238790.html#msg238790)

Given how late in the Smile Session's chronology Brian worked on it, and given how Van Dyke never even wrote lyrics for it, what with the song itself being an outgrowth of a scrapped section of Heroes and Villains (All Day), I am not convinced that Da Da would have appeared on any hypothetical released version of Smile back in early 1967. I definitely wouldn't say that the song was a 'vital part of Smile', and, given its origins, it is also highly improbable that Brian ever had it in mind as part of any elements suite given how the song was originally about a baby. On the thread I just linked to, someone suggested that the transition from the song about a baby to being about water likely happened during this transition period into Smiley Smile after Smile (as it had originally been conceived) had officially been scrapped. I think that view has merit to it — Brian working on the song during this period may have just been him experimenting and fleshing out the song, and that experimentation led to Cool, Cool Water instead. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Da Da being water and what its overall place/role in Smile was, which I think in large part stems from the fact that the above posts from Stephen were the first time I think that information about the history of the track had been revealed. So I think Bicyclerider's comment about DaDa ultimately being the start of something new for Brian is on point, even though that 'newness' was him experimenting and building upon an older song.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: terrei on July 22, 2022, 09:19:37 AM
"That the Smile recordings were abandoned the next day does not appear to be reflected in the work the day before. And Smile ‘legend’ would have one believe that these sessions became increasingly weird, and increasingly ‘out of control’. But the recordings show the same Brian Wilson that all the Smile sessions reveal: a composer and a producer in control."

So the accepted history is utter rubbish and probably simply to protect the brand.  And it's funny how the message changed over time from 'it's a nuclear bomb' to 'let's release it' in 2011.

Yeah it's rubbish. The sessions were going just fine circa February 1967. Nothing to see here, folks!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oz3FWFn5sk
^ Brian at the top of his game, obviously. You can tell it's the same guy who wrote God Only Knows and Our Prayer.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 22, 2022, 12:54:08 PM
There are two different Smile albums at play here.  There is the originally planned 12 track Smile with the associated tracks and songs Brian worked on from August 66- March 67.  This is what Derek Taylor is saying has been sealed in a can and "scrapped."  Someone - presumably Brian - informed him that he was abandoning these tracks (but not necessarily the songs, as we see with Smiley).  As has been pointed out, Dada was Brian starting something new, whether for a B side of a single or a track for an album.

Then there is Smile as the name of "the next Beach Boys album" - whatever Brian decided it would consist of.  That's what the Beach Boys are talking about.  An album was continuing to be worked on.  An album would eventually come out.  And to be fair to them, Brian probably wasn't communicating to Mike, Al, Carl et al what he was going to exclude or include on "the next album" from what he had been recording - as it turns out very little was included, only about half of Heroes and the end of Vegetables.

I Love to Say Da Da is the first of the 2 water chants which form a vital part of Smile.  He may have been working on it to use on the reverse of a single and it changed into Cool Cool Water which he also didn't use on Smiley Smile.  I read somewhere that Brian was unhappy that they had put this on Sunflower.  Vegetables was a change from the original also which had VDP lyrics and was called Vega-tables.   It is quite obvious he was trying to protect as much of the original Smile as possible from use.

I'm enjoying reading this thread, but I want to chime in here on this point even though I rarely post: I Love to Say Da Da was not supposed to be water in the context of Smile, although that is what the track eventually grew into during the period of time being discussed here (i.e., during the time when Smile was transitioning/being reworked into Smiley Smile). According to Stephen Desper, the song was originally about a baby and more likely than not was initially envisioned as part of the 'cycle of life' songs that Wonderful, Child is Father of the Man, and Surf's Up all belonged to. The "wa-wa" 'chant' that you're referring to were baby sounds, and theme of the song being about a baby is referenced in its title and the fact that Brian reportedly sucked on a baby bottle filled with chocolate milk when he was composing it. It was only after Smile that the song's theme changed into being about water. You can read Stephen's comments about how I Love to Say Da Da morphed into Cool, Cool Water here: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238603.html#msg238603 (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238603.html#msg238603) and here: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238790.html#msg238790 (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238790.html#msg238790)

Given how late in the Smile Session's chronology Brian worked on it, and given how Van Dyke never even wrote lyrics for it, what with the song itself being an outgrowth of a scrapped section of Heroes and Villains (All Day), I am not convinced that Da Da would have appeared on any hypothetical released version of Smile back in early 1967. I definitely wouldn't say that the song was a 'vital part of Smile', and, given its origins, it is also highly improbable that Brian ever had it in mind as part of any elements suite given how the song was originally about a baby. On the thread I just linked to, someone suggested that the transition from the song about a baby to being about water likely happened during this transition period into Smiley Smile after Smile (as it had originally been conceived) had officially been scrapped. I think that view has merit to it — Brian working on the song during this period may have just been him experimenting and fleshing out the song, and that experimentation led to Cool, Cool Water instead. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Da Da being water and what its overall place/role in Smile was, which I think in large part stems from the fact that the above posts from Stephen were the first time I think that information about the history of the track had been revealed. So I think Bicyclerider's comment about DaDa ultimately being the start of something new for Brian is on point, even though that 'newness' was him experimenting and building upon an older song.

I apologise.  I misled myself.

I have a partial article. I have been trying to find the rest of it or source it elsewhere but the author’s name is lost and in the morass of information on Smile it is difficult to plough through it all. I believed this article was published before BWPS and it quite clearly explains the lyrics of The Elements to illustrate Brian’s now famed LSD trip in which he died and was reborn. 

It includes quotations from VDP and the lyrics to Da Da are a chant issued as he is reborn in Hawaii.  This obviously makes it an important part of the story and as I also have a track list published long before BWPS which includes “I love to Say Da Da I (Water)” in the same position on the album, I had thought that VDP had written these lyrics earlier.  This, combined with the knowledge that Smiley Smile didn’t begin production until June  and that Brian had refused to use any of the Smile material on Smiley and that he re-recorded Da Da as Cool Cool Water, made it seem obvious to me that Da Da was part of The Elements on Smile. 

I still THINK I’m right but obviously the VDP lyrics for it were written at the time of BWPS. 

The lyrics for Da Da converted from the Hawaiian “convey the idea of a prolonged, intensified ritual based on sacred breathing, with a possible music connection”.  As this is a rebirth I expect the baby like sounds are somewhat fortuitous at worst and possibly deliberate as this is Van Dyke’s style. It is possible that this was always intended - someone else pointed out that VDP leaving was seen to be a big deal at the time which it would only have been if his work was not complete.  Perhaps Da Da was some of the work he hadn’t completed.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 22, 2022, 01:00:33 PM
This thread is proof that as famous as the legend is about SMiLE, the hidden truth (which we likely will never know the full story of) is even more fascinating


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: SMiLE Brian on July 22, 2022, 02:33:53 PM
Love this thread, this is like the SS board’s 15 big ones comeback.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 22, 2022, 03:10:47 PM
"That the Smile recordings were abandoned the next day does not appear to be reflected in the work the day before. And Smile ‘legend’ would have one believe that these sessions became increasingly weird, and increasingly ‘out of control’. But the recordings show the same Brian Wilson that all the Smile sessions reveal: a composer and a producer in control."

So the accepted history is utter rubbish and probably simply to protect the brand.  And it's funny how the message changed over time from 'it's a nuclear bomb' to 'let's release it' in 2011.

Yeah it's rubbish. The sessions were going just fine circa February 1967. Nothing to see here, folks!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oz3FWFn5sk
^ Brian at the top of his game, obviously. You can tell it's the same guy who wrote God Only Knows and Our Prayer.

This is like stating that "'Cassius' Love vs 'Sonny' Wilson" is evidence that Brian wasn't on top of his game in 1964 lol. Is "'Cassius' Love vs 'Sonny' Wilson" a track that people flock to listen to? Nope. But it's a representation of Brian's attempt at making people laugh. Brian was working on a humor album during Smile, right? I'm unclear on this part of the history)? He was big into the Koestler book that stated that laughter is the key to people getting along (paraphrasing). So hence he did some goofball tracks sandwiched in between sessions for Heroes and Vega-Tables...Both of which are powerhouses of creativity (especially the Smile Sessions version on Vega-Tables).

'Teeter Totter Love' is part of a pattern of Brian's humorous creativity that was evident all throughout his 60s recording career.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: SMiLE Brian on July 22, 2022, 03:34:22 PM
Good point rab, the actual sessions where BW is in control disproved the Mike Love approved “American family” TV movie where BW is singing to a doll at one point and making weird party sessions.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 22, 2022, 03:45:55 PM
Using the Jasper Dailey track to try to make a point about Brian's work in February '67 just doesn't work. For those who don't know enough about the track or why Brian even recorded Jasper singing as he did, there is plenty already on the record to explain it. But briefly, here's some background and a story to illustrate Brian's humor.

Since Brian and Michael Vosse flew to Michigan in October 1966 to be with the band when they unveiled Good Vibrations live on stage, Brian became an even bigger fan of natural, often unintentional humor, and began wanting to capture it on tape. On the cab ride outside the airport in Michigan, Brian and Vosse had a cab driver whose way of talking and explaining things cracked Brian up. He thought the cabbie was hilarious, and began to roll tape on his portable reel to reel as the guy drove them around the airport. The tape exists in full in the vault. The guy does have a unique way of explaining traffic patterns, and uses the word "Des Plains" in a way I guess Brian found humorous.

At the same time, Brian also started rolling tape on that portable machine at all kinds of places and events, and had Vosse doing similar excursions to record what I guess we'd call now "found audio" or audio verite recordings. Again some survive in the vault, others are lost to time.

Jasper Dailey was a freelance photographer who hung around the LA studios snapping candid shots of the musicians at work, and he got to know a lot of them, including Brian. Most if not all of the candid Smile studio photos were taken by either Jasper, the freelancer, or Guy Webster, who I believe was an "official" photographer for Capitol Records. Jasper had a unique voice, as wse all can hear, and Brian thought it would be good to capture him on tape singing, and actually worked up songs (and arrangements) for him to sing. Again, part of that found humor or unintentional humor vibe he was into at this time.

So that's why the Jasper sessions happened, and why they sound that way. It was part of Brian's humor trip, nothing more or less than that. He was always, it seems during the Smile era, planning a humor album separate from the Smile project itself, which would also feature humor. Brian was also a fan of the put-on (those unfamiliar with the term, look it up) and had been doing put-on comedy since he was a kid. The back cover photo of Smile was a put-on, as was that odd photo of the Boys in a boat in Boston Harbor looking very cold. A total put-on. That's key to understanding more of what he did and why he did it, and not just with Smile.

So here's the story involving the Jasper tapes, I know it's been printed somewhere and I can't recall exactly where I heard it, but I'll paraphrase:

A&M Records was a new label at the time, and was trying to land some high profile clients. They, as other labels were too, were curious to hear what Brian was doing in the studio as there was a lot of mystery and anticipation over this new mind-blowing music he was making in the studios around LA. Somehow a meeting was arranged where A&M was going to try to woo Brian into signing and also hear what he was working on. If A&M, a new player in the game, could land Brian Wilson at this time, it would have been a major coup.

So Brian and Vosse head to the offices of A&M with Brian carrying a tape. The meeting begins in one of the head executive's offices (or it could have been the label head himself, I don't recall). I guess talk came around to what Brian was doing, and what he had to offer. Brian has the tape ready, I guess the exec is excited to hear whatever mind-blowing music he was making with an eye toward releasing it on his label, and they hit play on the tape machine.

It's the tape of Jasper Dailey singing.

The whole thing was a put on.

And that's Brian's humor in a nutshell.  


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: SMiLE Brian on July 22, 2022, 04:06:53 PM
Paul Dano would acted that out beautifully in L&M as a good way to explain the SMiLE era!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 22, 2022, 05:10:02 PM
I’m trying to get caught up so this may have been addressed already..

The whole thing with Derek Taylor’s words, and what the band said later… honestly? If I’m being completely and honestly objective, the whole thing sounds like spin. “It’s not destroyed , it’s scrapped! Cause Brian scraps what he destroys and throws away”. That’s what Taylor was saying if you take out the pretentious flowery talk. What the f*** does that even mean?  Why put out a purposely vague statement like that, full of doublespeak?  

The band not knowing the album was canceled…ehh… one would think it would become patently obvious once some of the songs were re-recorded and released, or were cannibalized to make new songs (Dada -> Cool Cool Water, Wind Chimes-> Can’t Wait Too Long). Just cause it worked once with R(H)onda doesn’t mean it would work again. Logically speaking, there is no way Smile could’ve ever come out once Smiley Smile was released , and certainly not after Wild Honey, regardless of memos. I personally believe all the post -Smiley talk about Smile was using the hype in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

As for the original question posed in the thread, I have one of my own…

How much of what we’ve heard of Smile was vintage 1966 and 1967 work, and not compiled together after the fact?  I mean, Cabinessence didn’t have a lead recorded til 68. The bootlegs..:weren’t they based on edits made in vain attempts to release it over the years?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Don Malcolm on July 22, 2022, 07:13:04 PM
I’m trying to get caught up so this may have been addressed already..

The whole thing with Derek Taylor’s words, and what the band said later… honestly? If I’m being completely and honestly objective, the whole thing sounds like spin. “It’s not destroyed , it’s scrapped! Cause Brian scraps what he destroys and throws away”. That’s what Taylor was saying if you take out the pretentious flowery talk. What the f*** does that even mean?  Why put out a purposely vague statement like that, full of doublespeak?  

The band not knowing the album was canceled…ehh… one would think it would become patently obvious once some of the songs were re-recorded and released, or were cannibalized to make new songs (Dada -> Cool Cool Water, Wind Chimes-> Can’t Wait Too Long). Just cause it worked once with R(H)onda doesn’t mean it would work again. Logically speaking, there is no way Smile could’ve ever come out once Smiley Smile was released , and certainly not after Wild Honey, regardless of memos. I personally believe all the post -Smiley talk about Smile was using the hype in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

As for the original question posed in the thread, I have one of my own…

How much of what we’ve heard of Smile was vintage 1966 and 1967 work, and not compiled together after the fact?  I mean, Cabinessence didn’t have a lead recorded til 68. The bootlegs..:weren’t they based on edits made in vain attempts to release it over the years?

As I surmised, Billy, Taylor's words in that article could very well be go-between signaling from Brian, which would explain why it is so convoluted (if we set aside the bottle of scotch while at the typewriter theory). Given what we know about Brian, he might well have wanted to have that information get to the band in a more indirect manner, which would set the stage for a discussion of how to get past the roadblocks stumbling them...

One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is the month away from the studio before the DaDa sessions. That reminds me of a passage in David Leaf's 1985 "codetta" material, when he suggests that the home studio was something the band argued for because Brian wasn't going to the studios anymore. The relevant passage stems from David's initial conversations with Steve Desper, whom he'd been unable to contact in 1977-78 when writing "the Myth":

In my original writing, I ignored the total disruption the studio caused in the Wilson household, and envisioned Brian's home studio as this terrific environment where Brian could be creative. My first mistake was in assuming that Brian even wanted a studio in his home. As Desper explains, in mid-1967, to the Beach Boys, the first obvious sign of there being something "wrong" with Brian was that he had stopped going to the studio. So, as Desper recalls, the Beach Boys brought the studio to Brian, hoping that the proximity of the equipment would stimulate him.

Now this could be somewhat more involved than how it's portrayed here. Since whatever new direction to be taken if the material from SMiLE was going to be "sealed in a can" would need to get underway quickly, and given that the band (as GF has noted) was looking for material they could both participate more directly in producing and be able to play live more easily, the best solution for all those requirements was to build their own studio. Putting it in Brian's house saved the cost of buying/renting a separate building, and it would (hopefully) focus everyone's creativity. And Brian cranked out a lot of material there during that first year--the SMILEY tracks, the WILD HONEY tracks and the FRIENDS sessions (though it's clear they were still doing some work at various studios throughout that period).

Circling back to the point where a decision to put a studio in Bellagio occurs, and looking at the month of production inactivity, it's clear that something had to give right at that moment. A new album from scratch with the band as the musicians, a studio where they could all become more proficient in production--there had to be some type of tradeoff in all that coming back to Brian...and the two things that come to mind are: 1) he gets to continue producing outside acts and (maybe) 2) he gets decision-making control over what happens to the stuff "sealed in a can."

And it looks as though both of those got taken away from him over time. The Redwood incident left him without an outside act to produce, and ultimately forced him to sneak unorthodox material onto the FRIENDS LP ("Busy Doin' Nothing," "Diamond Head," "Transcendental Meditation")--with the result being that the LP had only one single (that missed the Top 40), and the LP was their worst seller by far. That must have set off more alarm bells. Depression and reclusiveness followed in the fall of '68, and the response was to take away any chance that he could work on SMiLE by grabbing two tracks that were closest to being finished and putting them on 20/20--tossed on at the end of Side 2, just to fill out the LP. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment...

(As for the provenance of the SMiLE material, I think Alan Boyd is the man who has the most fingers on that pulse, since he compiled the SMiLE sessions box. There were clearly some compilations made in the late 60s, and early 70s--and I think the research experts can address that, including answering what part of those compilations were included in the materials provided to Byron Priess when he wrote his authorized bio in '79.)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 22, 2022, 09:00:03 PM
So, the whole "Love to Say Da Da is water" thing has been going around for a while, and somehow, despite lots of contrary information being available, it still goes around, so I thought I'd clarify a few things.

This was first assumed way back when, and it would be a reasonable assumption to make if Brian's music-making fit into a cohesive plan over long stretches of time, and if he wasn't going through rewrites and resketches of his ideas every single day. Love to Say Da Da is musically the same as Cool, Cool Water right? And wasn't Brian working on an "Elements" track? So that must've been the water section! It really makes perfect sense on paper. But, things aren't that simple.

The first mention of "The Elements" is in Frank Holmes' artwork, which was done from lyric sheets supplied by Brian and Van at the start of the project. At this point in time, "The Elements" was the title of a song that contained the lyric "my vega-tables." Essentially, it was the title for the song most people refer to as Vega-Tables or Vegetables. However, when the list of songs was written out for Capitol's mockup covers, "Vega-Tables" and "The Elements" were listed as two separate songs. So, "Vega-Tables" had been renamed, and "The Elements" title was now being used for another song. It was probably at this time that Brian had his plans to record a 4 part suite, with each part representing fire, earth, air, and water, as a few friends from the era have recalled.

This idea was first put on tape on November 28 at Gold Star, with the infamous Fire section (slated by Larry Levine as "part 1" of this song called "The Elements"). But even by the time Brian was leaving the session, he'd changed his plans: "Yeah, I'm going to call this 'Mrs. O'Leary's Fire' and I think it might just scare a whole lot of people" (Goodbye Surfing, Hello God). So by the end of that very day, a song titled "The Elements" no longer existed, and thus would not have appeared on Smile. "The Elements" is not a title that shows up on any tapes, Capitol contracts, or AFM sheets again. The 4 part idea was thrown away in favor of a fire-centric song called Mrs. O'Leary's Fire, which comes straight from Brian himself.

A few days later, of course, the building burned down, and even that song got thrown away. "I can do a candle and it's still a fire."

A month after all this, on either December 27 or 28, Brian records Love to Say Da Da for the first time, in 2 sections (The Smile Sessions, disc 4, tracks 8 & 9). It's titled "Da Da" on the tape box, but that is probably just shortened from the full title (the verse of DYLW was spliced onto this reel too, possibly as an intro for this new song, and is just called "Worms"). 5 months after this, from May 16-18, he re-records it, beefing it up from a few keyboards to a full wrecking crew production at Gold Star (The Smile Sessions, disc 4, tracks 10-13). Again, it goes unfinished. 2 and a half weeks later, he re-records it again at Western, now as Cool Cool Water. Also left unfinished. It gets re-recorded in several forms over the next few years, and finally ends up on Sunflower.

So, songs called The Elements and Love to Say Da Da never coexisted. One was written a month after the other was gone. A big misconception about Smile is that Brian was working on the same album continuously over the many months we call the Smile era. But Brian's changing of plans was occurring at a frantic pace. Of course, he had a vision and a plan for everything he recorded - but this plan looked different every day.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 23, 2022, 12:26:30 AM
Good point rab, the actual sessions where BW is in control disproved the Mike Love approved “American family” TV movie where BW is singing to a doll at one point and making weird party sessions.

And I was reading just yesterday of the time he painted his face green to meet the Reprise people described in Carlin's book. From the Arkhonia Wordpress site "Carlin makes a subtle argument throughout Catch A Wave that Brian Wilson made conscious efforts, through the post-Smile years, to sabotage any future career for The Beach Boys – or at the very least to estrange himself from the band; that he could contribute to this meeting for ‘an hour or two’ with his stupid green face while still ‘astute and polite’ suggests a subtle kind of ‘madness’ – a very conscious and self-aware one. This anecdote suggests a tactic at work."


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 23, 2022, 01:02:36 AM
I’m trying to get caught up so this may have been addressed already..

The whole thing with Derek Taylor’s words, and what the band said later… honestly? If I’m being completely and honestly objective, the whole thing sounds like spin. “It’s not destroyed , it’s scrapped! Cause Brian scraps what he destroys and throws away”. That’s what Taylor was saying if you take out the pretentious flowery talk. What the f*** does that even mean?  Why put out a purposely vague statement like that, full of doublespeak?  

The band not knowing the album was canceled…ehh… one would think it would become patently obvious once some of the songs were re-recorded and released, or were cannibalized to make new songs (Dada -> Cool Cool Water, Wind Chimes-> Can’t Wait Too Long). Just cause it worked once with R(H)onda doesn’t mean it would work again. Logically speaking, there is no way Smile could’ve ever come out once Smiley Smile was released , and certainly not after Wild Honey, regardless of memos. I personally believe all the post -Smiley talk about Smile was using the hype in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

As for the original question posed in the thread, I have one of my own…

How much of what we’ve heard of Smile was vintage 1966 and 1967 work, and not compiled together after the fact?  I mean, Cabinessence didn’t have a lead recorded til 68. The bootlegs..:weren’t they based on edits made in vain attempts to release it over the years?

It seemed that Brian told Derek Taylor to issue the press release about the 'scrapping' without telling the rest of the band.  They gave subsequent interviews saying that they were still working on it (Dennis) and the one Guitar Fool quoted by Carl.  My interpretation is that it was a tactic.  They didn't like the material so he takes it away from them but preserves it for himself.  We know from David Anderle that Brian 'junked' a lot of the vocals recorded by the band after disagreements and recorded ALL of the vocals himself.  Where are those recordings?  They say that the bootlegs came from the vinyls cut for the band to take home.  If Brian didn't give them the recordings he'd made of his own voice then the vinyls wouldn't include them.

Cool Cool Water and I Can't Wait Too Long wasn't used on Smiley and I read somewhere that Brian was unhappy with them using Cool Cool Water on Sunflower and Surf's Up on Surf's Up.  Was I Can't Wait Too Long intended for Smile?  But like Cool Cool Water the original version of Vega-tables, and ALL the recordings made for Smile they all remained unused and unreleased.  Isn't that what you'd do if you still had hopes that one day you could release them?  He even went on working on I Can't Wait Too Long.

I agree that all the stuff the band came out with about Smile was just hype - for a time!  Eventually they began to see that the hype can sell records and then that the Smile music sells records.

I had read that only the Barnyard section of Cabin Essence was missing in December 66 and that 7 of the tracks were complete then.  So if vocal tracks were missing likely Brian 'junked' them. I'm sure that many of the boot legs included the later versions of Cabinessence and Surf's Up etc but they may have simply replaced them.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 23, 2022, 01:09:58 AM
Re the discussion about the band not being able to produce the sound for Pet Sounds on stage (and therefore other more complex music such as Smile) - Thanks to WilJC we now know Derek Taylor's press release included the information that The Beach Boys had just arrived in the UK with  'Igor Horoshevsky, Frank St Peters, Jim Carther and Richard Thompson ...
    Who, then, are Igor and Co.? A fair question. Igor is up there in huge letters on the side of the Beach Boys’ aircraft. “The Beach Boys and Igor,” says the sign, without explanation or apology.
    The answer is the fine big band the group promised last time they came to Britain.
    Frank plays saxophone, flute and clarinet; Jim plays flute and sax; Richard dabbles in flugelhorn, harpsichord, flute, organ, saxophone and clarinet.
    And who’s this Horoshevsky cat? He plays cello. And he will steer the band on a path of rich, red music across the nation and set these isles once again vibrating good and strong to the Beach Boys.)."  

I also read yesterday that Brian was considering using an orchestra to play with the band.  So whatever the pared down style of Smiley, Wild Honey and Friends was about, it wasn't about reproducing the sound on stage and by extension not releasing Smile was nothing to do with it either.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 07:19:38 AM
Re the discussion about the band not being able to produce the sound for Pet Sounds on stage (and therefore other more complex music such as Smile) - Thanks to WilJC we now know Derek Taylor's press release included the information that The Beach Boys had just arrived in the UK with  'Igor Horoshevsky, Frank St Peters, Jim Carther and Richard Thompson ...
    Who, then, are Igor and Co.? A fair question. Igor is up there in huge letters on the side of the Beach Boys’ aircraft. “The Beach Boys and Igor,” says the sign, without explanation or apology.
    The answer is the fine big band the group promised last time they came to Britain.
    Frank plays saxophone, flute and clarinet; Jim plays flute and sax; Richard dabbles in flugelhorn, harpsichord, flute, organ, saxophone and clarinet.
    And who’s this Horoshevsky cat? He plays cello. And he will steer the band on a path of rich, red music across the nation and set these isles once again vibrating good and strong to the Beach Boys.)."  

I also read yesterday that Brian was considering using an orchestra to play with the band.  So whatever the pared down style of Smiley, Wild Honey and Friends was about, it wasn't about reproducing the sound on stage and by extension not releasing Smile was nothing to do with it either.



Consider that even with the extra cost of hiring and traveling with those musicians, and the union rules prevented them from playing in some cases, the band still got hammered in the press for not sounding like their records on that tour. It didn't work.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 07:25:12 AM
I’m trying to get caught up so this may have been addressed already..

The whole thing with Derek Taylor’s words, and what the band said later… honestly? If I’m being completely and honestly objective, the whole thing sounds like spin. “It’s not destroyed , it’s scrapped! Cause Brian scraps what he destroys and throws away”. That’s what Taylor was saying if you take out the pretentious flowery talk. What the f*** does that even mean?  Why put out a purposely vague statement like that, full of doublespeak?  

The band not knowing the album was canceled…ehh… one would think it would become patently obvious once some of the songs were re-recorded and released, or were cannibalized to make new songs (Dada -> Cool Cool Water, Wind Chimes-> Can’t Wait Too Long). Just cause it worked once with R(H)onda doesn’t mean it would work again. Logically speaking, there is no way Smile could’ve ever come out once Smiley Smile was released , and certainly not after Wild Honey, regardless of memos. I personally believe all the post -Smiley talk about Smile was using the hype in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

As for the original question posed in the thread, I have one of my own…

How much of what we’ve heard of Smile was vintage 1966 and 1967 work, and not compiled together after the fact?  I mean, Cabinessence didn’t have a lead recorded til 68. The bootlegs..:weren’t they based on edits made in vain attempts to release it over the years?

As I surmised, Billy, Taylor's words in that article could very well be go-between signaling from Brian, which would explain why it is so convoluted (if we set aside the bottle of scotch while at the typewriter theory). Given what we know about Brian, he might well have wanted to have that information get to the band in a more indirect manner, which would set the stage for a discussion of how to get past the roadblocks stumbling them...

One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is the month away from the studio before the DaDa sessions. That reminds me of a passage in David Leaf's 1985 "codetta" material, when he suggests that the home studio was something the band argued for because Brian wasn't going to the studios anymore. The relevant passage stems from David's initial conversations with Steve Desper, whom he'd been unable to contact in 1977-78 when writing "the Myth":

In my original writing, I ignored the total disruption the studio caused in the Wilson household, and envisioned Brian's home studio as this terrific environment where Brian could be creative. My first mistake was in assuming that Brian even wanted a studio in his home. As Desper explains, in mid-1967, to the Beach Boys, the first obvious sign of there being something "wrong" with Brian was that he had stopped going to the studio. So, as Desper recalls, the Beach Boys brought the studio to Brian, hoping that the proximity of the equipment would stimulate him.

Now this could be somewhat more involved than how it's portrayed here. Since whatever new direction to be taken if the material from SMiLE was going to be "sealed in a can" would need to get underway quickly, and given that the band (as GF has noted) was looking for material they could both participate more directly in producing and be able to play live more easily, the best solution for all those requirements was to build their own studio. Putting it in Brian's house saved the cost of buying/renting a separate building, and it would (hopefully) focus everyone's creativity. And Brian cranked out a lot of material there during that first year--the SMILEY tracks, the WILD HONEY tracks and the FRIENDS sessions (though it's clear they were still doing some work at various studios throughout that period).

Circling back to the point where a decision to put a studio in Bellagio occurs, and looking at the month of production inactivity, it's clear that something had to give right at that moment. A new album from scratch with the band as the musicians, a studio where they could all become more proficient in production--there had to be some type of tradeoff in all that coming back to Brian...and the two things that come to mind are: 1) he gets to continue producing outside acts and (maybe) 2) he gets decision-making control over what happens to the stuff "sealed in a can."

And it looks as though both of those got taken away from him over time. The Redwood incident left him without an outside act to produce, and ultimately forced him to sneak unorthodox material onto the FRIENDS LP ("Busy Doin' Nothing," "Diamond Head," "Transcendental Meditation")--with the result being that the LP had only one single (that missed the Top 40), and the LP was their worst seller by far. That must have set off more alarm bells. Depression and reclusiveness followed in the fall of '68, and the response was to take away any chance that he could work on SMiLE by grabbing two tracks that were closest to being finished and putting them on 20/20--tossed on at the end of Side 2, just to fill out the LP. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment...

(As for the provenance of the SMiLE material, I think Alan Boyd is the man who has the most fingers on that pulse, since he compiled the SMiLE sessions box. There were clearly some compilations made in the late 60s, and early 70s--and I think the research experts can address that, including answering what part of those compilations were included in the materials provided to Byron Priess when he wrote his authorized bio in '79.)

Don, you mention an excellent point worth noting. Did Brian even want a studio in his home, did his wife want a studio in his home, and after their first daughter was born, how did that change the dynamic even further?

It's a point that I've rarely seen mentioned or discussed, but one absolutely worth looking at beyond Smile. If the band and the recording process was something that had been causing issues and even stress for Brian, at least he had an "out" where he could go home and get away from the studios. The old concept of not bringing your work problems home with you. But now, like it or not, the work was in his new home (they had literally just moved in that Spring of '67) all the time.

Interesting aspect of all this to consider.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 07:31:23 AM
So, the whole "Love to Say Da Da is water" thing has been going around for a while, and somehow, despite lots of contrary information being available, it still goes around, so I thought I'd clarify a few things.

This was first assumed way back when, and it would be a reasonable assumption to make if Brian's music-making fit into a cohesive plan over long stretches of time, and if he wasn't going through rewrites and resketches of his ideas every single day. Love to Say Da Da is musically the same as Cool, Cool Water right? And wasn't Brian working on an "Elements" track? So that must've been the water section! It really makes perfect sense on paper. But, things aren't that simple.

The first mention of "The Elements" is in Frank Holmes' artwork, which was done from lyric sheets supplied by Brian and Van at the start of the project. At this point in time, "The Elements" was the title of a song that contained the lyric "my vega-tables." Essentially, it was the title for the song most people refer to as Vega-Tables or Vegetables. However, when the list of songs was written out for Capitol's mockup covers, "Vega-Tables" and "The Elements" were listed as two separate songs. So, "Vega-Tables" had been renamed, and "The Elements" title was now being used for another song. It was probably at this time that Brian had his plans to record a 4 part suite, with each part representing fire, earth, air, and water, as a few friends from the era have recalled.

This idea was first put on tape on November 28 at Gold Star, with the infamous Fire section (slated by Larry Levine as "part 1" of this song called "The Elements"). But even by the time Brian was leaving the session, he'd changed his plans: "Yeah, I'm going to call this 'Mrs. O'Leary's Fire' and I think it might just scare a whole lot of people" (Goodbye Surfing, Hello God). So by the end of that very day, a song titled "The Elements" no longer existed, and thus would not have appeared on Smile. "The Elements" is not a title that shows up on any tapes, Capitol contracts, or AFM sheets again. The 4 part idea was thrown away in favor of a fire-centric song called Mrs. O'Leary's Fire, which comes straight from Brian himself.

A few days later, of course, the building burned down, and even that song got thrown away. "I can do a candle and it's still a fire."

A month after all this, on either December 27 or 28, Brian records Love to Say Da Da for the first time, in 2 sections (The Smile Sessions, disc 4, tracks 8 & 9). It's titled "Da Da" on the tape box, but that is probably just shortened from the full title (the verse of DYLW was spliced onto this reel too, possibly as an intro for this new song, and is just called "Worms"). 5 months after this, from May 16-18, he re-records it, beefing it up from a few keyboards to a full wrecking crew production at Gold Star (The Smile Sessions, disc 4, tracks 10-13). Again, it goes unfinished. 2 and a half weeks later, he re-records it again at Western, now as Cool Cool Water. Also left unfinished. It gets re-recorded in several forms over the next few years, and finally ends up on Sunflower.

So, songs called The Elements and Love to Say Da Da never coexisted. One was written a month after the other was gone. A big misconception about Smile is that Brian was working on the same album continuously over the many months we call the Smile era. But Brian's changing of plans was occurring at a frantic pace. Of course, he had a vision and a plan for everything he recorded - but this plan looked different every day.

It may be more a case of "DaDa" in all it's incarnations not being a part of Smile, moreso than whether it was an element or not. Some suggestions were made earlier that Dada was not a part of Smile and was something new Brian was doing in May '67 at those last sessions before the band returned from the tour, and the lineage of that music (and the musical ideas) had been a part of Smile for months by the time Brian held those May sessions.

Separate issue and just curious on the opinions, but does the track's placement on the BWPS Smile with Van Dyke's lyrics hold any weight in assumptions about the track's original possibilities in the original Smile plans?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 23, 2022, 08:32:31 AM
Separate issue and just curious on the opinions, but does the track's placement on the BWPS Smile with Van Dyke's lyrics hold any weight in assumptions about the track's original possibilities in the original Smile plans?

My controversial opinion:

1) Smile (like any album ever made) was a constantly evolving and metamorphosing set of ideas. Those ideas are not set in stone until the artist decides to officially share those ideas with the world in the form of a finished album.

2) In 1966/1967 those early Smile ideas were molded by both Brian and the people that surrounded him. Brian of course being the one with the final say, but he was not a sole person in a vacuum - he was surrounded by artists, musicians, creatives who helped mold his ideas about the album.

3) post-1967, decades pass and during which Smile fragments leak. Theories about Smile’s track listing, demise, overall themes, etc are created.

4) those decades worth of fan-theories have an obvious impact on the track listing for BWPS. Some fans claim that Darian’s fan-theory involvement ruined the possibility of BWPS being more of a faithful rendering of a 1967 Smile.

But there was no 1967 Smile. The faithful rendering of Smile is BWPS. BWPS is the Smile that Brian Wilson completed and sent out into the world. It doesn’t matter that BWPS uses fan theories that probably “incorrectly” use Dada as a water element. Brian released the idea to the world that Dada is a water element song - it doesn’t matter who influenced Brian on this, fact is that Brian agreed with it and recorded it into the concept. As I stated in point #2, Brian always had outside influences that helped evolve his ideas for Smile. So whether it’s outside influences in 1966 or 2003, Brian used all those different ideas and it culminated into the release of BWPS.

BWPS is the greatest concept album ever made. Not only because the aura of the initial Smile sessions is vividly infused into each track of the album, but also because it’s resurrection was decades in the making - this isn’t an album that was put together in a 2-month time period. It’s recordings were/are the stuff of legends. It took 37 years for this album to be completed. The huge reason for it’s successful resurrection was due to a guy who was just 4 years old when those original sessions were taking place. And that guy is one of the most genuinely dedicated fans of Brian’s music to ever live (i don’t mean to gush about him, but he does put his heart and soul into everything that revolves around Brian and his music). So who better to help Brian finish his masterpiece?

Anyways, long story short: Dada probably wasn’t originally intended to be a water element, but all ideas evolve. Was Sloop John B originally intended to be on Pet Sounds? Perhaps not, but even if it wasn’t it doesn’t matter - Brian Wilson had the final say in it, and it’s now an official part of Pet Sounds.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 08:44:57 AM
LTSDD was always a Beach Boys song that would've been on the next Beach Boys album after Pet Sounds at the time it was being worked on.

In late December 1966, who knows if this album would've been called Smile if Brian was forced to put it out then, but it would not have included Do You Like Worms, The Elements, or I'm in Great Shape, as those songs had been chopped up, used in other songs, or scrapped.

In May 1967, we know it would not have been called Smile. But LTSDD was a new Beach Boys recording, possibly something that Brian was doing specifically for Vegetables' B-side, and it would likely have appeared on the album too.

In early June, with the song now called Cool, Cool Water, it would have appeared on the new album. Brian was still working on a single, and that had been the focus for about half a year, but the single would probably be on the new album as well.

When the home studio was set up, there may have been an early attempt at Cool Cool Water, though that much isn't super clear as of yet. But whatever the case, the song was soon abandoned in favor of other material, and it did not end up on Smiley Smile. Brian continued to work on it over the coming years until it found its way onto Sunflower.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 09:44:45 AM
LTSDD was always a Beach Boys song that would've been on the next Beach Boys album after Pet Sounds at the time it was being worked on.

In late December 1966, who knows if this album would've been called Smile if Brian was forced to put it out then, but it would not have included Do You Like Worms, The Elements, or I'm in Great Shape, as those songs had been chopped up, used in other songs, or scrapped.

In May 1967, we know it would not have been called Smile. But LTSDD was a new Beach Boys recording, possibly something that Brian was doing specifically for Vegetables' B-side, and it would likely have appeared on the album too.

In early June, with the song now called Cool, Cool Water, it would have appeared on the new album. Brian was still working on a single, and that had been the focus for about half a year, but the single would probably be on the new album as well.

When the home studio was set up, there may have been an early attempt at Cool Cool Water, though that much isn't super clear as of yet. But whatever the case, the song was soon abandoned in favor of other material, and it did not end up on Smiley Smile. Brian continued to work on it over the coming years until it found its way onto Sunflower.

Once again I'll ask, how do "we" know it would not have been called Smile?

This is Bruce telling this to writer Keith Altham in the May 27 edition of New Musical Express:

"I've got some tapes at home of the new tracks to be on the "Smile" LP which would blow your mind. All the ideas are new and Brian is coming up with fantastic ideas all the time"

The interview would have happened in the second week of May, 1967. This would have been after the Taylor "scrapped" article appeared in Disc & Music Echo, May 6 edition. It was still called Smile.

And this is the same writer Keith Altham who reported in the April 29 edition of NME on "their next LP Smile", saying "All the 12 tracks for the new album are completed" and "there are plans to release the album on a rush schedule at any moment." The same article then describes Paul McCartney's visit to LA "a few weeks ago" with specific detail on the jam session at Papa John and Michelle Phillips' house, including what instruments were played.

So according to one of the Beach Boys, interviewed on tour after the Taylor article, the album was still called "Smile". According to NME writer Keith Altham, whoever gave him the information on it being complete and ready for a rush release had to be pretty close to a main source to report on what was played at a jam session attended by only a few of rock's elite...

And then Taylor's piece in D&ME literally a week later says it's scrapped. Unbeknownst to the band obviously.

That is what never added up. It still doesn't. And press reports going into June and even July are still citing an LP named "Smile".


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Jay on July 23, 2022, 09:58:37 AM
Maybe the Derek Taylor piece was a deliberate move to try to deflect public focus off them for a while? But then that still doesn't explain the comment from bruce.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 10:14:56 AM
Maybe the Derek Taylor piece was a deliberate move to try to deflect public focus off them for a while? But then that still doesn't explain the comment from bruce.

That's one of the mysteries indeed, Jay. It doesn't add up.

And I'll add one more piece of info that may put even more perspective on the Bruce quote: Bruce said that during a group interview in their dressing room, speaking to Keith Altham, just before they were to leave for Europe for the rest of the tour. It's easy to peg the date of this group interview: The NME show they reference in the interview was May 7th, they played Manchester May 8, two more gigs in Scotland the 9th and 10th, then they were in Sweden on the 12th. It wasn't a solo Bruce conversation, or a phone-in interview: The entire band was being interviewed in their dressing room.

I have scans of these columns as they appeared in the publications which I can post too just so the context is all there instead of random quotes.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Jay on July 23, 2022, 11:17:58 AM
I guess the question now is, were the group aware of the Derek Taylor piece at the time Bruce made the comments?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Don Malcolm on July 23, 2022, 12:15:11 PM
I think the band was always trying to put the best face possible on the ongoing situation whenever they are questioned about the "new album" during the spring of '67. By this point, they are seasoned veterans in terms of dealing with/deflecting the press. It's almost certainly that simple. And even if they are in a tussle with Brian over SMiLE, they are not going to voice any of that to the press--that would be like pouring gasoline on an already-existing fire...

Also, we have to be careful about applying the right dates to some of the quotes being referenced. That Bruce quote seems to be in reference to EMI's release of "Then I Kissed Her" as a stopgap single in the UK at the end of April, just as the band is arriving for their tour. Badman dates the quote as occurring on April 29th or 30th, which is a week ahead of Taylor's 5/6 squib.

That was the beginning of some very negative press in the UK, as GF has already noted.

I'm sticking with the theory that Brian used Derek T. as a go-between to signal his willingness to revisit issues that had contributed to an impasse. And that impasse had clearly left Brian dispirited, as his lack of progress in returning to the SMiLE tracks from late '66 during the band's absence in April-May demonstrates. He must have been feeling something rather opposite from those lines in the early version of H&V: "at threescore and five I'm very much alive/I still got the jive to survive with the...". Whatever he was doing with "DaDa," it clearly was superseded by the events that took place immediately thereafter, when the band returned, licking their wounds from the European tour and ready to engage in an altered plan of action.

And just as clearly (as GF has noted here a couple of times) Brian was working on the assumption that he could have some kind of "dual track" where he was overseeing a transition of the band into handling more of its own songwriting/production AND he was going to do his own outside productions (Redwood, clearly, and quite possibly some revamped version of the '66 SMiLE tracks).

I think the overarching mystery is what happened to the plans to have a Brother Records 9002/9003 etc. follow SMILEY SMILE, and why WILD HONEY wound up back on Capitol after all the time and trouble to establish Brother Records.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 12:23:10 PM
I think the band was always trying to put the best face possible on the ongoing situation whenever they are questioned about the "new album" during the spring of '67. By this point, they are seasoned veterans in terms of dealing with/deflecting the press. It's almost certainly that simple. And even if they are in a tussle with Brian over SMiLE, they are not going to voice any of that to the press--that would be like pouring gasoline on an already-existing fire...

Also, we have to be careful about applying the right dates to some of the quotes being referenced. That Bruce quote seems to be in reference to EMI's release of "Then I Kissed Her" as a stopgap single in the UK at the end of April, just as the band is arriving for their tour. Badman dates the quote as occurring on April 29th or 30th, which is a week ahead of Taylor's 5/6 squib.

That was the beginning of some very negative press in the UK, as GF has already noted.

I'm sticking with the theory that Brian used Derek T. as a go-between to signal his willingness to revisit issues that had contributed to an impasse. And that impasse had clearly left Brian dispirited, as his lack of progress in returning to the SMiLE tracks from late '66 during the band's absence in April-May demonstrates. He must have been feeling something rather opposite from those lines in the early version of H&V: "at threescore and five I'm very much alive/I still got the jive to survive with the...". Whatever he was doing with "DaDa," it clearly was superseded by the events that took place immediately thereafter, when the band returned, licking their wounds from the European tour and ready to engage in an altered plan of action.

And just as clearly (as GF has noted here a couple of times) Brian was working on the assumption that he could have some kind of "dual track" where he was overseeing a transition of the band into handling more of its own songwriting/production AND he was going to do his own outside productions (Redwood, clearly, and quite possibly some revamped version of the '66 SMiLE tracks).

I think the overarching mystery is what happened to the plans to have a Brother Records 9002/9003 etc. follow SMILEY SMILE, and why WILD HONEY wound up back on Capitol after all the time and trouble to establish Brother Records.


Don, the Bruce quote dates from the time I outlined above. They were still in the US April 29 and the interview was conducted in their dressing room *after* the NME event happened (May 7). If Badman wrote otherwise, he was wrong:

And I'll add one more piece of info that may put even more perspective on the Bruce quote: Bruce said that during a group interview in their dressing room, speaking to Keith Altham, just before they were to leave for Europe for the rest of the tour. It's easy to peg the date of this group interview: The NME show they reference in the interview was May 7th, they played Manchester May 8, two more gigs in Scotland the 9th and 10th, then they were in Sweden on the 12th. It wasn't a solo Bruce conversation, or a phone-in interview: The entire band was being interviewed in their dressing room.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 12:28:54 PM
Here's the full scan of the article where the Bruce quote appeared with all the context:

(https://i.imgur.com/uEzV9Vv.jpg)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Bicyclerider on July 23, 2022, 12:29:33 PM
As for The Elements being abandoned after Mrs O’Leary’s Cow was finished, I don’t believe that - because the April 67 NME article that states all 12 tracks for Smile are complete - which we of course know NOT to be true - qualifies that statement with Brian saying:  except for one track, The Elements . . . And says something about that track giving him trouble.  Don’t have the quote handy but it’s in LLVS.  So he was still considering the Elements a lot track for the album and it was unfinished meaning it was more than just Fire.  I believe the quote even mentions it as a 4 part suite consisting of earth air fire and water.  

As for Bruce talking about Smile I believe Smile was still considered the name of the next album but what that album was going to include was evolving and Brian wasn’t communicating that to his band mates probably because he was struggling with those decisions himself.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 12:39:47 PM
It's worth mentioning that Bruce had not been in the studio with Brian Wilson for at least 2 months by May 27. He was getting weirded out by the drugs, and had been distancing himself for a while. He wasn't part of the April Vegetables sessions at all. If he seemed out of touch with what Brian's plans were by then... well, he was! All of the band were, all of the time. Everyone has expressed frustration over the years at Brian's lack of explaining things during this time. Brian's plans were kept in his head, although with all of this documentation and Craig Slowinski's great Smile sessionography being available to us now, it's easier for fans to see the progression of Brian's ideas now in 2022 than it was for the Beach Boys at the time, who were often given arrangements to sing and pig sounds to make without having any idea of how it was going to fit together.

It seems pretty clear that Derek Taylor and Bruce/The Beach Boys/Capitol were using the word Smile to mean 2 very different things. When Derek said the album was scrapped, he was referring to Brian and Van Dyke's original vision as of ~October 1966. Of course, we know this now, and it's obvious that this had been the case for a while. An announcement that the next Beach Boys album would be different than initially promised was inevitable. Like I said, songs like Do You Like Worms were no longer in the running by the end of 1966. All of the work in 1967 until the announcement was purely focused on a single, and the project was on the back burner, while Brian slowly cannibalized many of his songs for the sake of producing a satisfying single.

What Bruce is referring to is the next Beach Boys album. The music that Brian worked on from September 1966 - July 1967 was all planned to be on the next Beach Boys album at the time it was recorded. The music changed significantly, but it was a gradual change. The Smiley Smile title hadn't been thought up by Brian's little cousin (I believe it first appears in a July article, although it was probably thought of earlier), so although the project was not the same as it started, Smile was probably still being used by the group to refer to whatever music Brian was working on at the time.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 12:42:45 PM

As for Bruce talking about Smile I believe Smile was still considered the name of the next album but what that album was going to include was evolving and Brian wasn’t communicating that to his band mates probably because he was struggling with those decisions himself.

Bingo. Also, if Bruce hadn't even seen the NME article from May 6, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 12:50:09 PM
Bruce and the entire band were interviewed in the same dressing room for that article, they were all there together! And unless Bruce met Ringo in the US (which obviously didn't happen), the interview took place just as I already laid out the timeline.

Does it make sense if an article appeared in the UK press stating the most anticipated album in the pop world at that time had been "scrapped", that the band would have found out at least about the article? They were surrounded by the UK music press, if such a bombshell were dropped in Disc & Music Echo, they'd ask the band about it!

I find it totally illogical to assume the band would not have found out or were informed by someone/anyone around them that Derek Taylor just announced their new album was reported as "scrapped".


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 12:54:38 PM
Sure, good point, but again, there are 2 things being talked about here, and we're confusing them for the same thing. Brian's original plan for the album had been scrapped. Brian was still working on an album for the Beach Boys, and there wasn't a new title for it yet. These 2 facts are not contradictory.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 01:04:56 PM
Sure, good point, but again, there are 2 things being talked about here, and we're confusing them for the same thing. Brian's original plan for the album had been scrapped. Brian was still working on an album for the Beach Boys, and there wasn't a new title for it yet. These 2 facts are not contradictory.

That seems more like opinion, unless there is proof besides Derek Taylor's article which is in question, as to when "Smile" was actually scrapped. The only thing that was reported definitively that Spring was that "Heroes" would not be coming out and "Vegetables" would possibly replace it as the single. Obviously that changed too. As late as that April 29 NME article, the Smile album was still the album of note everyone was waiting for. Nothing seems to have been decided until the band returned from Europe and they "started from scratch" as Carl described how Smiley Smile came to be.

Is there a firm date anywhere as to when "Smile" was scrapped? I've never seen one, and having looked at many angles and possibilities for years, I believe even more that Taylor's article wasn't as definitive (nor as factual) as had been previously thought.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 01:18:24 PM
Well, by "Smile", what exactly do you mean? What exact sequence of songs are you referring to, and what exact structure of each song?

The next album by the Beach Boys was never scrapped. It was continually changing. If you're asking if the exact moment Brian scrapped that list of 12 songs in favor of the 11 songs on Smiley Smile is known, well, that moment simply doesn't exist. We can know when lots of little changes were made, though. For example, Do You Like Worms was no longer a song by December 27, at the latest. The tape evidence suggests that the song had been chopped up on or before that date, with the chorus being removed to after the opening Heroes verse (where it would be "Heroes and Villains part 2" for the next month), and the verse was removed to the Prayer reel, where Da Da would immediately be recorded onto (it was possibly going to be used as an intro here). For another example, My Only Sunshine was no longer on the album by February 10, when Brian replaced the group vocals with his own voice, and used it as the fadeout to Heroes and Villains. Small little changes like these are traceable, as Smile turns from one thing into another. The album is a completely different entity in Brian's mind with each week, and to refuse to see it that way is to intentionally misunderstand Brian's working methods of the time.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 23, 2022, 02:33:55 PM
Well, by "Smile", what exactly do you mean? What exact sequence of songs are you referring to, and what exact structure of each song?

The next album by the Beach Boys was never scrapped. It was continually changing. If you're asking if the exact moment Brian scrapped that list of 12 songs in favor of the 11 songs on Smiley Smile is known, well, that moment simply doesn't exist. We can know when lots of little changes were made, though. For example, Do You Like Worms was no longer a song by December 27, at the latest. The tape evidence suggests that the song had been chopped up on or before that date, with the chorus being removed to after the opening Heroes verse (where it would be "Heroes and Villains part 2" for the next month), and the verse was removed to the Prayer reel, where Da Da would immediately be recorded onto (it was possibly going to be used as an intro here). For another example, My Only Sunshine was no longer on the album by February 10, when Brian replaced the group vocals with his own voice, and used it as the fadeout to Heroes and Villains. Small little changes like these are traceable, as Smile turns from one thing into another. The album is a completely different entity in Brian's mind with each week, and to refuse to see it that way is to intentionally misunderstand Brian's working methods of the time.

And that may be as good of an explanation as any as to why SMiLE didn’t come out. It kept changing. Truthfully most albums are like that. Brian started these sessions off with multiple different ideas, not just for one album. We have a tendency to take everyone of his ideas that were mentioned in interviews and applied them all to the project, forgetting the fact that he was changing his mind constantly. We talk about the damage the acid , the cocaine, and what Landy did, when we forget he was popping speed pills like candy.  That’s gonna play with anybody’s ability to keep things in check (unless they’re prescribed for ADHD) , but especially someone with underlying mental illness. The other thing is…and I’m going to put this as delicately as possible, but… I absolutely despise the rock journalism of this era. Very sensationalistic, borderline tabloid, and mostly hype with very little fact checking. How many times in the internet age (especially in the past ten years) have we as a society discovers that much of what we know as accepted history in rock (overall not just with The Beach Boys)isn’t true, *especially* in this era? Yet we take a lot of the legend of SMiLE at face value , when really we should be taking it with several metric tons of salt grains.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 02:36:31 PM
Well, by "Smile", what exactly do you mean? What exact sequence of songs are you referring to, and what exact structure of each song?

The next album by the Beach Boys was never scrapped. It was continually changing. If you're asking if the exact moment Brian scrapped that list of 12 songs in favor of the 11 songs on Smiley Smile is known, well, that moment simply doesn't exist. We can know when lots of little changes were made, though. For example, Do You Like Worms was no longer a song by December 27, at the latest. The tape evidence suggests that the song had been chopped up on or before that date, with the chorus being removed to after the opening Heroes verse (where it would be "Heroes and Villains part 2" for the next month), and the verse was removed to the Prayer reel, where Da Da would immediately be recorded onto (it was possibly going to be used as an intro here). For another example, My Only Sunshine was no longer on the album by February 10, when Brian replaced the group vocals with his own voice, and used it as the fadeout to Heroes and Villains. Small little changes like these are traceable, as Smile turns from one thing into another. The album is a completely different entity in Brian's mind with each week, and to refuse to see it that way is to intentionally misunderstand Brian's working methods of the time.

Quote: "The next album by the Beach Boys was never scrapped. It was continually changing. If you're asking if the exact moment Brian scrapped that list of 12 songs in favor of the 11 songs on Smiley Smile is known, well, that moment simply doesn't exist."

Then the Derek Taylor "scrapped" article can be dismissed entirely? If there was never anything scrapped, what Taylor wrote and had published in May '67 meant absolutely nothing, and he was never told by anyone that Smile was "scrapped" as the basis of his article.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 02:58:08 PM
No. Once again, two things are being discussed here, and are being confused as one. The next album by the Beach Boys was not scrapped, because, well, the Beach Boys released an album. What was initially planned to be on that album, was scrapped. Songs and titles and bits and pieces were being "scrapped" every day. At one point, with all the press and the excitement that was generated for the album, it would have to be clarified that the next album would not look like what was initially promised.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 23, 2022, 03:10:56 PM
Well, by "Smile", what exactly do you mean? What exact sequence of songs are you referring to, and what exact structure of each song?

The next album by the Beach Boys was never scrapped. It was continually changing. If you're asking if the exact moment Brian scrapped that list of 12 songs in favor of the 11 songs on Smiley Smile is known, well, that moment simply doesn't exist. We can know when lots of little changes were made, though. For example, Do You Like Worms was no longer a song by December 27, at the latest. The tape evidence suggests that the song had been chopped up on or before that date, with the chorus being removed to after the opening Heroes verse (where it would be "Heroes and Villains part 2" for the next month), and the verse was removed to the Prayer reel, where Da Da would immediately be recorded onto (it was possibly going to be used as an intro here). For another example, My Only Sunshine was no longer on the album by February 10, when Brian replaced the group vocals with his own voice, and used it as the fadeout to Heroes and Villains. Small little changes like these are traceable, as Smile turns from one thing into another. The album is a completely different entity in Brian's mind with each week, and to refuse to see it that way is to intentionally misunderstand Brian's working methods of the time.


None of the recordings made for Smile were used on Smiley Smile so that marks a clear delineation where Smile stopped and Smiley Smile started.  Love to Say Dada was not used on Smiley Smile and MAY have been the last thing recorded for Smile.  Cool Cool Water was not Love to Say Dada.  It was the first thing Brian wrote in his new house and was only merged with the chant from Love to Say Dada in January 1970 for Sunflower.


The scrapping of Smile and the plan for Smiley Smile (then unnamed) must have been discussed when the group returned from the tour and what Brian may have been referring to when Bruce suggested using the album they had in the can - he made a remark about a big argument.   

So we don't know the exact date but somewhere between 19th May and 6th June negations took place and an agreement reached.

Crucially the Beach Boys were given credit as producers even though Brian produced it.  That means a pay off - they got money for producing the album even though they didn't and as Steve Desper said Beach Boys politics is follow the money.  They didn't want Smile.  Brian took it off them and paid them for it with the credit and by using some of the material but mostly changed, and delivering the album really quickly which was vital because they were behind with contractual obligations and Capitol were not paying enough royalties.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 03:17:25 PM
No. Once again, two things are being discussed here, and are being confused as one. The next album by the Beach Boys was not scrapped, because, well, the Beach Boys released an album. What was initially planned to be on that album, was scrapped. Songs and titles and bits and pieces were being "scrapped" every day. At one point, with all the press and the excitement that was generated for the album, it would have to be clarified that the next album would not look like what was initially promised.

The "next album" the Beach Boys released had not even been started when Taylor's article appeared announcing the album had been scrapped. So when Carl Wilson said specifically "we started from scratch" to make Smiley Smile, was he wrong? Starting from scratch is not the same as reshaping and reworking the existing project into something new. And the change to Smiley Smile was obviously not planned too far in advance if they had to rent studio gear, have a rented Gates Dualux radio station mixing console on Brian's kitchen table among other places, and cables running across the floors of his new house in order to record there. That's where the 2 weeks immediately following the band's return from Europe become so key to the timeline and history, as that looks more like the exact time when they shifted gears dramatically.

Are you suggesting there is no dividing line, no end point to separate what was being worked on as Smile from what was released as Smiley Smile? If so, then would that also suggest titling the box set "The Smile Sessions" was a mistake or a misnomer if there was no "Smile" project and it was just something that turned into the next album?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 03:33:46 PM
Well, by "Smile", what exactly do you mean? What exact sequence of songs are you referring to, and what exact structure of each song?

The next album by the Beach Boys was never scrapped. It was continually changing. If you're asking if the exact moment Brian scrapped that list of 12 songs in favor of the 11 songs on Smiley Smile is known, well, that moment simply doesn't exist. We can know when lots of little changes were made, though. For example, Do You Like Worms was no longer a song by December 27, at the latest. The tape evidence suggests that the song had been chopped up on or before that date, with the chorus being removed to after the opening Heroes verse (where it would be "Heroes and Villains part 2" for the next month), and the verse was removed to the Prayer reel, where Da Da would immediately be recorded onto (it was possibly going to be used as an intro here). For another example, My Only Sunshine was no longer on the album by February 10, when Brian replaced the group vocals with his own voice, and used it as the fadeout to Heroes and Villains. Small little changes like these are traceable, as Smile turns from one thing into another. The album is a completely different entity in Brian's mind with each week, and to refuse to see it that way is to intentionally misunderstand Brian's working methods of the time.


None of the recordings made for Smile were used on Smiley Smile so that marks a clear delineation where Smile stopped and Smiley Smile started.  Love to Say Dada was not used on Smiley Smile and MAY have been the last thing recorded for Smile.  Cool Cool Water was not Love to Say Dada.  It was the first thing Brian wrote in his new house and was only merged with the chant from Love to Say Dada in January 1970 for Sunflower.


The scrapping of Smile and the plan for Smiley Smile (then unnamed) must have been discussed when the group returned from the tour and what Brian may have been referring to when Bruce suggested using the album they had in the can - he made a remark about a big argument.   

So we don't know the exact date but somewhere between 19th May and 6th June negations took place and an agreement reached.

Crucially the Beach Boys were given credit as producers even though Brian produced it.  That means a pay off - they got money for producing the album even though they didn't and as Steve Desper said Beach Boys politics is follow the money.  They didn't want Smile.  Brian took it off them and paid them for it with the credit and by using some of the material but mostly changed, and delivering the album really quickly which was vital because they were behind with contractual obligations and Capitol were not paying enough royalties.

Lots of this is false info, so I think some things should be clarified again -

First of all, the "Love to Say Da Da chant" was recorded under the title Cool, Cool Water, in Brian's home studio. It either comes from the main Smiley Smile period, or possibly later during Wild Honey.

Second, LTSDD and CCW are the same song musically, which was first written in December 1966. The chord progression is identical, though the lyrical subject matter has changed. But there's no significant difference between that change and say, the significant restructure Wind Chimes went through from August-October 1966, or the massive changes Child is Father of the Man went through, or the big change in tone Wonderful went through from December to January... not to mention Heroes & Villains being completely rewritten and re-recorded just about every week in January-March 1967. So why does the distinct project "Smile" have to be abandoned some time between these two recordings, both of which were recorded in L.A. studios outside of Brian's house, and neither of which appeared on the list of Smile songs from 1966 OR Smiley Smile? Where on EARTH did that bizarre theory come from, and why is it being repeated so often?

It should also be noted that the Heroes verse was recorded October 20, 1966, the chorus was recorded in February 1967, and the last few sections of Vegetables were recorded in April 1967. So, if there must be a distinct switch from one album to another, based on what material appears on Smiley, I guess Smile had to be scrapped before October 20? Or if we're counting Good Vibrations, before February 17, 1966, during the Pet Sounds era? Or perhaps, Smile/Smiley Smile was a flowing project that went through dozens of changes over time, and didn't become productive again until Brian started re-recording things in his house.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 04:18:41 PM
No. Once again, two things are being discussed here, and are being confused as one. The next album by the Beach Boys was not scrapped, because, well, the Beach Boys released an album. What was initially planned to be on that album, was scrapped. Songs and titles and bits and pieces were being "scrapped" every day. At one point, with all the press and the excitement that was generated for the album, it would have to be clarified that the next album would not look like what was initially promised.

The "next album" the Beach Boys released had not even been started when Taylor's article appeared announcing the album had been scrapped. So when Carl Wilson said specifically "we started from scratch" to make Smiley Smile, was he wrong? Starting from scratch is not the same as reshaping and reworking the existing project into something new. And the change to Smiley Smile was obviously not planned too far in advance if they had to rent studio gear, have a rented Gates Dualux radio station mixing console on Brian's kitchen table among other places, and cables running across the floors of his new house in order to record there. That's where the 2 weeks immediately following the band's return from Europe become so key to the timeline and history, as that looks more like the exact time when they shifted gears dramatically.

Are you suggesting there is no dividing line, no end point to separate what was being worked on as Smile from what was released as Smiley Smile? If so, then would that also suggest titling the box set "The Smile Sessions" was a mistake or a misnomer if there was no "Smile" project and it was just something that turned into the next album?

No. Yet again, we are talking about different things, and confusing them for the same thing. Work on material that was to end up on the next Beach Boys album started as soon as Pet Sounds was done, and never stopped. What the album was called and what recordings were going to be on it changed significantly, just about every week. At one point, it was going to be something called Smile. At another, it was called Smiley Smile, and it ended up completely different from how it started, save for Good Vibrations, Heroes, Vegetables, and many of the songs themselves. Almost everything on Smiley Smile was completely done over from scratch. In fact, most songs were started over from scratch more than once before the home studio ever existed. There are some recordings that obviously belong to one era and not the other (Cabin Essence being worked on purely during the Smile era, and Little Pad being a home studio creation), but there is no exact dividing line between the two projects. One became the other. If there is a date that we can say we know the album would not have been the same, it is May 6, via the press release. However, we know that the project had changed significantly long before then, and would continue to change significantly until the album was assembled.

These are facts, and they are not contradictory. And none of these facts suggest that Brian added melodica, celeste, Baldwin organ, a children's choir, and a spoken section to Wonderful in order to make the records more closely resemble the bass-drums-guitar touring lineup.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 04:39:09 PM
No. Once again, two things are being discussed here, and are being confused as one. The next album by the Beach Boys was not scrapped, because, well, the Beach Boys released an album. What was initially planned to be on that album, was scrapped. Songs and titles and bits and pieces were being "scrapped" every day. At one point, with all the press and the excitement that was generated for the album, it would have to be clarified that the next album would not look like what was initially promised.

The "next album" the Beach Boys released had not even been started when Taylor's article appeared announcing the album had been scrapped. So when Carl Wilson said specifically "we started from scratch" to make Smiley Smile, was he wrong? Starting from scratch is not the same as reshaping and reworking the existing project into something new. And the change to Smiley Smile was obviously not planned too far in advance if they had to rent studio gear, have a rented Gates Dualux radio station mixing console on Brian's kitchen table among other places, and cables running across the floors of his new house in order to record there. That's where the 2 weeks immediately following the band's return from Europe become so key to the timeline and history, as that looks more like the exact time when they shifted gears dramatically.

Are you suggesting there is no dividing line, no end point to separate what was being worked on as Smile from what was released as Smiley Smile? If so, then would that also suggest titling the box set "The Smile Sessions" was a mistake or a misnomer if there was no "Smile" project and it was just something that turned into the next album?

No. Yet again, we are talking about different things, and confusing them for the same thing. Work on material that was to end up on the next Beach Boys album started as soon as Pet Sounds was done, and never stopped. What the album was called and what recordings were going to be on it changed significantly, just about every week. At one point, it was going to be something called Smile. At another, it was called Smiley Smile, and it ended up completely different from how it started, save for Good Vibrations, Heroes, Vegetables, and many of the songs themselves. Almost everything on Smiley Smile was completely done over from scratch. In fact, most songs were started over from scratch more than once before the home studio ever existed. There are some recordings that obviously belong to one era and not the other (Cabin Essence being worked on purely during the Smile era, and Little Pad being a home studio creation), but there is no exact dividing line between the two projects. One became the other. If there is a date that we can say we know the album would not have been the same, it is May 6, via the press release. However, we know that the project had changed significantly long before then, and would continue to change significantly until the album was assembled.

These are facts, and they are not contradictory. And none of these facts suggest that Brian added melodica, celeste, Baldwin organ, a children's choir, and a spoken section to Wonderful in order to make the records more closely resemble the bass-drums-guitar touring lineup.

So the fact that the entire sound of the music changed dramatically, the way they recorded and more importantly where and with whom they recorded changed drastically, the production credit on the music changed, and it happened within a span of roughly 2 week at the end of May into June 1967 is of no consequence?

You cannot state as fact that there is or was no dividing line between the two projects when the band themselves and most fans who can easily listen to what was done for Smile versus what was "started from scratch" for Smiley Smile make that separation between the two, and in the band's case they're on the record since 1967 saying as much. If the band and the creators saw them as different projects, do you purport to know something the band didn't know and Smile just seamlessly flowed into Smiley Smile and there was no difference?

That's your opinion, and it's fine to have that opinion and stick to it, but when you have music for Smile which sounds that much different than what's on Smiley Smile, and when the creation of that music changed as dramatically as it did from April into May '67 going into June, it's obvious there was a drastic change that involved more than moving sections around and swapping songs in and out. They started a new project in June 1967 with new parameters and working methods, remaking certain songs and adding new ones. I don't know how more basic of an observation that can be.

I said this earlier in the discussion, and I'll say it again: Play 30 minutes of Smile music and then play the Smiley Smile album for some people, and see what the opinions are in terms of one blending into and becoming the other with no divide between them, or if they sound and feel like the same project. The overall sonic texture alone suggests exactly what Carl said in '67, and others have been saying since: They started from scratch on something new.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 04:51:17 PM
And I highly doubt the band would have played "Wonderful" or even "Wind Chimes" live in 1967 touring to support the Smiley album had they toured behind it any more than they didn't play "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times", "That's Not Me", or "You Still Believe In Me" when they were touring behind Pet Sounds, or "Let Him Run Wild" and "Amusement Parks USA" when they were touring behind the Summer Days LP. They mostly featured the singles and maybe one or two album cuts, as they would also do on the tours supporting Wild Honey, also notable that they added more musicians to the regular touring lineup even for those tours in 67-68.

The point about the sound of the records is being missed or ignored, I think. They got hammered in '67 for not sounding like the records, that's a fact, and the criticisms were published in various music papers in the UK and elsewhere. And unless it was pure coincidence rather than by design, the sound of their records changed noticeably and sounded less complex overall than they had in the past 2 years, they simplified their sound for the songs they would be playing live. That's not saying the recordings were not layered with sound, but the sound was different and less "studio" if that makes sense.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 23, 2022, 04:55:23 PM
Expanding on the question I asked earlier…  for whatever reason , in Jan 67 at some point it became all about getting a single out, right? Out of the songs that never got touched again from then until after May 1967 (in other words , before the scrapped announcement)… which of those songs were complete? Not something where the lead vocal was recorded two years later, or was stitched together five or more years later. Like, as of Dec 1966.

I admit, when it comes to the Smile era, I’ve never been that well versed in the ins and outs of the timeline . I love the music but I never dug that deep into the timeline past whatever info was available in the 90s and 2000s. Hell, until recently I was under the impression that the Fire incident was in 67 and was one of the things that killed Smile! sh*t, November? That’s not that far from Jan 67 . I’m not being sarcastic when I say that. But to me, being completely objective and embarrassingly admitting to being a putz in regards to this era ,  it seems like it pretty much died once Heroes became the focus. Parks leaving for good when he did wouldn’t be an issue if the songs were done…but if there was still more writing to be done, then there is no way in hell it was ever going to come out. So , truthfully , either Dec 66 is the cutoff, or when Parks left the second time.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 05:00:27 PM
Quote
You cannot state as fact that there is or was no dividing line between the two projects when the band themselves and most fans who can easily listen to what was done for Smile versus what was "started from scratch" for Smiley Smile make that separation between the two, and in the band's case they're on the record since 1967 saying as much. If the band and the creators saw them as different projects, do you purport to know something the band didn't know and Smile just seamlessly flowed into Smiley Smile and there was no difference?

That's your opinion, and it's fine to have that opinion and stick to it, but when you have music for Smile which sounds that much different than what's on Smiley Smile, and when the creation of that music changed as dramatically as it did from April into May '67 going into June, it's obvious there was a drastic change that involved more than moving sections around and swapping songs in and out. They started a new project in June 1967 with new parameters and working methods, remaking certain songs and adding new ones. I don't know how more basic of an observation that can be.


You're putting too much weight into the band's perceptions and giving fans too much power.  I would also say that the compulsion to think of Smile as its own, isolated phenomenon is to project a sort of Aristotelean hylomorphism onto this whole thing, when we're really playing a completely nominalist game.  There is simply no need to limit any particular recording to one absolute ontology; Wouldn't it Be Nice is part of Pet Sounds just as much as it it part of Stack-o-tracks.  Wonderful can be part of Smile just as much as it can be part of Smiley Smile.  Cabin Essence can be just as much a part of Dumb Angel as it was part of Smile.

In a sense, yes, we do know something different than the band did.  Unlike the band, we have a pretty nice set of retrospective data to analyze with the benefit of many extra years of context.  We can know exactly when Cabin Essence was no longer a candidate for the new album, for example.  We can track with a lot of accuracy the evolution of Heroes, seeing how different ideas were cannibalized in pursuit of a single, and how other songs were left behind as Brian demonstrably lost interest in them.

I think another major fallacy here is some kind of species of the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy; here, where one wrongly ascribes the change in sound to a deliberate delineation between one project and another, rather than attributing the change in sound to the change in sound per se that Brian was working towards all along.  It's that darned Baldwin organ; it's such a dramatically different sound that dominates the texture -- but if you take that away, it's, in my opinion, patently obvious that Brian was continually working incrementally towards reduced orchestration and simplified song structures.

I spend a lot of time transcribing the Beach Boys arrangements, and I think if I put up, say, the transcription of Wonderful Mark I, and the transcription of Wonderful as it came out on Smiley, you could see visually that the released version is more heavily orchestrated and more complexly structured than Mark I.

My point there is simply that swapping a harpsichord for a Baldwin does not automatically make something and less or more simple.

Incidentally, if anybody wants to see those Wonderful Transcriptions, I would share them.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 05:06:32 PM
I think that the changing texture is of major consequence! This entire era is my favorite to study for many reasons, and that's one of them. Once Brian gets comfortable in his new studio setup, and begins using the Baldwin, the detuned grand, and other tools rather consistently, the recordings really gel with another, and it makes sense that the album didn't really get going until a general sound was found. I just happen to disagree that there's an exact moment where it all changes. When you say 30 minutes of Smile music, do you mean stuff like Cabin Essence, the bigger Heroes sections, Good Vibrations, My Only Sunshine, and other big productions? Or material like Cantina, the early Da Da, Vega-Tables, bridge to indians, mission pak, the Worms chorus, or other sections that involve just piano and vocals?

It's a wonderful bag of varied music, but there's a slow, gradual change toward the more intimate sound of Smiley, if you look at things chronologically. Vegetables in April had one session that involved an ensemble of session players - the rest was just a few keyboards and an upright! If you still think Brian couldn't have possibly cancelled the album called Smile until after he... cancelled the album called Smile... here's a list of the next few recordings that he did from scratch (not including overdubs to the Heroes verse and chorus, or Vegetables sections from April, which were done during this time period):

Love To Say Da Da (Part 1) - grand piano, tack piano, 6-string bass, bass, temple blocks, drums
Love To Say Da Da (Part 2) - grand piano, Hammond organ, electric guitars, 6-string bass, bass, drums, claves, clarinets, vocals
Love To Say Da Da (Second Day) - grand piano, upright piano, acoustic guitar, 6-string bass, upright bass, bongos, mark tree, piccolos
You're With Me Tonight (Version 1) - 2 electric basses, vocals
You're With Me Tonight (Version 2) - harpsichord, vocals
You're With Me Tonight (Version 3) - bass, upright bass, harpsichord, snaps, claps, vocals
Cool, Cool Water - harpsichord, vocals
Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised - electric harpsichord, organ, vocals
Heroes And Villains: Barbershop - vocals
Vegetables (Unused Attempt) - grand piano, organ, bass
Vegetables - bass, tuned water jugs, celery, vocals
Little Pad - grand piano, organ, steel guitar, marimba, claves, ukulele, sound effects, vocals

Where exactly is the major change, after which things sounded nothing like anything they'd done before? It has to be exactly between 2 of these, right? Keep in mind that most of the stuff Brian had done until this point was not much more than piano and vocals for the past few months.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 05:09:24 PM
And to get back to what this was originally about - when exactly in this list does the music become "reproduceable" by the touring band, where it wasn't before?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 05:18:53 PM
Quote
You cannot state as fact that there is or was no dividing line between the two projects when the band themselves and most fans who can easily listen to what was done for Smile versus what was "started from scratch" for Smiley Smile make that separation between the two, and in the band's case they're on the record since 1967 saying as much. If the band and the creators saw them as different projects, do you purport to know something the band didn't know and Smile just seamlessly flowed into Smiley Smile and there was no difference?

That's your opinion, and it's fine to have that opinion and stick to it, but when you have music for Smile which sounds that much different than what's on Smiley Smile, and when the creation of that music changed as dramatically as it did from April into May '67 going into June, it's obvious there was a drastic change that involved more than moving sections around and swapping songs in and out. They started a new project in June 1967 with new parameters and working methods, remaking certain songs and adding new ones. I don't know how more basic of an observation that can be.


You're putting too much weight into the band's perceptions and giving fans too much power.  I would also say that the compulsion to think of Smile as its own, isolated phenomenon is to project a sort of Aristotelean hylomorphism onto this whole thing, when we're really playing a completely nominalist game.  There is simply no need to limit any particular recording to one absolute ontology; Wouldn't it Be Nice is part of Pet Sounds just as much as it it part of Stack-o-tracks.  Wonderful can be part of Smile just as much as it can be part of Smiley Smile.  Cabin Essence can be just as much a part of Dumb Angel as it was part of Smile.

In a sense, yes, we do know something different than the band did.  Unlike the band, we have a pretty nice set of retrospective data to analyze with the benefit of many extra years of context.  We can know exactly when Cabin Essence was no longer a candidate for the new album, for example.  We can track with a lot of accuracy the evolution of Heroes, seeing how different ideas were cannibalized in pursuit of a single, and how other songs were left behind as Brian demonstrably lost interest in them.

I think another major fallacy here is some kind of species of the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy; here, where one wrongly ascribes the change in sound to a deliberate delineation between one project and another, rather than attributing the change in sound to the change in sound per se that Brian was working towards all along.  It's that darned Baldwin organ; it's such a dramatically different sound that dominates the texture -- but if you take that away, it's, in my opinion, patently obvious that Brian was continually working incrementally towards reduced orchestration and simplified song structures.

I spend a lot of time transcribing the Beach Boys arrangements, and I think if I put up, say, the transcription of Wonderful Mark I, and the transcription of Wonderful as it came out on Smiley, you could see visually that the released version is more heavily orchestrated and more complexly structured than Mark I.

My point there is simply that swapping a harpsichord for a Baldwin does not automatically make something and less or more simple.

Incidentally, if anybody wants to see those Wonderful Transcriptions, I would share them.

All music, all art in general is subject to the power of the "fans" and those who will experience and form opinions and perceptions about what they're experiencing. If the creator of the art says "I wanted to portray a deer running through the woods in this piece" and fans say "the artist was portraying a train racing through a mountain pass", which one gets more weight? Once the artist hands off the work to the public, it's subject to their perceptions and opinions of the work as much as what the artist may have intended.

The dividing line, when perhaps it goes too far, is when fans insist that artist was portraying a train in the mountains as a factual statement after the artist said specifically they were portraying a deer in the woods when they created the work. That's where the fan doesn't have more power because they're perceiving rather than actually creating the work, but if their opinion becomes internalized (and expressed) as fact in direct contradiction with the artist's own words, the balance of power becomes arrogance of opinion more than experiencing the work as it was intended by the artist.

Suggesting people listen to a half hour of Smile and then the Smiley Smile album and offer their perceptions of the overall sound and texture of the two is not giving any one element more weight over the other. It's simply asking for opinions and perceptions when comparing two works from the same artist created within the same year.

Not to editorialize, I'd rather hear the opinions firsthand and as new opinions, but the majority of people who have heard Smile and Smiley Smile through the last decades when both were made available have said one sounds more stripped down, lo fi, and less complex than the other. Is that like the fictional artist's fans saying he portrayed a train versus a deer, or is it fans giving their honest appraisal of what they hear and perceive? If those fans hear the two examples, Smile versus Smiley Smile, as two separate entities rather than a continuation of the same project, they would be in agreement with the artists who created the music in 1966-67.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 05:34:34 PM
I think that the changing texture is of major consequence! This entire era is my favorite to study for many reasons, and that's one of them. Once Brian gets comfortable in his new studio setup, and begins using the Baldwin, the detuned grand, and other tools rather consistently, the recordings really gel with another, and it makes sense that the album didn't really get going until a general sound was found. I just happen to disagree that there's an exact moment where it all changes. When you say 30 minutes of Smile music, do you mean stuff like Cabin Essence, the bigger Heroes sections, Good Vibrations, My Only Sunshine, and other big productions? Or material like Cantina, the early Da Da, Vega-Tables, bridge to indians, mission pak, the Worms chorus, or other sections that involve just piano and vocals?

It's a wonderful bag of varied music, but there's a slow, gradual change toward the more intimate sound of Smiley, if you look at things chronologically. Vegetables in April had one session that involved an ensemble of session players - the rest was just a few keyboards and an upright! If you still think Brian couldn't have possibly cancelled the album called Smile until after he... cancelled the album called Smile... here's a list of the next few recordings that he did from scratch (not including overdubs to the Heroes verse and chorus, or Vegetables sections from April, which were done during this time period):

Love To Say Da Da (Part 1) - grand piano, tack piano, 6-string bass, bass, temple blocks, drums
Love To Say Da Da (Part 2) - grand piano, Hammond organ, electric guitars, 6-string bass, bass, drums, claves, clarinets, vocals
Love To Say Da Da (Second Day) - grand piano, upright piano, acoustic guitar, 6-string bass, upright bass, bongos, mark tree, piccolos
You're With Me Tonight (Version 1) - 2 electric basses, vocals
You're With Me Tonight (Version 2) - harpsichord, vocals
You're With Me Tonight (Version 3) - bass, upright bass, harpsichord, snaps, claps, vocals
Cool, Cool Water - harpsichord, vocals
Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised - electric harpsichord, organ, vocals
Heroes And Villains: Barbershop - vocals
Vegetables (Unused Attempt) - grand piano, organ, bass
Vegetables - bass, tuned water jugs, celery, vocals
Little Pad - grand piano, organ, steel guitar, marimba, claves, ukulele, sound effects, vocals

Where exactly is the major change, after which things sounded nothing like anything they'd done before? It has to be exactly between 2 of these, right? Keep in mind that most of the stuff Brian had done until this point was not much more than piano and vocals for the past few months.

Those are good points, yes. I think one of the major differences is that most of the Smile recordings, or those recordings prior to June 1967, were recorded in professional studios with very well made, well-maintained equipment. Brian was going for advancement in recorded sound as much as he was trying new compositional techniques and unorthodox harmony and chord progressions in the genre he was in: pop music. The sound of the instrumentation itself will be radically different when you record instruments in a professional studio which was constructed and designed specifically for high-level acoustics and reflections. When you go from some of the best live rooms ever designed to a living room, and when you go from two studios with some of the finest echo chambers ever built to using an empty swimming pool as an echo chamber, the difference will be blatantly clear even to people who don't have trained ears for recorded sound. When you do group vocals in a grand studio like Columbia, then do group vocals in a living room and a shower stall, there will be a huge difference in sound. And when you go from using some of the finest working studio players in LA playing professionally maintained instruments to tapping basic beats on a bongo drum, playing "found" objects, and replacing a woodwind section with a Baldwin organ, people will notice it.

Also, and this one I think is huge in terms of comparing Smile to Smiley Smile, Brian's fastball was always how his group vocals sounded, how they were arranged, recorded, and mixed. Notice how Smiley Smile has plenty of group vocals, but they're almost all recorded "dry". Compared to his previous productions, they could be called "bone dry". When you alter a signature sound to that extent, and remove most of the wide reverbs, tape delays, and other appointments that cut through AM radio broadcasts and cheap record players, and replace it with dry vocals recorded in a dead room, it's removing one of the sonic hooks you've become known for.

It's a pretty radical shift, and all those things combined will absolutely change the texture and overall sonic imprint of any recording in comparison to previous releases. With Smiley Smile, the change was so drastic it's almost ridiculous to put Good Vibrations on Smiley, it sounds like two different bands entirely. The one at the height of recorded sound and production, and the other recording in a house.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 05:38:26 PM
But can you tell between which exact 2 recordings listed here that that change was made? Or exactly which vocals were recorded in a swimming pool? Where is this sudden shift, if it's so sudden, and how exactly did it help live performances become easier?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 05:48:15 PM
Quote
Also, and this one I think is huge in terms of comparing Smile to Smiley Smile, Brian's fastball was always how his group vocals sounded, how they were arranged, recorded, and mixed. Notice how Smiley Smile has plenty of group vocals, but they're almost all recorded "dry". Compared to his previous productions, they could be called "bone dry". When you alter a signature sound to that extent, and remove most of the wide reverbs, tape delays, and other appointments that cut through AM radio broadcasts and cheap record players, and replace it with dry vocals recorded in a dead room, it's removing one of the sonic hooks you've become known for.

That's true, when you compare the Smiley vocals to, lets say, the Cabinessence vocals, or the Surf's Up vocals, or especially the Do You Like Worms vocals, you can tell that they are much drier -- totally different sound.  Even on more subtle examples like the Fire vocals, or the Friday Night/I Wanna be Around vocals are produced in a totally different way than the vocals on Smiley.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 05:51:05 PM
And to get back to what this was originally about - when exactly in this list does the music become "reproduceable" by the touring band, where it wasn't before?

But can you tell between which exact 2 recordings listed here that that change was made? Or exactly which vocals were recorded in a swimming pool? Where is this sudden shift, if it's so sudden, and how exactly did it help live performances become easier?

You'll have to ask the fans and the writers who were hammering the band in 1967 what they heard in the band's live performances that didn't sound enough like the records. If you make projects more of a band effort, have the same guys on stage that were recording the music as well as the vocals, and have less complex studio creations like Good Vibrations and Heroes (more in some of its original forms) that relied on technology and the recording studio itself as an instrument, it might help bridge the gap and please more of those fans who were complaining.

I think it came to a more full fruition with Wild Honey. The band was able to supplement the stage lineup with outside musicians on tour, play the singles and key tracks they needed to in promoting the album on tour, and it sounded pretty close to what fans heard on the record.  The band, honestly, never toured the Smiley material when the album was new. Most of the proof we have of what it might have been is on the Hawaii tapes. Heroes sounded thin and empty compared to the single, and the other single which would be "Gettin Hungry" a few weeks after the shows actually sounded very close to the record itself. They didn't tackle any other material from Smiley, and didn't tour again until October '67 on a mini tour where they didn't play any Smiley tracks.

I think the concept of stripping things down was definitely there for Smiley, you can hear it. But they never really toured to promote the album, and by the time they did go on a more fully-fledged tour, they were promoting Wild Honey. The concept was never executed on stage - except in Hawaii - so that's the only proof we can actually hear.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 05:54:36 PM
Quote
Also, and this one I think is huge in terms of comparing Smile to Smiley Smile, Brian's fastball was always how his group vocals sounded, how they were arranged, recorded, and mixed. Notice how Smiley Smile has plenty of group vocals, but they're almost all recorded "dry". Compared to his previous productions, they could be called "bone dry". When you alter a signature sound to that extent, and remove most of the wide reverbs, tape delays, and other appointments that cut through AM radio broadcasts and cheap record players, and replace it with dry vocals recorded in a dead room, it's removing one of the sonic hooks you've become known for.

That's true, when you compare the Smiley vocals to, lets say, the Cabinessence vocals, or the Surf's Up vocals, or especially the Do You Like Worms vocals, you can tell that they are much drier -- totally different sound.  Even on more subtle examples like the Fire vocals, or the Friday Night/I Wanna be Around vocals are produced in a totally different way than the vocals on Smiley.

One of the main sonic hooks of the band's sound, the vocals, group vocals, and how they were recorded, was radically different going from the Smile sessions to Smiley Smile. It's one of the most notable and noticeable differences. Like Coca Cola changing to New Coke, it totally changed the brand's identity.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 06:00:28 PM
Craig...  you do know that they didn't record (or keep, anyway) many group vocals for Smile, right?  And that Mark added reverb to the extant vocals in his 2011 mixes?  How can you possibly compare a finished album with a largely background vocal-less unfinished album?

Quote
You'll have to ask the fans and the writers who were hammering the band in 1967 what they heard in the band's live performances that didn't sound enough like the records.

He's asking you!  If you assert it, you have to have an answer.  I'm also curious if you have a collection of the contemporary materials that derided the band's on-stage sound?  I don't doubt that there were some comments, but I'm concerned that you're overselling the "hammered in the press" thing.  Not that it matters in the slightest to the argument, but I would be edified by seeing an example of the band getting hammered.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 06:06:45 PM
Craig...  you do know that they didn't record (or keep, anyway) many group vocals for Smile, right?  And that Mark added reverb to the extant vocals in his 2011 mixes?  How can you possibly compare a finished album with a largely background vocal-less unfinished album?

Quote
You'll have to ask the fans and the writers who were hammering the band in 1967 what they heard in the band's live performances that didn't sound enough like the records.

He's asking you!  If you assert it, you have to have an answer.  I'm also curious if you have a collection of the contemporary materials that derided the band's on-stage sound?  I don't doubt that there were some comments, but I'm concerned that you're overselling the "hammered in the press" thing.  Not that it matters in the slightest to the argument, but I would be edified by seeing an example of the band getting hammered.

I meant the vocal sound they had previously that became their trademark going back to at least 1964. I also said vocals and group vocals referring to Smile, referring obviously to what did exist. And I also explained in detail the differences in instrumentation too. Most of my Smile listening came well before the 2011 box set BTW, so I'm not referencing reverb or other sonic traits added digitally on later releases.

I gave an answer, and in detail too. Why would I base a comparison on album tracks they'd never perform live anyway? And I'm being honest, I wasn't at any of the shows, I don't know what exactly they were complaining about, but there were complaints.

I'll find a few examples for you.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: MyDrKnowsItKeepsMeCalm on July 23, 2022, 06:09:10 PM
Also, and this one I think is huge in terms of comparing Smile to Smiley Smile, Brian's fastball was always how his group vocals sounded, how they were arranged, recorded, and mixed. Notice how Smiley Smile has plenty of group vocals, but they're almost all recorded "dry". Compared to his previous productions, they could be called "bone dry". When you alter a signature sound to that extent, and remove most of the wide reverbs, tape delays, and other appointments that cut through AM radio broadcasts and cheap record players, and replace it with dry vocals recorded in a dead room, it's removing one of the sonic hooks you've become known for.

It's a pretty radical shift, and all those things combined will absolutely change the texture and overall sonic imprint of any recording in comparison to previous releases. With Smiley Smile, the change was so drastic it's almost ridiculous to put Good Vibrations on Smiley, it sounds like two different bands entirely. The one at the height of recorded sound and production, and the other recording in a house.

Great thoughts. I think this is one of the things that has always bugged me about the Smiley Smile album... the vocals and overall sound are just really lifeless. Even an album like Love You, recorded well past their prime as a vocal group, has much more sheen and richness to the sound.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 06:14:10 PM
And to get back to what this was originally about - when exactly in this list does the music become "reproduceable" by the touring band, where it wasn't before?

But can you tell between which exact 2 recordings listed here that that change was made? Or exactly which vocals were recorded in a swimming pool? Where is this sudden shift, if it's so sudden, and how exactly did it help live performances become easier?

You'll have to ask the fans and the writers who were hammering the band in 1967 what they heard in the band's live performances that didn't sound enough like the records. If you make projects more of a band effort, have the same guys on stage that were recording the music as well as the vocals, and have less complex studio creations like Good Vibrations and Heroes (more in some of its original forms) that relied on technology and the recording studio itself as an instrument, it might help bridge the gap and please more of those fans who were complaining.

So, the fans and critics were complaining so hard about the drums-bass-guitar band not sounding like the record, that not only did it completely derail the project, but it forced the band to record music that sounded closer to the touring band.

So Brian removed most of the bass and guitar from his productions, and all of the drums. He based all the new arrangements around his Baldwin organ and Chickering grand piano, neither of which were used by the touring band. He added melodica, found percussion, children's choirs, and various sound effects to the songs, made the tempos freer, and generally complicated the chord progressions and vocal arrangements.

The Beach Boys were using the studio as an instrument too much so he... enlisted the help of engineers to create new studio techniques (the pitched-but-not-sped-up She's Goin' Bald vocals) and increased the dynamic contrast between the hard-edited sections of songs?

Songs like Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains were too hard, so... both songs were included on the album? And the verse section of Heroes, which is Smile at its Spectorian peak, had even more instruments overdubbed, and a more involved vocal arrangement...

All for the Beach Boys to not play any new songs from the album live, besides Gettin' Hungry, which only sounds like the record because... Brian needed to bring his Baldwin to Hawaii if the band wanted him to go. They played it 2 nights in a row and then never again.

Do you see how this theory, as interesting as it sounds, makes absolutely zero sense?

Also, how many critics can you name that came at the band with this exact complaint?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 06:18:12 PM
Also, check out the middle section of Smiley Wind Chimes, and the reverb that gets applied throughout. By Dennis' last "tinkling" they sound like they're at the bottom of a well.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 06:24:26 PM
Craig...  you do know that they didn't record (or keep, anyway) many group vocals for Smile, right?  And that Mark added reverb to the extant vocals in his 2011 mixes?  How can you possibly compare a finished album with a largely background vocal-less unfinished album?

Quote
You'll have to ask the fans and the writers who were hammering the band in 1967 what they heard in the band's live performances that didn't sound enough like the records.

He's asking you!  If you assert it, you have to have an answer.  I'm also curious if you have a collection of the contemporary materials that derided the band's on-stage sound?  I don't doubt that there were some comments, but I'm concerned that you're overselling the "hammered in the press" thing.  Not that it matters in the slightest to the argument, but I would be edified by seeing an example of the band getting hammered.

I meant the vocal sound they had previously that became their trademark going back to at least 1964. I also said vocals and group vocals referring to Smile, referring obviously to what did exist. And I also explained in detail the differences in instrumentation too. Most of my Smile listening came well before the 2011 box set BTW, so I'm not referencing reverb or other sonic traits added digitally on later releases.

I gave an answer, and in detail too. Why would I base a comparison on album tracks they'd never perform live anyway? And I'm being honest, I wasn't at any of the shows, I don't know what exactly they were complaining about, but there were complaints.

I'll find a few examples for you.

But how can you know what the backing vocals on your Platonic "Smile" album would have sounded like?  How do you know that Brian wouldn't have used a lot less reverb in many instances?

And like Sloop says above, Smiley is not without reverb.  And if you respond with something like "yes, but it's more of a general vibe than an absolute" you've just made my point for me.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 06:30:21 PM
Quote
The Beach Boys were using the studio as an instrument too much so he... enlisted the help of engineers to create new studio techniques (the pitched-but-not-sped-up She's Goin' Bald vocals) and increased the dynamic contrast between the hard-edited sections of songs?

It's actually a kind of interesting point; if there is a concrete distinction to be made between the Smile sessions and the Smiley Smile sessions, I think it's entirely fair to say that the Smiley Smile sessions were much more "produced" than the earlier Dumb Angel and 66->67 stuff.  In some ways, it's completely a by-product of Brian settling into the home studio, but I think the increasingly default use of 8-track contributes as well.  Dumb Angel and the core Smile productions are very much products of the 3-track age, and what ends up on Smiley is a lot more 8-tracky.  But again, it's not like one day they stopped recording on 4-track and only recorded on 8-track.  Marimba version of Wind chimes is such a great example of a very Smiley style production ethic on what is considered a very Smile track, because it was assembled via 8-track instead of recorded as a band making a master take.

And of course, we can easily see that Brian's interested in sound effects start on things like the Great Shape tape explosion, and come to fruition with the Eltro.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 06:32:41 PM
Quote
The Beach Boys were using the studio as an instrument too much so he... enlisted the help of engineers to create new studio techniques (the pitched-but-not-sped-up She's Goin' Bald vocals) and increased the dynamic contrast between the hard-edited sections of songs?

It's actually a kind of interesting point; if there is a concrete distinction to be made between the Smile sessions and the Smiley Smile sessions, I think it's entirely fair to say that the Smiley Smile sessions were much more "produced" than the earlier Dumb Angel and 66->67 stuff.  In some ways, it's completely a by-product of Brian settling into the home studio, but I think the increasingly default use of 8-track contributes as well.  Dumb Angel and the core Smile productions are very much products of the 3-track age, and what ends up on Smiley is a lot more 8-tracky.  But again, it's not like one day they stopped recording on 4-track and only recorded on 8-track.  Marimba version of Wind chimes is such a great example of a very Smiley style production ethic on what is considered a very Smile track, because it was assembled via 8-track instead of recorded as a band making a master take.

And of course, we can easily see that Brian's interested in sound effects start on things like the Great Shape tape explosion, and come to fruition with the Eltro.

Exactly. And much of that also comes with Brian being in a position where he enjoys layering the instruments himself without the help of other musicians. But as you say, there are hints of that throughout Smile, such as Wind Chimes. It's clear that it was all eventually leading up to a full project based around that style of production.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 06:35:50 PM
Another interesting production technique Brian settles on is the use of a basic track as a silent click to be heard while overdubbing, but not to be mixed in the song. Wind Chimes is a great example, where everything is overdubbed on top of his loose piano performance, but the piano itself is silenced in the mix. This is something he'll keep doing during Wild Honey, especially with some off-mic drumming as a guide. But that's largely thrown out the window with Friends, when he returns to live band tracks as he'd done on Pet Sounds and some of Smile.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 06:47:25 PM
Yeah, and I think it's important to notice that Brian's personal involvement in the tracking is actually a really great example of the creeping Smiley ethic that slowly overtakes the Dumb Angel ethic -- On Pet Sounds, Brian outsourced all the playing to the Studio players (save That's Not Me and a short piano o/d on the title track) but almost from the beginning of the Dumb Angel/Smile project, Brian starts to take back some instrumental responsibility (And I think he used Van as a sort of proxy for himself, in a weird way.)  Carl also very slowly gets more involved that he had been for about a year or so.  We have these really small, assembly-line type productions in Great Shape, Wonderful (1&2), Wind Chimes (2), that are just Brian or Van (or Dorothy the harpist) and a bass and/or some other minimal instrumentation.  Then Brian keeps pushing in that direction until we get to the Heroes and Vegetables stuff that is just Brian essentially doing everything himself on 8-track.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 23, 2022, 06:53:35 PM
Yeah, and I think it's important to notice that Brian's personal involvement in the tracking is actually a really great example of the creeping Smiley ethic that slowly overtakes the Dumb Angel ethic -- On Pet Sounds, Brian outsourced all the playing to the Studio players (save That's Not Me and a short piano o/d on the title track) but almost from the beginning of the Dumb Angel/Smile project, Brian starts to take back some instrumental responsibility (And I think he used Van as a sort of proxy for himself, in a weird way.)  Carl also very slowly gets more involved that he had been for about a year or so.  We have these really small, assembly-line type productions in Great Shape, Wonderful (1&2), Wind Chimes (2), that are just Brian or Van (or Dorothy the harpist) and a bass and/or some other minimal instrumentation.  Then Brian keeps pushing in that direction until we get to the Heroes and Vegetables stuff that is just Brian essentially doing everything himself on 8-track.

It really is a slow, smooth transition into something very different. Smile and Smiley Smile are a lot more similar than people realize, and Smile and Pet Sounds are pretty damn different. It's that distinct Baldwin + detuned piano texture that just makes everyone think there was some bizarre 180 in Brian's production methods.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 06:57:02 PM
Unfinished Smile is much more similar to Smiley Smile than it is to Pet Sounds.  If Pet Sounds is the culmination of the impulse of Today and SDSN, Smiley is the culmination of the Dumb Angel and Smile material.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 07:14:27 PM
I had a classics professor who introduced me to the idea of sort of "eternal cycle" of civilisation, especially as reflected in art, and how it's this cyclical thing where ordered society sort of gradually gets more and more decadent until it fizzles out and everybody wants to go back to being ordered again.  (This is an extreme oversimplification.)

So take western music -- Medieval music was ordered and simple, and gradually the complexity grew until we got to the high Baroque, with fugues of such complexity it can hardly be fathomed, and music dripping with "affekt."  But people got tired of all that complexity and emotion, and so we transition via the Rococo to a classical period of Mozart and Haydn, light, ordered, reserved music.  This order gradually gains complexity, until the Bel Canto era when vocal lines were melismatic and virtuosic again.  But this time, the underlying music continues to buttress the vocal lines with virtuosity per se, and more and more emotion is allowed to creep in.  Suddenly we find ourselves in the arena of Wagner and Puccini.  But people got tired of coming out of the opera house sobbing, and started to feel emotionally manipulated, so the reaction was 20th century serialism -- back to very ordered, simple, and sort of "crisp" music.

Anyway, I always have thought that the Beach Boys are a perfect microcosmic example of this grander cycle.  Surf music is their Medieval music, All Summer long was like their Renaissance which presages Today and Summer Days blossoming into Pet Sounds.  Then, Dumb Angel and Smile mark the descent into decadence, with the ultimate expression of decadence being Smile Smile.  Then the cycle is reborn with the simple, ordered Wild Honey.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 07:31:57 PM
I'm also curious if you have a collection of the contemporary materials that derided the band's on-stage sound?  I don't doubt that there were some comments, but I'm concerned that you're overselling the "hammered in the press" thing.  Not that it matters in the slightest to the argument, but I would be edified by seeing an example of the band getting hammered.

A few random comments from 66 and the rest from 67, for your edification. There are more, I just can't recall where I have them.

(https://i.imgur.com/xmJHbxo.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/tecfrMo.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/ckdKm16.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/7c6LqYi.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/QrmXBBk.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/TNOOe9J.jpg)

Note especially the last article, the Bruce interview. Quote: "Despite full houses everywhere, The Beach Boys came in for some pretty severe criticism in this country, both for their stage act, and for releasing an old song as their new single"

The excerpts above are just to show there was criticism, mostly from fans (and Spencer Davis), and it was a general question surrounding the band going back to the 1966 tour about their live sound. It's the same rap, the vocals were there, but the backing wasn't.

There is at least one interview I cannot find where it's either Carl or Dennis (probably Carl) addressing the criticism they received on this 1967 UK/Europe tour but I just can't find it. Anyone know if this interview?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 07:44:33 PM
Craig...  you do know that they didn't record (or keep, anyway) many group vocals for Smile, right?  And that Mark added reverb to the extant vocals in his 2011 mixes?  How can you possibly compare a finished album with a largely background vocal-less unfinished album?

Quote
You'll have to ask the fans and the writers who were hammering the band in 1967 what they heard in the band's live performances that didn't sound enough like the records.

He's asking you!  If you assert it, you have to have an answer.  I'm also curious if you have a collection of the contemporary materials that derided the band's on-stage sound?  I don't doubt that there were some comments, but I'm concerned that you're overselling the "hammered in the press" thing.  Not that it matters in the slightest to the argument, but I would be edified by seeing an example of the band getting hammered.

I meant the vocal sound they had previously that became their trademark going back to at least 1964. I also said vocals and group vocals referring to Smile, referring obviously to what did exist. And I also explained in detail the differences in instrumentation too. Most of my Smile listening came well before the 2011 box set BTW, so I'm not referencing reverb or other sonic traits added digitally on later releases.

I gave an answer, and in detail too. Why would I base a comparison on album tracks they'd never perform live anyway? And I'm being honest, I wasn't at any of the shows, I don't know what exactly they were complaining about, but there were complaints.

I'll find a few examples for you.

But how can you know what the backing vocals on your Platonic "Smile" album would have sounded like?  How do you know that Brian wouldn't have used a lot less reverb in many instances?

And like Sloop says above, Smiley is not without reverb.  And if you respond with something like "yes, but it's more of a general vibe than an absolute" you've just made my point for me.

I never said it was without reverb entirely, I said compared to the previous releases and even some of the more complete Smile tracks, Smiley is bone dry in comparison, and that's true. I'm basing it on the examples we have of all the vocals on the Smile material, do you think I'm that naive about this as to discuss imaginary things instead of what I've been listening to for decades? I listened to all the available Smile material that was circulating prior to the box set in 2011, and then some, as did you, and those are my main reference points. A lot of those session fragments are raw tracks, many unmixed even as a rough or reference mixdown, and without effects unless the effects were recorded with the track. I don't try to state as fact what I think Brian would have done, so no I don't know and I never said I did.

The vocals sound different, they're much more dry, and not as full in tone as they were recorded and mixed for Smiley. That's my opinion, and anyone can listen and form their own opinions on the existing Smile vocals, the vocal tracks the band was known for before Smile, and what's on Smiley Smile.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 07:53:25 PM
Quote
do you think I'm that naive about this as to discuss imaginary things instead of what I've been listening to for decades?

I think you like to argue for the sake of arguing so much that you end up arguing about nothing!

Quote
I don't try to state as fact what I think Brian would have done, so no I don't know and I never said I did.

What is your point then?  That Smiley's vocals had more reverb than Pet Sounds and thus Smile had a fixed end date?

Thanks for the clips.  It seems to me that at least Bruce wasn't too bothered by the criticism -- he seems to understand that they needed to expand the stage act a little bit, and regrets their first attempts to do so didn't work out.  They learned from this and did work up a better stage show.  It seems to me that the bands reaction to the criticism was less to give Smile a fixed end date so they could make an album of hypothetically stage-reproducible songs, and more to develop a touring band by gradually hiring sidemen.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Don Malcolm on July 23, 2022, 08:03:40 PM
A number of brilliant folks here, who are IMO in danger of getting lost in the trees rather than taking in the forest.

First principle: what are the reasons why SMILEY SMILE had to happen? It was not a project that started totally fresh; it had distinct antecedents and it was partially connected to something sprawling, complex, and increasingly controversial. There are many wonderful musical insights and observations in the last page or so of posts, but almost all of them are getting away from the historical realities that prompted this most unusual circumstance.

In May '67 it became clear to Brian and the band that they had to do something else, or the impasse they'd reached was going to tear everything apart. When a new recording setup came into play, it was up to Brian to figure out how to transpose it into a set of new arrangements and recording techniques that had only been partially in play in his most recent projects.

Instead of trying to generalize about these techniques and use that as a framework for differentiating (or tying together) the "Wrecking Crew SMiLE" from the "deceptively simple SMILEY"--all of which is interesting as hell and signals a high level of musical acumen--let's simply posit that one of the things that snapped Brian back into coherence after he'd floundered for several months is that he had to figure out how to do a number of things in this new-fangled recording environment. Each of the new songs (or revisions of previously recorded songs, or snippets borrowed to make a new song) had a different set of challenges and requirements in order to be completed as satisfactorily--and as quickly--as possible.

That last point should not be discounted: this was first and foremost emergency work, plain and simple--because so much time had elapsed, and so many raised eyebrows existed in so many places by May '67 that things simply needed to just get done. In a sense, having to refigure/rejigger this material in rapid mode may have helped to forestall Brian's collapse for another fourteen months or so because he had to focus so intently on cranking it out ASAP. Putting this back into actual historical perspective, it took a not-inconsiderable amount of sang froid on Brian's part to do all of that at that exact moment, because while SMILEY was being worked on, the Beatles' SGT PEPPER was taking the world by storm. And he had to know that the band was going to take a hit whenever SMILEY made it out into the world, and that there was probably going to have to be another project close on its heels to help limit the damage that was going to be done.

Brian needing to assimilate and synthesize all those issues in a compressed time frame is probably the most amazing part of this entire period. (And you can occasionally hear some strain in that, when you hear him on some of the booted SMILEY session tapes.) All of the techniques described in the previous posts, the listings of instruments utilized in arranging/recording the songs, and the differing approaches to recording the vocals suggest that Brian found a way to get everyone through a process that had just as much chance at going haywire as the one he'd just "sealed in a can."

Now all of that borrowed-from-Jacob-Burkhardt cyclical art/civilization theory stuff aside, of course SMILEY is going to sound more like SMILE and vice-versa: the overlap in material explains this, not a theory of art that doesn't quite have room for romanticism because when the art historians of the second half of the nineteenth century got into theorizing they were already caught up in the overwrought. The symphony was giving way to grand/grandiose opera, which was a sad development, since the sonata form applied to an orchestra had morphed into something ordered but flexible. GV, as the quintessential "pocket symphony" is the grand moment of romanticism stemming from Pet Sounds, as Brian races maybe just a bit too quickly through the stylistic permutations for his own good. Certain of the SMiLE tracks simply couldn't be reworked, they are singular artifacts of the "Wrecking Crew" style production process--and it's that fact that makes me find it highly plausible that Brian was hoping to get back to that material on his own once he'd figured out a path through the forest for the band. That echoes GF's observation that he was still looking to make more "orchestral" music even as he was scaling things down for the band. Keep in mind that his process for getting through WILD HONEY was very similar to what had been the case for SMILEY.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 08:14:54 PM
Quote
do you think I'm that naive about this as to discuss imaginary things instead of what I've been listening to for decades?

I think you like to argue for the sake of arguing so much that you end up arguing about nothing!

Quote
I don't try to state as fact what I think Brian would have done, so no I don't know and I never said I did.

What is your point then?  That Smiley's vocals had more reverb than Pet Sounds and thus Smile had a fixed end date?

Thanks for the clips.  It seems to me that at least Bruce wasn't too bothered by the criticism -- he seems to understand that they needed to expand the stage act a little bit, and regrets their first attempts to do so didn't work out.  They learned from this and did work up a better stage show.  It seems to me that the bands reaction to the criticism was less to give Smile a fixed end date so they could make an album of hypothetically stage-reproducible songs, and more to develop a touring band by gradually hiring sidemen.

That first point is unfair and uncalled for, but I'll take it. I've laid out my opinions and examples here and from the first post I made on the May/June 67 time frame, I said the studio versus live sound issue was a factor to consider. Not that it was the main factor, but one to consider alongside everything else. The examples and quotes are listed on these pages, along with my own opinions. If people read them and agree, fine, if they read them and disagree, fine. But to say I'm arguing about nothing is really uncalled for and not cool. Ok?

My point is having a discussion about topics which are still open and unresolved. To try to suggest it comes down to reverb on Smiley's vocals is again ridiculous and uncalled for. But I'll take it in stride and reply accordingly. No, that's not my point...thanks for dismissing everything else I've contributed to the discussion in one comment.

When examples were asked for, they were given. If your opinion is "right" in your own mind, that won't change. But you're not the only person reading, and there have been cases where someone has said "this is fact" when it is not. That includes Keith Badman's book and the dodgy dates too, I suppose.  :lol


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 08:16:36 PM
Also, check out the middle section of Smiley Wind Chimes, and the reverb that gets applied throughout. By Dennis' last "tinkling" they sound like they're at the bottom of a well.

That's true, and it adds to the eerie and darker quality of the Smiley take that isn't present on any of the Smile versions.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 08:26:07 PM
A number of brilliant folks here, who are IMO in danger of getting lost in the trees rather than taking in the forest.

First principle: what are the reasons why SMILEY SMILE had to happen? It was not a project that started totally fresh; it had distinct antecedents and it was partially connected to something sprawling, complex, and increasingly controversial. There are many wonderful musical insights and observations in the last page or so of posts, but almost all of them are getting away from the historical realities that prompted this most unusual circumstance.

In May '67 it became clear to Brian and the band that they had to do something else, or the impasse they'd reached was going to tear everything apart. When a new recording setup came into play, it was up to Brian to figure out how to transpose it into a set of new arrangements and recording techniques that had only been partially in play in his most recent projects.

Instead of trying to generalize about these techniques and use that as a framework for differentiating (or tying together) the "Wrecking Crew SMiLE" from the "deceptively simple SMILEY"--all of which is interesting as hell and signals a high level of musical acumen--let's simply posit that one of the things that snapped Brian back into coherence after he'd floundered for several months is that he had to figure out how to do a number of things in this new-fangled recording environment. Each of the new songs (or revisions of previously recorded songs, or snippets borrowed to make a new song) had a different set of challenges and requirements in order to be completed as satisfactorily--and as quickly--as possible.

That last point should not be discounted: this was first and foremost emergency work, plain and simple--because so much time had elapsed, and so many raised eyebrows existed in so many places by May '67 that things simply needed to just get done. In a sense, having to refigure/rejigger this material in rapid mode may have helped to forestall Brian's collapse for another fourteen months or so because he had to focus so intently on cranking it out ASAP. Putting this back into actual historical perspective, it took a not-inconsiderable amount of sang froid on Brian's part to do all of that at that exact moment, because while SMILEY was being worked on, the Beatles' SGT PEPPER was taking the world by storm. And he had to know that the band was going to take a hit whenever SMILEY made it out into the world, and that there was probably going to have to be another project close on its heels to help limit the damage that was going to be done.

Brian needing to assimilate and synthesize all those issues in a compressed time frame is probably the most amazing part of this entire period. (And you can occasionally hear some strain in that, when you hear him on some of the booted SMILEY session tapes.) All of the techniques described in the previous posts, the listings of instruments utilized in arranging/recording the songs, and the differing approaches to recording the vocals suggest that Brian found a way to get everyone through a process that had just as much chance at going haywire as the one he'd just "sealed in a can."

Now all of that borrowed-from-Jacob-Burkhardt cyclical art/civilization theory stuff aside, of course SMILEY is going to sound more like SMILE and vice-versa: the overlap in material explains this, not a theory of art that doesn't quite have room for romanticism because when the art historians of the second half of the nineteenth century got into theorizing they were already caught up in the overwrought. The symphony was giving way to grand/grandiose opera, which was a sad development, since the sonata form applied to an orchestra had morphed into something ordered but flexible. GV, as the quintessential "pocket symphony" is the grand moment of romanticism stemming from Pet Sounds, as Brian races maybe just a bit too quickly through the stylistic permutations for his own good. Certain of the SMiLE tracks simply couldn't be reworked, they are singular artifacts of the "Wrecking Crew" style production process--and it's that fact that makes me find it highly plausible that Brian was hoping to get back to that material on his own once he'd figured out a path through the forest for the band. That echoes GF's observation that he was still looking to make more "orchestral" music even as he was scaling things down for the band. Keep in mind that his process for getting through WILD HONEY was very similar to what had been the case for SMILEY.

Fantastic thoughts, Don, thank you. And Brian did get back to making more grandiose music in October 1967 with Redwood and Time To Get Alone, along with some of the other examples we've mentioned on earlier pages. The modular writing and song construction with "Been Way Too Long/Can't Wait Too Long". His return to and revisiting of "Surf's Up" by way of a beautiful solo rendition which I don't think has ever been fully explained. "Cool Cool Water". I think he struck a balance in all of these ways, but slightly missed the mark, on Friends. The home studio was operational, he had a blend of some of his old session players and the core band making the tracks, the whole band was contributing, and he was still trying things that were more refined than Smiley Smile, more diverse than Wild Honey, some quirky production ideas from Smile, etc.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 08:42:53 PM
Craig, I'm dismissing your arguments on their merits because they are not very good arguments -- it's not personal, although I do think that you just enjoy being argumentative.  Which is OK.  I went to law school, there are lots of people like you that will subtly change a subject just to keep the joy of arguing going.  I understand the thrill of the adrenaline and all that.

There is the statement of the original post:

There was a "Smile" that was more or less close to being releasable in 1967.

That position was superseded by this assertion:

That there was one Smile and that it officially stopped being worked on at a fixed date.  After that date, there was a totally different project started from scratch.

Justification for this assertion has been put forward:

Smiley was started as a new project because the band had to be able to sound like their records onstage.
Smiley involved a totally different method of working
Smiley was less involved musically / had simpler production / had markedly different production techniques

But the historical record does not back any of that up.

The band did not perform any song from Smiley Smile regularly onstage, other than the two most complicated recordings, and never had any intention of doing so.
It was a gradual and subtle shift in working methods from the Pet Sounds style of music and production, easily traceable by looking at personnel, track use, and Brian's roughs.
Smiley was demonstrably not simpler musically, and in fact was in some ways more advanced in it's production techniques that earlier material, despite any perception of unusual simplicity.


Don, I appreciate your more subtle approach to the question.  I think you're probably right that there were circumstances that forced things along more urgently that was ideal.  And obviously, making the decision to do the home studio was a huge event.  But I don't think we can know for certain whether the home studio's limitations and the time pressure affected Brian's aesthetic sensibilities.  It's very possible that they did and that he made internal adjustments and concessions because of it.  But that's speculation, whereas the tape and contemporary materials are not, and the those things show pretty objectively that Smile and Smiley Smile are part of the same artistic impulse by any metric.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 23, 2022, 08:52:58 PM
Craig, I'm dismissing your arguments on their merits because they are not very good arguments -- it's not personal, although I do think that you just enjoy being argumentative.  Which is OK.  I went to law school, there are lots of people like you that will subtly change a subject just to keep the joy of arguing going.  I understand the thrill of the adrenaline and all that.

There is the statement of the original post:

There was a "Smile" that was more or less close to being releasable in 1967.

That position was superseded by this assertion:

That there was one Smile and that it officially stopped being worked on at a fixed date.  After that date, there was a totally different project started from scratch.

Justification for this assertion has been put forward:

Smiley was started as a new project because the band had to be able to sound like their records onstage.
Smiley involved a totally different method of working
Smiley was less involved musically / had simpler production / had markedly different production techniques

But the historical record does not back any of that up.

The band did not perform any song from Smiley Smile regularly onstage, other than the two most complicated recordings, and never had any intention of doing so.
It was a gradual and subtle shift in working methods from the Pet Sounds style of music and production, easily traceable by looking at personnel, track use, and Brian's roughs.
Smiley was demonstrably not simpler musically, and in fact was in some ways more advanced in it's production techniques that earlier material, despite any perception of unusual simplicity.


Don, I appreciate your more subtle approach to the question.  I think you're probably right that there were circumstances that forced things along more urgently that was ideal.  And obviously, making the decision to do the home studio was a huge event.  But I don't think we can know for certain whether the home studio's limitations and the time pressure affected Brian's aesthetic sensibilities.  It's very possible that they did and that he made internal adjustments and concessions because of it.  But that's speculation, whereas the tape and contemporary materials are not, and the those things show pretty objectively that Smile and Smiley Smile are part of the same artistic impulse by any metric.



Just to single this out:

There is the statement of the original post:

There was a "Smile" that was more or less close to being releasable in 1967.

That position was superseded by this assertion:

That there was one Smile and that it officially stopped being worked on at a fixed date.  After that date, there was a totally different project started from scratch.

Justification for this assertion has been put forward:

Smiley was started as a new project because the band had to be able to sound like their records onstage.
Smiley involved a totally different method of working
Smiley was less involved musically / had simpler production / had markedly different production techniques

But the historical record does not back any of that up.


What historical record are you referring to, because it was Carl who said they started from scratch, various band members who said they went into the Smiley sessions with a different mindset, including Brian, and that it had simpler production, a definite choice that was made. The first one is my opinion, I've covered that already. The other two are found in quotes and comments coming from the band members themselves, and not just the October 1967 Carl interview I reposted earlier from the LA Times.

I was stating and reposting here what the band said, on the historical record, about Smiley Smile, and the quotes are available from many sources. So is the issue you have more with them and what they have said rather than my opinions, which compared to the band's own words are just one fan's opinions?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 08:57:25 PM
Quote
What historical record are you referring to?

Contents of the multitrack and mono tapes
AFM sheets
Capitol Worksheets
Internal documentation
Tape Boxes
The Beach Boys Archives Database

Hearsay is much messier.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 23, 2022, 09:02:18 PM
I'd also like to add that I normally wouldn't get involved in this kind of discussion (because, clearly, it's not a great look on me), except here I think that to misunderstand how we ended up with Smiley Smile is to misunderstand the quintessence of Brian Wilson.  His entire artistic temperament can be understood by analyzing the very deliberate line of development he was making, and I think that missing that misses Brian's raison d'etre.  So I think it's important that we get it right.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:38:03 AM
Well, by "Smile", what exactly do you mean? What exact sequence of songs are you referring to, and what exact structure of each song?

The next album by the Beach Boys was never scrapped. It was continually changing. If you're asking if the exact moment Brian scrapped that list of 12 songs in favor of the 11 songs on Smiley Smile is known, well, that moment simply doesn't exist. We can know when lots of little changes were made, though. For example, Do You Like Worms was no longer a song by December 27, at the latest. The tape evidence suggests that the song had been chopped up on or before that date, with the chorus being removed to after the opening Heroes verse (where it would be "Heroes and Villains part 2" for the next month), and the verse was removed to the Prayer reel, where Da Da would immediately be recorded onto (it was possibly going to be used as an intro here). For another example, My Only Sunshine was no longer on the album by February 10, when Brian replaced the group vocals with his own voice, and used it as the fadeout to Heroes and Villains. Small little changes like these are traceable, as Smile turns from one thing into another. The album is a completely different entity in Brian's mind with each week, and to refuse to see it that way is to intentionally misunderstand Brian's working methods of the time.


None of the recordings made for Smile were used on Smiley Smile so that marks a clear delineation where Smile stopped and Smiley Smile started.  Love to Say Dada was not used on Smiley Smile and MAY have been the last thing recorded for Smile.  Cool Cool Water was not Love to Say Dada.  It was the first thing Brian wrote in his new house and was only merged with the chant from Love to Say Dada in January 1970 for Sunflower.


The scrapping of Smile and the plan for Smiley Smile (then unnamed) must have been discussed when the group returned from the tour and what Brian may have been referring to when Bruce suggested using the album they had in the can - he made a remark about a big argument.   

So we don't know the exact date but somewhere between 19th May and 6th June negations took place and an agreement reached.

Crucially the Beach Boys were given credit as producers even though Brian produced it.  That means a pay off - they got money for producing the album even though they didn't and as Steve Desper said Beach Boys politics is follow the money.  They didn't want Smile.  Brian took it off them and paid them for it with the credit and by using some of the material but mostly changed, and delivering the album really quickly which was vital because they were behind with contractual obligations and Capitol were not paying enough royalties.

Lots of this is false info, so I think some things should be clarified again -

First of all, the "Love to Say Da Da chant" was recorded under the title Cool, Cool Water, in Brian's home studio. It either comes from the main Smiley Smile period, or possibly later during Wild Honey.

Second, LTSDD and CCW are the same song musically, which was first written in December 1966. The chord progression is identical, though the lyrical subject matter has changed. But there's no significant difference between that change and say, the significant restructure Wind Chimes went through from August-October 1966, or the massive changes Child is Father of the Man went through, or the big change in tone Wonderful went through from December to January... not to mention Heroes & Villains being completely rewritten and re-recorded just about every week in January-March 1967. So why does the distinct project "Smile" have to be abandoned some time between these two recordings, both of which were recorded in L.A. studios outside of Brian's house, and neither of which appeared on the list of Smile songs from 1966 OR Smiley Smile? Where on EARTH did that bizarre theory come from, and why is it being repeated so often?

It should also be noted that the Heroes verse was recorded October 20, 1966, the chorus was recorded in February 1967, and the last few sections of Vegetables were recorded in April 1967. So, if there must be a distinct switch from one album to another, based on what material appears on Smiley, I guess Smile had to be scrapped before October 20? Or if we're counting Good Vibrations, before February 17, 1966, during the Pet Sounds era? Or perhaps, Smile/Smiley Smile was a flowing project that went through dozens of changes over time, and didn't become productive again until Brian started re-recording things in his house.

Christian Matijas-Mecca. The Words and Music of Brian Wilson p96

““Cool Cool Water” was back under Brian’s hands in January 1970 as a vocal chant that emerged from the May 1967 track “I Love to Say Dada.” When Brian returned to this for Sunflower, he combined the chant from “Da Da” with the core of his original version of “Cool, Cool Water” to create an entirely new work.  On the 1993 Good Vibrations boxed set we had the first official release of “I Love to Say Dada” and the original fragment of “…Water,” and I can hear the relationship of these two works.  The song, as it appears on Sunflower, is a lighthearted, finger-snapping vocal callisthenic.  Its inclusion on the album was the work of Warners A&R manager, Lenny Waronker, who referred to this as representative of the ‘kind’ of work he liked to hear from Brian.

Timothy White Sunflower/Surf’s Up CD 2000 liner notes - Brian:  “I’m proud of "Cool, Cool Water" because that was a divinely inspired song. I had just moved into a new house on Bellagio Road in Bel Air, in March of 1967, and the first day I moved in, there was a piano there, and I went to the piano and wrote "Cool, Cool Water". I sat and wrote the gist of it, the basic song. It was finished much later of course.”

H&V was given to the radio station to be played on 11th July but Brian had held onto it for about a month so it was ready at the beginning of June.  It was a very long awaited single.  They had nothing else ready to release as a single so there was no choice but to release it despite it being part of Smile but perhaps Brian also hoped that it would be a success and give him support to release Smile after Smiley Smile as it seems was the plan at one time.

Vegetables differs from Vega-tables. Vegetables has different lyrics and was completely re-recorded for Smiley Smile.

Good Vibrations was released on 10th October 1966 at a time Smile was being made. Brian did not want Good Vibrations to be included on Smiley Smile.

The recent assertion that Smile wasn’t ever shelved and Smiley Smile just grew out of it seems to be a revisionist history to remove any element of blame from the band for not supporting Smile but it doesn’t do that anyway - if the project had changed that wouldn’t be surprising considering that Brian wasn’t working in a vacuum and was effected by the pressures being put upon him so any blame remains firmly in place. 

Some of the basic music was used in Smiley Smile but this is not surprising either and not the first time that a composer has re-used phrases of music: something Brian went on to do again and again.  He had a very short period to produce an album due to financial pressures so he used some pieces but he refused to allow them to use the music originally recorded for Smile so THIS is the shelving of Smile.  I don’t believe it was ever scrapped as such - even though Brian seems to have instructed Derek Taylor to issue a press release to say that it was - its not just a belief either since it was eventually released both in it’s composite parts and also reworked into BWPS - but that was just another progression wasn’t it!  If Smiley Smile is simply the final version of Smile it morphed in style, content, format and complexity and all that remained were some of the basic musical phrases so much so that if you play one after the other it is obvious that you have not  listened to the same album twice.  Further all the rest of the band continued to assert that Smile was still a possibility.  So if I’m wrong so was the group and the rock history written by many others.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:49:39 AM
Quote
You cannot state as fact that there is or was no dividing line between the two projects when the band themselves and most fans who can easily listen to what was done for Smile versus what was "started from scratch" for Smiley Smile make that separation between the two, and in the band's case they're on the record since 1967 saying as much. If the band and the creators saw them as different projects, do you purport to know something the band didn't know and Smile just seamlessly flowed into Smiley Smile and there was no difference?

That's your opinion, and it's fine to have that opinion and stick to it, but when you have music for Smile which sounds that much different than what's on Smiley Smile, and when the creation of that music changed as dramatically as it did from April into May '67 going into June, it's obvious there was a drastic change that involved more than moving sections around and swapping songs in and out. They started a new project in June 1967 with new parameters and working methods, remaking certain songs and adding new ones. I don't know how more basic of an observation that can be.


You're putting too much weight into the band's perceptions and giving fans too much power.  I would also say that the compulsion to think of Smile as its own, isolated phenomenon is to project a sort of Aristotelean hylomorphism onto this whole thing, when we're really playing a completely nominalist game.  There is simply no need to limit any particular recording to one absolute ontology; Wouldn't it Be Nice is part of Pet Sounds just as much as it it part of Stack-o-tracks.  Wonderful can be part of Smile just as much as it can be part of Smiley Smile.  Cabin Essence can be just as much a part of Dumb Angel as it was part of Smile.

In a sense, yes, we do know something different than the band did.  Unlike the band, we have a pretty nice set of retrospective data to analyze with the benefit of many extra years of context.  We can know exactly when Cabin Essence was no longer a candidate for the new album, for example.  We can track with a lot of accuracy the evolution of Heroes, seeing how different ideas were cannibalized in pursuit of a single, and how other songs were left behind as Brian demonstrably lost interest in them.

I think another major fallacy here is some kind of species of the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy; here, where one wrongly ascribes the change in sound to a deliberate delineation between one project and another, rather than attributing the change in sound to the change in sound per se that Brian was working towards all along.  It's that darned Baldwin organ; it's such a dramatically different sound that dominates the texture -- but if you take that away, it's, in my opinion, patently obvious that Brian was continually working incrementally towards reduced orchestration and simplified song structures.

I spend a lot of time transcribing the Beach Boys arrangements, and I think if I put up, say, the transcription of Wonderful Mark I, and the transcription of Wonderful as it came out on Smiley, you could see visually that the released version is more heavily orchestrated and more complexly structured than Mark I.

My point there is simply that swapping a harpsichord for a Baldwin does not automatically make something and less or more simple.

Incidentally, if anybody wants to see those Wonderful Transcriptions, I would share them.

Twaddle.  Post hoc ergo propter hoc?  I read reports of what they said at the time.  At the time they said they stopped recording Smile and started from scratch.  They also repeatedly said afterward that Smile may eventually be released.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:52:35 AM
And to get back to what this was originally about - when exactly in this list does the music become "reproduceable" by the touring band, where it wasn't before?

That wasn't what this was originally about - it was originally about Smile being ready in 1967 - according to you it was.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:58:55 AM
Quote
You cannot state as fact that there is or was no dividing line between the two projects when the band themselves and most fans who can easily listen to what was done for Smile versus what was "started from scratch" for Smiley Smile make that separation between the two, and in the band's case they're on the record since 1967 saying as much. If the band and the creators saw them as different projects, do you purport to know something the band didn't know and Smile just seamlessly flowed into Smiley Smile and there was no difference?

That's your opinion, and it's fine to have that opinion and stick to it, but when you have music for Smile which sounds that much different than what's on Smiley Smile, and when the creation of that music changed as dramatically as it did from April into May '67 going into June, it's obvious there was a drastic change that involved more than moving sections around and swapping songs in and out. They started a new project in June 1967 with new parameters and working methods, remaking certain songs and adding new ones. I don't know how more basic of an observation that can be.


You're putting too much weight into the band's perceptions and giving fans too much power.  I would also say that the compulsion to think of Smile as its own, isolated phenomenon is to project a sort of Aristotelean hylomorphism onto this whole thing, when we're really playing a completely nominalist game.  There is simply no need to limit any particular recording to one absolute ontology; Wouldn't it Be Nice is part of Pet Sounds just as much as it it part of Stack-o-tracks.  Wonderful can be part of Smile just as much as it can be part of Smiley Smile.  Cabin Essence can be just as much a part of Dumb Angel as it was part of Smile.

In a sense, yes, we do know something different than the band did.  Unlike the band, we have a pretty nice set of retrospective data to analyze with the benefit of many extra years of context.  We can know exactly when Cabin Essence was no longer a candidate for the new album, for example.  We can track with a lot of accuracy the evolution of Heroes, seeing how different ideas were cannibalized in pursuit of a single, and how other songs were left behind as Brian demonstrably lost interest in them.

I think another major fallacy here is some kind of species of the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy; here, where one wrongly ascribes the change in sound to a deliberate delineation between one project and another, rather than attributing the change in sound to the change in sound per se that Brian was working towards all along.  It's that darned Baldwin organ; it's such a dramatically different sound that dominates the texture -- but if you take that away, it's, in my opinion, patently obvious that Brian was continually working incrementally towards reduced orchestration and simplified song structures.

I spend a lot of time transcribing the Beach Boys arrangements, and I think if I put up, say, the transcription of Wonderful Mark I, and the transcription of Wonderful as it came out on Smiley, you could see visually that the released version is more heavily orchestrated and more complexly structured than Mark I.

My point there is simply that swapping a harpsichord for a Baldwin does not automatically make something and less or more simple.

Incidentally, if anybody wants to see those Wonderful Transcriptions, I would share them.

All music, all art in general is subject to the power of the "fans" and those who will experience and form opinions and perceptions about what they're experiencing. If the creator of the art says "I wanted to portray a deer running through the woods in this piece" and fans say "the artist was portraying a train racing through a mountain pass", which one gets more weight? Once the artist hands off the work to the public, it's subject to their perceptions and opinions of the work as much as what the artist may have intended.

The dividing line, when perhaps it goes too far, is when fans insist that artist was portraying a train in the mountains as a factual statement after the artist said specifically they were portraying a deer in the woods when they created the work. That's where the fan doesn't have more power because they're perceiving rather than actually creating the work, but if their opinion becomes internalized (and expressed) as fact in direct contradiction with the artist's own words, the balance of power becomes arrogance of opinion more than experiencing the work as it was intended by the artist.

Suggesting people listen to a half hour of Smile and then the Smiley Smile album and offer their perceptions of the overall sound and texture of the two is not giving any one element more weight over the other. It's simply asking for opinions and perceptions when comparing two works from the same artist created within the same year.

Not to editorialize, I'd rather hear the opinions firsthand and as new opinions, but the majority of people who have heard Smile and Smiley Smile through the last decades when both were made available have said one sounds more stripped down, lo fi, and less complex than the other. Is that like the fictional artist's fans saying he portrayed a train versus a deer, or is it fans giving their honest appraisal of what they hear and perceive? If those fans hear the two examples, Smile versus Smiley Smile, as two separate entities rather than a continuation of the same project, they would be in agreement with the artists who created the music in 1966-67.

Absolutely and Carl compared it to "a bunt instead of a grand slam" so clearly Carl saw Smile as something different to Smiley Smile.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 24, 2022, 02:13:56 AM
 But people got tired of coming out of the opera house sobbing, and started to feel emotionally manipulated, so the reaction was 20th century serialism -- back to very ordered, simple, and sort of "crisp" music.

Anyway, I always have thought that the Beach Boys are a perfect microcosmic example of this grander cycle.  Surf music is their Medieval music, All Summer long was like their Renaissance which presages Today and Summer Days blossoming into Pet Sounds.  Then, Dumb Angel and Smile mark the descent into decadence, with the ultimate expression of decadence being Smile Smile.  Then the cycle is reborn with the simple, ordered Wild Honey.

And yet opera - including highly romantic opera like Madama Butterfly, Turandot, Tosca - still remains very popular. I don't mind feeling emotionally affected  by music (manipulated suggests a nefarious motivation!). In fact, if it is not moving me emotionally, it's not really doing its job. Some of the emotional responses can be soothing, calming, and others more passionate. SMiLE may show romanticism - nature, self-expression - but excessive indulgence in luxury? Not really. In fact surely that is more typical of the earlier songs about ownership of expensive cars and a fun-loving lifestyle.

And from Wikipedia: 'Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, better known for composing classical music, incorporated opera, concerto, symphony, sonata, and string quartets which introduced Romantic qualities to music of the time.'


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 24, 2022, 04:06:25 AM

Christian Matijas-Mecca. The Words and Music of Brian Wilson p96

““Cool Cool Water” was back under Brian’s hands in January 1970 as a vocal chant that emerged from the May 1967 track “I Love to Say Dada.” When Brian returned to this for Sunflower, he combined the chant from “Da Da” with the core of his original version of “Cool, Cool Water” to create an entirely new work.  On the 1993 Good Vibrations boxed set we had the first official release of “I Love to Say Dada” and the original fragment of “…Water,” and I can hear the relationship of these two works.  The song, as it appears on Sunflower, is a lighthearted, finger-snapping vocal callisthenic.  Its inclusion on the album was the work of Warners A&R manager, Lenny Waronker, who referred to this as representative of the ‘kind’ of work he liked to hear from Brian.


That's just an old assumption that newer research into the tapes and sessions overturned. The "water, water, water, water" droning chant exists on tape in two places - on the reel with the Smiley Smile version of Vegetables where it's marked "FADE FOR COOL COOL WATER", and on a compilation reel of Wild Honey tracks including the main CCW verses from those sessions where it's marked "ENDING". It's not clear which is the second generation copy and which is the original, but either way, the evidence suggests that it was always intended for Cool Water and recorded either at the home studio or Wally Heider's in June or October '67. The opening verses of the Sunflower edit (based on the Da Da progression) were recorded in October '67 during the sessions for Wild Honey, and the last portion was recorded in July 1970.

Brian did say this in 1970: "In 'Cool, Cool Water' there's a chant I wish we hadn't used. It fits all right, but there's just something I don't think is quite right with it."



Vegetables differs from Vega-tables. Vegetables has different lyrics and was completely re-recorded for Smiley Smile.


'Vega-Tables' had already been renamed 'Vegetables' by the time of the April '67 version recorded as a single, which is usually what people mean when they're talking about the 'Smile version'. The original Vega-Tables through most of the lifespan of the project from 1966 is the one that's labelled 'demo' on the Smile Sessions box. Van Dyke's still asserted that all of those revised lyrics were by him.



Good Vibrations was released on 10th October 1966 at a time Smile was being made. Brian did not want Good Vibrations to be included on Smiley Smile.


The only source of that is something David Anderle said in the Crawdaddy piece with Paul Williams, where he was talking about Brian never wanting to put singles on albums but always being obligated to for business reasons. He assumed Good Vibrations appearing on Smiley must've been against Brian's wishes, but he wasn't actually around to know the ins and outs of what happened there. The Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains single masters were sent from the Capitol vault back to the Beach Boys on July 13, a couple of days before the album was finished.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 05:03:58 AM
Unfinished Smile is much more similar to Smiley Smile than it is to Pet Sounds.  If Pet Sounds is the culmination of the impulse of Today and SDSN, Smiley is the culmination of the Dumb Angel and Smile material.

Culmination is not the word I would use.  I wouldn't even use resulted since I don't think Smiley Smile was the same 'impulse' as Smile.  Some of the tracks were much reduced in quality and just ended up there.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 05:26:37 AM
Quote
do you think I'm that naive about this as to discuss imaginary things instead of what I've been listening to for decades?

I think you like to argue for the sake of arguing so much that you end up arguing about nothing!

Quote
I don't try to state as fact what I think Brian would have done, so no I don't know and I never said I did.

What is your point then?  That Smiley's vocals had more reverb than Pet Sounds and thus Smile had a fixed end date?

Thanks for the clips.  It seems to me that at least Bruce wasn't too bothered by the criticism -- he seems to understand that they needed to expand the stage act a little bit, and regrets their first attempts to do so didn't work out.  They learned from this and did work up a better stage show.  It seems to me that the bands reaction to the criticism was less to give Smile a fixed end date so they could make an album of hypothetically stage-reproducible songs, and more to develop a touring band by gradually hiring sidemen.

That first point is unfair and uncalled for, but I'll take it. I've laid out my opinions and examples here and from the first post I made on the May/June 67 time frame, I said the studio versus live sound issue was a factor to consider. Not that it was the main factor, but one to consider alongside everything else. The examples and quotes are listed on these pages, along with my own opinions. If people read them and agree, fine, if they read them and disagree, fine. But to say I'm arguing about nothing is really uncalled for and not cool. Ok?

My point is having a discussion about topics which are still open and unresolved. To try to suggest it comes down to reverb on Smiley's vocals is again ridiculous and uncalled for. But I'll take it in stride and reply accordingly. No, that's not my point...thanks for dismissing everything else I've contributed to the discussion in one comment.

When examples were asked for, they were given. If your opinion is "right" in your own mind, that won't change. But you're not the only person reading, and there have been cases where someone has said "this is fact" when it is not. That includes Keith Badman's book and the dodgy dates too, I suppose.  :lol

Just to say GF, when I posted this thread I had hoped that you would contribute. I value your opinion and your wealth of knowledge very highly as many do here and will continue to read whatever you write with interest.  Not so Joshilyn who along with some others seem to be trying to create a revisionist history, ignoring all the contemporary information by the band, historians, people involved in the production and by Brian himself.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 05:38:39 AM
Liz, with all due respect, you have been posting mounds and mounds of misinformation, accumulated from decades of incorrect assumptions made about Smile before the resources were available. It's required consistent correcting, and when Will and I give information that may be new to you about what sections were recorded when, it comes from AFM contracts, tape boxes, Capitol files, content of actual tapes, and careful scrutiny in comparing all of the above. It isn't "revisionist history" to say Love to Say Da Da wasn't recorded as a section for The Elements, when piles of documentation confirm that's the case, and when that was only ever an assumption made by researchers in an attempt to make the album easier to understand. If the facts do not fit a narrative, it is not the facts that are revisionist and must change.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 24, 2022, 05:40:05 AM

[/quote]

Just to say GF, when I posted this thread I had hoped that you would contribute. I value your opinion and your wealth of knowledge very highly as many do here and will continue to read whatever you write with interest.  
[/quote]

Seconded.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 05:59:52 AM
Look, I love Craig -- I've known him for something like 20+ years since the Smile Shop and I trust him to take care of my first Rickenbacker.  This is not the first time we've disagreed and it won't be the last, and I hope he'll forgive me for my patented autistic lack of tact when debating my special interest.

Revisionist history is necessary when the received history is wrong.  I have no qualms about doing revisionist history. The Beach Boys story is one that is soaked in myth, oral tradition, and years of creeping accretions.  We have a band of primary sources who are all unusually mendacious, confused, or just wrong.

This isn't quite like, "Now after 500 years the Vatican is opening its archives up to researchers" but the fact is that nobody has really been able to put the entire historical record together (meaning documentation, not hearsay) before.  But with a lot of work and digging and networking, actual hard documentation is coming together, and sometimes it tells a different story than the one that's been passed down orally.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 06:19:11 AM
By the way, how much interest is there in the actual facts regarding dates and documents and when splices were made, etc? I would think that would be right up the alley of every Smile fan on earth, but I've been surprised to see a lot of the info, which has been revealed here for the first time, completely ignored! Brian splicing the Worms verse from Worms (which he'd otherwise just chopped up for Heroes) and planning to use it as an intro for the original Da Da, via notes on the tape box? I thought that would get a big reaction!

Putting aside the debates regarding contemporary quotes and what they mean re Smile's transition into Smiley Smile, I'm surprised that most of the new information that's being given in this thread from original documents is kind of getting washed over. That's the part that fascinates me the most - the music, and exactly how, when, and where it was made. Through that, Brian's rapidly changing plans can be traced, as can his increasing interesting in minimal tracks, and instruments that are stacked by himself, rather than played by a live ensemble.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 06:28:46 AM

Christian Matijas-Mecca. The Words and Music of Brian Wilson p96

““Cool Cool Water” was back under Brian’s hands in January 1970 as a vocal chant that emerged from the May 1967 track “I Love to Say Dada.” When Brian returned to this for Sunflower, he combined the chant from “Da Da” with the core of his original version of “Cool, Cool Water” to create an entirely new work.  On the 1993 Good Vibrations boxed set we had the first official release of “I Love to Say Dada” and the original fragment of “…Water,” and I can hear the relationship of these two works.  The song, as it appears on Sunflower, is a lighthearted, finger-snapping vocal callisthenic.  Its inclusion on the album was the work of Warners A&R manager, Lenny Waronker, who referred to this as representative of the ‘kind’ of work he liked to hear from Brian.


That's just an old assumption that newer research into the tapes and sessions overturned. The "water, water, water, water" droning chant exists on tape in two places - on the reel with the Smiley Smile version of Vegetables where it's marked "FADE FOR COOL COOL WATER", and on a compilation reel of Wild Honey tracks including the main CCW verses from those sessions where it's marked "ENDING". It's not clear which is the second generation copy and which is the original, but either way, the evidence suggests that it was always intended for Cool Water and recorded either at the home studio or Wally Heider's in June or October '67. The opening verses of the Sunflower edit (based on the Da Da progression) were recorded in October '67 during the sessions for Wild Honey, and the last portion was recorded in July 1970.

Brian did say this in 1970: "In 'Cool, Cool Water' there's a chant I wish we hadn't used. It fits all right, but there's just something I don't think is quite right with it."



Vegetables differs from Vega-tables. Vegetables has different lyrics and was completely re-recorded for Smiley Smile.


'Vega-Tables' had already been renamed 'Vegetables' by the time of the April '67 version recorded as a single, which is usually what people mean when they're talking about the 'Smile version'. The original Vega-Tables through most of the lifespan of the project from 1966 is the one that's labelled 'demo' on the Smile Sessions box. Van Dyke's still asserted that all of those revised lyrics were by him.



Good Vibrations was released on 10th October 1966 at a time Smile was being made. Brian did not want Good Vibrations to be included on Smiley Smile.


The only source of that is something David Anderle said in the Crawdaddy piece with Paul Williams, where he was talking about Brian never wanting to put singles on albums but always being obligated to for business reasons. He assumed Good Vibrations appearing on Smiley must've been against Brian's wishes, but he wasn't actually around to know the ins and outs of what happened there. The Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains single masters were sent from the Capitol vault back to the Beach Boys on July 13, a couple of days before the album was finished.

From The Smile Sessions booklet - On December 22, 1966, Wilson recorded two versions of the track, titled "Da Da", at Columbia Studio. One version featured him playing a piano with the strings taped, while the other featured him playing a Fender Rhodes electric piano. No master number was assigned to the tape. 

Brian Wilson says that he wrote Cool Cool Water in March 1967 see my previous post and reference.

Vegetables - so?  It is not Vega-tables.

I got the information from Dominic Priore’s The Story of Brian Wilson’s Masterpiece Smile.  “Brian didn’t want Good Vibrations to appear on Smiley Smile but for the first time he was out voted by the other members of the Beach Boys.  Had this recording been available for Capitol ST-002, the original Smile could have been released on Brother records.”

And from the Beach Boys Post Sounds site (I can’f find the origin of the information but I have read it elsewhere too and will continue to look - it’s nothing to do with Crawdaddy).

“With unrest surrounding their latest as-yet unreleased SMiLE recordings, The Beach Boys’ new LP, Smiley Smile, is released in the U.S. on September 18th, 1967 and worldwide by November 1967. Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson tells the US press: “It was not as ambitious an album as Pet Sounds was. But [Smiley Smile is] the most fun thing we ever did. I listened to it in a jungle in Africa and it sounded great. Cut largely at Brian Wilson’s new home studio, Smiley Smile cobbles together inferior-quality versions of songs originally intended for SMiLE and hastily recorded new material. Only “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes & Villains” appear in their original versions. “Good Vibrations” is here to help bolster sales, even though Brian is strongly against it’s inclusion. But he is outvoted by the other Beach Boys, the first time that the entire group has overruled him. Clearly, as he had feared, it is the end of an era.”


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 06:43:17 AM
More and more mounds of misinfo.

The Da Da tracks were likely recorded during the Brian solo sessions on December 27 & 28 - they were done onto the 8-track Prayer reel, which Brian had just removed the DYLW verse onto.

Brian says he wrote CCW in March of 1967... great, but in May he was recording LTSDD, which is that song with different lyrics. It was recorded as CCW for the first time a few weeks later. I think we can trust the dates of what was actually recorded in favor of Brian remembering off hand when he wrote something. He also once said Smile was recorded in 1965, but I am trusting the actual dates on all of the documents over that memory.

Vega-Tables is the title of the track Brian was working with in 1966, which is mislabeled as a "demo" on the Smile Sessions box set. Vegetables is the title he was using from April-June, and that includes the "Smile version" I presume you are talking about, the Smiley version, and everything in between. To refuse to use the titles Brian himself was using across all documentation in favor of something more familiar is to create confusion and miscommunications.

Ah yes, that good old Priore book. Lots of "info", very few sources. Lots of what he's said in that book has been debunked by the documentation, which has slowly revealed itself to fans over the years, and some of what's said in that book, as has been determined by real data, was entirely invented by Domenic Priore. I'm surprised people are still going to that book for Smile information, but I guess that truly shows how big the need is for something actually backed up by the tapes and the music.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 06:43:34 AM
Craig, I'm dismissing your arguments on their merits because they are not very good arguments -- it's not personal, although I do think that you just enjoy being argumentative.  Which is OK.  I went to law school, there are lots of people like you that will subtly change a subject just to keep the joy of arguing going.  I understand the thrill of the adrenaline and all that.

There is the statement of the original post:

There was a "Smile" that was more or less close to being releasable in 1967.

That position was superseded by this assertion:

That there was one Smile and that it officially stopped being worked on at a fixed date.  After that date, there was a totally different project started from scratch.

Justification for this assertion has been put forward:

Smiley was started as a new project because the band had to be able to sound like their records onstage.
Smiley involved a totally different method of working
Smiley was less involved musically / had simpler production / had markedly different production techniques

But the historical record does not back any of that up.

The band did not perform any song from Smiley Smile regularly onstage, other than the two most complicated recordings, and never had any intention of doing so.
It was a gradual and subtle shift in working methods from the Pet Sounds style of music and production, easily traceable by looking at personnel, track use, and Brian's roughs.
Smiley was demonstrably not simpler musically, and in fact was in some ways more advanced in it's production techniques that earlier material, despite any perception of unusual simplicity.


Don, I appreciate your more subtle approach to the question.  I think you're probably right that there were circumstances that forced things along more urgently that was ideal.  And obviously, making the decision to do the home studio was a huge event.  But I don't think we can know for certain whether the home studio's limitations and the time pressure affected Brian's aesthetic sensibilities.  It's very possible that they did and that he made internal adjustments and concessions because of it.  But that's speculation, whereas the tape and contemporary materials are not, and the those things show pretty objectively that Smile and Smiley Smile are part of the same artistic impulse by any metric.



Just to single this out:

There is the statement of the original post:

There was a "Smile" that was more or less close to being releasable in 1967.

That position was superseded by this assertion:

That there was one Smile and that it officially stopped being worked on at a fixed date.  After that date, there was a totally different project started from scratch.

Justification for this assertion has been put forward:

Smiley was started as a new project because the band had to be able to sound like their records onstage.
Smiley involved a totally different method of working
Smiley was less involved musically / had simpler production / had markedly different production techniques

But the historical record does not back any of that up.


What historical record are you referring to, because it was Carl who said they started from scratch, various band members who said they went into the Smiley sessions with a different mindset, including Brian, and that it had simpler production, a definite choice that was made. The first one is my opinion, I've covered that already. The other two are found in quotes and comments coming from the band members themselves, and not just the October 1967 Carl interview I reposted earlier from the LA Times.

I was stating and reposting here what the band said, on the historical record, about Smiley Smile, and the quotes are available from many sources. So is the issue you have more with them and what they have said rather than my opinions, which compared to the band's own words are just one fan's opinions?


Why does the second statement supersede the first?

Smile was OFFICIALLY not worked on after a fixed date.

There was another project started after that date.  None of the recorded material for the first project was used on the second.  Capitol was still discussing the cover for a release AFTER Smiley Smile.

The band complained about the complexities of Smile.  Brian supplied a simpler album. We do not know the content of the discussions but likely the stage performances featured as justification to go back to something simpler to play and likely more approachable to their audience (who in my humble opinion they vastly under rated).


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 06:48:56 AM
Once again, what is that date? What documentation suggests certain material is recorded for Smile, and then not Smile? The dates you previously provided were without source, and there was about a week of recorded Beach Boys music between them - how on earth do you explain that not being a part of either project if there is such a clear divide?

And once again, sections that were recorded in October 1966, February 1967, and April 1967 were all used on Smiley Smile. This is all without Good Vibrations. You are repeating misunderstandings that I have attempted to correct many times.

If we're going to continue with the narrative that Smiley Smile was made simpler for the stage band... please address my last post on page 7, and explain how every point makes the music "easier." No one has replied to it and I'm thinking that those making this assertion have not listened to Smiley Smile in a long, long time.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 06:52:11 AM
I think a main block to mutual understanding in this matter is that there is a tendency to privilege the oral tradition, because it is much more accessible.  But there is a problem with doing history that way -- basically, everybody lies.  Or, more generously, everybody perceives the same events differently.  And there's also the telephone game effect; Brian says something to a journalist, who reports it using different verbiage, and then a book author uses the reporters words 40 years later and puts their own interpretation on that already once-removed context.

And I know it's a little unfair to keep saying that the documentation and physical evidence tell a different story, because it's just a lot harder to compile that stuff, and it's not something that can be easily consulted in a book or googled.  But it really is better history to base our analysis on what Brian and the Beach Boys actually did than what they said they did.  What they said they did is important, in its own way, and shouldn't be thrown away.  But what they actually did is, well, what they actually did.

Tracing what they actually did has been close to impossible because access to the original sources has been spotty.  But thanks to really persistent people, access is getting less and less spotty, and it has yielded some surprises.  Nobody has to give up their opinions on all this, but I do ask for some patience and a willingness to revisit the record -- a record which has been lost and is in the process of being found.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 07:00:29 AM
More and more mounds of misinfo.

The Da Da tracks were likely recorded during the Brian solo sessions on December 27 & 28 - they were done onto the 8-track Prayer reel, which Brian had just removed the DYLW verse onto.

Brian says he wrote CCW in March of 1967... great, but in May he was recording LTSDD, which is that song with different lyrics. It was recorded as CCW for the first time a few weeks later. I think we can trust the dates of what was actually recorded in favor of Brian remembering off hand when he wrote something. He also once said Smile was recorded in 1965, but I am trusting the actual dates on all of the documents over that memory.

Vega-Tables is the title of the track Brian was working with in 1966, which is mislabeled as a "demo" on the Smile Sessions box set. Vegetables is the title he was using from April-June, and that includes the "Smile version" I presume you are talking about, the Smiley version, and everything in between. To refuse to use the titles Brian himself was using across all documentation in favor of something more familiar is to create confusion and miscommunications.

Ah yes, that good old Priore book. Lots of "info", very few sources. Lots of what he's said in that book has been debunked by the documentation, which has slowly revealed itself to fans over the years, and some of what's said in that book, as has been determined by real data, was entirely invented by Domenic Priore. I'm surprised people are still going to that book for Smile information, but I guess that truly shows how big the need is for something actually backed up by the tapes and the music.

Where exactly did you date the date of the recording - mine came from the horses mouth.  But in any case it would be pretty difficult to record it before he'd written it and clearly Brian thought they were different compositions even if you don't.  Don't gaslight Brian.  I don't especially care what it was recorded on nor does it make any difference to the discussion.

The original Vega-tables had different more esoteric lyrics.  He was asked to change them I believe for Vegetables.

So we're down to making unproven assertions and ad hominem attacks on Priore now. But Dominic's book was not the only source and the other source had other additional information on the subject.  I will continue to research it.  What does "I guess that truly shows how big the need is for something actually backed up by the tapes and music mean"?  It makes no sense.  The tapes and music cannot prove if Brian didn't want GV included on Smiley Smile in the same way that they don't include today's weather forecast - its outside of the data contained within them.  


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:05:48 AM
I also highly recommend we be more specific with our assertions, especially the big ones that are presented objectively. We can all say "Smile was OFFICIALLY not worked on after a fixed date" and anyone reading this might think, "Ok cool, so it's documented somewhere that each recording is for an album called Smile, until a certain date, and then all the documents said Smiley Smile."

But that isn't true. None of the documentation gives the name of the project, and there is no change in how tape boxes, AFM contracts, or anything else is written after a certain date, and certainly not in the post-Derek Taylor article time frame that people are giving here.

So, before we continue to spread more misinfo, let's be careful with what we're saying here, and know where things come from.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:10:39 AM
If you are listening to what's on the Smile Sessions disc 1, track 14, you are listening to Vegetables, not Vega-Tables. I again recommend that if you want to classify different recordings by different titles, you go by what Brian was using, or you confuse people. Those lyrics are different to what Brian had for Vega-Tables (which is track 23 on the same disc) but he was not asked by someone else to change them. It was just another Wilson/Parks rewrite.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 07:14:17 AM
Liz, with all due respect, you have been posting mounds and mounds of misinformation, accumulated from decades of incorrect assumptions made about Smile before the resources were available. It's required consistent correcting, and when Will and I give information that may be new to you about what sections were recorded when, it comes from AFM contracts, tape boxes, Capitol files, content of actual tapes, and careful scrutiny in comparing all of the above. It isn't "revisionist history" to say Love to Say Da Da wasn't recorded as a section for The Elements, when piles of documentation confirm that's the case, and when that was only ever an assumption made by researchers in an attempt to make the album easier to understand. If the facts do not fit a narrative, it is not the facts that are revisionist and must change.

With respect, you and WilJC need to prove that my information is misinformation.  I won't just take your word for it. What documentation proves that Da Da wasn't in The Elements? As I have said already I have a track list produced before BWPS where Da Da is listed as Water.   And there is nothing remotely simple or easy to understand about the concept of Blue Hawaii where the rebirth cries like a child in Hawaiian in a chant about a prolonged, intense ritual.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:15:13 AM
I dated the recording by comparing the different handwritings on the front of the tape box, and comparing that to the engineers that were working at Columbia during each session of 1966. It was first determined to be recorded directly after the Worms vocals, but newer research shows that this happened about a week later, when that section happened to be removed to the same tape. They weren't recorded back to back as previously thought - just intentionally placed back to back on the same reel.

Observing that Love to Say Da Da and Cool Cool Water share the same exact chord progression, and that one is a rewrite of the other, is not "gaslighting Brian." It is a basic observation that can be made by anyone who has the ability recognize a chord pattern.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:18:33 AM
Liz, with all due respect, you have been posting mounds and mounds of misinformation, accumulated from decades of incorrect assumptions made about Smile before the resources were available. It's required consistent correcting, and when Will and I give information that may be new to you about what sections were recorded when, it comes from AFM contracts, tape boxes, Capitol files, content of actual tapes, and careful scrutiny in comparing all of the above. It isn't "revisionist history" to say Love to Say Da Da wasn't recorded as a section for The Elements, when piles of documentation confirm that's the case, and when that was only ever an assumption made by researchers in an attempt to make the album easier to understand. If the facts do not fit a narrative, it is not the facts that are revisionist and must change.

With respect, you and WilJC need to prove that my information is misinformation.  I won't just take your word for it. What documentation proves that Da Da wasn't in The Elements? As I have said already I have a track list produced before BWPS where Da Da is listed as Water.   And there is nothing remotely simple or easy to understand about the concept of Blue Hawaii where the rebirth cries like a child in Hawaiian in a chant about a prolonged, intense ritual.



I direct you to my earlier post in which I compiled all contemporary documentary references to a song called The Elements, and show that it no longer existed as a concept by the time Love to Say Da Da was written. But Love to Say Da Da is its own song, with its own title, recorded in several sections. I don't have any evidence that Good Vibrations wasn't recorded to be a section of You Still Believe In Me... but they are two different songs recorded at different sessions with their own distinct titles. You can hear Larry Levine slate The Elements (Part 1) as "The Elements (Part 1)" and you can hear Jimmy Hilton slate Love to Say Da Da as "Love to Say Da Da." Fanmix tracklists are not sources of Brian's original intentions, and neither are his new writings with Van in 2003.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:26:55 AM
"Love to Say Da Da is Water" was an assumption made due to the similarities between that track and a later track about water. This got repeated for decades, because, to be honest, it made a lot of sense. But there is no evidence that this was the case, and we should not be repeating that assumption. A quick glance at a timeline of Brian's productions shows that the 2 songs were miles away from each other, and never conceived as even part of the same project, let alone the same song.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 07:27:15 AM
Quote
and you can hear Jimmy Hilton slate Love to Say Da Da as "Love to Say Da Da."

I think you mean you can hear him slate it as "LOOVE to say DAH-DAH".


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:29:17 AM
Quote
and you can hear Jimmy Hilton slate Love to Say Da Da as "Love to Say Da Da."

I think you mean you can hear him slate it as "LOOVE to say DAH-DAH".

 ;D


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 10:30:28 AM
I think a main block to mutual understanding in this matter is that there is a tendency to privilege the oral tradition, because it is much more accessible.  But there is a problem with doing history that way -- basically, everybody lies.  Or, more generously, everybody perceives the same events differently.  And there's also the telephone game effect; Brian says something to a journalist, who reports it using different verbiage, and then a book author uses the reporters words 40 years later and puts their own interpretation on that already once-removed context.

And I know it's a little unfair to keep saying that the documentation and physical evidence tell a different story, because it's just a lot harder to compile that stuff, and it's not something that can be easily consulted in a book or googled.  But it really is better history to base our analysis on what Brian and the Beach Boys actually did than what they said they did.  What they said they did is important, in its own way, and shouldn't be thrown away.  But what they actually did is, well, what they actually did.

Tracing what they actually did has been close to impossible because access to the original sources has been spotty.  But thanks to really persistent people, access is getting less and less spotty, and it has yielded some surprises.  Nobody has to give up their opinions on all this, but I do ask for some patience and a willingness to revisit the record -- a record which has been lost and is in the process of being found.

So I got up this morning and had a cup of coffee but it didn't happen because it was not documented?  If we limited history to official documents all you would know would be limited to birth and death certificates and what people bought in the supermarket.  Masses of history is testimony.  History is a list of differing records.  There are 2 famous records of the same person dying twice in totally different circumstances and at different times and that is documented.  And of course 'history is written by the victor'.  All you can tell from the documentation is what someone chose to document and there is no way of confirming if it is correct.  Just because it is on a piece of paper doesn't make it right and it limits the extent of knowledge to the minutiae.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 10:46:51 AM
Of course contemporary quotes need to be considered alongside documented evidence, in order to paint the full picture of what happened. It's all very useful! There's just no need to speculate on Carl saying they "recorded from scratch" and what it could mean while ignoring the actual music on the tapes. We can definitively say things like:

-Wind Chimes and Wonderful were recorded in the home studio from scratch
-Little Pad was recorded from scratch in the home studio, and possibly written then
-Heroes and Villains uses the October 20 verse backing track, although the vocals and organ were overdubbed in the home studio, and the bridges were recorded anew
-Vegetables is a home studio recording for the first 2/3 of the song, but there's a splice into the April 14 "ballad insert" recording, and a splice into the original April verse as the fade, with a keyboard that was overdubbed at Sound Recorders on June 3.

All of these things can be considered at once, and we don't need to ignore what's on tape in order to make sense of what the band and others said at the time. We have these resources available.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 10:53:30 AM
Obviously history is an imperfect discipline.  The best we can do is follow time-tested methodologies.  

As I said, we are slowly uncovering more and more documentation from more and more sources.  And in many cases it is quite easy to determine if it's correct.  If an AFM turns up for a track called "Love to Say Dada," and the date matches a tape that is stored in a tape box that is labeled "Love to Say Dada," and then the contents of the tape involve the people listed on the AFM talking about a song called "Love to Say Dada" -- that's all really good evidence that a song called Love to Say Dada was recorded on that date.

Now, of course, it's not always that easy, but the point is, we are rebuilding the Beach Boys studio narrative by consulting as many resources as we can.  That includes contemporary comments by the band, of course, but also lots of other types of sources.  Have you seen all the tape boxes?  Have you seen the Capitol worksheets?  Do you know when a piece of tape was physically removed from the place it was originally recorded and spliced into a new tape?  Without that kind of information, the story is incomplete.

The nice thing about tape is it can't lie.  What is on the tape is on the tape.  What is in the tape box is in the tape box.  It doesn't matter what the AFM says, or the Capitol documentation says, or what Bruce or Al or even what Brian says -- what's on the tape is on the tape.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 10:54:17 AM
I also highly recommend we be more specific with our assertions, especially the big ones that are presented objectively. We can all say "Smile was OFFICIALLY not worked on after a fixed date" and anyone reading this might think, "Ok cool, so it's documented somewhere that each recording is for an album called Smile, until a certain date, and then all the documents said Smiley Smile."

But that isn't true. None of the documentation gives the name of the project, and there is no change in how tape boxes, AFM contracts, or anything else is written after a certain date, and certainly not in the post-Derek Taylor article time frame that people are giving here.

So, before we continue to spread more misinfo, let's be careful with what we're saying here, and know where things come from.

For the record I didn't ever say that.  And I suggested that Smile could have continued to be worked on even when Smiley Smile was being recorded and no one would know because of the lack of recorded detail.  But working on 2 projects simultaneously is possible without them being the same.

We are not writing the definitive history.  This is a message board where we can explore ideas.  Everything we discuss does not have to be set in stone.  And as Pilot once said "what is truth" and did not stay for an answer.  Or perhaps better for this forum 'to know is to know that to know is not to know'


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 10:56:23 AM
We are not writing the definitive history.

Some of us are, actually....


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 11:04:46 AM
Liz, for the record, you did say that, because I copied it from your message and pasted it into my own without typing it.

Speculation is fun, but learning things that objectively happened is pretty cool too - I've posted some facts about the tapes and what they reveal about Brian's plans at the time, and I don't think some of that information was previously available. Isn't that exciting new info that reveals much more specifics about the project than vague quotes?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 11:48:26 AM
"Love to Say Da Da is Water" was an assumption made due to the similarities between that track and a later track about water. This got repeated for decades, because, to be honest, it made a lot of sense. But there is no evidence that this was the case, and we should not be repeating that assumption. A quick glance at a timeline of Brian's productions shows that the 2 songs were miles away from each other, and never conceived as even part of the same project, let alone the same song.

My point exactly -
 
I Love to Say Da Da was being recorded in sessions with other Smile music before Cool Cool Water was written and resumed recording under the name of Love to Say Da Da  after Cool Cool Water had been written, as late as 19th May 1967
Cool Cool Water is recorded in June 1967 with other tracks destined for Smiley Smile but remained unused until Sunflower.  The version recorded for Sunflower included I Love to Say Da Da.
If I love to Say Da Da was not Water - what was since it clearly was never Cool Cool Water?



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: B.E. on July 24, 2022, 11:56:50 AM
By the way, how much interest is there in the actual facts regarding dates and documents and when splices were made, etc? I would think that would be right up the alley of every Smile fan on earth, but I've been surprised to see a lot of the info, which has been revealed here for the first time, completely ignored! Brian splicing the Worms verse from Worms (which he'd otherwise just chopped up for Heroes) and planning to use it as an intro for the original Da Da, via notes on the tape box? I thought that would get a big reaction!

Putting aside the debates regarding contemporary quotes and what they mean re Smile's transition into Smiley Smile, I'm surprised that most of the new information that's being given in this thread from original documents is kind of getting washed over. That's the part that fascinates me the most - the music, and exactly how, when, and where it was made. Through that, Brian's rapidly changing plans can be traced, as can his increasing interesting in minimal tracks, and instruments that are stacked by himself, rather than played by a live ensemble.

Just wanted to pipe up and say that I've appreciated the discussion in this thread and the very interesting, informative, and thought-provoking contributions that've been made.

And it got me in the mood to listen to the Smiley material on the Sunshine Tomorrow releases...so thanks all around!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 12:03:59 PM
I am pretty confused at some of these questions, but there's more misinfo that I feel the need to correct.

Love to Say Da Da was first recorded, under that title, in December 1966. It was recorded again in May 1967.

Cool Cool Water was recorded at Western Recorders in June.

If you're contesting that the two songs share similarities - please relisten; the chord progressions are identical, the bass lines are identical - it's a reworking of the same basic musical material, with a shift in lyrical matter from babies to water. Counter melodies played by instruments in Love to Say Da Da are reprised by vocal parts in various editions of Cool Cool Water.

The chant where they all sing "water, water" over a drone is not a recording that was made for a song called Love to Say Da Da. As we said earlier, it is labeled as "Cool Cool Water - Fade" on the tape box, and was recorded in Brian's home studio using his Baldwin organ during either the Smiley Smile era or the Wild Honey era. It is a section of Cool Cool Water that was recorded under that name. So, no version of Cool Cool Water worked on by the Beach Boys "included Love to Say Da Da", unless of course, you refer to the musical material being based in that original song.

The idea that Love to Say Da Da was part of Brian's "Elements" song comes from the fact that it's a variation of the same music as Cool Cool Water, which obviously pulls from ideas Brian had about recording music about water, although that never happened during the proper Smile era. It was assumed then that LTSDD was part of Brian's elements idea. Again, this sounds logical, but we know things about Smile that weren't known in the 80s when people first got that notion. We know when things were recorded, how songs evolved, etc. That assumption has been repeated a lot, by several different authors who don't dive into the specifics of what songs Brian was working on in what stages of the project. There are absolutely zero sources that back this theory up, and there is plenty of evidence that suggests exactly when Brian was working on The Elements, what it consisted of at each stage, and when he left the idea behind. I sent a pretty thorough message on that a few pages back.

What is it if it's not a section of The Elements? ...It's a song called Love to Say Da Da. That's why we're able to refer to it as a song with a title. It had one. It is slated that way, that title is written on tape boxes by different engineers at different studios, and all the paperwork matches.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 12:09:56 PM
If it's being contested that Cool Cool Water is a rewrite of LTSDD because of Brian saying he wrote CCW in March 1967... he was off by a few months. Remember, this is him explaining when he wrote it years later. At his Grammy speech, he claimed Smile was recorded in 1965, and in the new documentary, he said That Lucky Old Sun premiered in 2005. Demonstrably, he's just a little bit off in his memory of when LTSDD was rewritten as CCW. Again, people can misremember things, but music doesn't lie. Listen to the songs. They are the same. That is how the "LTSDD is Water" rumor started in the first place.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 12:10:43 PM
By the way, how much interest is there in the actual facts regarding dates and documents and when splices were made, etc? I would think that would be right up the alley of every Smile fan on earth, but I've been surprised to see a lot of the info, which has been revealed here for the first time, completely ignored! Brian splicing the Worms verse from Worms (which he'd otherwise just chopped up for Heroes) and planning to use it as an intro for the original Da Da, via notes on the tape box? I thought that would get a big reaction!

Putting aside the debates regarding contemporary quotes and what they mean re Smile's transition into Smiley Smile, I'm surprised that most of the new information that's being given in this thread from original documents is kind of getting washed over. That's the part that fascinates me the most - the music, and exactly how, when, and where it was made. Through that, Brian's rapidly changing plans can be traced, as can his increasing interesting in minimal tracks, and instruments that are stacked by himself, rather than played by a live ensemble.

Just wanted to pipe up and say that I've appreciated the discussion in this thread and the very interesting, informative, and thought-provoking contributions that've been made.

And it got me in the mood to listen to the Smiley material on the Sunshine Tomorrow releases...so thanks all around!

Hell yeah. Sunshine Tomorrow rules!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 12:29:19 PM
When presented with new information on when pieces were recorded, and when we have the history of the music completely backwards, the logical next step would not be to think "Well, I'll continue to believe this baseless theory/assumption until there's evidence that directly states otherwise." The more reasonable reaction would be, "Wait, was there ever any reason to believe that in the first place, now that documentation, tape box info, and other info is more accessible to fans?"

The answer, in this case, is a resounding no.

I've given a history of the song, and a bit of history as to how this misconception came to be, how it persisted, and why it makes no sense now that we have a timeline of Brian's works. The only recording session for a song called "The Elements" came with "Part 1" of the song, on November 28, 1966. On the way home from the session, Brian had given the song another name. A few days later (I believe the exact date was found in another thread on here!) Brian scrapped the idea completely due to his paranoia about fires. He made a comment about a candle instead of a fire, but no recording session connected to the title "The Elements" ever occurred again.

Love to Say Da Da was recorded, in every occasion, as "Love to Say Da Da." If it was a part of The Elements, you would hear Jimmy Hilton say, "THE ELEMENTS, PART TWOOOO!" in a goofy voice. But that's not what the song was called. It was called Love to Say Da Da. We don't need evidence that Good Vibrations was never a bridge for You Still Believe in Me... but we can say there's no evidence that suggests that, and therefore no reason to believe it. And once again, the timeline of contemporary documentation AND quotes from Brian in articles shows that the two songs likely never even co-existed.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 12:43:01 PM
Obviously history is an imperfect discipline.  The best we can do is follow time-tested methodologies.  

As I said, we are slowly uncovering more and more documentation from more and more sources.  And in many cases it is quite easy to determine if it's correct.  If an AFM turns up for a track called "Love to Say Dada," and the date matches a tape that is stored in a tape box that is labeled "Love to Say Dada," and then the contents of the tape involve the people listed on the AFM talking about a song called "Love to Say Dada" -- that's all really good evidence that a song called Love to Say Dada was recorded on that date.

Now, of course, it's not always that easy, but the point is, we are rebuilding the Beach Boys studio narrative by consulting as many resources as we can.  That includes contemporary comments by the band, of course, but also lots of other types of sources.  Have you seen all the tape boxes?  Have you seen the Capitol worksheets?  Do you know when a piece of tape was physically removed from the place it was originally recorded and spliced into a new tape?  Without that kind of information, the story is incomplete.

The nice thing about tape is it can't lie.  What is on the tape is on the tape.  What is in the tape box is in the tape box.  It doesn't matter what the AFM says, or the Capitol documentation says, or what Bruce or Al or even what Brian says -- what's on the tape is on the tape.

Not all of life is put on tapes in boxes. Did they tape all the conversations between the band members - no.  Do we have on tape what Brian intended to go on Smile and what sequence - no.  Do we have on tape Brian's feelings or his state of mind or documentary proof that he was despairing- no. We will never have these things and so they will always be a source for speculation especially when there is crucial information missing including why there was a press release saying it was scrapped.  We are clearly missing a dialogue, a thought, an intent and an arrangement to 'scrap' it (and that word was on a printed document so it must be right).  We are also missing the reasoning for recording using different pared down style and bringing out an album called Smiley Smile instead of Smile - if it had all been a progression then the name could have stood and Capitol would not have been discussing the cover of the associated second album being issued after Smiley.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 12:44:47 PM
We are not writing the definitive history.

Some of us are, actually....

 :lol. Here?  Get a publisher - no one is going to read this except some fans.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 12:53:55 PM
We are not writing the definitive history.

Some of us are, actually....

 :lol. Here?  Get a publisher - no one is going to read this except some fans.

One step ahead of you.  

Also, truth is not venue-dependent.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 12:58:22 PM
Just to make it clear, so we are not dealing in innuendos and such, there is a team of people working on a real, actual book about all this -- not just Smile, but the complete studio sessions.  It's a real thing, and we are doing actual research, and real people out there in the world are interested in it.  Because of this interest, we are able to do genuinely new research, and we take it very seriously.  Please don't denigrate our work.  The fact is, some of us are essentially working on this documentation full time.  Don't blow it off.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:03:18 PM
Liz, for the record, you did say that, because I copied it from your message and pasted it into my own without typing it.

Speculation is fun, but learning things that objectively happened is pretty cool too - I've posted some facts about the tapes and what they reveal about Brian's plans at the time, and I don't think some of that information was previously available. Isn't that exciting new info that reveals much more specifics about the project than vague quotes?

Sorry  I copied it from Joshilyn's post but included the upper case so this quote is out of context.  I was implying it was worked on but it wasn't official.  

If I could understand what you meant about the tapes I would probably be interested.  At the moment going to look for the various parts from various CD's when I'm fire fighting on here and dealing with my own daily life is too much trouble.

I was enjoying the thread and ideas of others and then it just gets into a fight which wears me down and reminds me why I gave up posting here.  In the end life will go on whatever you or I write and time will tell if Brian is the victor and has history written to his advantage or if Mike is.  Everyone has their own beliefs and what we know about the world now is that just because it is the accepted version doesn't make it true, so I'll stick to my own beliefs.  I remember someone saying there was 'incontrovertible  proof' of a historic event and I wondered  what proof could be incontrovertible - the scientists aren't even sure that we're not a video game.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 01:14:54 PM
I was enjoying the thread and ideas of others and then it just gets into a fight which wears me down and reminds me why I gave up posting here.  In the end life will go on whatever you or I write and time will tell if Brian is the victor and has history written to his advantage or if Mike is.  Everyone has their own beliefs and what we know about the world now is that just because it is the accepted version doesn't make it true, so I'll stick to my own beliefs.  I remember someone saying there was 'incontrovertible  proof' of a historic event and I wondered  what proof could be incontrovertible - the scientists aren't even sure that we're not a video game.

Oof, well, of course if we operate under the assumption, arguendo, that there is no such thing as truth, then yes, things get tricky, don't they?  I think we probably are living in a video game, so I don't worry about it and just use the rules of the game to construct what truth I can within those bounds.  That is way more comfortable to me than a version of the world where nothing is true so I construct my own reality regardless of external input.   :o


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 01:15:49 PM
I like the discussion too; it's fun. I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but when misinformation is spread about The Beach Boys' recording career, I feel some responsibility to correct it so that impressionable fans don't get the wrong ideas about the music. This isn't related to what the band said to each other behind closed doors, the fights that occur off the records, etc, etc, because no one can ever know about that for sure. And it is fun as hell to speculate.

But when the theories are founded on information that is just not true, such as the water chant being recorded for LTSDD in May, or the entirety of LTSDD being a section of The Elements, the truth needs to be clarified. If you don't quite understand what I'm saying regarding the documentation and what it shows, that's fine. But if you're continuing to "stick to your own beliefs" when your beliefs have been shown to be founded on misconceptions, and when they are directly contradicted by actual evidence, you are just choosing not to believe facts. Which is fine, but it's not something I like seeing spread about my favorite band, and my favorite era of my favorite band, when there's already so much confusion and misinformation, about admittedly a very confusing album(s) and time period.

This isn't a logical conversation, though, if we're going to ignore actual evidence in favor of objective falsities simply because we like them better. It's not a conversation I wish to continue, as it feels a little bit like trying to explain that the earth isn't flat to some older relatives. I do hope that other people appreciate some of the new found info, and the attempt at narrowing down the truth.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:21:22 PM
I am pretty confused at some of these questions, but there's more misinfo that I feel the need to correct.

Love to Say Da Da was first recorded, under that title, in December 1966. It was recorded again in May 1967.

Cool Cool Water was recorded at Western Recorders in June.

If you're contesting that the two songs share similarities - please relisten; the chord progressions are identical, the bass lines are identical - it's a reworking of the same basic musical material, with a shift in lyrical matter from babies to water. Counter melodies played by instruments in Love to Say Da Da are reprised by vocal parts in various editions of Cool Cool Water.

The chant where they all sing "water, water" over a drone is not a recording that was made for a song called Love to Say Da Da. As we said earlier, it is labeled as "Cool Cool Water - Fade" on the tape box, and was recorded in Brian's home studio using his Baldwin organ during either the Smiley Smile era or the Wild Honey era. It is a section of Cool Cool Water that was recorded under that name. So, no version of Cool Cool Water worked on by the Beach Boys "included Love to Say Da Da", unless of course, you refer to the musical material being based in that original song.

The idea that Love to Say Da Da was part of Brian's "Elements" song comes from the fact that it's a variation of the same music as Cool Cool Water, which obviously pulls from ideas Brian had about recording music about water, although that never happened during the proper Smile era. It was assumed then that LTSDD was part of Brian's elements idea. Again, this sounds logical, but we know things about Smile that weren't known in the 80s when people first got that notion. We know when things were recorded, how songs evolved, etc. That assumption has been repeated a lot, by several different authors who don't dive into the specifics of what songs Brian was working on in what stages of the project. There are absolutely zero sources that back this theory up, and there is plenty of evidence that suggests exactly when Brian was working on The Elements, what it consisted of at each stage, and when he left the idea behind. I sent a pretty thorough message on that a few pages back.

What is it if it's not a section of The Elements? ...It's a song called Love to Say Da Da. That's why we're able to refer to it as a song with a title. It had one. It is slated that way, that title is written on tape boxes by different engineers at different studios, and all the paperwork matches.

“Love to Say Da Da was first recorded, under that title, in December 1966. It was recorded again in May 1967.”  That’s what I said.  You disagreed with the dates and instruments given on the Smile Sessions CD so not to be contentious the next time I mentioned it I wasn't specific.

I am not saying the songs don’t share similarities - Brian thought they worked together and then changed his mind - who am I to quibble.  I’m saying they were written separately.  Da Da was intended for Smile.  Cool Cool Water wasn’t. 

Vegetables has a title and yet was Earth. 

I’m not asking you what is Da Da - I’m asking what song was Water for The Elements because it seems we don’t have one?    And rather weird that Da Da was reworked into Blue Hawaii - the water sequence for BWPS.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:24:30 PM
We are not writing the definitive history.

Some of us are, actually....

 :lol. Here?  Get a publisher - no one is going to read this except some fans.

One step ahead of you.  

Also, truth is not venue-dependent.

No but disseminating it is.  Will there be a peer review? ;)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 01:26:29 PM
I count 4 claims in that message that are objectively untrue, as they are contradicted by the documentation that I have access to, and are founded upon absolutely nothing. I can't do this anymore, sorry.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 01:27:09 PM
Da Da was intended for Smile.  Cool Cool Water wasn’t. 

Vegetables has a title and yet was Earth. 

I’m not asking you what is Da Da - I’m asking what song was Water for The Elements because it seems we don’t have one?    And rather weird that Da Da was reworked into Blue Hawaii - the water sequence for BWPS.

You've made all of that up.  You are assuming that there was at some point a Water element, and Earth Element, and an Air element, because there was a Fire element.  It's a cool idea to have an elements suite.  Brian thought so too for a couple hours before he changed his mind.  But there is no contemporary evidence for the Elements ever getting beyond Fire.  The fact that Darian put together Blue Hawaii in 2004 has no bearing on that.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 01:27:35 PM
We are not writing the definitive history.

Some of us are, actually....

 :lol. Here?  Get a publisher - no one is going to read this except some fans.

One step ahead of you.  

Also, truth is not venue-dependent.

No but disseminating it is.  Will there be a peer review? ;)

Absolutely.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:28:36 PM
Just to make it clear, so we are not dealing in innuendos and such, there is a team of people working on a real, actual book about all this -- not just Smile, but the complete studio sessions.  It's a real thing, and we are doing actual research, and real people out there in the world are interested in it.  Because of this interest, we are able to do genuinely new research, and we take it very seriously.  Please don't denigrate our work.  The fact is, some of us are essentially working on this documentation full time.  Don't blow it off.

I'm sure that's all very lovely. But you'll have to get used to denigration if you are going to be published, there will be critics.  I think there is a very niche market though for this kind of book.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 01:31:49 PM
Just to make it clear, so we are not dealing in innuendos and such, there is a team of people working on a real, actual book about all this -- not just Smile, but the complete studio sessions.  It's a real thing, and we are doing actual research, and real people out there in the world are interested in it.  Because of this interest, we are able to do genuinely new research, and we take it very seriously.  Please don't denigrate our work.  The fact is, some of us are essentially working on this documentation full time.  Don't blow it off.

I'm sure that's all very lovely. But you'll have to get used to denigration if you are going to be published, there will be critics.  I think there is a very niche market though for this kind of book.

I'm more or less fine with denigration, but you are not a critic, at this point you're just making fun of us.


I count 4 claims in that message that are objectively untrue, as they are contradicted by the documentation that I have access to, and are founded upon absolutely nothing. I can't do this anymore, sorry.

Yeah, I'm out, too.  I think we're being had.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:35:04 PM
I was enjoying the thread and ideas of others and then it just gets into a fight which wears me down and reminds me why I gave up posting here.  In the end life will go on whatever you or I write and time will tell if Brian is the victor and has history written to his advantage or if Mike is.  Everyone has their own beliefs and what we know about the world now is that just because it is the accepted version doesn't make it true, so I'll stick to my own beliefs.  I remember someone saying there was 'incontrovertible  proof' of a historic event and I wondered  what proof could be incontrovertible - the scientists aren't even sure that we're not a video game.

Oof, well, of course if we operate under the assumption, arguendo, that there is no such thing as truth, then yes, things get tricky, don't they?  I think we probably are living in a video game, so I don't worry about it and just use the rules of the game to construct what truth I can within those bounds.  That is way more comfortable to me than a version of the world where nothing is true so I construct my own reality regardless of external input.   :o

I think there is such a thing as truth I just think that in many cases it is absolutely unprovable unless of course you limit your research into the minutiae of what is written on a box label.  But as already discussed I didn't drink coffee this morning because it wasn't captured on tape and Neptune didn't exist before 1876.  


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 24, 2022, 01:36:03 PM
By the way, how much interest is there in the actual facts regarding dates and documents and when splices were made, etc? I would think that would be right up the alley of every Smile fan on earth, but I've been surprised to see a lot of the info, which has been revealed here for the first time, completely ignored! Brian splicing the Worms verse from Worms (which he'd otherwise just chopped up for Heroes) and planning to use it as an intro for the original Da Da, via notes on the tape box? I thought that would get a big reaction!

Putting aside the debates regarding contemporary quotes and what they mean re Smile's transition into Smiley Smile, I'm surprised that most of the new information that's being given in this thread from original documents is kind of getting washed over. That's the part that fascinates me the most - the music, and exactly how, when, and where it was made. Through that, Brian's rapidly changing plans can be traced, as can his increasing interesting in minimal tracks, and instruments that are stacked by himself, rather than played by a live ensemble.

Just wanted to pipe up and say that I've appreciated the discussion in this thread and the very interesting, informative, and thought-provoking contributions that've been made.

And it got me in the mood to listen to the Smiley material on the Sunshine Tomorrow releases...so thanks all around!

This.

Quite frankly I love all the discussion, all the theories. Heck, it’s why I’ve had Bill Tobelman’s site linked in my signature for years. I remember the downright brawls people would get into regarding his theories, and it was all great stuff.

Ever since this topic started I’ve been listening to Smile tracks, blasting BWPS, and listening to Smiley. So thanks for starting the thread, and thanks to everyone who has contributed. It has brought a bright shining light into my world the last couple days.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 01:36:38 PM
Damn it’s like I miss so much of the action when I’m offline!

Trying to get caught back up

Quote
By the way, how much interest is there in the actual facts regarding dates and documents and when splices were made, etc? I would think that would be right up the alley of every Smile fan on earth, but I've been surprised to see a lot of the info, which has been revealed here for the first time, completely ignored!
I’m definitely interested!  Hell, I’ve already stated several times here that I didn’t quite buy what the myth stated about Smile , because of the contradictions and some of the dubious “journalism “ of the time. A lot of people don’t know that there’s new information; if it hadn’t  been discussed here during the release of TSS, I wouldn’t know it. I actually thought we knew everything there was to know , and I suspect a lot of others did too


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:46:54 PM
I like the discussion too; it's fun. I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but when misinformation is spread about The Beach Boys' recording career, I feel some responsibility to correct it so that impressionable fans don't get the wrong ideas about the music. This isn't related to what the band said to each other behind closed doors, the fights that occur off the records, etc, etc, because no one can ever know about that for sure. And it is fun as hell to speculate.

But when the theories are founded on information that is just not true, such as the water chant being recorded for LTSDD in May, or the entirety of LTSDD being a section of The Elements, the truth needs to be clarified. If you don't quite understand what I'm saying regarding the documentation and what it shows, that's fine. But if you're continuing to "stick to your own beliefs" when your beliefs have been shown to be founded on misconceptions, and when they are directly contradicted by actual evidence, you are just choosing not to believe facts. Which is fine, but it's not something I like seeing spread about my favorite band, and my favorite era of my favorite band, when there's already so much confusion and misinformation, about admittedly a very confusing album(s) and time period.

This isn't a logical conversation, though, if we're going to ignore actual evidence in favor of objective falsities simply because we like them better. It's not a conversation I wish to continue, as it feels a little bit like trying to explain that the earth isn't flat to some older relatives. I do hope that other people appreciate some of the new found info, and the attempt at narrowing down the truth.

I said Da Da was recorded in May - it was - you concurred.

I asked you for details of the Water section of The Elements - you can't answer.

Well we can definitively say that LTSD is the water section now can't we - though it has been renamed Blue Hawaii.  

I'm irritated at your evading the question and distorting my remarks.  I am irritated with the idea that the whole of history is going to be captured on the tapes or the side of a box.  The crucial questions are not and it is those we are speculating about and drawing conclusions from the pieces and events we know.  You may choose to believe some things and I might not share that belief and you may never be able to provide proof so we will both have to carry on believing our own conclusions.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 01:54:41 PM
I count 4 claims in that message that are objectively untrue, as they are contradicted by the documentation that I have access to, and are founded upon absolutely nothing. I can't do this anymore, sorry.

There you go again - what message, what claims what proof?

What do you mean you can't do it any more, you're not 'doing' it now. 

You distort what I say, disagree with published information without providing evidence that it is untrue and avoid pertinent questions I ask and the fact that LTSD is the water section on BWPS renamed as Blue Hawaii.  An inconvenient truth for someone who is trying argue that  LTSD wasn't "Water".  It's possible it might not have always been, but it is now.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 01:58:38 PM
Still getting caught up, but

Quote
I think a main block to mutual understanding in this matter is that there is a tendency to privilege the oral tradition, because it is much more accessible.  But there is a problem with doing history that way -- basically, everybody lies.  Or, more generously, everybody perceives the same events differently.  And there's also the telephone game effect; Brian says something to a journalist, who reports it using different verbiage, and then a book author uses the reporters words 40 years later and puts their own interpretation on that already once-removed context.

Yeah that was my point a few pages back. Remember how long it took before the truth about The Beach Boys playing on their albums to come out? The labor day story? Same with the “Brian stayed in his room for years “. We take for granted how easy it is to fact check these days , but a lot of misconceptions arose due to the lack of fact checking , lazy research, hyperbole, or even outright lies/half truths. Not limited to The Beach Boys either by any means!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 24, 2022, 02:09:18 PM
Da Da was intended for Smile.  Cool Cool Water wasn’t. 

Vegetables has a title and yet was Earth. 

I’m not asking you what is Da Da - I’m asking what song was Water for The Elements because it seems we don’t have one?    And rather weird that Da Da was reworked into Blue Hawaii - the water sequence for BWPS.

You've made all of that up.  You are assuming that there was at some point a Water element, and Earth Element, and an Air element, because there was a Fire element.  It's a cool idea to have an elements suite.  Brian thought so too for a couple hours before he changed his mind.  But there is no contemporary evidence for the Elements ever getting beyond Fire.  The fact that Darian put together Blue Hawaii in 2004 has no bearing on that.

Vegetables was Earth
Mrs O Leary's was Fire
Wind Chimes Cow was Air
And the track list on paper (so it must be right) dated before BWPS was released says LTSDD is Water.

From another message board "Remember the coda from Holidays has the same melody as the coda for the Smiley Wind Chimes. I flipped when I first heard it, I thought I'd single-handedly discovered the missing Air section only to find out it was common knowledge."


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 02:18:38 PM
Wait…I thought Air was never recorded? At least that’s according to Brian himself… “it was a little piano piece that never got recorded “

Vegetables was separate from Earth, at least according to Brian’s memo.

DaDa may be water for BWPS but it wasn’t on the 66-67 sessions. That’s the thing… if we’re talking about it being released in 67 , we can only include what was already there on 67 and not include anything afterwards. Plans change but we can’t retroactively apply things that hadn’t happened at the time

Edit

I hope it doesn’t look like I’m picking sides …I’m 100% neutral on this!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 02:39:44 PM
Billy, yes, there's no reason to believe any of Brian's ideas for the "air" element were ever put to tape, and that quote essentially confirms that they never were.

Frank Holmes' artwork confirms that at some point, The Elements was a song that contained the lyric "my vega-tables." Perhaps it was simply the name of the song that would later be called Vega-Tables, or perhaps Vega-Tables was initially planned to be part of some large suite. But by the time the list of tracks was written out, which was written in time for Capitol's art department to deliver the back cover by December 6, "Vega-Tables" and "The Elements" were the names of two separate songs on Smile.

The only recording session, and piece of music, that is referred to as "The Elements" in any form, is the Fire session on November 28. Larry Levine slates it as "part 1" of a song called The Elements, and as everyone knows, it was the section that represented fire. But the final master, according to the AFM contract, was 2:25 long, and as Brian was driving home from the session, he made the decision that he would be calling it "Mrs. O'Leary's Fire." It seems to me that this means that "Mrs. O'Leary's Fire" would have been the title of the song, rather than "The Elements", and that the 4 part idea was out the window. The title "The Elements" was not used again throughout the remainder of the sessions.

I don't doubt that Brian had ideas for water, air, and earth, or that the water ideas eventually found their way into what became Cool, Cool Water, or that the air section was written and planned. But it seems to me that when Brian got spooked by the fires, he became paranoid and left the idea behind. We know that he didn't intend to use the fire section for very long, as that happened soon after the session, but it even seems that the idea had shifted from an Elements song with multiple sections representing different aspects of nature, into a song purely about fire, even on the very day the fire section was started. Brian's comment to the reporter in the car, along with the fact that he edited together a song-length 2:25 take of the recording for further overdubs, suggest that the initial concept for the song had radically changed already.

To insist that "The Elements" must have been made up of other, completely separate songs, is to forget that The Elements was... a Song, on an album with 11 or so other Songs. Vega-Tables was undoubtably connected by some point, but The Elements and Vega-Tables were demonstrably separate entities at another point. Wind Chimes was never connected, existed in a final mono form this entire time, and was also listed separately to The Elements and Vega-Tables on that tracklist. Never connected in any way


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 02:57:54 PM
Now, to separate my analysis of the recordings from the raw facts themselves, here are some things we know without my personal input as to what it all means:

- The Elements was, at one point, the title of a song that contained the lyric "My vega-tables"
- The Elements was, at another point, listed as 1 of 12 songs to be on Smile, along with other songs called Vega-Tables, Wind Chimes, etc.
- The only recording to be produced with the title "The Elements" was "Part 1" or "Fire", recorded November 28, 1966


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 03:27:40 PM
When was the title Mrs O’Leary’s cow given?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Jay on July 24, 2022, 03:46:36 PM
When was the title Mrs O’Leary’s cow given?
And while we're at it, when and where did the "Fire" track become known? When it was used on An American Band?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 24, 2022, 03:47:54 PM
When was the title Mrs O’Leary’s cow given?

The earliest use of that title I've seen is the list of Smile tracks Carl gave to Melody Maker in 1972, although I could've missed something else. Brian gave 'Mrs. O'Leary's Fire' offhand on the day of the fire session going by Siegel but I get the impression that the 'Mrs. O'Leary's Cow' title was basically always around from then on.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 03:49:03 PM
Well, the title Mrs. O'Leary's Fire was given immediately after the session, according to Goodbye Surfing, Hello God. Here's the fire-relevant section:

It was just another day of greatness at Gold Star Recording Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. In the morning four long-haired kids had knocked out two hours of sound for a record plugger who was trying to curry favor with a disc jockey friend of theirs in San Jose. Nobody knew it at the moment, but out of that two hours there were about three minutes that would hit the top of the charts in a few weeks, and the record plugger, the disc jockey and the kids would all be hailed as geniuses, but geniuses with a very small g.

Now, however, in the very same studio a Genius with a very large capital G was going to produce a hit. There was no doubt it would be a hit because this Genius was Brian Wilson. In four years of recording for Capitol Records, he and his group, the Beach Boys, had made surfing music a national craze, sold 16 million singles and earned gold records for 10 of their 12 albums.

Not only was Brian going to produce a hit, but also, one gathered, he was going to show everybody in the music business exactly where it was at; and where it was at, it seemed, was that Brian Wilson was not merely a Genius—which is to say a steady commercial success—but rather, like Bob Dylan and John Lennon, a GENIUS—which is to say a steady commercial success and hip besides.

Until now, though, there were not too many hip people who would have considered Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys hip, even though he had produced one very hip record, “Good Vibrations,” which had sold more than a million copies, and a super-hip album, Pet Sounds, which didn’t do very well at all—by previous Beach Boys sales standards. Among the hip people he was still on trial, and the question discussed earnestly among the recognized authorities on what is and what is not hip was whether or not Brian Wilson was hip, semi-hip or square.

But walking into the control room with the answers to all questions such as this was Brian Wilson himself, wearing a competition-stripe surfer’s T-shirt, tight white duck pants, pale green bowling shoes and a red plastic fireman’s helmet.

Everybody was wearing identical red plastic toy fireman’s helmets. Brian’s cousin and production assistant, Steve Korthof was wearing one; his wife, Marilyn, and her sister, Diane Rovell—Brian’s secretary—were also wearing them, and so was a once dignified writer from The Saturday Evening Post who had been following Brian around for two months.

Out in the studio, the musicians for the session were unpacking their instruments. In sport shirts and slacks, they looked like insurance salesmen and used-car dealers, except for one blond female percussionist who might have been stamped out by a special machine that supplied plastic mannequin housewives for detergent commercials.

Controlled, a little bored after 20 years or so of nicely paid anonymity, these were the professionals of the popular music business, hired guns who did their jobs expertly and efficiently and then went home to the suburbs. If you wanted swing, they gave you swing. A little movie-track lushness? Fine, here comes movie-track lushness. Now it’s rock and roll? Perfect rock and roll, down the chute.

“Steve,” Brian called out, “where are the rest of those fire hats? I want everybody to wear fire hats. We’ve really got to get into this thing.” Out to the Rolls-Royce went Steve and within a few minutes all of the musicians were wearing fire hats, silly grins beginning to crack their professional dignity.

“All right, let’s go,” said Brian. Then, using a variety of techniques ranging from vocal demonstration to actually playing the instruments, he taught each musician his part. A gigantic fire howled out of the massive studio speakers in a pounding crash of pictorial music that summoned up visions of roaring, windstorm flames, falling timbers, mournful sirens and sweating firemen, building into a peak and crackling off into fading embers as a single drum turned into a collapsing wall and the fire-engine cellos dissolved and disappeared.

“When did he write this?” asked an astonished pop music producer who had wandered into the studio. “This is really fantastic! Man, this is unbelievable! How long has he been working on it?”

“About an hour,” answered one of Brian’s friends.

“I don’t believe it. I just can’t believe what I’m hearing,” said the producer and fell into a stone glazed silence as the fire music began again.

For the next three hours, Brian Wilson recorded and re-recorded, take after take, changing the sound balance, adding echo, experimenting with a sound effects track of a real fire.

“Let me hear that again.” “Drums, I think you’re a little slow in that last part. Let’s get right on it.” “That was really good. Now, one more time, the whole thing.” “All right, let me hear the cellos alone.” “Great. Really great. Now let’s do it!”

With 23 takes on tape and the entire operation responding to his touch like the black knobs on the control board, sweat glistening down his long, reddish hair onto his freckled face, the control room a litter of dead cigarette butts, Chicken Delight boxes, crumpled napkins, Coke bottles and all the accumulated trash of the physical end of the creative process, Brian stood at the board as the four speakers blasted the music into the room.

For the 24th time, the drum crashed and the sound effects crackle faded and stopped.

“Thank you,” said Brian into the control room mic. “Let me hear that back.” Feet shifting, his body still, eyes closed, head moving seal-like to his music, he stood under the speakers and listened. “Let me hear that one more time.” Again the fire roared. “Everybody come out and listen to this,” Brian said to the musicians. They came into the room and listened to what they had made.

“What do you think?” Brian asked.

“It’s incredible, incredible,” whispered one of the musicians, a man in his fifties wearing a Hawaiian shirt and iridescent trousers and pointed black Italian shoes. “Absolutely incredible.”

“Yeah,” said Brian on the way home, an acetate trial copy or “dub” of the tape in his hands, the red plastic fire helmet still on his head. “Yeah, I’m going to call this ‘Mrs. O’Leary’s Fire’ and I think it might just scare a whole lot of people.”

As it turns out, however, Brian Wilson’s magic fire music is not going to scare anybody—because nobody other than the few people who heard it in the studio will ever get to listen to it. A few days after the record was finished, a building across the street from the studio burned down and, according to Brian, there was also an unusually large number of fires in Los Angeles. Afraid that his music might in fact turn out to be magic fire music, Wilson destroyed the master.

“I don’t have to do a big scary fire like that,” he later said. “I can do a candle and it’s still a fire. That would have been a really bad vibration to let out on the world, that Chicago fire. The next one is going to be a candle.”


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 04:28:29 PM
Whoa! I go away for a weekend and this thread totally explodes! I'm not gonna lie, this was pretty fun to read through, even if the conversation got a little rough at spots :) And I hope no one minds if I jump in with a few thoughts on historiography...it's kind of my thing. :) Short essay incoming.....

First, I want to say that anyone who is wondering why Joshilyn Hoisington gets to tell other people they're wrong now and again, and why said people should take said corrections with grace, should spend a couple of hours listening to her work on youtube and recognize that certain kinds of incredibly intensive knowledge production and expertise deserve to be respected. I am not saying that we don't all get to have our own opinions on Smile, but when you're working off of secondary sources, many of which were written a long time ago, and other people in the thread are doing direct, primary-source research and very, very sophisticated musicological analysis, that gives them a certain authority in the conversation that, frankly, should be respected. I am a professional historian who writes about 18th-century America. I absolutely can be, have been, and will be wrong about various aspects of that history, but that doesn't change the fact that I have spent countless hours pouring over handwritten documents from the 18th century, and if someone comes along and tells me that they read a couple books on the American Revolution and that their opinion is just as valid as mine...well... I'm going to nod politely and end the conversation, what else can I say?

That said, although there is some absolutely incredible new-to-me (new-to-everyone?) information in this thread about the timeline of recording, I also think that there is an interpretive question about whether Smiley Smile was a gradual evolution of the Smile music, or whether Smiley Smile represented a profound break. And this is a very interesting question to me--and also why I brought up my day job. Because historians have been fighting for *ever* over whether the American Revolution is fundamentally a story about change, a profound break with what came before, or whether the American Revolution is actually a story of continuity, in which colonial elites used the war to preserve the world they'd already built from changes they believed the British Empire was trying to impose on them. In short, how revolutionary was the Revolution, really? As is often the case, there is some truth to both perspectives. Facts and arguments have been marshaled on both sides. New ways of thinking, new ideas, and new information uncovered from archives historians had not previously looked at can certainly change our perspective on this issue, but at the end of the day, the question seems to have proven absolutely impossible for historians to settle. There always seem to be historians ready to say that the American Revolution was fundamentally about change, and others ready to say it was fundamentally about continuity. It is a profound interpretive question that, unlike many other kinds of questions historians ask, does not seem capable of being solved simply be examining the evidence.

Part of what I see in the thread above is Joshilyn and others presenting very, very important new research and new knowledge--research and knowledge, I want to stress, that I am so, so, so excited to see and hear about and that I appreciate so, so much--and using that new research to support a particular interpretive argument: that the transition from Smile to Smiley Smile was not the profound break we thought it was, that instead that transition was characterized by a certain continuity of musical development, and that viewing that transition in this way provides us with tremendous insight into Brian Wilson's development as a musician in the 1960s.

I largely buy this argument. It is sophisticated and important. *But* Smiley Smile and Smile unquestionably *are* different. They have different titles, different qualities, and were produced under different conditions. And so, to my mind, the question of whether this transitional moment was characterized primarily by continuity, or primarily by a revolutionary change in working methods and aims, is an interpretive question that cannot be settled by evidence alone, and so any assertion that new research *proves* that Smiley Smile was an extension of Smile, and not a break with Smile, needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

I hope I haven't bored you all to tears, and one more time I want to thank everyone participating in good faith in this thread and everyone doing new research on this important moment in musical history! I would also suggest that the best history happens when people look for what is interesting and right in other people's perspectives, not when they go straight for the weakest point (which doesn't mean that factual errors shouldn't be corrected!)




Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 24, 2022, 04:32:14 PM
Whew... What a whirlwind. I'd like to wheel this back to something fun/informative/interesting and run down the state of each song recorded during the Smile period and where they were left before the home studio, to the best available evidence, which BJL already excellently compiled back in the innocent days of page 1, but I have some amendments and additions to throw into the pool. That should be a relatively harmless way to set a few things on the record straight!

Wind Chimes - Original track recorded and edited August 3, most of a new track recorded October 5, vocals recorded October 10. Brian dubbed the new sections down prior to vocals and assembled the edit on the 4-track reel from August itself, throwing away most of the assembled master from the earlier session in the process (leaving the opening verses intact, using the first chorus, discarding the rest). According to Vosse, this was mixed and considered a tentatively finished product, although that's now missing (as are most of the original 1/4" mixdowns from the era).

Look - Track recorded August 12 (untitled on the AFM/Capitol worksheet but titled 'Look' on the tape box), with a Capitol worksheet indicating a vocal session took place on Oct 13 under the title 'I Ran' utilising the same master number, but no tape of that description has been located. There are discrepancies between the documented titles and known recorded evidence on tape for a few of the October sessions, and a Child is Father of the Man mono mix has the same date, so it's possible that Look might not have actually been worked on that day.

Wonderful - Track for first version recorded Aug 25, transferred to 8-track with group vocals likely overdubbed Oct 4, Brian's lead vocal added and mixed to mono Oct 6, at which time it was considered a finished master. The 'yodellehoo' vocals were added Dec 15 with a Capitol worksheet indicating it was also worked on in some unknown capacity by Brian on Dec 27. Brian scrapped it, recorded a new basic track Jan 5 (probably as a Heroes B-side), overdubbed additional instruments and the "rock with me Henry" vocals with an a capella tag on Jan 9, left it unfinished (wisely?) and recorded a third version in April as a B-side to Vegetables, incorporating a reworked Child is Father of the Man section as a bridge. This didn't get any further than a piano track and some scratch vocals, scrapped again.

He Gives Speeches - Track recorded Aug 25, vocals possibly following at an undated session in September, never touched again.

Holidays - Track recorded Sep 8, never touched again.

Our Prayer - Recorded Sep 19 (BOTH versions - the 'dialogue' early takes in the lower key and the final), mixed and edited Oct 4, with Brian splicing out and throwing away the penultimate section. Brian described it on tape as an unlisted intro to the album during the original session, but in 1969 Vosse recounted Brian's plan to have a 'choral amen' following Surf's Up as the closer, so he might've later changed his mind about where he wanted to use it.

Cabin Essence - Easier to do this one in a list.
Oct 3 - Track recorded (structured in the same form it came out on 20/20, titled 'Home on the Range' on the AFM and Frank Holmes' artwork, but always 'Cabin Essence' on the tape box).
Oct 11 - Transferred to 8-track, chorus and tag backing vocals, first go at the 'iron horse' chant, Mike & Brian's 'crow' lead vocals (yes, it's both of them), rough mixed to mono and edited Verse/Chorus/Tag.
Oct 12 - Revised 'iron horse' vocals, 'grand coulee' vocals, rough mixed to mono and edited Chorus/Tag.
Dec 6 - Unknown, possibly the verse 'doings', maybe more.
Dec 15 - Re-revised 'iron horse' vocals.
Dec 27 - Chorus mixed to mono, with compelling evidence that Brian was stealing it for Heroes and Villains concurrently with Bicycle Rider, which he mixed onto the same reel.
Probably on Dec 28 (by elimination on the timeline), Brian recorded a rearranged version of the music as 'Heroes and Villains Part 3'. This, some muddled comments from Vosse, and Carl's 1972 Smile lineup printed in Melody Maker give a strong impression that Brian was considering a chorus-less Cabin Essence for a stretch after making a sacrifice to the all-consuming Heroes and Villains monster. There was enough cognitive separation for Carl to years later list 'Cabin Essence (incorporating Iron Horse)'.
Lead vocals were probably not recorded until November 1968 for 20/20, although hard evidence hasn't confirmed that.

Child is Father of the Man - First go at a track recorded Oct 7, revised track recorded Oct 11, at which time Brian likely made his full mono track edit. The parts were then individually transferred to 8-track at Columbia, with a vocal session on Oct 12, and a mono mix made on Oct 13 (the supposed 'I Ran' session), edited Bridge/Verse/Chorus. More vocal sessions took place Dec 2 and 6, seemingly to re-record the chorus arrangement from scratch each time. It seems unlikely that lyrics beyond the chorus were actually written in 1966. Van Dyke claimed his only involvement was steering Brian to the Wordsworth poem that originated the phrase, as Brian thought it was something Karl Menninger had written. In April, Brian repurposed the material as a bridge to Wonderful (that's the song dead in the water), then lifted the major key 'whoa child' variant again to Love to Say Da Da, and again to an attempt at Cool Cool Water.

Vega-Tables - Original version recorded in late 1966, possibly at the Oct 17 session with 'I'm in Great Shape' as the title on Capitol documentation. 'Do a Lot' might have been recorded as a tag circa Jan 3, although the tape box notates it 'Heroes and Villains insert Do A Lot'. It is however evident that engineer Jerry Hochman wrote all the titles on the side of that particular box together at a later date than the recording itself, with at least one contradicting the slates Ralph Valentin was calling out, so its Heroes designation might not be accurate. Newly recorded in expanded and revised form as 'Vegetables' for a single in April - Brian completed and mixed all the sections to mono, then didn't edit it together.

Do You Like Worms - Track sections recorded Oct 18, dubbed down to a second generation 4-track and edited together, taken to Columbia for Brian and Carl to add the 'rock rock roll' vocals and an early unison lead on the Hawaiian bridge, after which it was mixed to mono. Group vocals in the Hawaiian bridge were recorded Dec 2 per a contemporary article. Bicycle Rider backing vocals could've been at the same session or later. Transferred to 8-track at Columbia on Dec 21 with the group overdubbing verse backing vocals. On Dec 27, Brian spliced Bicycle Rider right out of the 8-track tape and placed it in the middle of the Heroes verses, after which he added a drum, lead vocals, and mixed it to mono at the same time as the Cabin Essence chorus and Heroes opening verses alternately under the titles 'PORTION OF HEROES AND VILLAINS (BICYCLE RIDERS)' and 'PORTION OF HEROES AND VILLAINS (INDIANS)' - it received extra overdubs on Jan 5 as 'Heroes and Villains Part 2'. Likely at around the same time, a Worms verse was spliced out of the 8-track and placed on the Prayer reel, onto which Brian also recorded the early versions of Da Da, possibly intending to use them together as a new song to salvage the material in the wake of the Heroes massacre. After all, aspects of May's Da Da Part 1 are sort of a reimagining of Worms Part 1.

Heroes and Villains - Finished at least once, nearly finished in many, many forms. Exhausting. The most indecisive serial killer of a song in history.

I'm in Great Shape - There are compelling reasons to think that the twelve-song list including I'm in Great Shape may have been written as early as October before this piece's absorption into Heroes and Villains, rather than after, but either way, on Oct 27 a few track variants were recorded and it was living life as a bridge in Heroes. On Dec 19, Brian recorded a (now lost, save for acetate) new version adapting the Iron Horse cello figure, before it was seemingly replaced by Bicycle Rider and Iron Horse (and swiftly Heroes Part 3) a week later. Brian's vague mention of a 'Barnyard Suite' in four parts to Byron Preiss in the 70s could've been some concept to preserve Great Shape and Barnyard as a track after they were axed from Heroes, but it never ended up happening. The Oct 17 worksheet with 'I'm in Great Shape' as the title and the Nov 29 'Friday Night (I'm in great shape)' AFM contract don't make this any less confusing.

Surf's Up - Track for the first half recorded early November, re-recorded as a whole in a simple piano + doubled vocal form on December 15 (which, weighing everything written and said about it up, was probably not considered a demo). Mysterious session on Jan 23 is lost to time, but a number of things point to it more likely being a remake of the first half than anything else. I'd explain those things if I hadn't already gone on for way too long.

My Only Sunshine - Track recorded Nov 14, vocals recorded Nov 30, mixed to mono and probably considered finished. Then, Brian cribbed Part 2 for Heroes on Feb 10, and recorded a new arrangement on Feb 28, potentially scooping the entire thing away from the land of the living.

The Elements - See John's posts. Although, as a minor correction, the 'My vega-tables - The Elements' illustration by Frank Holmes came out of a discussion over the phone with Van Dyke about what they were trying to achieve conceptually rather than a lyric sheet. Shortly after, Vega-Tables was Vega-Tables, The Elements was The Elements (a self-contained track in four parts), and The Elements wasn't completed. Wind Chimes is Wind Chimes and Love to Say Da Da is Love to Say Da Da.

You're Welcome - Recorded and mixed December 15. And... that's it? Wow, I wish they were all like this.

Love to Say Da Da & Cool Cool Water - See John's posts 2.0.

You're With Me Tonight - First version was recorded at Sound Recorders most likely on June 3, only as a short fragment spawned out of the Vegetables bassline. Second version (fast harpsichord arrangement) recorded June 5 at United as a full-length song. Third version (slow harpsichord arrangement) recorded June 6 and 7 at Western.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 04:41:30 PM
Whew... What a whirlwind. I'd like to wheel this back to something fun/informative/interesting and run down the state of each song recorded during the Smile period and where they were left before the home studio, to the best available evidence, which BJL already excellently compiled back in the innocent days of page 1, but I have some amendments and additions to throw into the pool. That should be a relatively harmless way to set a few things on the record straight!

Wind Chimes - Original track recorded and edited August 3, most of a new track recorded October 5, vocals recorded October 10. Brian dubbed the new sections down prior to vocals and assembled the edit on the 4-track reel from August itself, throwing away most of the assembled master from the earlier session in the process (leaving the opening verses intact, using the first chorus, discarding the rest). According to Vosse, this was mixed and considered a tentatively finished product, although that's now missing (as are most of the original 1/4" mixdowns from the era).

Look - Track recorded August 12 (untitled on the AFM/Capitol worksheet but titled 'Look' on the tape box), with a Capitol worksheet indicating a vocal session took place on Oct 13 under the title 'I Ran' utilising the same master number, but no tape of that description has been located. There are discrepancies between the documented titles and known recorded evidence on tape for a few of the October sessions, and a Child is Father of the Man mono mix has the same date, so it's possible that Look might not have actually been worked on that day.

Wonderful - Track for first version recorded Aug 25, transferred to 8-track with group vocals likely overdubbed Oct 4, Brian's lead vocal added and mixed to mono Oct 6, at which time it was considered a finished master. The 'yodellehoo' vocals were added Dec 15 with a Capitol worksheet indicating it was also worked on in some unknown capacity by Brian on Dec 27. Brian scrapped it, recorded a new basic track Jan 5 (probably as a Heroes B-side), overdubbed additional instruments and the "rock with me Henry" vocals with an a capella tag on Jan 9, left it unfinished (wisely?) and recorded a third version in April as a B-side to Vegetables, incorporating a reworked Child is Father of the Man section as a bridge. This didn't get any further than a piano track and some scratch vocals, scrapped again.

He Gives Speeches - Track recorded Aug 25, vocals possibly following at an undated session in September, never touched again.

Holidays - Track recorded Sep 8, never touched again.

Our Prayer - Recorded Sep 19 (BOTH versions - the 'dialogue' early takes in the lower key and the final), mixed and edited Oct 4, with Brian splicing out and throwing away the penultimate section. Brian described it on tape as an unlisted intro to the album during the original session, but in 1969 Vosse recounted Brian's plan to have a 'choral amen' following Surf's Up as the closer, so he might've later changed his mind about where he wanted to use it.

Cabin Essence - Easier to do this one in a list.
Oct 3 - Track recorded (structured in the same form it came out on 20/20, titled 'Home on the Range' on the AFM and Frank Holmes' artwork, but always 'Cabin Essence' on the tape box).
Oct 11 - Transferred to 8-track, chorus and tag backing vocals, first go at the 'iron horse' chant, Mike & Brian's 'crow' lead vocals (yes, it's both of them), rough mixed to mono and edited Verse/Chorus/Tag.
Oct 12 - Revised 'iron horse' vocals, 'grand coulee' vocals, rough mixed to mono and edited Chorus/Tag.
Dec 6 - Unknown, possibly the verse 'doings', maybe more.
Dec 15 - Re-revised 'iron horse' vocals.
Dec 27 - Chorus mixed to mono, with compelling evidence that Brian was stealing it for Heroes and Villains concurrently with Bicycle Rider, which he mixed onto the same reel.
Probably on Dec 28 (by elimination on the timeline), Brian recorded a rearranged version of the music as 'Heroes and Villains Part 3'. This, some muddled comments from Vosse, and Carl's 1972 Smile lineup printed in Melody Maker give a strong impression that Brian was considering a chorus-less Cabin Essence for a stretch after making a sacrifice to the all-consuming Heroes and Villains monster. There was enough cognitive separation for Carl to years later list 'Cabin Essence (incorporating Iron Horse)'.
Lead vocals were probably not recorded until November 1968 for 20/20, although hard evidence hasn't confirmed that.

Child is Father of the Man - First go at a track recorded Oct 7, revised track recorded Oct 11, at which time Brian likely made his full mono track edit. The parts were then individually transferred to 8-track at Columbia, with a vocal session on Oct 12, and a mono mix made on Oct 13 (the supposed 'I Ran' session), edited Bridge/Verse/Chorus. More vocal sessions took place Dec 2 and 6, seemingly to re-record the chorus arrangement from scratch each time. It seems unlikely that lyrics beyond the chorus were actually written in 1966. Van Dyke claimed his only involvement was steering Brian to the Wordsworth poem that originated the phrase, as Brian thought it was something Karl Menninger had written. In April, Brian repurposed the material as a bridge to Wonderful (that's the song dead in the water), then lifted the major key 'whoa child' variant again to Love to Say Da Da, and again to an attempt at Cool Cool Water.

Vega-Tables - Original version recorded in late 1966, possibly at the Oct 17 session with 'I'm in Great Shape' as the title on Capitol documentation. 'Do a Lot' might have been recorded as a tag circa Jan 3, although the tape box notates it 'Heroes and Villains insert Do A Lot'. It is however evident that engineer Jerry Hochman wrote all the titles on the side of that particular box together at a later date than the recording itself, with at least one contradicting the slates Ralph Valentin was calling out, so its Heroes designation might not be accurate. Newly recorded in expanded and revised form as 'Vegetables' for a single in April - Brian completed and mixed all the sections to mono, then didn't edit it together.

Do You Like Worms - Track sections recorded Oct 18, dubbed down to a second generation 4-track and edited together, taken to Columbia for Brian and Carl to add the 'rock rock roll' vocals and an early unison lead on the Hawaiian bridge, after which it was mixed to mono. Group vocals in the Hawaiian bridge were recorded Dec 2 per a contemporary article. Bicycle Rider backing vocals could've been at the same session or later. Transferred to 8-track at Columbia on Dec 21 with the group overdubbing verse backing vocals. On Dec 27, Brian spliced Bicycle Rider right out of the 8-track tape and placed it in the middle of the Heroes verses, after which he added a drum, lead vocals, and mixed it to mono at the same time as the Cabin Essence chorus and Heroes opening verses alternately under the titles 'PORTION OF HEROES AND VILLAINS (BICYCLE RIDERS)' and 'PORTION OF HEROES AND VILLAINS (INDIANS)' - it received extra overdubs on Jan 5 as 'Heroes and Villains Part 2'. Likely at around the same time, a Worms verse was spliced out of the 8-track and placed on the Prayer reel, onto which Brian also recorded the early versions of Da Da, possibly intending to use them together as a new song to salvage the material in the wake of the Heroes massacre. After all, aspects of May's Da Da Part 1 are sort of a reimagining of Worms Part 1.

Heroes and Villains - Finished at least once, nearly finished in many, many forms. Exhausting. The most indecisive serial killer of a song in history.

I'm in Great Shape - There are compelling reasons to think that the twelve-song list including I'm in Great Shape may have been written as early as October before this piece's absorption into Heroes and Villains, rather than after, but either way, on Oct 27 a few track variants were recorded and it was living life as a bridge in Heroes. On Dec 19, Brian recorded a (now lost, save for acetate) new version adapting the Iron Horse cello figure, before it was seemingly replaced by Bicycle Rider and Iron Horse (and swiftly Heroes Part 3) a week later. Brian's vague mention of a 'Barnyard Suite' in four parts to Byron Preiss in the 70s could've been some concept to preserve Great Shape and Barnyard as a track after they were axed from Heroes, but it never ended up happening. The Oct 17 worksheet with 'I'm in Great Shape' as the title and the Nov 29 'Friday Night (I'm in great shape)' AFM contract don't make this any less confusing.

Surf's Up - Track for the first half recorded early November, re-recorded as a whole in a simple piano + doubled vocal form on December 15 (which, weighing everything written and said about it up, was probably not considered a demo). Mysterious session on Jan 23 is lost to time, but a number of things point to it more likely being a remake of the first half than anything else. I'd explain those things if I hadn't already gone on for way too long.

My Only Sunshine - Track recorded Nov 14, vocals recorded Nov 30, mixed to mono and probably considered finished. Then, Brian cribbed Part 2 for Heroes on Feb 10, and recorded a new arrangement on Feb 28, potentially scooping the entire thing away from the land of the living.

The Elements - See John's posts. Although, as a minor correction, the 'My vega-tables - The Elements' illustration by Frank Holmes came out of a discussion over the phone with Van Dyke about what they were trying to achieve conceptually rather than a lyric sheet. Shortly after, Vega-Tables was Vega-Tables, The Elements was The Elements (a self-contained track in four parts), and The Elements wasn't completed. Wind Chimes is Wind Chimes and Love to Say Da Da is Love to Say Da Da.

You're Welcome - Recorded and mixed December 15. And... that's it? Wow, I wish they were all like this.

Love to Say Da Da & Cool Cool Water - See John's posts 2.0.

You're With Me Tonight - First version was recorded at Sound Recorders most likely on June 3, only as a short fragment spawned out of the Vegetables bassline. Second version (fast harpsichord arrangement) recorded June 5 at United as a full-length song. Third version (slow harpsichord arrangement) recorded June 6 and 7 at Western.

Thank you ! I’d been wanting this info for years !


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 04:45:16 PM
BJL, you are very kind and I think you for such praise.  I'm really just some so-and-so who has listened to way too much session tape.  And I'm thankful for my collaborators who are better at working out dates and tape statūs than I.  Mwah to you guys.

I'm actually very excited to learn you're an historian of the 18th century -- I don't know if you want to share publicly, but would you mind directing me to some of your work?  I am definitely one of those people who has read a couple (hundred) books about the Colonies and think I know a thing or two but could be put in my place in seconds.  Mainly because I've forgotten too much of what I read -- if you're not in it every day you lose it...

Anyway!  I appreciate this:

Quote
*But* Smiley Smile and Smile unquestionably *are* different. They have different titles, different qualities, and were produced under different conditions. And so, to my mind, the question of whether this transitional moment was characterized primarily by continuity, or primarily by a revolutionary change in working methods and aims, is an interpretive question that cannot be settled by evidence alone, and so any assertion that new research *proves* that Smiley Smile was an extension of Smile, and not a break with Smile, needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

You are not wrong, and it is true that it is folly to try to "prove" that Smiley Smile is, in effect Smile.  We can lay out out the evidence in what I think is a pretty convincing manner, but there is always some room for interpretation involved, absolutely.  There is a spectrum of possibilities between "Smile ended officially on this date and Smiley started on this date" and "Smiley Smile is Smile."

Thank you for that, again, BJL.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 04:50:31 PM
Whew... What a whirlwind. I'd like to wheel this back to something fun/informative/interesting and run down the state of each song recorded during the Smile period and where they were left before the home studio, to the best available evidence, which BJL already excellently compiled back in the innocent days of page 1, but I have some amendments and additions to throw into the pool. That should be a relatively harmless way to set a few things on the record straight!

God I love this sh*t! It just never gets old for me! Thanks for writing all this out.

Mysterious session on Jan 23 is lost to time, but a number of things point to it more likely being a remake of the first half than anything else. I'd explain those things if I hadn't already gone on for way too long.

Not to ask you to do a ton of work or anything, but I would, personally, be very, very curious to see this explained, if you did want to!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 24, 2022, 04:54:17 PM
Whoa! I go away for a weekend and this thread totally explodes! I'm not gonna lie, this was pretty fun to read through, even if the conversation got a little rough at spots :) And I hope no one minds if I jump in with a few thoughts on historiography...it's kind of my thing. :) Short essay incoming.....

First, I want to say that anyone who is wondering why Joshilyn Hoisington gets to tell other people they're wrong now and again, and why said people should take said corrections with grace, should spend a couple of hours listening to her work on youtube and recognize that certain kinds of incredibly intensive knowledge production and expertise deserve to be respected. I am not saying that we don't all get to have our own opinions on Smile, but when you're working off of secondary sources, many of which were written a long time ago, and other people in the thread are doing direct, primary-source research and very, very sophisticated musicological analysis, that gives them a certain authority in the conversation that, frankly, should be respected. I am a professional historian who writes about 18th-century America. I absolutely can be, have been, and will be wrong about various aspects of that history, but that doesn't change the fact that I have spent countless hours pouring over handwritten documents from the 18th century, and if someone comes along and tells me that they read a couple books on the American Revolution and that their opinion is just as valid as mine...well... I'm going to nod politely and end the conversation, what else can I say?

That said, although there is some absolutely incredible new-to-me (new-to-everyone?) information in this thread about the timeline of recording, I also think that there is an interpretive question about whether Smiley Smile was a gradual evolution of the Smile music, or whether Smiley Smile represented a profound break. And this is a very interesting question to me--and also why I brought up my day job. Because historians have been fighting for *ever* over whether the American Revolution is fundamentally a story about change, a profound break with what came before, or whether the American Revolution is actually a story of continuity, in which colonial elites used the war to preserve the world they'd already built from changes they believed the British Empire was trying to impose on them. In short, how revolutionary was the Revolution, really? As is often the case, there is some truth to both perspectives. Facts and arguments have been marshaled on both sides. New ways of thinking, new ideas, and new information uncovered from archives historians had not previously looked at can certainly change our perspective on this issue, but at the end of the day, the question seems to have proven absolutely impossible for historians to settle. There always seem to be historians ready to say that the American Revolution was fundamentally about change, and others ready to say it was fundamentally about continuity. It is a profound interpretive question that, unlike many other kinds of questions historians ask, does not seem capable of being solved simply be examining the evidence.

Part of what I see in the thread above is Joshilyn and others presenting very, very important new research and new knowledge--research and knowledge, I want to stress, that I am so, so, so excited to see and hear about and that I appreciate so, so much--and using that new research to support a particular interpretive argument: that the transition from Smile to Smiley Smile was not the profound break we thought it was, that instead that transition was characterized by a certain continuity of musical development, and that viewing that transition in this way provides us with tremendous insight into Brian Wilson's development as a musician in the 1960s.

I largely buy this argument. It is sophisticated and important. *But* Smiley Smile and Smile unquestionably *are* different. They have different titles, different qualities, and were produced under different conditions. And so, to my mind, the question of whether this transitional moment was characterized primarily by continuity, or primarily by a revolutionary change in working methods and aims, is an interpretive question that cannot be settled by evidence alone, and so any assertion that new research *proves* that Smiley Smile was an extension of Smile, and not a break with Smile, needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

I hope I haven't bored you all to tears, and one more time I want to thank everyone participating in good faith in this thread and everyone doing new research on this important moment in musical history! I would also suggest that the best history happens when people look for what is interesting and right in other people's perspectives, not when they go straight for the weakest point (which doesn't mean that factual errors shouldn't be corrected!)


Brilliant post. Worn out after the other post I just made, so I'm short on words, but couldn't agree more with you here. There are few approaching the work of the Beach Boys today as thoughtfully and intelligently as Joshilyn. And I'm very much with you on the Smile to Smiley transition! I personally wouldn't make a claim that they're one in the same. Certainly, at some point, there was a talk about (mostly) recording an album from scratch with a new approach, and it can't have been too long before Brian said, "Gee, this isn't really Smile anymore," and little Barry Turnbull said "Smiley Smile", unknowingly sparking violent confrontations on something called a 'website' with the same title in 55 years' time. The case is more that Brian's musical development can be traced logically from Pet Sounds to Smiley Smile without the shift being quite such an inexplicable or inorganic change in his methods.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 04:55:09 PM
I'm actually very excited to learn you're an historian of the 18th century -- I don't know if you want to share publicly, but would you mind directing me to some of your work?  I am definitely one of those people who has read a couple (hundred) books about the Colonies and think I know a thing or two but could be put in my place in seconds.  Mainly because I've forgotten too much of what I read -- if you're not in it every day you lose it...

Okay, full confession...I'm at the tail end of my PhD program and not quite published yet :) Clearly, I feel entitled to call myself a professional! But you'll have to give me a couple years before I can send you a book!

And re: "if you're not in it every day you lose it", aint that the truth! The things I've known in my life....


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 04:57:09 PM
I'm actually very excited to learn you're an historian of the 18th century -- I don't know if you want to share publicly, but would you mind directing me to some of your work?  I am definitely one of those people who has read a couple (hundred) books about the Colonies and think I know a thing or two but could be put in my place in seconds.  Mainly because I've forgotten too much of what I read -- if you're not in it every day you lose it...

Okay, full confession...I'm at the tail end of my PhD program and not quite published yet :) Clearly, I feel entitled to call myself a professional! But you'll have to give me a couple years before I can send you a book!

And re: "if you're not in it every day you lose it", aint that the truth! The things I've known in my life....

You're a professional!  Well, at least tell me what the focus of your research is, then??  :)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 05:10:26 PM
Quote
The case is more that Brian's musical development can be traced organically from Pet Sounds to Smiley Smile without the shift being quite such an inexplicable or inorganic change in his methods.
One myth that has definitely been shattered is the one where Smiley was “just” recorded .,. The methods may have changed but a lot of care did go into the making of it. I think the fact that how much of it was recorded at Brian’s house by The Beach Boys vs in a “professional “ studio gives people the impression that it was slapdash. I think when Brian said over the years that Smile “wasn’t the right kind of music for us “ the manner of recording may have been a good part of what he was actually saying.  So yeah I do think it being able to be played by the rest of the band WAS a big part of it (and the In Concert book has some anecdotes) but it wasn’t due to it being “stripped down “, it was the fact that they were actually playing the parts vs studio musicians. Bluntly put, I think they got tired of being treated like session singers.::or maybe they felt like hired help. Maybe Brian tired of that too, not realizing there would be pushback working for others


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 24, 2022, 05:12:12 PM
Whew... What a whirlwind. I'd like to wheel this back to something fun/informative/interesting and run down the state of each song recorded during the Smile period and where they were left before the home studio, to the best available evidence, which BJL already excellently compiled back in the innocent days of page 1, but I have some amendments and additions to throw into the pool. That should be a relatively harmless way to set a few things on the record straight!

God I love this sh*t! It just never gets old for me! Thanks for writing all this out.

Mysterious session on Jan 23 is lost to time, but a number of things point to it more likely being a remake of the first half than anything else. I'd explain those things if I hadn't already gone on for way too long.

Not to ask you to do a ton of work or anything, but I would, personally, be very, very curious to see this explained, if you did want to!

Any time! Alright, I'll happily keep going.

The most obvious suggestion of what those Jan 23 sessions were for are the AFM contracts. The first from 3pm-6pm is titled 'SURF'S UP', and the second (a sweetening session following immediately) from 6.30pm-11.30pm was given the title 'PART ONE'. Considering Brian's working habits at the time of re-doing everything that didn't need to be re-done, and the December 15 piano/vocal recording probably supplanting the November 4 track, that just seems like the most believable thing he'd be doing.

There are some curious things about the personnel that'd support this, too. The first session would in theory be a pretty similar instrumental lineup to the November session - Hal on percussion, Carl and Bill Pitman on guitar/bass, Lyle Ritz on bass, Roy Caton on trumpet, presumably Brian on piano - but really intriguingly, there are three woodwind players. Now, Carl recorded a remake of the 1st Movement track in 1971, mostly mimicking Brian's arrangement from the November track down to the note... but for some reason, he's got three baritone saxes on there, all holding a droning bassline. Where else would he have gotten that musical idea while otherwise rote copying Brian's work on the other track? That, for me, is the strongest suggestion of what they recorded that day. It's only a little thing, but I really can't let go of it.

The sweetening session and missing status of the tape is all pretty fishy. Ten string players are compensated normally, while the AFM sheet indicates a whole horn section and harpist were paid for their services but sent home without being used, which is a total one-off. If Siegel's anecdote about a studio full of violinists being sent home because the vibrations weren't right has a ring of truth, this is the only session that'd remotely fit the bill.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 05:15:03 PM
Brilliant post. Worn out after the other post I just made, so I'm short on words, but couldn't agree more with you here. There are few approaching the work of the Beach Boys today as thoughtfully and intelligently as Joshilyn. And I'm very much with you on the Smile to Smiley transition! I personally wouldn't make a claim that they're one in the same. Certainly, at some point, there was a talk about (mostly) recording an album from scratch with a new approach, and it can't have been too long before Brian said, "Gee, this isn't really Smile anymore," and little Barry Turnbull said "Smiley Smile", unknowingly sparking violent confrontations on something called a 'website' with the same title in 55 years' time. The case is more that Brian's musical development can be traced logically from Pet Sounds to Smiley Smile without the shift being quite such an inexplicable or inorganic change in his methods.

Thanks for the praise... I was a little worried that post would be all a little too much, so I'm glad people are appreciating it!

Re: Brian's musical development. The honest truth is, there is part of me that has trouble with this argument, that instinctively leans more towards guitarfool's theory that there could have been some kind of big blow-up in 1967 that led to a wholesale rethinking of how Brian was working. With every post the "continuity" folks post that theory is crumbling...but Rome didn't fall in a day, you know?

And I guess part of it is that...in a totally qualitative, just-what-I-hear sense, I've long felt that all of Brian's work in the 60s did not proceed in quite as neat an arc as is sometimes assumed. It has always felt to me - and again, these are feelings, not facts or even theories - that there was a certain kinship between Today and Pet Sounds, and also a certain kinship between Summer Days and Smile. That the backing tracks to California Girls, Help Me Rhonda, and Let Him Run Wild have a certain indefinable relationship with Wind Chimes, Good Vibrations, or Cabinessence, a kinship not quite shared with anything on Pet Sounds, while Pet Sounds built more directly on what Brian was going for on Kiss Me Baby or In the Back of My Mind than anything on Summer Days. And this feeling has led me to think that Brian's story was never so simple as someone evolving forward from record to record, that it was more like someone juggling threads of sound and feel that interested him.

In this light, Smiley Smile seems to me like a dramatic pulling out of what had been a minor thread and turning it into the major thread. Sort of like how there had always been car songs, but Little Deuce Coupe was *all* car songs, Smiley was a whole album of I'm Bugged at My Old Man crossed with And Your Dreams Come True. Where before that particular looser, funnier, less-rock-n-roll approach had been only a small part of what Brian did. Does that make any sense to anyone?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 05:17:45 PM
You're a professional!  Well, at least tell me what the focus of your research is, then??  :)

I work on the colonization of the Hudson Valley in New York, the dispossession of Native people, and the establishment of large estates in that region that had "Lords" and tenant farmers! Which honestly with my user name is probably enough info to find me...but I don't think there's any reason why I need to be perfectly anonymous on a Beach Boys message board (at least, I certainly hope not!)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 05:25:47 PM
Any time! Alright, I'll happily keep going.

The most obvious suggestion of what those Jan 23 sessions were for are the AFM contracts. The first from 3pm-6pm is titled 'SURF'S UP', and the second (a sweetening session following immediately) from 6.30pm-11.30pm was given the title 'PART ONE'. Considering Brian's working habits at the time of re-doing everything that didn't need to be re-done, and the December 15 piano/vocal recording probably supplanting the November 4 track, that just seems like the most believable thing he'd be doing.

There are some curious things about the personnel that'd support this, too. The first session would in theory be a pretty similar instrumental lineup to the November session - Hal on percussion, Carl and Bill Pitman on guitar/bass, Lyle Ritz on bass, Roy Caton on trumpet, presumably Brian on piano - but really intriguingly, there are three woodwind players. Now, Carl recorded a remake of the 1st Movement track in 1971, mostly mimicking Brian's arrangement from the November track down to the note... but for some reason, he's got three baritone saxes on there, all holding a droning bassline. Where else would he have gotten that musical idea while otherwise rote copying Brian's work on the other track? That, for me, is the strongest suggestion of what they recorded that day. It's only a little thing, but I really can't let go of it.

The sweetening session and missing status of the tape is all pretty fishy. Ten string players are compensated normally, while the AFM sheet indicates a whole horn section and harpist were paid for their services but sent home without being used, which is a total one-off. If Siegel's anecdote about a studio full of violinists being sent home because the vibrations weren't right has a ring of truth, this is the only session that'd remotely fit the bill.

This is really, really interesting, thanks for posting. I totally buy it, at least til better evidence emerges!

And if it is true, it really is just more evidence for what is, for me, an increasingly inescapable conclusion...which is that the Smile project fundamentally fell apart because Brian lost the thread of it. Yea, you can still argue about *why* he lost the thread, how much of it was external factors and how much internal, whatever. But, again, if this is true, for me, there's just no way around the fact that anyone who would re-record Part 1 of Surf's Up has lost the thread of what they're doing. That original recording is one of the greatest things recorded in the 20th century. If you can't tell it's fine as it is....


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 05:33:46 PM
Part of what I see in the thread above is Joshilyn and others presenting very, very important new research and new knowledge--research and knowledge, I want to stress, that I am so, so, so excited to see and hear about and that I appreciate so, so much--and using that new research to support a particular interpretive argument: that the transition from Smile to Smiley Smile was not the profound break we thought it was, that instead that transition was characterized by a certain continuity of musical development, and that viewing that transition in this way provides us with tremendous insight into Brian Wilson's development as a musician in the 1960s.

I largely buy this argument. It is sophisticated and important. *But* Smiley Smile and Smile unquestionably *are* different. They have different titles, different qualities, and were produced under different conditions. And so, to my mind, the question of whether this transitional moment was characterized primarily by continuity, or primarily by a revolutionary change in working methods and aims, is an interpretive question that cannot be settled by evidence alone, and so any assertion that new research *proves* that Smiley Smile was an extension of Smile, and not a break with Smile, needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

That position was superseded by this assertion:

That there was one Smile and that it officially stopped being worked on at a fixed date.  After that date, there was a totally different project started from scratch.

Justification for this assertion has been put forward:

Smiley was started as a new project because the band had to be able to sound like their records onstage.
Smiley involved a totally different method of working
Smiley was less involved musically / had simpler production / had markedly different production techniques

But the historical record does not back any of that up.

The band did not perform any song from Smiley Smile regularly onstage, other than the two most complicated recordings, and never had any intention of doing so.
It was a gradual and subtle shift in working methods from the Pet Sounds style of music and production, easily traceable by looking at personnel, track use, and Brian's roughs.
Smiley was demonstrably not simpler musically, and in fact was in some ways more advanced in it's production techniques that earlier material, despite any perception of unusual simplicity.


Quote
What historical record are you referring to?

Contents of the multitrack and mono tapes
AFM sheets
Capitol Worksheets
Internal documentation
Tape Boxes
The Beach Boys Archives Database

Hearsay is much messier.



Thanks to Will for the Smile track info! And I have to agree with BJL in the post quoted above, specifically "an interpretive question that cannot be settled by evidence alone, and so any assertion that new research *proves* that Smiley Smile was an extension of Smile, and not a break with Smile, needs to be taken with a grain of salt."

That's my issue too. The actual, all encompassing "truth" of all that happened will most likely never be known, discovered, and revealed, and the gathering of information in pursuit of that cannot and should not be limited in these cases to documentation like AFM session sheets and notations written on tape boxes. I think it's fantastic new information is coming out, to help tell more of the story, however Brian was not alone as a producer or songwriter who makes changes to a project as the project as the project is moving forward. Anyone who has ever mixed a project in a studio will know how often things are changed, dozens if not hundreds. What made a great post-chorus hook on Tuesday could sound dreadful on Thursday...however anyone who heard that Tuesday mix will hear what was good at that moment in time.

Tape boxes are not infallible, as Will points out in his post, there are contradictions and outright errors on those boxes. AFM contracts are not infallible, they were simply a method to log a session and who was involved so everyone got paid, and invoices were sent to the record label to make sure the studio got paid, and the funds were taken out of the budget for that project.

I hope the history of Smile is not told through those items in the historical record alone, because to do so would create a situation similar to trying to tell the story of the 8th Air Force, Army Air Corps, in England by leaning heavily on battle maps, daily schedules, and living arrangements of the crews.

My point is, it was disheartening to read the "hearsay" comment in terms of research. Hearsay is he said/she said, not direct accounts from a firsthand participant in whatever is being researched. Do people lie? Of course. But so can documentation be wrong, incomplete, or represent only one facet of a multifaceted issue.

If Carl Wilson said, in October 1967, that the album was finished, we knew decades ago that was not the case. Listening to available tapes was the most obvious way to determine that. But when Carl Wilson, and other Beach Boys, have said a version of Carl's "we started from scratch", that is worth noting. Why is that dismissed as it was in this thread?

Why is any possibility dismissed when you have Brian Wilson, as noted here too, rapidly changing his mind on musical segments and moving things around regularly as he did? On Tuesday something could have been one segment, by Thursday he could decide it sounds wrong and changed his mind. Do we have a log of every time Brian listened to a playback, reference mix dub, or acetate and decided what was what? Of course not.

So the documentation is a terrific tool, it's a welcome tool to gather and release more, but ultimately we're also dealing with *people* here. The story cannot be told solely on the basis of documentation, because just like people can lie, so can documentation be wrong, as Will showed in his post about the tape box notations, and as we've seen in other cases.

There has to be a happy medium.

I'm happy to see that middle ground is showing itself in recent comments. Because for a time it seemed - and I direct this to Joshilyn and "sloopjohnb" as constructive criticism - a narrative or a firmly held opinion was blocking out other areas to consider in the historical record, to the point where direct quotes from firsthand participants were being dismissed, possibilities outside the documentation itself were being dismissed, and anything except the narrative about Smile and Smiley Smile being a direct line with no point of :starting from scratch" was being dismissed.

I hope any future projects about Smile take into consideration all of the various factors surrounding it, and if a project relies on existing and newly-found documentation, those sources are not used to promote a narrative, editorialize, or back up opinions as fact, but instead are shown as part of the timeline free of any narratives or opinions on what the documents actually show.

Let readers and listeners judge for themselves. Ultimately if someone listens to the Smile timeline material, recorded before June 1967, and then listens to the Smiley Smile material, they will be able to form their own opinions about the similarities and differences without being told what or how to think, or that the opinion they have is wrong. If the timeline and documents are used to suggest things that literally no one except those directly involved firsthand could confirm or deny, and promote some opinions over others where both are valid, it becomes an op-ed piece rather than true journalism or historical research.

If there is proof, somewhere in some form, that Smiley Smile was a continuation, a direct line if you will, from Smile with no direct start or end, I'd like to see that, as would everyone else. But there is none, and therefore it's still personal opinion based on what an individual reads and hears. The "facts", as mentioned above, exist somewhere in the middle. But firsthand information from participants should not be dismissed in favor of what someone perceives when they weigh the information available via documentation.

Sage advice I received years ago concerning all things related to music, musicians, and the study of such things: "Above all else, use your ears".


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 05:36:45 PM
Quote
In this light, Smiley Smile seems to me like a dramatic pulling out of what had been a minor thread and turning it into the major thread. Sort of like how there had always been car songs, but Little Deuce Coupe was *all* car songs, Smiley was a whole album of I'm Bugged at My Old Man crossed with And Your Dreams Come True. Where before that particular looser, funnier, less-rock-n-roll approach had been only a small part of what Brian did. Does that make any sense to anyone?

That actually does seem pretty apt.  All the seeds for a Smiley are in Smile -- the scaled down productions scattered in there, the chanting and laughing and talking and silliness, the songs themselves, even.  But the Dumb Angel ethos that was perhaps a carry over from the "Pet Sounds" way of doing things, the Cabin Essences, the Surfses Up--the bigger productions--dominated the composition of the identity of the record, where Smiley is dominated by the minimalism, and the jokes.  I buy it.  But I do still believe that the pulling out of that thread happened over gradually and was mostly all the way out by the time Brian snipped off the Smile thread.

I work on the colonization of the Hudson Valley in New York, the dispossession of Native people, and the establishment of large estates in that region that had "Lords" and tenant farmers! Which honestly with my user name is probably enough info to find me...but I don't think there's any reason why I need to be perfectly anonymous on a Beach Boys message board (at least, I certainly hope not!)

I found you.  Go Tigers.  You owe me a book in a few years--I'll trade you for mine.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 05:41:13 PM
Quote
The case is more that Brian's musical development can be traced organically from Pet Sounds to Smiley Smile without the shift being quite such an inexplicable or inorganic change in his methods.
One myth that has definitely been shattered is the one where Smiley was “just” recorded .,. The methods may have changed but a lot of care did go into the making of it. I think the fact that how much of it was recorded at Brian’s house by The Beach Boys vs in a “professional “ studio gives people the impression that it was slapdash. I think when Brian said over the years that Smile “wasn’t the right kind of music for us “ the manner of recording may have been a good part of what he was actually saying.  So yeah I do think it being able to be played by the rest of the band WAS a big part of it (and the In Concert book has some anecdotes) but it wasn’t due to it being “stripped down “, it was the fact that they were actually playing the parts vs studio musicians. Bluntly put, I think they got tired of being treated like session singers.::or maybe they felt like hired help. Maybe Brian tired of that too, not realizing there would be pushback working for others

I think they definitely felt like hired help, just like The Monkees on their first two albums. All they did was sing on the tracks 99% of the time until they rebelled. And the Beach Boys were getting criticism for it too as laid out previously.

Smiley Smile was a complex recording, again what I call "deceptively simple", but I agree 100% it's the same guys who would hypothetically be on stage playing the music also recording the music in the studio and that made a difference in the dynamic overall. With Wild Honey, then even more on Friends, a better balance was struck between the two, the core band and the session players. But to many listeners who have not heard the session tapes, it probably does sound "slapdash" and that was actually its charm for many for decades, including the many bands influenced by Smiley Smile who are considered part of the lo-fi genre. Smiley gets major respect in those circles because it sounds as it does.

And for further comparisons, reference what The Monkees went through recording Headquarters after breaking from Kirshner and being "allowed" to play their own instruments. The perfect balance was struck on the album after Headquarters, PAC&J, much like Friends struck that balance between the core band and the session pros.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 05:47:22 PM
Craig, fine I agree with everything you just said, and I think that I am guilty of not being clear.  I think I was experiencing the same feelings that you are, on the flip-side -- frustrated that people seemed to be dismissing new documentary evidence that adds up to some interesting new possibilities.  So I felt like I had to push that.  Of course we don't discount what people said -- it goes into the evidence hopper with the rest of the stuff and it's all weighed against each other.

The "Hearsay" comment was really talking about journalism, where a reporter or a journo is repeating something that a Beach Boy said, or, worse yet, repeating something somebody said a Beach Boys said.  That obviously carries less weight than a direct, accurate quote from a first-hand player.

Quote
If there is proof, somewhere in some form, that Smiley Smile was a continuation, a direct line if you will, from Smile with no direct start or end, I'd like to see that, as would everyone else. But there is none, and therefore it's still personal opinion based on what an individual reads and hears. The "facts", as mentioned above, exist somewhere in the middle. But firsthand information from participants should not be dismissed in favor of what someone perceives when they weigh the information available via documentation.

Likewise, there is no proof that Smile was scrapped at a discrete point in time and Smiley was started as a completely fresh project.  Can you concede that?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 05:56:17 PM
I hope any future projects about Smile take into consideration all of the various factors surrounding it, and if a project relies on existing and newly-found documentation, those sources are not used to promote a narrative, editorialize, or back up opinions as fact, but instead are shown as part of the timeline free of any narratives or opinions on what the documents actually show.

Let readers and listeners judge for themselves. Ultimately if someone listens to the Smile timeline material, recorded before June 1967, and then listens to the Smiley Smile material, they will be able to form their own opinions about the similarities and differences without being told what or how to think, or that the opinion they have is wrong. If the timeline and documents are used to suggest things that literally no one except those directly involved firsthand could confirm or deny, and promote some opinions over others where both are valid, it becomes an op-ed piece rather than true journalism or historical research.

Guitarfool, I really appreciate your replies in this thread, too. And as I said above, I still find some of your assertions early in this thread very persuasive, albeit (as you yourself have said, I think?), more as something well worth considering than as an overarching ur-narrative. But truly, it takes two perspectives to have a conversation! Whatever anyone decides to believe, if you hadn't made the statements you made about Smiley Smile and the touring band, Joshilyn and sloopjohnb would not have had anything to refute (leaving aside, for the moment, whether that refutation was or was not convincing!), and I would not have learned a great deal that I have learned, both about Smile and about the new research being done on it!

I do feel like I have to say though, that - in my opinion - historians *always* tell a story. We always make an argument. There is always a narrative. Humans cannot organize information without narrative, not really. Even on things like timelines, charts, lists, indexes, the narrative of the compiler *always* shapes the information they present and how they organize it. There is simply no way around it. Better, thus, to have people be open about what they believe, what they think the evidence shows. And we, as readers and listeners, simple have no choice but to sift fact from argument ourselves. There is no way around it. Every newspaper article, every textbook, every collection of historical documents - there is always a narrative and an argument, whether it is explicit or not. This does not invalidate that work, does not mean it is not true historical research, it just means that we never have the luxury of turning off our brains and assuming we are looking at "just the facts!"


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 05:58:34 PM
Actually, let's stop using "scrapped."  It's too connotative of too many things.

I am actually much more willing to consider the start of Smiley as its own project being an outgrowth of the last gasps of Smile, a sort of half-baked Athena out of the head of Jove/Smile, than to ever consider Smile to have a fixed end date.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 06:01:31 PM
Any time! Alright, I'll happily keep going.

The most obvious suggestion of what those Jan 23 sessions were for are the AFM contracts. The first from 3pm-6pm is titled 'SURF'S UP', and the second (a sweetening session following immediately) from 6.30pm-11.30pm was given the title 'PART ONE'. Considering Brian's working habits at the time of re-doing everything that didn't need to be re-done, and the December 15 piano/vocal recording probably supplanting the November 4 track, that just seems like the most believable thing he'd be doing.

There are some curious things about the personnel that'd support this, too. The first session would in theory be a pretty similar instrumental lineup to the November session - Hal on percussion, Carl and Bill Pitman on guitar/bass, Lyle Ritz on bass, Roy Caton on trumpet, presumably Brian on piano - but really intriguingly, there are three woodwind players. Now, Carl recorded a remake of the 1st Movement track in 1971, mostly mimicking Brian's arrangement from the November track down to the note... but for some reason, he's got three baritone saxes on there, all holding a droning bassline. Where else would he have gotten that musical idea while otherwise rote copying Brian's work on the other track? That, for me, is the strongest suggestion of what they recorded that day. It's only a little thing, but I really can't let go of it.

The sweetening session and missing status of the tape is all pretty fishy. Ten string players are compensated normally, while the AFM sheet indicates a whole horn section and harpist were paid for their services but sent home without being used, which is a total one-off. If Siegel's anecdote about a studio full of violinists being sent home because the vibrations weren't right has a ring of truth, this is the only session that'd remotely fit the bill.

This is really, really interesting, thanks for posting. I totally buy it, at least til better evidence emerges!

And if it is true, it really is just more evidence for what is, for me, an increasingly inescapable conclusion...which is that the Smile project fundamentally fell apart because Brian lost the thread of it. Yea, you can still argue about *why* he lost the thread, how much of it was external factors and how much internal, whatever. But, again, if this is true, for me, there's just no way around the fact that anyone who would re-record Part 1 of Surf's Up has lost the thread of what they're doing. That original recording is one of the greatest things recorded in the 20th century. If you can't tell it's fine as it is....

That’s always been my personal feeling. Again, for me realizing when the Fire incident actually  happened , well I can kind of understand more the rest of the band’s position , Mike included. I think the way Brian was acting kind of put the music in a poor light to them back in 1966. We look at the brilliance of what he was doing but put yourself in their shoes back then…and knowing how Brian changes his mind so much , and everything else that was starting to happen with him, I doubt he could explain his plans well, especially if they changed from day to day. All those brilliant parts being thrown out …that must’ve looked worrying, especially if they had no idea how it was going to sound all put together. And the fact that Brian himself didn’t know…during the album sessions… it’s one thing to have mostly finished songs and having trouble deciding which should make the cut. It’s another thing when sections of songs are being swapped in and out seemingly on a whim. Brian’s indecision didn’t kill Smile, because there was nothing to kill. Even from the beginning it seemed the concept kept changing. The fact that “Rock with me Henry” happened like that (I have the 2 cd set of TSS

Here’s my theory… Smiley Smile was a case of “we got the songs. Let’s do it as a band and structure them like regular songs, like we should have been doing in the first place “. That’s what was simplified . Not the production…the *structure*. I don’t think the “style” was as big of a sticking point as we all thought; I think that was more of a post Endless Summer thing. Brian was trying to capture lightning in a bottle ; it worked with Good Vibrations, but that was a once in a lifetime deal. Brian bit off more than he could chew trying to go that route for a whole album. If he’d had todays technology, it’d be easier to A/B comparison tracks without cutting tape, but that still misses the point of the issue. Brian could not finish Smile because he could not decide what it truly was, made worse because the same was true for many of the songs. The true tragedy of SMiLE is that some point during it, Brian realized it, and that’s what did him in.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 06:26:45 PM
Actually, let's stop using "scrapped."  It's too connotative of too many things.

I am actually much more willing to consider the start of Smiley as its own project being an outgrowth of the last gasps of Smile, a sort of half-baked Athena out of the head of Jove/Smile, than to ever consider Smile to have a fixed end date.


End dates in the world of The Beach Boys are never fixed or set… we all learned that one in 2012 ! 🤪

All joking aside, I agree it was never scrapped. “Changed” would be a better word. Even after SS, the songs kept being tinkered with for years. Hell, even as late as 1980 we supposedly almost got Worms and Can’t Wait Too Long. So many of the songs ended up as other things or reused. Basically TLOS in reverse.  When did SMiLE die? Whenever they decided to use the name Smiley Smile . At that point there was no going back. Once SS was released, and certainly by Wild Honey, Smile couldn’t have come out as a “new” album. It would have been massively out of date when taken as a whole.  BUT… the music of Smile lived on and would come out as songs of their own, or cannibalized to make different songs. So the concept died, but the music didn’t.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 06:44:55 PM
Wow! I very much like the direction this thread has headed. BJL, thanks very much for your kind words, and I appreciate all the appreciation  :)

One thing I would like to add to the Smiley Smile talk is something that sort of gets ignored in conversations about the "shift"...

The Beach Boys' role in the music did not change in any significant capacity between Smile and Smiley Smile. The instruments are still mostly played by Brian on his own (where before it was some combination of Brian on his own, Brian and Van Dyke, or the wrecking crew), although Carl and Dennis do contribute pretty significantly here and there. But... that hadn't changed very much from the Smile period. Carl and Dennis, especially Carl, were much more involved as instrumentalists throughout the Smile era than the Pet Sounds era. Brian began treating Carl as a wrecking crew member again, including him as a bassist/guitarist on big band sessions like Wind Chimes and Cabin Essence, while a lot of the homier, more low-key tracks were entirely done by Brian and his brothers. To give a few examples, He Gives Speeches has all instruments played by Brian, Carl, and Dennis, as do both unique chorus sections for the April version of Vegetables.

If The Beach Boys felt like hired hands during Smile, well, their role demonstrably did not change. According to all 6 of the Beach Boys, and made clear from the session tapes, all of the material recorded for Smiley Smile was arranged and produced by Brian Wilson. Carl and Dennis played here and there, just like they'd done on Smile, and all of the Beach Boys recorded harmonies under the direction of Brian, just like they'd done on Smile.

So, what did change that made everyone so much happier?

Well, I know I'm a guy that pretty much only talks about the music (it's what I know best), but it's no secret that the 'vibe' was completely different. Brian's closest friends were his brothers and his cousin and Al again - the band. Brian wasn't recording side projects with others and leaving the rest of the band in the dark as to what the music was anymore. And the big one: Brian and Mike were writing together again! In limited capacity, as most of the songs were re-recordings of Wilson/Parks material, but it's still an important thing to consider when we're trying to figure out why the dynamic changed so significantly.

The Beach Boys were no less hired hands on Smiley Smile than they were on Smile. But, there are circumstances where being a hired hand feels good, and there are circumstances where it feels bad, to put it extremely simply. Consider the massive difference in atmosphere, and how drastically that can improve the tense relations the band was having before.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 06:51:59 PM
Craig, fine I agree with everything you just said, and I think that I am guilty of not being clear.  I think I was experiencing the same feelings that you are, on the flip-side -- frustrated that people seemed to be dismissing new documentary evidence that adds up to some interesting new possibilities.  So I felt like I had to push that.  Of course we don't discount what people said -- it goes into the evidence hopper with the rest of the stuff and it's all weighed against each other.

The "Hearsay" comment was really talking about journalism, where a reporter or a journo is repeating something that a Beach Boy said, or, worse yet, repeating something somebody said a Beach Boys said.  That obviously carries less weight than a direct, accurate quote from a first-hand player.

Quote
If there is proof, somewhere in some form, that Smiley Smile was a continuation, a direct line if you will, from Smile with no direct start or end, I'd like to see that, as would everyone else. But there is none, and therefore it's still personal opinion based on what an individual reads and hears. The "facts", as mentioned above, exist somewhere in the middle. But firsthand information from participants should not be dismissed in favor of what someone perceives when they weigh the information available via documentation.

Likewise, there is no proof that Smile was scrapped at a discrete point in time and Smiley was started as a completely fresh project.  Can you concede that?

A good debate is a good debate, I'm always happy to entertain all sides and consider all points and opinions. That's why seeing some attempts to exclude certain points as well as veering into commenting about the person making the points rather than sticking to the topics at hand was disappointing.

I'll use one of my points from previous pages: For years a lot of people pointed to the Derek Taylor "scrapped" article, May 6th 1967, as the "end date" of Smile. 30 years ago, I did too. But since then other information come out which suggests Taylor's pronouncement wasn't as definitive as it was taken, nor was it as accurate based on surrounding evidence. So first point, is there a consensus on Taylor's piece not being what it had been considered, and perhaps isn't the "end date" it was taken to be? Can the comment be dismissed? I question a lot about the Taylor piece, and still do. At least doubts have been raised and people can decide what they think without taking Taylor's word as Gospel truth in the matter.

I'll agree to disagree, but no concession. Again, this is your opinion based on what you've read and heard, and I have my opinion based on what I've read and heard. The truth, as is often the case, most likely lies somewhere in the middle. If such a radical change in the working methods and the sound of the songs and the production style shifted specifically from what it had been specifically during a one or two week span of time in June '67, combined with Carl's comments as well as those from the other band members, I wouldn't have that opinion. And I also can hear it in Smiley Smile versus the Smile tracks, I respect that you don't hear what I hear but again it's just opinion. If more explanation is needed, I hear a producer and songwriter going from trying to complete a work on a grand scale using the best musicians and studios available, trying to reach new heights in the music whether it's him overdubbing piano tracks or working with a full complement of studio musicians, to a producer making an album with less pretense, and more "let's put on a show right here kids!" kind of attitude. There's a quote from Mike Love in the Preiss book where he says this was Brian after he decided not to be competitive as he had been and dropped out of the production race. He wasn't as driven in the same ways as he was recording Smile previously, and you can hear it in the tracks. He was still Brian Wilson, he had a mind full of ideas and a unique skill at producing records, but it wasn't the same mindset that he had before when making records for The Beach Boys. No competition, let's have fun and record an album as a group. And that's where I think there is also a split between Smile and Smiley Smile that is audible when listening to the tracks. The next time I hear the competitive Brian in the studio, it's on "Time To Get Alone", which didn't involve the Beach Boys at all. I don't see that as coincidence, but again that's just my perception.

I really do think something happened within the band dynamic, beyond musical progression, that changed the whole system dramatically when the band returned from Europe, and specifically after the few sessions held at the "pro" studios. I cannot agree with or concede to something that suggests these changes didn't close one chapter and open another based on how much actually changed.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 06:56:31 PM
That’s always been my personal feeling. Again, for me realizing when the Fire incident actually  happened , well I can kind of understand more the rest of the band’s position , Mike included. I think the way Brian was acting kind of put the music in a poor light to them back in 1966. We look at the brilliance of what he was doing but put yourself in their shoes back then…and knowing how Brian changes his mind so much , and everything else that was starting to happen with him, I doubt he could explain his plans well, especially if they changed from day to day. All those brilliant parts being thrown out …that must’ve looked worrying, especially if they had no idea how it was going to sound all put together. And the fact that Brian himself didn’t know…during the album sessions… it’s one thing to have mostly finished songs and having trouble deciding which should make the cut. It’s another thing when sections of songs are being swapped in and out seemingly on a whim. Brian’s indecision didn’t kill Smile, because there was nothing to kill. Even from the beginning it seemed the concept kept changing. The fact that “Rock with me Henry” happened like that (I have the 2 cd set of TSS
I agree about understanding Mike's perspective. Brian was acting clearly mentally ill by this point often enough that you just can't really blame Mike for feeling like things were *wrong*, even if I don't think his response to that ended up helping matters.

Here’s my theory… Smiley Smile was a case of “we got the songs. Let’s do it as a band and structure them like regular songs, like we should have been doing in the first place “. That’s what was simplified . Not the production…the *structure*. I don’t think the “style” was as big of a sticking point as we all thought; I think that was more of a post Endless Summer thing. Brian was trying to capture lightning in a bottle ; it worked with Good Vibrations, but that was a once in a lifetime deal. Brian bit off more than he could chew trying to go that route for a whole album. If he’d had todays technology, it’d be easier to A/B comparison tracks without cutting tape, but that still misses the point of the issue. Brian could not finish Smile because he could not decide what it truly was, made worse because the same was true for many of the songs. The true tragedy of SMiLE is that some point during it, Brian realized it, and that’s what did him in.

But I actually disagree pretty strongly with most of this. I have never bought that "Brian bit off more than he could chew" line, or the "if he'd only had pro-tools" line, and I certainly don't agree that Brian Wilson wasn't *capable* of finishing Smile (although you don't exactly say that).

To me, you just can't escape the fact that Capital Records printed up however many thousands of record jackets with twelve songs listed on them, and that most of those 12 songs had had tons of work done on them and were pretty close to finished. Brian Wilson was a professional, commercially-minded, experienced record producer. Those record jackets would have been a powerful incentive to stick to that track list. As I learned from this very thread, Wonderful and Wind Chimes had been set aside as masters. Most of the other songs were more finished than not. And even to your point about the Elements. Earlier in this thread, we were speculating that the Elements was one of the least-finished tracks. But if you accept that Brian had decided that, instead of an Elements Suite, he would just have a big fire song - well, call it The Elements: Mrs. O'Leary's Cow on the disc, use "I wanna be Around" as the fade, and that's pretty damn close to finished to! And if Brian then decided he'd rather do something quieter, "a candle" - well, that change was in no way, shape, or form a threat to the integrity of the project. Brian just had to go in and record his candle music, and call *that* the Elements.

Based on the session information posted above about how done everything was, I really think that until the end of December, 1966, Brian was making an album called Smile that was pretty damn close to finished and would have gone out in the jackets Capital Records had already printed. Yea, he changed his mind, he scrapped some things and moved some things around, but creatively, the project was working.

After December, 1966, that was no longer true. And the problem, in my view, was Heroes and Villains.

In my opinion (and this is about as subjective as it gets), there is no version of Heroes and Villains that feels like a smash hit. None of 'em. And I think Brian new that.

And I would venture, tentatively (and I'd never thought of this before, so I'm thinking out loud here, developing a new theory of smile as we speak!) that when Brian conceived of Heroes and Villains with Van Dyke Parks in the late summer of 1966, that was probably okay. Brian didn't *need* Heroes and Villains to be a huge smash. Good Vibrations was going to be the huge smash. Heroes and Villains was going to be the quirky, more experimental second single. After all, California Girls was a huge smash, Little Girl I Once Knew wasn't. I Get Around, huge. Do You Wanna Dance, not so huge. In the world of popular music in the mid-60s, not every single had to be massive. I'm sure Brian wanted Heroes and Villains to do well, but it's commercial potential was not *that* important, certainly not an existential issue for the band!

By January, despite Good Vibrations massive success, that was no longer true. Again, this is theorizing, thinking out loud...but Brian Wilson was losing confidence in Smile, and making Heroes and Villains a hit came to feel very, very important to him. Perhaps it came to feel like the only way he could prove to the rest of the band that the new direction he was pursuing was the right one. But Heroes and Villains wasn't a huge hit, and nothing Brian did was going to make it one, because it was a weird ass novelty record about the old west. Brilliant, yes, international number 1, probably not so much. And that quandary - how to turn a song that was fundamentally, because of its *original* purpose and conception, going to stall out on the charts and confuse teenagers in dance clubs everywhere, into a smash hit, is the problem that Brian Wilson could not solve, that no one could have solved, to which no solution existed. *Not* how to make a whole album using modular recording methods, because Brian Wilson had figured that part out, actually.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 07:03:06 PM
Yeah, I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree.  And I do apologize for not being able to tell you that I think your arguments are bad and that you're argumentative with more tact.  It just feels like you pick on me sometimes.  But if you say it's all in good faith, then I will believe you.

Quote
but no concession

Well, then I think the onus is on you to prove it, isn't it?  Prove that Smile had a fixed end date.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 07:13:46 PM
I hope any future projects about Smile take into consideration all of the various factors surrounding it, and if a project relies on existing and newly-found documentation, those sources are not used to promote a narrative, editorialize, or back up opinions as fact, but instead are shown as part of the timeline free of any narratives or opinions on what the documents actually show.

Let readers and listeners judge for themselves. Ultimately if someone listens to the Smile timeline material, recorded before June 1967, and then listens to the Smiley Smile material, they will be able to form their own opinions about the similarities and differences without being told what or how to think, or that the opinion they have is wrong. If the timeline and documents are used to suggest things that literally no one except those directly involved firsthand could confirm or deny, and promote some opinions over others where both are valid, it becomes an op-ed piece rather than true journalism or historical research.

Guitarfool, I really appreciate your replies in this thread, too. And as I said above, I still find some of your assertions early in this thread very persuasive, albeit (as you yourself have said, I think?), more as something well worth considering than as an overarching ur-narrative. But truly, it takes two perspectives to have a conversation! Whatever anyone decides to believe, if you hadn't made the statements you made about Smiley Smile and the touring band, Joshilyn and sloopjohnb would not have had anything to refute (leaving aside, for the moment, whether that refutation was or was not convincing!), and I would not have learned a great deal that I have learned, both about Smile and about the new research being done on it!

I do feel like I have to say though, that - in my opinion - historians *always* tell a story. We always make an argument. There is always a narrative. Humans cannot organize information without narrative, not really. Even on things like timelines, charts, lists, indexes, the narrative of the compiler *always* shapes the information they present and how they organize it. There is simply no way around it. Better, thus, to have people be open about what they believe, what they think the evidence shows. And we, as readers and listeners, simple have no choice but to sift fact from argument ourselves. There is no way around it. Every newspaper article, every textbook, every collection of historical documents - there is always a narrative and an argument, whether it is explicit or not. This does not invalidate that work, does not mean it is not true historical research, it just means that we never have the luxury of turning off our brains and assuming we are looking at "just the facts!"


I agree with that. With the Beach Boys, however, and specific to Smile, it does feel like there are some narratives which are being pushed out of the discussion to be replaced by others. For example, when discussing the age-old question "what happened to Smile?", it's not a one sentence answer. You could list many factors, many theories, many opinions as to why it happened as it did. But when there is no factual, "point to the passage in the book" kind of answer, all factors must be considered. I think the interpersonal issues within the band and within the Wilson family too contributed to the project falling apart, but that suggestion is more likely to be dismissed in some circles. I also think (not know, but think) that the "drugs" argument is overused in order to push aside other issues that cast a negative view on some of those involved. The music alone - if we're judging the elements of the music in order to shape opinions and possibly reach conclusions - comes down to a purely subjective opinion. Some people hear what others do not: It bothers me when someone tries to tell someone else what they're hearing and what they should think about it. Or with Smile's music specifically, suggesting something fits a certain way over another when no one but Brian actually knew at any given moment in time 55 years ago, and like all creative musicians he could change his mind on a whim. Unless people actually accessed Brian's mind and memory, or could travel back in time, some of the questions simply have no answer that could be called "the truth". Unless the opinion is so far out as to be ridiculous, how can any possibilities be ruled out when there is no way to prove what Brian was thinking at any given point in 1967?

When it comes to Smile, I think so much more than the music has to be researched and absorbed in order to paint a more complete picture of what was happening at the time. I also think that opinion-based narratives and "just the facts" documentation have to be separated carefully when it comes to laying out the hard evidence like session dates and details of what's on the tapes. I don't like seeing narratives and opinions "use" the facts to shape other opinions of a topic or issue, where it becomes less journalism and more the op-ed page. I'd rather see a complete list of the sessions presented as documented fact rather than using those facts to express or promote a narrative.

But that's just me and my own opinion!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 07:14:31 PM
Quote
By January, despite Good Vibrations massive success, that was no longer true. Again, this is theorizing, thinking out loud...but Brian Wilson was losing confidence in Smile, and making Heroes and Villains a hit came to feel very, very important to him. Perhaps it came to feel like the only way he could prove to the rest of the band that the new direction he was pursuing was the right one. But Heroes and Villains wasn't a huge hit, and nothing Brian did was going to make it one, because it was a weird ass novelty record about the old west. Brilliant, yes, international number 1, probably not so much. And that quandary - how to turn a song that was fundamentally, because of its *original* purpose and conception, going to stall out on the charts and confuse teenagers in dance clubs everywhere, into a smash hit, is the problem that Brian Wilson could not solve, that no one could have solved, to which no solution existed. *Not* how to make a whole album using modular recording methods, because Brian Wilson had figured that part out, actually.

That's really good -- Heroes is definitely the lynchpin; and looking at what Brian was doing--literally physically destroying songs as he sacrifices them to the fool's errand--I can imagine when he finally was as "on the other side of Heroes" as he could have been, that may have been as close to a moment where Smile was "lost" -- like the Giving Tree, Smile had given all it had to give and there was nothing left, so it had to be rebuilt--not from scratch--but from the boneyard of Smile.  He could have rebuilt it in the Classic Pet Sounds style, but with the circumstances being what they were, it felt better to rebuild it more in the mold of the lower-key things he'd been doing on and off for months?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 07:22:01 PM
Quote
if we're judging the elements of the music in order to shape opinions and possibly reach conclusions - comes down to a purely subjective opinion

That's false, though, categorically.  There is obviously latitude for interpretation, but I think that something like:

Wonderful Session 1 - Musicians Present:

Brian Wilson
Lyle Ritz

Wind Chimes Session 2 - Musicians present:

Van Dyke Parks
Chuck Berghofer
Brian

I'm in Great Shape - Musicians Present:

Jay Migliori
Van Dyke Parks
Dorothy Victor
Brian


compared to a similar breakdown of the Smiley material is objectively illustrative of the beginnings of a minimalist impulse.  Is it not?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 07:30:52 PM
Yeah, I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree.  And I do apologize for not being able to tell you that I think your arguments are bad and that you're argumentative with more tact.  It just feels like you pick on me sometimes.  But if you say it's all in good faith, then I will believe you.

Quote
but no concession

Well, then I think the onus is on you to prove it, isn't it?  Prove that Smile had a fixed end date.

It's all in good faith, and I'm sorry if you feel that way or if it came off that way because it's not the case at all, in fact quite the opposite. I enjoy discussing and engaging in debates with people who know the topic well and can make rational arguments. I didn't make personal comments directed at others as they were directed at me at all throughout all of this, and was disappointed to see that enter a discussion like this. But hopefully that's done and the discussions can continue.

There is no onus on me to prove anything further since neither your opinion nor mine is "fact", they're our own opinions based on our perception of the evidence we've each seen and heard and processed. There seems to be no "smoking gun" piece of evidence that could definitively prove either side, it's all perception of the evidence and personal opinion. For me, a large part is Carl saying within weeks of the album's release "we started from scratch", a quote which you do not weigh as heavily. I've likewise seen no convincing proof of there not being a definite shift from Smile to Smiley, all I see are opinions because that's all it is! I already laid out multiple times my reasons why I think that way, and exactly when the shift happened. I think it was between when the Beach Boys returned from Europe, that week after sessions were held at the pro studios Brian had been using, when things changed. I don't know how many times I can repeat that. But that's my opinion. Such changes simply do not happen that fast to cause what was an entire change in direction, mindset, and working method without a catalyst.

Here's another opinion: I think something similarly happened in late December 1966 when it was reported by some that a major blow-up happened within the band/family. No details exist, just a report of this happening. How did it affect the music and Smile overall? That's up to everyone to decide, because there are no details as to exactly what happened, just reports that something did. And some would say the focus which was there for the project in the Fall of 66 was lost as they entered 1967.

And that's how I feel about May/June 1967 as well, it's my opinion after weighing what came before and what came after that week.

And again my apologies if what I said at any point came off the wrong way, I have and always had respect for you and your work. Cheers to a good debate!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 07:38:39 PM
Quote
if we're judging the elements of the music in order to shape opinions and possibly reach conclusions - comes down to a purely subjective opinion

That's false, though, categorically.  There is obviously latitude for interpretation, but I think that something like:

Wonderful Session 1 - Musicians Present:

Brian Wilson
Lyle Ritz

Wind Chimes Session 2 - Musicians present:

Van Dyke Parks
Chuck Berghofer
Brian

I'm in Great Shape - Musicians Present:

Jay Migliori
Van Dyke Parks
Dorothy Victor
Brian


compared to a similar breakdown of the Smiley material is objectively illustrative of the beginnings of a minimalist impulse.  Is it not?

I see it as a composer, arranger, and producer doing what he thought best suited the material at hand and what he thought would work for each song. One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard top producers and engineers give to students and at various clinics and interviews is always make decisions which serve the song, not the other way around. If Brian heard those arrangements for those songs, I think it's just that with no other implications; You may see it as a move toward minimalism, and I don't share that opinion, so we can agree to disagree. If he didn't hear a 14 piece ensemble on "Wonderful" or any of the other tracks, or he didn't want the "Good Vibrations sound" on every song he wrote, that was Brian doing what he thought best served the song.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 07:39:17 PM
Ok, I think we are somehow talking past each other -- help me understand what's going on here, Craig.

You said:

Quote
But there is none

In response to the idea that there could be "proof" that Smiley grew out of Smile in a non-linear and semi-organic way.

To that, I said:

Quote
Likewise, there is no proof that Smile was scrapped at a discrete point in time and Smiley was started as a completely fresh project.  Can you concede that?

You said:

Quote
no concession

But now you've just said:

Quote
There is no onus on me to prove anything further since neither your opinion nor mine is "fact", they're our own opinions based on our perception of the evidence we've each seen and heard and processed.

Which to me reads as a concession that there is no "proof" that Smiley was scrapped at a discrete point in time.  Can you clear that up for me?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:45:15 PM
Based on the session information posted above about how done everything was, I really think that until the end of December, 1966, Brian was making an album called Smile that was pretty damn close to finished and would have gone out in the jackets Capital Records had already printed. Yea, he changed his mind, he scrapped some things and moved some things around, but creatively, the project was working.

After December, 1966, that was no longer true. And the problem, in my view, was Heroes and Villains.

This whole message is very well said, but I'm highlighting this portion, as it rings especially true.

Like you said, things were sort of beginning to fall apart by Christmas, but there was still an album that could easily have been finished at any given moment, had the Beach Boys been given one week to complete the LP. Those 12 songs could have been finished in a rush if they needed to be.

But the big switch was David Anderle informing Brian that he needed a unique A and B side single to launch Brother Records. Brian was seemingly satisfied with Good Vibrations as the sole single for the project, until his decision to launch a record label for the Boys (which had been in the plans for about a year now) sort of snuck up behind him. There's sufficient evidence in the way that this story has been told for us to believe that Heroes had already been conceived, and maybe even recorded as a song for Smile when Brian got this news. Every session up until October 20 had not produced a piece of a song, but an entire backing track that was in need only of vocal overdubbing. So far, the process was no different than Pet Sounds, beside the fact that the tracks were not performed beginning-to-end live by the ensemble, as Brian used editing to highlight big dynamic and metric contrasts between verses and choruses that couldn't be achieved as well via a continuous performance. There's no reason to believe Heroes was an exception. On October 20, Heroes had only 2 long parts - the verse (which was originally much longer, and is cut down even on The Smile Sessions disc 2), and the Barnyard section, a fadeout which, like all of Brian's Smile fades, adds in new melodies and instruments with each round, rather than starting full steam ahead. With Brian and Van Dyke's 3 verses telling a cohesive love story set in the old west, without the "side quests" that later versions of the song will include, this works perfectly as a concise 2-part album track.

But when Brian was told he needed a single, he chose to rework this song as something both commercial and exciting, and that's when it began to consume parts of other songs. First I'm in Great Shape, then Do You Like Worms, then Cabin Essence, then My Only Sunshine... songs became unusable for the next project, as they were physically disassembled, and the focus shifted entirely toward the new single. It didn't help that for the first time for The Beach Boys (this had been the case for other artists, pseudonyms, studio bands, etc), Brian needed TWO new songs. Previously, he'd relied on material from released albums to fill out the B-side, but on a new record label, he couldn't just take something off Pet Sounds, for example. The entirety of the next 5-6 months is spent trying to get a single. That's not a sign of a stable and healthy mind, it isn't productive to constantly rework one song rather than 12 at once, and it is not going to produce both a single and an album without some big changes being made.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 07:45:47 PM
Quote
I see it as a composer, arranger, and producer doing what he thought best suited the material at hand and what he thought would work for each song. One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard top producers and engineers give to students and at various clinics and interviews is always make decisions which serve the song, not the other way around. If Brian heard those arrangements for those songs, I think it's just that with no other implications; You may see it as a move toward minimalism, and I don't share that opinion, so we can agree to disagree. If he didn't hear a 14 piece ensemble on "Wonderful" or any of the other tracks, or he didn't want the "Good Vibrations sound" on every song he wrote, that was Brian doing what he thought best served the song.

To me that feels like too zoomed-in of a perspective.

I'm not looking this up right now, so I could be wrong, but I believe the last time Brian used 3 people to do a basic track was probably I'm So Young on Today?  (Not counting IBAMOM, obviously, which has a lot in common with Smiley anyway, and the a capella stuff.)  So there is a pattern of Brian hearing big ensembles on like, 25 straight productions with the previous exceptions noted.  You are unwilling to even consider that a person who had done a big string of big productions who then starts doing some smaller productions might be entertaining the idea of doing smaller productions?  I'm having trouble understanding what your resistance is to this.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 07:49:21 PM
Ok, I think we are somehow talking past each other -- help me understand what's going on here, Craig.

You said:

Quote
But there is none

In response to the idea that there could be "proof" that Smiley grew out of Smile in a non-linear and semi-organic way.

To that, I said:

Quote
Likewise, there is no proof that Smile was scrapped at a discrete point in time and Smiley was started as a completely fresh project.  Can you concede that?

You said:

Quote
no concession

But now you've just said:

Quote
There is no onus on me to prove anything further since neither your opinion nor mine is "fact", they're our own opinions based on our perception of the evidence we've each seen and heard and processed.

Which to me reads as a concession that there is no "proof" that Smiley was scrapped at a discrete point in time.  Can you clear that up for me?


I said my *opinion" is what it is, I've spelled it out numerous times already, and the only fact is there's no factual proof for either point of the argument. It's all opinion. I don't concede what I made clear was an opinion if I don't agree with the one being offered in return. I happen to think work on Smile ended around the first week of June for good, and you think it was something else. We disagree, simple as that.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 07:49:59 PM
That's really good -- Heroes is definitely the lynchpin; and looking at what Brian was doing--literally physically destroying songs as he sacrifices them to the fool's errand--I can imagine when he finally was as "on the other side of Heroes" as he could have been, that may have been as close to a moment where Smile was "lost" -- like the Giving Tree, Smile had given all it had to give and there was nothing left, so it had to be rebuilt--not from scratch--but from the boneyard of Smile.  He could have rebuilt it in the Classic Pet Sounds style, but with the circumstances being what they were, it felt better to rebuild it more in the mold of the lower-key things he'd been doing on and off for months?

Yes, exactly!

That's also why I believe that the last point at which the original conception of Smile was viable as a record, at which things could have gone differently, was just before Brian scrapped the Cantina mix of Heroes at the end of February. Because maybe, if he'd put that record out at that time, he could have found his way to finishing the rest of the album while he waited to see how it would do, and even if it didn't do so hot, maybe that wouldn't have been so bad, either... frequently the fear of failure is much worse than actually failing. We all know that feeling when you're so nervous about something, and then the thing you were afraid of actually happens, and like, yea, it sucks, but then it's over and you move on. Whereas the fear beforehand can be just so paralyzing.

But by March, by April, the project was just...exhausted. It needed to be renewed, rebuilt. Just like you say, building on work he'd already started, a style he'd already been experimenting with.

Also, I *do* think the Smile working method was perhaps uniquely liable to be derailed by a long delay. Because any creative person knows how hard it is to pick up a project you've set aside for months, whether it's a draft of an essay or a half-finished song or a short story. It really is, in most cases, just harder once the momentum is gone. And because of how Smile was organized, Brian would have had to do that with *every* *single* *song* if he'd wanted to finish the original session tapes in the summer of 1767. Every single song would have been - okay, what was I thinking here, what did I want to do with this, where did I put that tape, was this section on this reel or that reel. Whereas if he'd been recording songs one at a time, he could have just picked up with whatever song he'd been in the middle of. And if he'd *not* been derailed by Heroes, well than work wouldn't have been interrupted and he would have just kept going.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 07:51:20 PM
Craig -- OK, I badly misinterpreted what you were saying as you saying you had proof and I did not.  Thank you for clearing that up.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 07:56:13 PM
Quote
I see it as a composer, arranger, and producer doing what he thought best suited the material at hand and what he thought would work for each song. One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard top producers and engineers give to students and at various clinics and interviews is always make decisions which serve the song, not the other way around. If Brian heard those arrangements for those songs, I think it's just that with no other implications; You may see it as a move toward minimalism, and I don't share that opinion, so we can agree to disagree. If he didn't hear a 14 piece ensemble on "Wonderful" or any of the other tracks, or he didn't want the "Good Vibrations sound" on every song he wrote, that was Brian doing what he thought best served the song.

To me that feels like too zoomed-in of a perspective.

I'm not looking this up right now, so I could be wrong, but I believe the last time Brian used 3 people to do a basic track was probably I'm So Young on Today?  (Not counting IBAMOM, obviously, which has a lot in common with Smiley anyway, and the a capella stuff.)  So there is a pattern of Brian hearing big ensembles on like, 25 straight productions with the previous exceptions noted.  You are unwilling to even consider that a person who had done a big string of big productions who then starts doing some smaller productions might be entertaining the idea of doing smaller productions?  I'm having trouble understanding what your resistance is to this.

I'm just calling it as I see it! If he thought those songs would be better served by a more sparse arrangement, that's exactly what he worked up for them and recorded. I just don't see any bigger implications behind those decisions that are made with basically any song in the production process. Was "Yesterday" anything beyond the Beatles and their producer thinking the song would be better served by a string quartet and guitar accompaniment rather than the standard "Beatles" lineup heard on all the songs that surrounded it?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:56:57 PM
Also, I *do* think the Smile working method was perhaps uniquely liable to be derailed by a long delay. Because any creative person knows how hard it is to pick up a project you've set aside for months, whether it's a draft of an essay or a half-finished song or a short story. It really is, in most cases, just harder once the momentum is gone. And because of how Smile was organized, Brian would have had to do that with *every* *single* *song* if he'd wanted to finish the original session tapes in the summer of 1767. Every single song would have been - okay, what was I thinking here, what did I want to do with this, where did I put that tape, was this section on this reel or that reel. Whereas if he'd been recording songs one at a time, he could have just picked up with whatever song he'd been in the middle of. And if he'd *not* been derailed by Heroes, well than work wouldn't have been interrupted and he would have just kept going.

Couldn't have said it better.

This was Brian at his most indecisive. A few days were enough time for him to completely change his mind on the structure, the arrangement, or the feel of a certain song. Many of them had been remade from scratch a few times, just days apart already. When you change those days to months, to the point where Brian hadn't even looked at the majority of the album for half a year? Of course he's going to restart most of it.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 07:59:12 PM
Based on the session information posted above about how done everything was, I really think that until the end of December, 1966, Brian was making an album called Smile that was pretty damn close to finished and would have gone out in the jackets Capital Records had already printed. Yea, he changed his mind, he scrapped some things and moved some things around, but creatively, the project was working.

After December, 1966, that was no longer true. And the problem, in my view, was Heroes and Villains.

This whole message is very well said, but I'm highlighting this portion, as it rings especially true.

Like you said, things were sort of beginning to fall apart by Christmas, but there was still an album that could easily have been finished at any given moment, had the Beach Boys been given one week to complete the LP. Those 12 songs could have been finished in a rush if they needed to be.

But the big switch was David Anderle informing Brian that he needed a unique A and B side single to launch Brother Records. Brian was seemingly satisfied with Good Vibrations as the sole single for the project, until his decision to launch a record label for the Boys (which had been in the plans for about a year now) sort of snuck up behind him. There's sufficient evidence in the way that this story has been told for us to believe that Heroes had already been conceived, and maybe even recorded as a song for Smile when Brian got this news. Every session up until October 20 had not produced a piece of a song, but an entire backing track that was in need only of vocal overdubbing. So far, the process was no different than Pet Sounds, beside the fact that the tracks were not performed beginning-to-end live by the ensemble, as Brian used editing to highlight big dynamic and metric contrasts between verses and choruses that couldn't be achieved as well via a continuous performance. There's no reason to believe Heroes was an exception. On October 20, Heroes had only 2 long parts - the verse (which was originally much longer, and is cut down even on The Smile Sessions disc 2), and the Barnyard section, a fadeout which, like all of Brian's Smile fades, adds in new melodies and instruments with each round, rather than starting full steam ahead. With Brian and Van Dyke's 3 verses telling a cohesive love story set in the old west, without the "side quests" that later versions of the song will include, this works perfectly as a concise 2-part album track.

But when Brian was told he needed a single, he chose to rework this song as something both commercial and exciting, and that's when it began to consume parts of other songs. First I'm in Great Shape, then Do You Like Worms, then Cabin Essence, then My Only Sunshine... songs became unusable for the next project, as they were physically disassembled, and the focus shifted entirely toward the new single. It didn't help that for the first time for The Beach Boys (this had been the case for other artists, pseudonyms, studio bands, etc), Brian needed TWO new songs. Previously, he'd relied on material from released albums to fill out the B-side, but on a new record label, he couldn't just take something off Pet Sounds, for example. The entirety of the next 5-6 months is spent trying to get a single. That's not a sign of a stable and healthy mind, it isn't productive to constantly rework one song rather than 12 at once, and it is not going to produce both a single and an album without some big changes being made.

Man this post clarifies so, so much for me. Thank you for posting this!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 07:59:39 PM
Quote
I see it as a composer, arranger, and producer doing what he thought best suited the material at hand and what he thought would work for each song. One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard top producers and engineers give to students and at various clinics and interviews is always make decisions which serve the song, not the other way around. If Brian heard those arrangements for those songs, I think it's just that with no other implications; You may see it as a move toward minimalism, and I don't share that opinion, so we can agree to disagree. If he didn't hear a 14 piece ensemble on "Wonderful" or any of the other tracks, or he didn't want the "Good Vibrations sound" on every song he wrote, that was Brian doing what he thought best served the song.

To me that feels like too zoomed-in of a perspective.

I'm not looking this up right now, so I could be wrong, but I believe the last time Brian used 3 people to do a basic track was probably I'm So Young on Today?  (Not counting IBAMOM, obviously, which has a lot in common with Smiley anyway, and the a capella stuff.)  So there is a pattern of Brian hearing big ensembles on like, 25 straight productions with the previous exceptions noted.  You are unwilling to even consider that a person who had done a big string of big productions who then starts doing some smaller productions might be entertaining the idea of doing smaller productions?  I'm having trouble understanding what your resistance is to this.

I'm just calling it as I see it! If he thought those songs would be better served by a more sparse arrangement, that's exactly what he worked up for them and recorded. I just don't see any bigger implications behind those decisions that are made with basically any song in the production process. Was "Yesterday" anything beyond the Beatles and their producer thinking the song would be better served by a string quartet and guitar accompaniment rather than the standard "Beatles" lineup heard on all the songs that surrounded it?

Well... if half of the Help album consisted of tracks with 1 or 2 instruments, and then the entirety of Rubber Soul reflected that noticeably different change in style, I think you might have a comparison.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 07:59:53 PM
I found you.  Go Tigers.  You owe me a book in a few years--I'll trade you for mine.

 :)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:05:21 PM
Quote
I see it as a composer, arranger, and producer doing what he thought best suited the material at hand and what he thought would work for each song. One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard top producers and engineers give to students and at various clinics and interviews is always make decisions which serve the song, not the other way around. If Brian heard those arrangements for those songs, I think it's just that with no other implications; You may see it as a move toward minimalism, and I don't share that opinion, so we can agree to disagree. If he didn't hear a 14 piece ensemble on "Wonderful" or any of the other tracks, or he didn't want the "Good Vibrations sound" on every song he wrote, that was Brian doing what he thought best served the song.

To me that feels like too zoomed-in of a perspective.

I'm not looking this up right now, so I could be wrong, but I believe the last time Brian used 3 people to do a basic track was probably I'm So Young on Today?  (Not counting IBAMOM, obviously, which has a lot in common with Smiley anyway, and the a capella stuff.)  So there is a pattern of Brian hearing big ensembles on like, 25 straight productions with the previous exceptions noted.  You are unwilling to even consider that a person who had done a big string of big productions who then starts doing some smaller productions might be entertaining the idea of doing smaller productions?  I'm having trouble understanding what your resistance is to this.

I'm just calling it as I see it! If he thought those songs would be better served by a more sparse arrangement, that's exactly what he worked up for them and recorded. I just don't see any bigger implications behind those decisions that are made with basically any song in the production process. Was "Yesterday" anything beyond the Beatles and their producer thinking the song would be better served by a string quartet and guitar accompaniment rather than the standard "Beatles" lineup heard on all the songs that surrounded it?

Well... if half of the Help album consisted of tracks with 1 or 2 instruments, and then the entirety of Rubber Soul reflected that noticeably different change in style, I think you might have a comparison.

It's the basic concept of serving each individual song in my opinion, not everything done while recording an album has to fit into an overarching pattern or suggest something other than that's what fit the song best.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 08:08:34 PM
Yes, but...

When all of the songs on Pet Sounds are heavily orchestrated, and then half of the songs on Smile are heavily orchestrated, and then even those initially orchestrated songs are redone in a minimalistic fashion, do you see that there is, objectively, a general movement to more minimalistic recording?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 08:10:39 PM
Quote
But I actually disagree pretty strongly with most of this. I have never bought that "Brian bit off more than he could chew" line, or the "if he'd only had pro-tools" line, and I certainly don't agree that Brian Wilson wasn't *capable* of finishing Smile (although you don't exactly say that).
I actually was stating that pro tools would’ve helped him finish it..actually though I was also saying it wouldn’t have mattered , because he kept changing his mind on both the albums and the songs themselves too much. It was his indecision for him to make a solid decision  that made it impossible , in my view, not his musical or technical ability.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 08:12:12 PM
Quote
But I actually disagree pretty strongly with most of this. I have never bought that "Brian bit off more than he could chew" line, or the "if he'd only had pro-tools" line, and I certainly don't agree that Brian Wilson wasn't *capable* of finishing Smile (although you don't exactly say that).
I actually was stating that pro tools would’ve helped him finish it..actually I was saying it wouldn’t have mattered , because he kept changing his mind on both the albums and the songs themselves too much. It was his indecision for him to make a solid decision  that made it impossible , in my view, not his musical or technical ability.

Sorry to mischaracterize you Billy, that does make more sense!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:12:30 PM
I also was thinking of "That's Not Me" in the same way, how it stands out from the rest of Pet Sounds by featuring the core group of musicians as the Beach Boys' own self-contained band, 3 of them actually, with none of the more full ensemble sounds and more complex arranging style heard on all the other tracks surrounding it. Was that decision anything beyond Brian thinking that less dense core group sound would serve that particular song better than having horns, woodwinds, and strings on the track?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 08:16:56 PM
That's Not Me doesn't stand out particularly to me as something minimalist compared to other Pet Sounds tracks, besides the knowledge that it was completely put together by The Boys. Consider the instrumentation:

Hammond C-3 organ
Electric guitar
Electric 12-string guitar
Another electric 12-string guitar
Electric bass
Another electric bass
Drums
Tambourine
Another tambourine
Castanets amplified through a Leslie speaker

Really, it's just something that didn't require the wrecking crew, as it's the only song on the album that features purely rhythm instruments, with no horns or strings. Compare this to the instrumentation of Vega-Tables:

Piano


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 08:17:25 PM
Quote
But when Brian was told he needed a single, he chose to rework this song as something both commercial and exciting, and that's when it began to consume parts of other songs. First I'm in Great Shape, then Do You Like Worms, then Cabin Essence, then My Only Sunshine... songs became unusable for the next project, as they were physically disassembled, and the focus shifted entirely toward the new single. It didn't help that for the first time for The Beach Boys (this had been the case for other artists, pseudonyms, studio bands, etc), Brian needed TWO new songs. Previously, he'd relied on material from released albums to fill out the B-side, but on a new record label, he couldn't just take something off Pet Sounds, for example. The entirety of the next 5-6 months is spent trying to get a single. That's not a sign of a stable and healthy mind, it isn't productive to constantly rework one song rather than 12 at once, and it is not going to produce both a single and an album without some big changes being made.


That’s the point I was trying to make earlier but couldn’t word it right !  😎


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:17:42 PM
Yes, but...

When all of the songs on Pet Sounds are heavily orchestrated, and then half of the songs on Smile are heavily orchestrated, and then even those initially orchestrated songs are redone in a minimalistic fashion, do you see that there is, objectively, a general movement to more minimalistic recording?

No, I do not see any implications beyond Brian deciding to remake, rerecord, and change his mind on certain tracks. And perhaps after hearing the fuller arrangements he decided they didn't work for those songs as well as a more sparse sound would serve them. You say objectively as if it's fact, but ultimately that's just your opinion, isn't it?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 08:18:17 PM
For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure at this point that I fundamentally agree with sloopjohnb72, Joshilyn, *and* guitarfool.

Brian gradually incorporated more and more minimalistic experiments into his working methods over the course of Smile into Smiley Smile, *because he thought it served the material well*, and this gradually laid the foundation for Smiley Smile. AND when the band got back from Europe there was some kind of, at the very least, heavy conversation about what direction the band would go in, which very quickly led Brian to go *all in* on this more minimalistic (but *not* necessarily less musically sophisticated) aesthetic, one which could accommodate a more congenial working method with the Beach Boys, without Brian actually giving up control over the production process.

Make of that what you will, but I'm not seeing some massive incompatibility in yall's perspectives, I'm really not!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 08:19:39 PM
Quote
But when Brian was told he needed a single, he chose to rework this song as something both commercial and exciting, and that's when it began to consume parts of other songs. First I'm in Great Shape, then Do You Like Worms, then Cabin Essence, then My Only Sunshine... songs became unusable for the next project, as they were physically disassembled, and the focus shifted entirely toward the new single. It didn't help that for the first time for The Beach Boys (this had been the case for other artists, pseudonyms, studio bands, etc), Brian needed TWO new songs. Previously, he'd relied on material from released albums to fill out the B-side, but on a new record label, he couldn't just take something off Pet Sounds, for example. The entirety of the next 5-6 months is spent trying to get a single. That's not a sign of a stable and healthy mind, it isn't productive to constantly rework one song rather than 12 at once, and it is not going to produce both a single and an album without some big changes being made.


That’s the point I was trying to make earlier but couldn’t word it right !  😎

Okay, yea, we are definitely all on the same page here!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:21:37 PM
That's Not Me doesn't stand out particularly to me as something minimalist compared to other Pet Sounds tracks, besides the knowledge that it was completely put together by The Boys. Consider the instrumentation:

Hammond C-3 organ
Electric guitar
Electric 12-string guitar
Another electric 12-string guitar
Electric bass
Another electric bass
Drums
Tambourine
Another tambourine
Castanets amplified through a Leslie speaker

Really, it's just something that didn't require the wrecking crew, as it's the only song on the album that features purely rhythm instruments, with no horns or strings. Compare this to the instrumentation of Vega-Tables:

Piano

Purely rhythm instruments, no strings, woodwinds, or horns. Exactly. It could be said "That's Not Me" was a sign Brian was looking to return to his 1964 production methods, but that would be silly. Kind of like pulling out "Vega-Tables" and writing "piano".

Sorry I just don't agree with the "shift to minimalism" theory based on your examples, and I see it as nothing more or less than Brian choosing what type of arrangement fit each song the best as all producers do. Agree to disagree.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 08:22:15 PM
Quote

Also, I *do* think the Smile working method was perhaps uniquely liable to be derailed by a long delay. Because any creative person knows how hard it is to pick up a project you've set aside for months, whether it's a draft of an essay or a half-finished song or a short story. It really is, in most cases, just harder once the momentum is gone. And because of how Smile was organized, Brian would have had to do that with *every* *single* *song* if he'd wanted to finish the original session tapes in the summer of 1767. Every single song would have been - okay, what was I thinking here, what did I want to do with this, where did I put that tape, was this section on this reel or that reel. Whereas if he'd been recording songs one at a time, he could have just picked up with whatever song he'd been in the middle of. And if he'd *not* been derailed by Heroes, well than work wouldn't have been interrupted and he would have just kept going.


This too! I have a hard time articulating myself sometimes… I’ve had a couple of strokes and since then I have a tendency to talk in circles to the point where the meaning of what I’m trying to say gets lost.

I almost started doing it again 🧐


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:22:44 PM
For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure at this point that I fundamentally agree with sloopjohnb72, Joshilyn, *and* guitarfool.

Brian gradually incorporated more and more minimalistic experiments into his working methods over the course of Smile into Smiley Smile, *because he thought it served the material well*, and this gradually laid the foundation for Smiley Smile. AND when the band got back from Europe there was some kind of, at the very least, heavy conversation about what direction the band would go in, which very quickly led Brian to go *all in* on this more minimalistic (but *not* necessarily less musically sophisticated) aesthetic, one which could accommodate a more congenial working method with the Beach Boys, without Brian actually giving up control over the production process.

Make of that what you will, but I'm not seeing some massive incompatibility in yall's perspectives, I'm really not!

I wish I could have said it that way!  :)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 08:23:38 PM
For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure at this point that I fundamentally agree with sloopjohnb72, Joshilyn, *and* guitarfool.

Brian gradually incorporated more and more minimalistic experiments into his working methods over the course of Smile into Smiley Smile, *because he thought it served the material well*, and this gradually laid the foundation for Smiley Smile. AND when the band got back from Europe there was some kind of, at the very least, heavy conversation about what direction the band would go in, which very quickly led Brian to go *all in* on this more minimalistic (but *not* necessarily less musically sophisticated) aesthetic, one which could accommodate a more congenial working method with the Beach Boys, without Brian actually giving up control over the production process.

Make of that what you will, but I'm not seeing some massive incompatibility in yall's perspectives, I'm really not!

I'm really not either! The only part where it falls apart for me is when the claim is made that the Smiley Smile arrangements are somehow easier to perform live, or the stronger claim that they were done for that purpose, when the songs were never incorporated into the live set in any way, the instrumentation is completely different from what the touring band used, the studio effects are no less pronounced, the tempo shifts are more noticeable, and the entire album is characterized by the sound of 2 very distinct instruments - the Baldwin organ on its buzziest setting, and Brian's specially (de)tuned grand piano, which are not close to the sound of the live band in any way, shape, or form.

But everything else? Yeah, it makes sense! People are agreeing here more than we think.  :)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 08:25:41 PM
Yes, but...

When all of the songs on Pet Sounds are heavily orchestrated, and then half of the songs on Smile are heavily orchestrated, and then even those initially orchestrated songs are redone in a minimalistic fashion, do you see that there is, objectively, a general movement to more minimalistic recording?

No, I do not see any implications beyond Brian deciding to remake, rerecord, and change his mind on certain tracks. And perhaps after hearing the fuller arrangements he decided they didn't work for those songs as well as a more sparse sound would serve them. You say objectively as if it's fact, but ultimately that's just your opinion, isn't it?

guitarfool, I say this with all love and respect, because truly you have made really helpful and important contributions to this thread, have posted primary sources I had never seen before, and have said a ton of things I agree with! But there is a move towards a more minimalistic approach during the smile sessions compared to the Pet Sounds sessions. That *does not mean that your argument about Smiley Smile's conception is wrong!* It really doesn't, and that's why, as I've said, I'm not 100% aligned on either side here.... but like, Brian pursuing minimalistic production methods more often in 1967 than he had done in 1966 is not an opinion, it is a fact. What that fact *means* is an opinion. Whether that fact matters for how we view the transition between Smile and Smiley Smile is an opinion, but that Brian's methods were changing over time, I mean, it's on the tapes, it's happening.

(Although in your defense, I also want to say that I agree with your older point that, despite this gradual movement, *anyone* can hear the difference between the Smiley sessions and the Smile sessions. Like, in the big picture, there is a clear difference between the sonic profiles of those two projects, and I think at one point earlier in this thread *you* were really just saying that, and other people were like, that's not true, and I totally see how that would be exasperating on your end too.)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 08:27:22 PM
Quote
But I actually disagree pretty strongly with most of this. I have never bought that "Brian bit off more than he could chew" line, or the "if he'd only had pro-tools" line, and I certainly don't agree that Brian Wilson wasn't *capable* of finishing Smile (although you don't exactly say that).
I actually was stating that pro tools would’ve helped him finish it..actually I was saying it wouldn’t have mattered , because he kept changing his mind on both the albums and the songs themselves too much. It was his indecision for him to make a solid decision  that made it impossible , in my view, not his musical or technical ability.

Sorry to mischaracterize you Billy, that does make more sense!

No worries … I don’t always explain what’s in my head correctly, at least not anymore. Especially typing !


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 08:28:51 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:28:56 PM
Since the Baldwin organ was mentioned, I think it's worth noting how the band spent a lot of money to crate and ship Brian's Baldwin organ to Hawaii for those August '67 shows. Not suggesting anything other than by doing that, they were putting what was perhaps one of the main sonic hooks of Smiley Smile on stage in Hawaii, and perhaps (just perhaps...) trying to give their setlist of old hits the "Smiley sound".

They could easily have rented an Hammond or any other organ in Hawaii with far less cost and difficulty, why specifically spend that much to ship the Baldwin there unless it was going for a certain sound and vibe that would be on their proposed live album a few months later?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 08:31:30 PM
Vega-Tables, as it stood in late 1966, had just a piano, and that is a fact. This is because it best suited the song as it was written. But notice that more songs are being better suited by a sparse arrangement. Eventually, the songs that are initially heavily arranged, are eventually considered to be "better suited" by a sparse arrangement. This is what we call a shift, and objectively, that is what happened.

Guitarfool - I'm agreeing with you! But I'm also saying that it is not a coincidence that the amount of songs that are better suited by this new arrangement style is increasing over the months, and this is very traceable. I also don't doubt that the boys had some undocumented talks about this back in June 1967. It is pretty clear that our perspectives on this era complement each other.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 08:31:49 PM
I'm really not either! The only part where it falls apart for me is when the claim is made that the Smiley Smile arrangements are somehow easier to perform live, or the stronger claim that they were done for that purpose

But I don't think that's what Guitarfool was saying. If I understand him correctly (and this was like pages and pages ago at this point!), what Guitarfool was arguing was not that Smiley Smile's arrangements were designed to be easy to perform live, but rather that the criticism the Beach Boys picked up in Europe over their live performances, and their general anxiety about the recorded material getting further and further from the reality of the touring band, that those *bad feelings* pushed Brian towards a more minimalistic recording method that was, if not necessarily easy to perform live, might have nonetheless taken some of the teeth out of the band's complaints. It's a subtle, but I think important, distinction.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 08:32:58 PM
Since the Baldwin organ was mentioned, I think it's worth noting how the band spent a lot of money to crate and ship Brian's Baldwin organ to Hawaii for those August '67 shows. Not suggesting anything other than by doing that, they were putting what was perhaps one of the main sonic hooks of Smiley Smile on stage in Hawaii, and perhaps (just perhaps...) trying to give their setlist of old hits the "Smiley sound".

They could easily have rented an Hammond or any other organ in Hawaii with far less cost and difficulty, why specifically spend that much to ship the Baldwin there unless it was going for a certain sound and vibe that would be on their proposed live album a few months later?

Definitely… had to give everything a seamless vibe .  Really, they should’ve been doing this earlier and maybe they could’ve played Monterey.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 08:33:24 PM
Since the Baldwin organ was mentioned, I think it's worth noting how the band spent a lot of money to crate and ship Brian's Baldwin organ to Hawaii for those August '67 shows. Not suggesting anything other than by doing that, they were putting what was perhaps one of the main sonic hooks of Smiley Smile on stage in Hawaii, and perhaps (just perhaps...) trying to give their setlist of old hits the "Smiley sound".

They could easily have rented an Hammond or any other organ in Hawaii with far less cost and difficulty, why specifically spend that much to ship the Baldwin there unless it was going for a certain sound and vibe that would be on their proposed live album a few months later?

Is it also not possible that they shipped the Baldwin just because it was a sound Brian was weirdly into, and they could?  


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 08:34:26 PM
Since the Baldwin organ was mentioned, I think it's worth noting how the band spent a lot of money to crate and ship Brian's Baldwin organ to Hawaii for those August '67 shows. Not suggesting anything other than by doing that, they were putting what was perhaps one of the main sonic hooks of Smiley Smile on stage in Hawaii, and perhaps (just perhaps...) trying to give their setlist of old hits the "Smiley sound".

They could easily have rented an Hammond or any other organ in Hawaii with far less cost and difficulty, why specifically spend that much to ship the Baldwin there unless it was going for a certain sound and vibe that would be on their proposed live album a few months later?

It should also be noted that the Hawaii shows were a unique recording experience, during which the Beach Boys were producing material for the next album to follow Smiley Smile. Are you suggesting that the Baldwin may have been introduced as a permanent instrument?

We know that this is not the case. Brian was requested to go, and he insisted on bringing that big ol' thing. Because it was his instrument that he wanted to play. We're talking about the same guy who would rent a piano from Sunset Sound and have it moved by professional piano movers a few blocks down the street to Western, because he liked the sound of Sunset's detuned tack, and the room sound of Western.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:35:49 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?

It's possible, I just don't agree as much with that assertion that it was part of something on a larger scale, like an undercurrent or even a full riptide that was moving him in this direction. I think it was a guy doing what he thought his songs needed at any given time as any producer would do. I think the difference is I take those examples as individual examples and you're tying them into a larger movement, I don't see music production in those terms.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 08:36:10 PM
I'm really not either! The only part where it falls apart for me is when the claim is made that the Smiley Smile arrangements are somehow easier to perform live, or the stronger claim that they were done for that purpose

But I don't think that's what Guitarfool was saying. If I understand him correctly (and this was like pages and pages ago at this point!), what Guitarfool was arguing was not that Smiley Smile's arrangements were designed to be easy to perform live, but rather that the criticism the Beach Boys picked up in Europe over their live performances, and their general anxiety about the recorded material getting further and further from the reality of the touring band, that those *bad feelings* pushed Brian towards a more minimalistic recording method that was, if not necessarily easy to perform live, might have nonetheless taken some of the teeth out of the band's complaints. It's a subtle, but I think important, distinction.

I agree…and yet another time you complete the thought I was making :lol

If my band ever takes off I should have you as my spokesperson  :lol Just don’t pull a Derek Taylor… no scraps here!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 08:39:43 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?

It's possible, I just don't agree as much with that assertion that it was part of something on a larger scale, like an undercurrent or even a full riptide that was moving him in this direction. I think it was a guy doing what he thought his songs needed at any given time as any producer would do. I think the difference is I take those examples as individual examples and you're tying them into a larger movement, I don't see music production in those terms.

OK, so let me ask you this.  Do you think of Brian as a guy who went through musical phases, or fads?  Do you think of him as a guy who gets obsessed with certain musical or production things, fixated on them, even?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 08:42:12 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?

It's possible, I just don't agree as much with that assertion that it was part of something on a larger scale, like an undercurrent or even a full riptide that was moving him in this direction. I think it was a guy doing what he thought his songs needed at any given time as any producer would do. I think the difference is I take those examples as individual examples and you're tying them into a larger movement, I don't see music production in those terms.

Honestly? I think it’s impossible to know the correct answer , because circumstances made it inevitable. That’s how I look at it. Since we can never know the exact *why*, in this case, motivations become murkier. It’d help to know the order the songs were written to even have a chance to definitively prove what the intent was, but there’s too much we don’t know.  

Heres a question I’ve always had…what happened between the last session being cancelled and the June sessions? Were the musicians ever told there would be no further sessions? You would think that question would’ve been asked in one single interview over the years


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:43:49 PM
Since the Baldwin organ was mentioned, I think it's worth noting how the band spent a lot of money to crate and ship Brian's Baldwin organ to Hawaii for those August '67 shows. Not suggesting anything other than by doing that, they were putting what was perhaps one of the main sonic hooks of Smiley Smile on stage in Hawaii, and perhaps (just perhaps...) trying to give their setlist of old hits the "Smiley sound".

They could easily have rented an Hammond or any other organ in Hawaii with far less cost and difficulty, why specifically spend that much to ship the Baldwin there unless it was going for a certain sound and vibe that would be on their proposed live album a few months later?

It should also be noted that the Hawaii shows were a unique recording experience, during which the Beach Boys were producing material for the next album to follow Smiley Smile. Are you suggesting that the Baldwin may have been introduced as a permanent instrument?

We know that this is not the case. Brian was requested to go, and he insisted on bringing that big ol' thing. Because it was his instrument that he wanted to play. We're talking about the same guy who would rent a piano from Sunset Sound and have it moved by professional piano movers a few blocks down the street to Western, because he liked the sound of Sunset's detuned tack, and the room sound of Western.

I'm suggesting they spent a lot of money to ship the Baldwin because they were recording a live album and that pretty unique sound was a key element of their "new sound" which would be introduced fully on their new album a few weeks later. I speculate that if "Smiley Smile" had caught on in "Good Vibrations" fashion, shot into the top 5 and the Heroes or Gettin Hungry singles had gone top 5, I wouldn't doubt a Baldwin organ would go on tour with them. But none of that happened, and they didn't tour behind Smiley at all.

It just seems like a lot of money to spend but I guess money was no object. Likewise I also often wonder why so much was spent with Wally Heider to get a custom made board (literally finished the night before it was shipped to Hawaii) and one of the most high tech live recording setups to capture what we hear on the Hawaii tapes.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 08:43:54 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Well, on what I'm about to say I'm pretty sure *no one* on this thread agrees with me! But nothing in this thread has really shaken one of the old school assumptions that some of ya'll are trying to overturn: that one day, Brian said f*** it, I'm done, Smile is over, called up his publicist Derek Taylor, and told him so, that Derek Taylor published an article saying that Smile had been scrapped, and that that was true.

There's been a lot of talk about people putting too much weight on this article, but to me, personally, that argument requires a very high bar of evidence. Because a publicist is a publicist, even one as unusual as Derek Taylor, and I just simply don't see any way that that press release goes out without Brian Wilson being the source. And that once Brian Wilson has decided Smile is scrapped and told his publicist and its been published in the press...the album is scrapped. And so here, I guess, I disagree with Joshilyn...because at some point Brian Wilson woke up, had breakfast, and said, you know what, I'm done. Done enough to announce it publicly. Whatever comes next, it's going to be something different. And if that's not an RIP date I don't know what is.




Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:47:46 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?

It's possible, I just don't agree as much with that assertion that it was part of something on a larger scale, like an undercurrent or even a full riptide that was moving him in this direction. I think it was a guy doing what he thought his songs needed at any given time as any producer would do. I think the difference is I take those examples as individual examples and you're tying them into a larger movement, I don't see music production in those terms.

Honestly? I think it’s impossible to know the correct answer , because circumstances made it inevitable. That’s how I look at it. Since we can never know the exact *why*, in this case, motivations become murkier. It’d help to know the order the songs were written to even have a chance to definitively prove what the intent was, but there’s too much we don’t know.  

Heres a question I’ve always had…what happened between the last session being cancelled and the June sessions? Were the musicians ever told there would be no further sessions? You would think that question would’ve been asked in one single interview over the years

That is a good question that was never asked! I'd also add why was there absolutely no follow up, none at all, in any other music press outlet after Derek Taylor's "scrapped" comment was published? It's as if no one noticed that he basically wrote the obituary for one of the most anticipated albums of the year,  and no one even referenced addressed the comment. Very, very odd!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 08:49:26 PM
100%, 50%, 0%.

For simplicity's sake, let's say that these are the portions of material recorded for the projects Pet Sounds, Smile, and Smiley Smile, that can be called "big productions", however we want to classify that. It seems that we all have some sort of agreeance on what that means, and these numbers are actually pretty close.

This series of values is something that we call "strictly decreasing". This is not something that can be argued. Our interpretation of it, of course, is subjective. But take any selection of, say, 3 months from 1966-1967, and you will find a lower proportion of these "big productions" compared to what came before. Even within the Smile period, the shift from the Looks and the Cabin Essences into the Vega-Tables and the Cantinas is very, very apparent. This is objective. You can make the claim that, although Brian's production style slowly changed from one thing to another, it was all coincidental, and Brian never looked past each individual section as a production. That is a claim that can be made, and I disagree with it, but it is something that can be argued.

What cannot be argued is that Brian's productions slowly approached minimalism throughout this period. That is a fact, not an opinion.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 08:52:05 PM
BJ, I actually don't think we disagree about that.  While I don't believe Smile had a fixed RIP date, I do believe that the Derek Taylor assessment came from Brian and that, by that time, he considered Smile over and done with.

At that point, he was still working on music, for some album, it just wasn't Smile anymore.  So we have something like Dada, which is not part of Smile and not part of Smiley Smile, but is part of the continuing work towards some new product, and likely recorded for some inchoate "album" that Brian had in mind that day.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 08:54:08 PM
The May 19th cancelled Da Da session was one of about a dozen cancelled sessions in the past few months, no different than the rest. It wasn't even the first cancelled session of the week! It just so happened to be the last time he called a recording date off at the last minute, as there were only a few weeks left of recording in LA studios with session musicians before the big home studio move.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 08:55:57 PM
That is a good question that was never asked! I'd also add why was there absolutely no follow up, none at all, in any other music press outlet after Derek Taylor's "scrapped" comment was published? It's as if no one noticed that he basically wrote the obituary for one of the most anticipated albums of the year,  and no one even referenced addressed the comment. Very, very odd!

Interesting indeed.

And another thing worth pointing out: Derek Taylor had spent a lot of time hyping this music. Once he *believed* it was not coming out, he would arguably have had something of an incentive to say so publicly, if only to make clear that whatever Brian Wilson was now working on, it wasn't the music he'd, at least to some extent, hitched his professional reputation to!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 08:58:11 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?

It's possible, I just don't agree as much with that assertion that it was part of something on a larger scale, like an undercurrent or even a full riptide that was moving him in this direction. I think it was a guy doing what he thought his songs needed at any given time as any producer would do. I think the difference is I take those examples as individual examples and you're tying them into a larger movement, I don't see music production in those terms.

OK, so let me ask you this.  Do you think of Brian as a guy who went through musical phases, or fads?  Do you think of him as a guy who gets obsessed with certain musical or production things, fixated on them, even?

No more or less than any other musician does, I suppose.

I can point to the Bossa Nova songs he was writing in '68, the "modular" tape edit-based songwriting in '66, the many incarnations of the "Shortnin Bread" riff he was playing with in the 70's, and his obsession with recording Proud Mary in the 90's and 2000's.

As far as Smile, he was stylistically all over the map, covering many styles of American popular music which I think was part of the album's concept. It's hard to say he was fixated on anything because Smile has Dixieland, Great American Songbook, jazz, avant garde, doo wop, pop, psychedelia, humor...I don't even know how I'd categorize music like Cabinessence or Child Is Father or Surf's Up enough to label it a particular style or genre!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 09:01:33 PM
BJ, I actually don't think we disagree about that.  While I don't believe Smile had a fixed RIP date, I do believe that the Derek Taylor assessment came from Brian and that, by that time, he considered Smile over and done with.

At that point, he was still working on music, for some album, it just wasn't Smile anymore.  So we have something like Dada, which is not part of Smile and not part of Smiley Smile, but is part of the continuing work towards some new product, and likely recorded for some inchoate "album" that Brian had in mind that day.

Yea that makes sense. It's funny how often disagreements boil down to just...saying the same thing two different ways! (although it's also absolutely true that there are fundamental disagreements of interpretation going on this thread at various points!)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 09:07:55 PM
No more or less than any other musician does, I suppose.

I can point to the Bossa Nova songs he was writing in '68, the "modular" tape edit-based songwriting in '66, the many incarnations of the "Shortnin Bread" riff he was playing with in the 70's, and his obsession with recording Proud Mary in the 90's and 2000's.

As far as Smile, he was stylistically all over the map, covering many styles of American popular music which I think was part of the album's concept. It's hard to say he was fixated on anything because Smile has Dixieland, Great American Songbook, jazz, avant garde, doo wop, pop, psychedelia, humor...I don't even know how I'd categorize music like Cabinessence or Child Is Father or Surf's Up enough to label it a particular style or genre!

Interesting.  See, I see patterns of obsession everywhere with Brian, so I guess I'm predisposed to thinking of more minimal productions as an obsession.  The kinds of obsessions I take note of are on a much smaller scale, normally, than the scale of an entire production.  Things like the way he would get obsessed with a certain piano, or a certain keyboard, or a certain instrument, or a certain player.  His transition from hiring Ray Pohlman to play bass on Pet Sounds to hiring Bill Pitman all the time for the bigger Smile stuff strikes me as an example of one of these micro-obsessions.  That's one example of many.  But my point is that I don't think that what Brian did was ever coincidental, the man cannot help but follow his gut, often to his own detriment.  So if I see a pattern, I tend to give it some weight.  If others see Brian as a less deliberate producer, so be it, but have trouble seeing him that way.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 09:09:35 PM
100%, 50%, 0%.

For simplicity's sake, let's say that these are the portions of material recorded for the projects Pet Sounds, Smile, and Smiley Smile, that can be called "big productions", however we want to classify that. It seems that we all have some sort of agreeance on what that means, and these numbers are actually pretty close.

This series of values is something that we call "strictly decreasing". This is not something that can be argued. Our interpretation of it, of course, is subjective. But take any selection of, say, 3 months from 1966-1967, and you will find a lower proportion of these "big productions" compared to what came before. Even within the Smile period, the shift from the Looks and the Cabin Essences into the Vega-Tables and the Cantinas is very, very apparent. This is objective. You can make the claim that, although Brian's production style slowly changed from one thing to another, it was all coincidental, and Brian never looked past each individual section as a production. That is a claim that can be made, and I disagree with it, but it is something that can be argued.

What cannot be argued is that Brian's productions slowly approached minimalism throughout this period. That is a fact, not an opinion.

I'll ask for a clarification; In an earlier reply, you said this:


Sure: Heroes on Smiley has the same number of sections, and some parts of the song have more instruments than sections in the Cantina edit. Both edits use the main "wall of sound" verse section, although the cantina edit only uses 2.5 of these verses, while the June edit uses 3. The part 2 bridge section (Cantina, then Chorus) goes from piano and mandolin to electric harpsichord, piano, various percussion, and organ. Children Were Raised goes from just a piano to electric harpsichord and organ. The "flow" of both edit is very musical, which doesn't make either version a more difficult performance. And neither version of the song, nor any song on Smiley Smile, was played on the fall 1967 tour.

Compare how Wonderful was "stripped down" from Smile to Smiley: Instead of 2 keyboards playing similar parts, we have 4 different textures (piano, organ, melodica, and celeste) all playing against each other, and a bridge section in a completely different tempo which comes after a long pause. No version of Wonderful was added to the live set.

Going from April Vegetables to June Vegetables: Instead of a single piano and bass, it's now a bass and carefully tuned containers of water. A very simple song, not made much simpler. In October 1966, it was just a piano. The April verse shows up at the end anyways, with yet another keyboard. No version of Vegetables was added to the live set.

If Brian was trying to make it easy for the guys to do these songs, and that was the entire reason for scrapping the album called "Smile" (after accidentally predicting the future in a press release anyways), he wasn't doing a good job... and they didn't even end up performing them.

I'm trying to understand how the point earlier was that Brian actually made some of the Smile songs more complex productions when he remade them for Smiley Smile, and how that would match what you're suggesting as fact that he was moving toward minimalism. If he actually loaded more instruments and parts onto these songs and made them more complex than they had been, how does that equal a move toward minimalism?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 09:14:48 PM
I'm trying to understand how the point earlier was that Brian actually made some of the Smile songs more complex productions when he remade them for Smiley Smile, and how that would match what you're suggesting as fact that he was moving toward minimalism. If he actually loaded more instruments and parts onto these songs and made them more complex than they had been, how does that equal a move toward minimalism?

I mean, I think the larger point is just about continuity between Smile and Smiley Smile... so like, in *Smile,* minimalism is evidence of continuity with Smiley Smile...whereas in *Smiley Smiley* complexity is evidence of continuity with Smile.

But really I stand by the belief that everyone here is right with just various differences in focus and emphasis.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 24, 2022, 09:15:17 PM
No more or less than any other musician does, I suppose.

I can point to the Bossa Nova songs he was writing in '68, the "modular" tape edit-based songwriting in '66, the many incarnations of the "Shortnin Bread" riff he was playing with in the 70's, and his obsession with recording Proud Mary in the 90's and 2000's.

As far as Smile, he was stylistically all over the map, covering many styles of American popular music which I think was part of the album's concept. It's hard to say he was fixated on anything because Smile has Dixieland, Great American Songbook, jazz, avant garde, doo wop, pop, psychedelia, humor...I don't even know how I'd categorize music like Cabinessence or Child Is Father or Surf's Up enough to label it a particular style or genre!

Interesting.  See, I see patterns of obsession everywhere with Brian, so I guess I'm predisposed to thinking of more minimal productions as an obsession.  The kinds of obsessions I take note of are on a much smaller scale, normally, than the scale of an entire production.  Things like the way he would get obsessed with a certain piano, or a certain keyboard, or a certain instrument, or a certain player.  His transition from hiring Ray Pohlman to play bass on Pet Sounds to hiring Bill Pitman all the time for the bigger Smile stuff strikes me as an example of one of these micro-obsessions.  That's one example of many.  But my point is that I don't think that what Brian did was ever coincidental, the man cannot help but follow his gut, often to his own detriment.  So if I see a pattern, I tend to give it some weight.  If others see Brian as a less deliberate producer, so be it, but have trouble seeing him that way.

That makes sense, definitely. I just don't see Brian's musical obsessions as being too far different from any other musician or band as they progress through their career. They do something for awhile, feature a sound or style or particular instrument, then they move on. Very few bands or artists end up doing the same thing over and over, except maybe AC/DC because they're great at what they do.

What always caught my ear about Smile was the diversity of musical styles on display, and how it really is impossible to label a lot of it as any one genre or style. That made Smile pretty unique and still does.

And yes, the Baldwin organ was an obsession, I have to agree! Then that quickly, it was gone.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 09:19:43 PM
This too! I have a hard time articulating myself sometimes… I’ve had a couple of strokes and since then I have a tendency to talk in circles to the point where the meaning of what I’m trying to say gets lost.
I almost started doing it again 🧐

That's got to be tough, I'm sorry about that. For what it's worth, everything you're saying in this thread makes total sense...I was just reading too fast!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 09:20:17 PM
Well, that original post was a refute of the idea that Smile was completely maximalist, and Smiley completely minimalist, and that the two were worlds apart. But some songs, like Vegetables, went from one instrument to two. Wind Chimes didn't get much bigger or smaller, besides the bombastic bridge section in the Smile version, which itself was a result of an earlier, larger production from August.

But of course, other Smile tracks, such as Cabin Essence, My Only Sunshine, Fire, Look, and more were swapped out in favor of songs that are more low key. These two notions aren't contradictory - Smiley Smile is generally smaller than Smile, but there are traces of each in the other, and the change was more gradual than many suggest.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 09:23:44 PM
I don't think Brian's obsessions are that much different than anybody else's either -- maybe they're a little more esoteric, or sort of endearingly funny because of his exuberant naïveté.  In our context, I think that Brian's very human tendency towards shifting abiding interests can yield useful analytical fruit; that, if he's doing something, it's for some reason, and if there's a pattern to things he's doing, it's a significant indicator of where his head is at.  Ergo, if Brian is doing smaller scale productions at a higher frequency per session in a given timeframe, I take that as evidence that he has an interest, during that time frame, in smaller scale productions.

Quote
I mean, I think the larger point is just about continuity between Smile and Smiley Smile... so like, in *Smile,* minimalism is evidence of continuity with Smiley Smile...whereas in *Smiley Smiley* complexity is evidence of continuity with Smile.

Yeah, that's exactly right, I think.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 09:25:21 PM
Wind Chimes didn't get much bigger or smaller, besides the bombastic bridge section in the Smile version, which itself was a result of an earlier, larger production from August.

I agree with this. But I think the quote I pulled is where you maybe lost guitarfool, and me too a little. Because, sure, technically Wind Chimes might have been recorded using the same number of musicians, it might be musically at a similar level of complexity. And yet, my ears tell me that the Smiley Smile version is smaller. Or maybe, a better way to put it would be more "low key." It's low key in the way Carl is singing, it's low key in the way its mixed, it's just... Like, you're right, it didn't get smaller, not technically, not factually. But somehow, that fact, the fact that it didn't get bigger or smaller, doesn't tell the whole story. Because even though it didn't get smaller, it still *feels* smaller. It just does. You know what I mean?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 09:30:21 PM
Wind Chimes didn't get much bigger or smaller, besides the bombastic bridge section in the Smile version, which itself was a result of an earlier, larger production from August.

I agree with this. But I think the quote I pulled is where you maybe lost guitarfool, and me too a little. Because, sure, technically Wind Chimes might have been recorded using the same number of musicians, it might be musically at a similar level of complexity. And yet, my ears tell me that the Smiley Smile version is smaller. Or maybe, a better way to put it would be more "low key." It's low key in the way Carl is singing, it's low key in the way its mixed, it's just... Like, you're right, it didn't get smaller, not technically, not factually. But somehow, that fact, the fact that it didn't get bigger or smaller, doesn't tell the whole story. Because even though it didn't get smaller, it still *feels* smaller. It just does. You know what I mean?

And that's also where I think, at least in a certain light, or a certain iteration, the story Joshilyn and you are telling about Smiley Smile doesn't always feel quite right to some of us. And again, I don't think there's a real, significant difference here. Just a shift in emphasis, maybe. But I think there is an extent to which fans of Smiley Smile (like me!) want to position it as "just Brian's next obsession". And like, yes, that's  true. But also it represented a huge decline in ambition as a commercial record producer, and I'm not willing to concede that point... that in addition to a new set of obsessions, Brian also brought to this moment a shocking lack of ambition compared to what had come before.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 09:43:59 PM
Wind Chimes didn't get much bigger or smaller, besides the bombastic bridge section in the Smile version, which itself was a result of an earlier, larger production from August.

I agree with this. But I think the quote I pulled is where you maybe lost guitarfool, and me too a little. Because, sure, technically Wind Chimes might have been recorded using the same number of musicians, it might be musically at a similar level of complexity. And yet, my ears tell me that the Smiley Smile version is smaller. Or maybe, a better way to put it would be more "low key." It's low key in the way Carl is singing, it's low key in the way its mixed, it's just... Like, you're right, it didn't get smaller, not technically, not factually. But somehow, that fact, the fact that it didn't get bigger or smaller, doesn't tell the whole story. Because even though it didn't get smaller, it still *feels* smaller. It just does. You know what I mean?

I do know what you mean. It's nothing to do with the number of players, or how many overdubs were done, or how many tape generations were used... but that bizarre, intimate feeling is directly in your face here. How so?

I think what we're talking about here is in the arrangement. Instead of a pristine Carl Wilson vocal, which is double-tracked and tripled slightly off-mic by Brian in a soft whisper, and sounds more like what we would call a "produced recording" (its timbre is more in line with Good Vibrations than with Smiley's WC), we get 5 Beach Boys delivering a group performance, which, while carefully arranged note-by-note, feels almost improvised. It's like they themselves are being hypnotized by the wind chimes while they're singing. You can almost picture them all staring upwards, completely stoned, going "...wiiiind chimmmmesss??" in that astounded, questioning tone. The doubling only appears on a few select lines to give them emphasis, and Brian's "close your eyes and lean back" is sung so differently than Carl's vocal that it hardly even matters that one is a dry single-tracked performance. The unorthodox delivery adds to the bizarre vibe, and gets the sound away from the "clean" Smile recording.

I see the big melodica echo jump scare as sort of a revival of the loud bridge section... it serves the same humorous purpose of interrupting this peaceful song with something loud and startling, but in an easier way. "What if, instead of using a piece of an older production with loud horns and vocals, I just hold down as many notes on the melodica as possible, blow as hard as I can, and crank the echo?"

The tag, instead of being a bed of pianos that slowly increase in number, is an extremely quiet a cappella piece. I mean really quiet - you can barely hear the thing! It's not a less complicated production, but physically, the actual sound is smaller. There is literally less sound.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 24, 2022, 09:47:57 PM
Wind Chimes didn't get much bigger or smaller, besides the bombastic bridge section in the Smile version, which itself was a result of an earlier, larger production from August.

I agree with this. But I think the quote I pulled is where you maybe lost guitarfool, and me too a little. Because, sure, technically Wind Chimes might have been recorded using the same number of musicians, it might be musically at a similar level of complexity. And yet, my ears tell me that the Smiley Smile version is smaller. Or maybe, a better way to put it would be more "low key." It's low key in the way Carl is singing, it's low key in the way its mixed, it's just... Like, you're right, it didn't get smaller, not technically, not factually. But somehow, that fact, the fact that it didn't get bigger or smaller, doesn't tell the whole story. Because even though it didn't get smaller, it still *feels* smaller. It just does. You know what I mean?

And that's also where I think, at least in a certain light, or a certain iteration, the story Joshilyn and you are telling about Smiley Smile doesn't always feel quite right to some of us. And again, I don't think there's a real, significant difference here. Just a shift in emphasis, maybe. But I think there is an extent to which fans of Smiley Smile (like me!) want to position it as "just Brian's next obsession". And like, yes, that's  true. But also it represented a huge decline in ambition as a commercial record producer, and I'm not willing to concede that point... that in addition to a new set of obsessions, Brian also brought to this moment a shocking lack of ambition compared to what had come before.

I absolutely agree, and I also think, again, that neither point contradicts the other. Brian was getting into a new groove and a new sound he liked, and it was a complete drop in his attempt to be commercial and competitive. I don't think these things happened despite each other, but that not worrying about beating Phil Spector and The Beatles all at once allowed Brian to follow his muse while also not feeling the pressure he did just a few months earlier. It's Brian giving up his attempt to make the best album of 1967 that would hit the top of the charts, and it's also Brian making music that he liked to make.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Zenobi on July 24, 2022, 09:52:57 PM
I'll just mention that Liz, the originator of this (once) great thread, has gotten only the thanks of being effectively bullied and chased from the thread, and maybe from the board.
And this reminds me why my personal story with BB fandom is a story of participating, quitting, participating again, quitting again...
Too many delusional self-appointed "authorities" on these matters (not directed at the always excellent admins).


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 24, 2022, 09:53:09 PM
It's bedtime, but I'm going to say one last thing, a little bit of a change in topic, but I've been thinking about Smile all evening and I want to say it.

Smile was not finished, not in 1967 and not in 2004. But I believe it was close enough, that we have enough of it, to understand, conceptually, intellectually, and also in our hearts, what a finished Smile would have been, what it would have meant. Good Vibrations, Cabinessence, Wonderful, we have these songs in versions that are, for all intents and purposes, finished. The first two minutes of Surf's Up with Brian's vocal on the 1966 backing track. It is not hard to imagine a version of Surf's Up in which all three movements are produced to the level of that first section. It is not hard to imagine A Do You Like Worms finished to the level of Cabinessence, or the Fire Music brought to the level of Good Vibrations, howling, roaring, perfectly produced. I can imagine that album. Sometimes, late at night, with the lights off, sitting in silence, I can almost *hear* it.

And I believe, with all of my heart, that that album, that the album Brian Wilson came *this close* to finishing in December of 1966, would have been one of the great achievements of the human mind. That it would have stood alongside Van Eyck's Ghent Alterpiece and Michelangelo's Last Judgment and the Elgin Marbles and the Benin Bronzes, alongside Beethoven's late period and Bach's organ music and New Orleans jazz, against Einstein's theory of relativity and Tolstoy's novels. Pet Sounds is my favorite album of all time, but I'm not sure it belongs on that list, not really. Honestly, there is not a single piece of popular music recorded in the 1960s that, in my opinion, belongs on that list, that belongs among *the greatest creative acts of human civilization.* But that is what I hear in the Smile music. A bid for *that* list. That list of human invention and creative potential pushed to the absolute limit.

And so I love Smiley Smile, I really, really do. But f*** Smiley Smile. Smiley Smile is a great album. It's not Smile. Nothing is Smile, nothing can replace that incomprehensible loss, not how I see it.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 09:56:48 PM
This is cool, I think we are actually getting into some very meaty stuff here.  I've been running Beach Boys PhD ideas by a bunch of profs around the country over the last few months, and in so doing I am discovering that there is an increasing attempt by scholars of popular music to develop a methodology to study "sound" -- to examine the interface between the sound of a record and the listening experience.  It's really juicy stuff, and this topic is a perfect candidate for some addition to the "Sound studies" genre.  The sound of Smile vis-a-vis the sound of Smiley Smile is definitely something worth getting into.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 24, 2022, 10:04:16 PM
It's bedtime, but I'm going to say one last thing, a little bit of a change in topic, but I've been thinking about Smile all evening and I want to say it.

Smile was not finished, not in 1967 and not in 2004. But I believe it was close enough, that we have enough of it, to understand, conceptually, intellectually, and also in our hearts, what a finished Smile would have been, what it would have meant. Good Vibrations, Cabinessence, Wonderful, we have these songs in versions that are, for all intents and purposes, finished. The first two minutes of Surf's Up with Brian's vocal on the 1966 backing track. It is not hard to imagine a version of Surf's Up in which all three movements are produced to the level of that first section. It is not hard to imagine A Do You Like Worms finished to the level of Cabinessence, or the Fire Music brought to the level of Good Vibrations, howling, roaring, perfectly produced. I can imagine that album. Sometimes, late at night, with the lights off, sitting in silence, I can almost *hear* it.

And I believe, with all of my heart, that that album, that the album Brian Wilson came *this close* to finishing in December of 1966, would have been one of the great achievements of the human mind. That it would have stood alongside Van Eyck's Ghent Alterpiece and Michelangelo's Last Judgment and the Elgin Marbles and the Benin Bronzes, alongside Beethoven's late period and Bach's organ music and New Orleans jazz, against Einstein's theory of relativity and Tolstoy's novels. Pet Sounds is my favorite album of all time, but I'm not sure it belongs on that list, not really. Honestly, there is not a single piece of popular music recorded in the 1960s that, in my opinion, belongs on that list, that belongs among *the greatest creative acts of human civilization.* But that is what I hear in the Smile music. A bid for *that* list. That list of human invention and creative potential pushed to the absolute limit.

And so I love Smiley Smile, I really, really do. But f*** Smiley Smile. Smiley Smile is a great album. It's not Smile. Nothing is Smile, nothing can replace that incomprehensible loss, not how I see it.

I'll be responding to this tomorrow--lots to talk about.  BJ, check your PMs.  I think it's pretty great that we have 15 page, lively discussion going.  I've missed that.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Zenobi on July 24, 2022, 10:05:42 PM
I consider even incomplete and fragmented SMiLE one of the greatest triumphs of the human mind. Triumphs, I said.
For me, very few things are comparable to listening to the SMiLE sessions.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 24, 2022, 11:27:19 PM
I'll just mention that Liz, the originator of this (once) great thread, has gotten only the thanks of being effectively bullied and chased from the thread, and maybe from the board.
And this reminds me why my personal story with BB fandom is a story of participating, quitting, participating again, quitting again...
Too many delusional self-appointed "authorities" on these matters (not directed at the always excellent admins).

I can only speak for myself but that certainly wasn’t my intention. I was asking a lot of questions not to contradict anybody, but because honestly I realized how out of date my own ideas about Smile were!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 25, 2022, 01:05:04 AM
Wait…I thought Air was never recorded? At least that’s according to Brian himself… “it was a little piano piece that never got recorded “

Vegetables was separate from Earth, at least according to Brian’s memo.

DaDa may be water for BWPS but it wasn’t on the 66-67 sessions. That’s the thing… if we’re talking about it being released in 67 , we can only include what was already there on 67 and not include anything afterwards. Plans change but we can’t retroactively apply things that hadn’t happened at the time

Edit

I hope it doesn’t look like I’m picking sides …I’m 100% neutral on this!

Look at the track list Ang sent you. Obviously we don't know if it was bona fide but it preceded BWPS.  My point was as it ended up being Da Da perhaps Da Da became water earlier.  I also found an article from Keith Altman dated January 67 when he interviewed Brian and Brian told him they had 12 tracks ready.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 25, 2022, 01:09:06 AM
When was the title Mrs O’Leary’s cow given?
And while we're at it, when and where did the "Fire" track become known? When it was used on An American Band?

It was played at a UK convention (which sadly I missed). Can't remember the year but I think it was before 1985 when An American Band came out.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 25, 2022, 01:12:06 AM
I'll just mention that Liz, the originator of this (once) great thread, has gotten only the thanks of being effectively bullied and chased from the thread, and maybe from the board.
And this reminds me why my personal story with BB fandom is a story of participating, quitting, participating again, quitting again...
Too many delusional self-appointed "authorities" on these matters (not directed at the always excellent admins).

Thanks Zenobi!

I haven't gone - yet!  I just went to bed - I'm in the UK so on a different time to you.  I have been here before so I know what it can be like I can take a bit of being showered with rubbish, just not being showered with it all day and I get fed up of having my words distorted.  But you obviously understand having been there yourself!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 25, 2022, 02:50:10 AM
It's bedtime, but I'm going to say one last thing, a little bit of a change in topic, but I've been thinking about Smile all evening and I want to say it.

Smile was not finished, not in 1967 and not in 2004. But I believe it was close enough, that we have enough of it, to understand, conceptually, intellectually, and also in our hearts, what a finished Smile would have been, what it would have meant. Good Vibrations, Cabinessence, Wonderful, we have these songs in versions that are, for all intents and purposes, finished. The first two minutes of Surf's Up with Brian's vocal on the 1966 backing track. It is not hard to imagine a version of Surf's Up in which all three movements are produced to the level of that first section. It is not hard to imagine A Do You Like Worms finished to the level of Cabinessence, or the Fire Music brought to the level of Good Vibrations, howling, roaring, perfectly produced. I can imagine that album. Sometimes, late at night, with the lights off, sitting in silence, I can almost *hear* it.

And I believe, with all of my heart, that that album, that the album Brian Wilson came *this close* to finishing in December of 1966, would have been one of the great achievements of the human mind. That it would have stood alongside Van Eyck's Ghent Alterpiece and Michelangelo's Last Judgment and the Elgin Marbles and the Benin Bronzes, alongside Beethoven's late period and Bach's organ music and New Orleans jazz, against Einstein's theory of relativity and Tolstoy's novels. Pet Sounds is my favorite album of all time, but I'm not sure it belongs on that list, not really. Honestly, there is not a single piece of popular music recorded in the 1960s that, in my opinion, belongs on that list, that belongs among *the greatest creative acts of human civilization.* But that is what I hear in the Smile music. A bid for *that* list. That list of human invention and creative potential pushed to the absolute limit.

And so I love Smiley Smile, I really, really do. But f*** Smiley Smile. Smiley Smile is a great album. It's not Smile. Nothing is Smile, nothing can replace that incomprehensible loss, not how I see it.

Smile was finished/completed in 2004. Brian Wilson, the author of the music, THE guy to have the final say in what he wanted to present to the world, said it was finished in 2004.

Your version of Smile isn’t completed and will never be complete (because it just doesn’t exist). But Brian’s Smile is complete - and that is the one that counts.

I often wonder what 400 years will do to this music. Some people look at the 2004 Smile has a hokey rip-off of what a 1967 Smile would look like…that 2004 Smile is a counterfeit mostly created by a fan who based the tracklisting off a faulty fan-theory. That the MIDI harpsichord is a crime against the soul of the original music. That not having The Beach Boys sing on it ruins the genuine nature of the album.

But in 400 years, will it all blend together? Will people listen to the 2004 Smile as a complete masterpiece? Or will it be completely forgotten about? Will people care that original The Beach Boys aren’t on it? Or will they appreciate the album for its brilliant compositional/sonic architecture?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Zenobi on July 25, 2022, 02:59:38 AM
I'll just mention that Liz, the originator of this (once) great thread, has gotten only the thanks of being effectively bullied and chased from the thread, and maybe from the board.
And this reminds me why my personal story with BB fandom is a story of participating, quitting, participating again, quitting again...
Too many delusional self-appointed "authorities" on these matters (not directed at the always excellent admins).

I can only speak for myself but that certainly wasn’t my intention. I was asking a lot of questions not to contradict anybody, but because honestly I realized how out of date my own ideas about Smile were!

Billy, I think you and Craig are sterling people and a saving grace for BB online fandom. I'd never direct any negative remark at you, even indirectly. :)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Zenobi on July 25, 2022, 03:05:29 AM
I'll just mention that Liz, the originator of this (once) great thread, has gotten only the thanks of being effectively bullied and chased from the thread, and maybe from the board.
And this reminds me why my personal story with BB fandom is a story of participating, quitting, participating again, quitting again...
Too many delusional self-appointed "authorities" on these matters (not directed at the always excellent admins).

Thanks Zenobi!

I haven't gone - yet!  I just went to bed - I'm in the UK so on a different time to you.  I have been here before so I know what it can be like I can take a bit of being showered with rubbish, just not being showered with it all day and I get fed up of having my words distorted.  But you obviously understand having been there yourself!

Glad you are back! This thread ballooned so much, and there were so many posts after your latest one, that I was believing you had been away much longer. My bad, though the gist of what I said remains.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Zenobi on July 25, 2022, 03:40:04 AM
It's bedtime, but I'm going to say one last thing, a little bit of a change in topic, but I've been thinking about Smile all evening and I want to say it.

Smile was not finished, not in 1967 and not in 2004. But I believe it was close enough, that we have enough of it, to understand, conceptually, intellectually, and also in our hearts, what a finished Smile would have been, what it would have meant. Good Vibrations, Cabinessence, Wonderful, we have these songs in versions that are, for all intents and purposes, finished. The first two minutes of Surf's Up with Brian's vocal on the 1966 backing track. It is not hard to imagine a version of Surf's Up in which all three movements are produced to the level of that first section. It is not hard to imagine A Do You Like Worms finished to the level of Cabinessence, or the Fire Music brought to the level of Good Vibrations, howling, roaring, perfectly produced. I can imagine that album. Sometimes, late at night, with the lights off, sitting in silence, I can almost *hear* it.

And I believe, with all of my heart, that that album, that the album Brian Wilson came *this close* to finishing in December of 1966, would have been one of the great achievements of the human mind. That it would have stood alongside Van Eyck's Ghent Alterpiece and Michelangelo's Last Judgment and the Elgin Marbles and the Benin Bronzes, alongside Beethoven's late period and Bach's organ music and New Orleans jazz, against Einstein's theory of relativity and Tolstoy's novels. Pet Sounds is my favorite album of all time, but I'm not sure it belongs on that list, not really. Honestly, there is not a single piece of popular music recorded in the 1960s that, in my opinion, belongs on that list, that belongs among *the greatest creative acts of human civilization.* But that is what I hear in the Smile music. A bid for *that* list. That list of human invention and creative potential pushed to the absolute limit.

And so I love Smiley Smile, I really, really do. But f*** Smiley Smile. Smiley Smile is a great album. It's not Smile. Nothing is Smile, nothing can replace that incomprehensible loss, not how I see it.

Smile was finished/completed in 2004. Brian Wilson, the author of the music, THE guy to have the final say in what he wanted to present to the world, said it was finished in 2004.

Your version of Smile isn’t completed and will never be complete (because it just doesn’t exist). But Brian’s Smile is complete - and that is the one that counts.

I often wonder what 400 years will do to this music. Some people look at the 2004 Smile has a hokey rip-off of what a 1967 Smile would look like…that 2004 Smile is a counterfeit mostly created by a fan who based the tracklisting off a faulty fan-theory. That the MIDI harpsichord is a crime against the soul of the original music. That not having The Beach Boys sing on it ruins the genuine nature of the album.

But in 400 years, will it all blend together? Will people listen to the 2004 Smile as a complete masterpiece? Or will it be completely forgotten about? Will people care that original The Beach Boys aren’t on it? Or will they appreciate the album for its brilliant compositional/sonic architecture?

I agree 100% with Rab on this. BWPS is SMiLE as completed and released by its authors, and it's a very powerful artistic statement, imho. Is it SMiLE as it would have been if completed in 1967? I don't think so, but in another sense I don't think this question even really makes sense. A core theorem of logic is that if you start with a false premise you can, formally, "prove" anything.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 25, 2022, 04:01:54 AM
This thread has taken a life of its own and some of the directions it has taken I have found very interesting and others I have found boring and a distraction from the more interesting aspects.  I haven’t read all the posts and I’m not sure I can be bothered given that it seems to be continuing on proving a narrative to which I do not subscribe using a faulty methodology and a data set whose margin of error is unknown.

My initial question was to ascertain if it was possible that Brian could have completed Smile partly covertly but not released it due to pressure of the band over complexity of the music and lyrics.  We haven’t really established that one way or another because if it was covert and done in Brian’s home off the record then just consulting the records is never going to tell you that and it seems that in this forum we are not allowed to speculate only to provide clear proven evidence.

I am an artist.  As an artist the things which I find fascinating about Smile are the way it makes me feel, the images it places in my head, the concepts and the mystical background.  I was never the kind of artist who wanted to know what size brush Rembrandt used nor am I remotely interested in what kind of guitars were used in Smile (or any other music) or what was written on a tape box or who claimed expenses for the sessions.  So producing masses of information on those subjects is of no interest to me so enjoy yourselves and I hope you have a happy time with it. 

But the information itself can only tell you a limited amount.  It can’t tell you if Brian wanted to continue with Smile or if the band had a bust up or if Brian was worn down by lack of support from the band and his collaborator just gave up and gave them what they wanted. I am also disinclined to believe the narrative that Brian was crazy, incapable of rational thought through doing drugs - this is just gas lighting - he was able to produce an album in a few weeks using extraordinary methods, some of which have become industry standards when they were unknown before.

Early May 1967 a press release was issued that Smile was going to be scrapped. On 19th May 1967 Brian cancelled the session for LTSDD.  On 6th June the group began recordings of a project named Smiley Smile. 

Composers often reuse themes - Brian has done it often over the years and music written for one album has ended up on other albums so it is unsurprising that he used some of the music written for Smile and included it on Smiley Smile.  If Smiley Smile was Smile it would have been called Smile. When we see a man on one side of a door and later see him on the other side of the door it is reasonable to assume that he stepped through it.  No amount of taped evidence is going to prove definitively what happened but we KNOW they gave the music recorded after 19th May a new name, we KNOW that Capitol was conversing with Brian about the covers for the Smile album in July, we KNOW that much of the recorded music for Smile went unreleased for years and we KNOW that the band continually referred to releasing it and even tried to get Brian to release it for years afterward.  So, no, Smiley Smile is not Smile.

As for if LTSDD was ‘water’ or not - I don’t really care that much and as an artist I know that there are 3 things which make up a piece of work 1 - what the artist thinks it is and the concepts behind it  2 - the thing itself 3 - what the listener/viewer thinks it is and the concepts behind it - they too have validity. You cannot feel the impact of the Notre Dame by looking at the size of the bricks or listing the craftsmen involved.  If LTSDD was always intended to be water, well fine, that tallies with information I have.  If it wasn’t and just later on became ‘water’ because we thought it was, then that proves the validity of the listener’s ideas.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: rab2591 on July 25, 2022, 04:38:05 AM
I agree 100% with Rab on this. BWPS is SMiLE as completed and released by its authors, and it's a very powerful artistic statement, imho. Is it SMiLE as it would have been if completed in 1967? I don't think so, but in another sense I don't think this question even really makes sense. A core theorem of logic is that if you start with a false premise you can, formally, "prove" anything.

That's how I've learned to see it over time. A finished 1967 Smile never existed - it was completely impossible for it to be finished in 1967 (otherwise it would have been finished). There is no alternate timeline, no reality where the stars aligned and Brian was able to complete it in 1967. Sure, we can speculate what an alternate universe would look like (which is a lot of fun), but in the end, in our universe all other possibilities were impossible other than the reality that actually took place.

Instead, it took 40 years for Brian to be emotionally/mentally ready for Smile to be released. It took 40 years, during which time fan theories were created, and some of those theories actually became a beautiful part of Smile...The mythos of Smile became part of Smile itself - what other album has ever done anything like that? I think that is pretty cool, myself.

Brian Wilson, THE composer, THE architect, released Smile in 2004. Perhaps because people don't see Brian as a real composer post-19-- (pick your era where you think Brian stopped being the Brian Wilson) that BWPS is looked at as a novelty item, a gimmick...It isn't taken seriously by some perhaps because Brian isn't the same guy as he was in 1967. So perhaps some people think that only a 1967 Brian can complete a vintage version of Smile. But I don't believe that for a second. Perhaps because Darian helped Brian out a lot in the tracklisting makes some people think it isn't a legitimate tracklist.

Brian Wilson, like every single human being, is changing every second. The Brian Wilson from December 1966 was a different guy than the Brian Wilson from August 1967. That fact doesn't make an August 1967 Smile any less legitimate than a June 1967 Smile. Same for the 2004 Smile. Brian in 1967 was bouncing ideas off of others regarding the music. Brian getting advice in 2004 is technically no different from Brian getting advice in 1967.

The way I see it: whether it takes 5 months or 40 years to make an album, whenever it gets completed, that is the album. Is "Chinese Democracy" any less of an album because it took 20 years to be released? It may not be the album every GnR fan hoped for, but it's the "Chinese Democracy" that Axl Rose finally released to the world. It was an album shaped by the years, shaped by the different influences that passed through Rose's life through those 20 years. But it is still "Chinese Democracy".

We don't get to decide what is a legitimate album and what isn't - only the composer/creator of the music can do that. Brian put his stamp of completion on BWPS in 2004. I personally respect that decision.

Also want to add: I appreciate everyone's input in this discussion. The above is my opinion, and I completely understand why some feel differently. I'm not saying that people who have posted in this thread feel the way I speculated above. They are just my thoughts about different perceptions I have come across throughout the years of being a fan. If people don't think BWPS is Smile, that is totally cool and I respect their opinion, I don't agree with the opinion, but I understand where they are are coming from.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 25, 2022, 04:43:14 AM
One of the problems with SMiLE is ''Whilst SMiLE contained songs in the traditional sense, it’s difficult to say exactly where each one starts and another ends. They are not always mutually exclusive entities, but rather, each constitutes a loosely unified group of interchangeable musical themes, rhythmic patterns, sound recordings and lyrics. Listening to the session tapes, it is possible to hear how an incidental idea might emerge in the context of one song, only to turn up again months later further developed as the centerpiece of another.'  (https://www.arpjournal.com/asarpwp/smile-brian-wilson’s-musical-mosaic/?fbclid=IwAR2dTIYs5VQoGMdMoCccfFe9JmvxppbQobs4dbYZUFJiT7iYcV8zTAqoypw)

I found this article involved and fascinating and what it has to say about how one of the difficulties in SMiLE being based upon a non-linear recording method in the days of linear tape playback is interesting too.

This from the notes interested me as well: 'Some of these individuals have since gone on to either document the SMiLE story in the mainstream media or even assist Wilson to create his remake in 2004. These include memorabilia collector (now ‘archivist’) Peter Reum; the writers, David Leaf and Domenic Priore; musicians, Darian Sahanaja and Probyn Gregory (later to become members of Brian Wilson’s backing band); and in England, members of the ‘Beach Boys Stomp’ fan club including writer Kingsley Abbott (Priore, 2005). Priore (ibid.) implies that Curt Boetcher, a record producer working with The Beach Boys in the late 1970s, had access to the band’s tape vaults and was an indirect source of leaked tapes via his connection with a rock journalist. More significantly, in 1987, Andy Paley – a collaborator on Brian Wilson’s first solo album – “provided an opportunity to hear hours of unreleased tapes from the Smile sessions at his home”'


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 25, 2022, 10:04:26 AM
This is cool, I think we are actually getting into some very meaty stuff here.  I've been running Beach Boys PhD ideas by a bunch of profs around the country over the last few months, and in so doing I am discovering that there is an increasing attempt by scholars of popular music to develop a methodology to study "sound" -- to examine the interface between the sound of a record and the listening experience.  It's really juicy stuff, and this topic is a perfect candidate for some addition to the "Sound studies" genre.  The sound of Smile vis-a-vis the sound of Smiley Smile is definitely something worth getting into.

I think we're getting into an area where everyone is seeing that sometimes elusive middle ground in these issues, rather than segmenting one side of the opinions definitely different from the other, and that's a good place to be.

With all due respect, and I do say this respectfully please understand, I brought up this exact issue of the overall sound of the two projects being vastly different pages ago, and was challenged on it pretty strongly. I won't repost the quotes because it would take too long and clog the discussion pages. But this notion of the interface between the sound of a record and the listening experience is something I was first introduced to as a clinical topic in the early 90's by a professor who had the nickname "Golden Ears", and was an engineer and an acoustics consultant and designer for live venues and studios. At that time the raging debate was still analog versus digital, where the CD format had dominated the commercial music market and some were saying the methods of digital mastering were inferior versus analog and vinyl LP's due to the overall perceptions of the listeners and the overall listening experience. This was obviously before the mp3 revolution, before the "Californication" issues about mastering too hot in digital, digital online streaming, and the like: So the concept or topic itself is nothing new, but yes indeed it does get directly into the issue of Smile versus Smiley Smile and how listeners perceive each one when listened to in comparison.

I suggested numerous times to do either a casual unscientific "focus group" style listening session with fans and (adding this element now) as a control group, people who do not know the music as well. Play 30-40 minutes of "Smile" music, even the extent of the Smile material on the '93 box set would suffice, and then play the same people Smiley Smile. Then gauge their reactions and perceptions of both examples.

My opinion, and editorialization of potential results, was that the majority of those listeners would say they sound vastly different from each other. I'd opine further that they might think they sounded like totally different projects coming from the same creator, which was the point I was hinting at, at that time in the discussion. Part of my reasoning involved more of the technology aspect and the basic fact that one was recorded in professional studios and the other was mostly recorded in an ad hoc home studio that included a living room as the main live room, an empty pool as an echo chamber, a shower stall as a vocal booth, and a mixing console designed for radio broadcasting rather than studio recording. And also factor in a more dry and less full overall vocal sound, whether in existing group or solo vocals from Smile (another point I was challenged on) or the overall Smiley Smile vocal mix. They sound different on a purely visceral level.

And at a base level, purely visceral reaction I've had since first hearing Smiley Smile, the two always just sounded drastically different from each other. And I feel that was by design, but perhaps the reasons behind that "by design" concept are what's in dispute.

And at that point, I think the reactions of listeners to the music does carry more weight than what was suggested earlier. No matter what the construction, or the timeline, or any theories as to an undercurrent pushing the creators one way or another, that purely visceral, gut-level reaction is important as a factor in developing historical theories about a project or projects.

There were studies at least a decade ago or even more that brought in a psychological element to the issues, where the methods of mixing had changed to the point where even a piece of music that could be described as "pleasing" or "soothing" could have the opposite effect on listeners due to the way in which it was EQ'ed, mixed, and mastered. And there were similar looks at certain genres of music and how those genres were mixed as a stylistic "general rule", where instead of separation everything got lumped into the same sonic space...think of seeing a table full of food laid out for a meal, then taking both arms and squishing everything on that table together in the middle of the table. That's one of the audio equivalents of how certain genres were being mixed and mastered, and there were studies that found listening to those sounds organized that way caused feelings of tension, unease, nervousness, etc.

It's a fascinating topic that doesn't get much "press", but if academia in general is now catching up and actively engaging in even more studies of this kind, hopefully it will lead to some interesting developments in the fields of music, acoustics, psychology, and whatever else is encompassed by the topic.

I do think the comparison of Smile music versus Smiley Smile music, in terms of the interface between the sound of a recording and the experience of listening to that recording would add a lot to similar discussions here, and maybe help understand why listeners perceive the two projects as sounding so different, and perhaps put more context and research into the debates over the two being separate entities or a linear continuation from one to the other.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 25, 2022, 10:06:51 AM
Wait…I thought Air was never recorded? At least that’s according to Brian himself… “it was a little piano piece that never got recorded “

Vegetables was separate from Earth, at least according to Brian’s memo.

DaDa may be water for BWPS but it wasn’t on the 66-67 sessions. That’s the thing… if we’re talking about it being released in 67 , we can only include what was already there on 67 and not include anything afterwards. Plans change but we can’t retroactively apply things that hadn’t happened at the time

Edit

I hope it doesn’t look like I’m picking sides …I’m 100% neutral on this!

Look at the track list Ang sent you. Obviously we don't know if it was bona fide but it preceded BWPS.  My point was as it ended up being Da Da perhaps Da Da became water earlier.  I also found an article from Keith Altman dated January 67 when he interviewed Brian and Brian told him they had 12 tracks ready.

Liz, are you at all interested in the validity of this track list you keep referencing? It is not of the era, because such a thing does not exist. You are looking at either a fan's reconstruction, something from a bootleg label, or something that was proposed as a retrospective release. I don't know which, because I don't exactly know what you're referencing, but whatever it is, it says nothing about Brian Wilson's plans circa 1966-7. I've explained that the "Da Da is water" misconception goes back much further than BWPS, and comes from the fact that it shares the same music as Cool, Cool Water.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on July 25, 2022, 10:17:29 AM
Craig, thank you for that post -- I think part of what's going on here is that we are trying to cover too much ground, so we are sort of running into talking about the same thing in different ways.  Category errors, perhaps.

In any case, let me attempt to clarify -- I do not think that the classic Dumb Angel/Smile material sounds similar to the Smiley material.  What I object to is attempting to use that difference in sound as evidence for Smiley being a quarantined project from what Brian "really wanted to be doing."  Does that make sense?

What listeners perceive is super, super interesting to me, and makes for ultra-fecund soil within which to plant some seeds of discovery, but their perceptions of the sound have no bearing on what Brian was doing.  Which, as you'll know, I believe to have been an intentional move towards the Smiley Sound all along from late 66 into the summer of 67.

Make sense, even if you disagree?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 25, 2022, 10:34:05 AM
Craig, thank you for that post -- I think part of what's going on here is that we are trying to cover too much ground, so we are sort of running into talking about the same thing in different ways.  Category errors, perhaps.

In any case, let me attempt to clarify -- I do not think that the classic Dumb Angel/Smile material sounds similar to the Smiley material.  What I object to is attempting to use that difference in sound as evidence for Smiley being a quarantined project from what Brian "really wanted to be doing."  Does that make sense?

What listeners perceive is super, super interesting to me, and makes for ultra-fecund soil within which to plant some seeds of discovery, but their perceptions of the sound have no bearing on what Brian was doing.  Which, as you'll know, I believe to have been an intentional move towards the Smiley Sound all along from late 66 into the summer of 67.

Make sense, even if you disagree?

That makes sense, I do see where you're coming from! It's just some of the theories and conclusions you have are different than my own, which I respect and agree to disagree when necessary.

What I will suggest in terms of perceptions and reactions from listeners: From quite a few reports of him doing this, specifically prior to 1967, when Brian was working in the studio on a new song, he would often pull in random people to listen to what he had recorded and get their opinions. It was everyone from other musicians who were at the studio, other producers, and even random fans or people who happened to be in the area, and Brian wanted to know what they thought of the music. Even in the Vosse "Teen Set" article and the Jules article on Smile, there were reports of people like Henry Lewy being pulled in to listen, and being blown away by what they were hearing.

If he had been doing this regularly (and I'll say now I don't have access to copy and repost here where these reports came from, you'll just have to trust my memory), it suggests Brian was concerned with how listeners would react to and perceive his music. What those reports don't mention is if he made any changes to his mixes or music based on those reactions, unfortunately that's yet another key factor that just gets lost with time. I think Brian always wanted to hear and see reactions to his music (especially if they made people happy or excited), and needed validation like that to keep going.

And that has to also lead to another issue to consider, the one about Brian feeling his ideas were being stolen by other producers and artists before he had a chance to release them. Maybe Brian was being too open in pulling various people into the studio to hear his works-in-progress, and he felt like his ideas were being stolen by those who could use them to their advantage. The home studio also solved that: He and the group were totally isolated at the house, but who knows if Brian didn't pull others in to listen to Smiley when they were mixing and assembling at Heider's studio.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 25, 2022, 10:52:29 AM
Wait…I thought Air was never recorded? At least that’s according to Brian himself… “it was a little piano piece that never got recorded “

Vegetables was separate from Earth, at least according to Brian’s memo.

DaDa may be water for BWPS but it wasn’t on the 66-67 sessions. That’s the thing… if we’re talking about it being released in 67 , we can only include what was already there on 67 and not include anything afterwards. Plans change but we can’t retroactively apply things that hadn’t happened at the time

Edit

I hope it doesn’t look like I’m picking sides …I’m 100% neutral on this!

Look at the track list Ang sent you. Obviously we don't know if it was bona fide but it preceded BWPS.  My point was as it ended up being Da Da perhaps Da Da became water earlier.  I also found an article from Keith Altman dated January 67 when he interviewed Brian and Brian told him they had 12 tracks ready.

Liz, are you at all interested in the validity of this track list you keep referencing? It is not of the era, because such a thing does not exist. You are looking at either a fan's reconstruction, something from a bootleg label, or something that was proposed as a retrospective release. I don't know which, because I don't exactly know what you're referencing, but whatever it is, it says nothing about Brian Wilson's plans circa 1966-7. I've explained that the "Da Da is water" misconception goes back much further than BWPS, and comes from the fact that it shares the same music as Cool, Cool Water.

The track list looks official. It could be an elaborate hoax or have been put together years later.  It matches the one shown on another thread from a Priore book except it shows 'Prayer' not 'Our Prayer'. It shows an error on one track. It doesn't include any of the Cool Cool Water music of course but shows Vega-tables (Earth), Holidays, Wind Chimes (Air), Intro: Mrs O'Leary's Cow, Mrs O'Leary's Cow (Fire), I Love to Say Dada (Water)... then Surf's Up, You're Welcome.

Having read an article 'Not Gibberish After All' it had suggested some of the apparently meaningless lyrics were meaningFUL and related to a Hawaiian ritual regarding rebirth. The GoodHumor.com site makes similar points about birth, death, rebirth I believe in the comments about a Zen interpretation and we know Brian was interested in that at the time. If there IS a birth/death/rebirth connection via a water ceremony, this would, in fact, also connect to the Cycle of Life aspects. On the list, it's right next to Surf's Up, which includes part of Child is Father of the Man and Song for Children. Of course this is proof of nothing. Maybe they could have issued SOMETHING had they wanted to but there is 48 minutes worth on the list I've got and that seems unlikely for 1967. The sequencing and the technology of the time, let alone the concern about how well it would be received, the problems between some band members, the loss of the contributor, all got in the way.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 25, 2022, 10:57:21 AM
Craig, thank you for that post -- I think part of what's going on here is that we are trying to cover too much ground, so we are sort of running into talking about the same thing in different ways.  Category errors, perhaps.

In any case, let me attempt to clarify -- I do not think that the classic Dumb Angel/Smile material sounds similar to the Smiley material.  What I object to is attempting to use that difference in sound as evidence for Smiley being a quarantined project from what Brian "really wanted to be doing."  Does that make sense?

What listeners perceive is super, super interesting to me, and makes for ultra-fecund soil within which to plant some seeds of discovery, but their perceptions of the sound have no bearing on what Brian was doing.  Which, as you'll know, I believe to have been an intentional move towards the Smiley Sound all along from late 66 into the summer of 67.

Make sense, even if you disagree?

Not really.  It really seemed that losing his ability to complete Smile broke Brian.  Carl said “We’d just let the tape machines roll. We’d just make up stuff and do it. There wasn’t the same type of effort put into that album. It was very simple, more like a “jam” album.”  He also said that it almost destroyed the group's reputation for forwarding thinking pop.   I can't substantiate that quotation because sadly Carl is no longer with us and in any case, as you have already pointed out, people lie.

I'm glad that you and others enjoy Smiley Smile. It sunk their reputation for a good while and they only survived by releasing items from Smile.

Jamie Atkins reviews in retrospect for Record Collector, July 2018:

“Smiley Smile had the unenviable task of restoring the reputation of The Beach Boys. On the surface, it’s a goofy, at times spooked take on the psych in the vogue at the time. Despite the verdant, Rousseau like sleeve, the songs did not, with the exception of “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes & Villains”, appear to be finished; at least not when compared to the meticulous, lush Pet Sounds. Songs seem barely rehearsed and fragmentary, such as “Little Pad”, which collapses in hilarity, thanks to a blossoming interest in mind-altering substances.”

“Smiley Smile must be one of the strangest ever releases by a mainstream pop group, yet it has a definite charm. The vocals are intimate and heavy-lidded, as a result of the relaxed nature of the sessions. Musically, it’s deceiving; the arrangements of many of the tracks are remarkably complex, yet sound simple: “With Me Tonight”, for example, a heart-swelling slice of beatific barbershop. The legendarily aborted SMiLE material was completely overhauled and re-recorded. “Wind Chimes”, previously breezy and bucolic, became tense and claustrophobic; the usually angelic harmonies of The Beach Boys sound discordant, even malevolent, until the end of the track when a beautiful a cappella flourish gives way to a barely audible Dennis, Brian and Carl harmony tag. Similarly, “Wonderful” flipped to show it’s sinister side; a sweet, harpsichord-led piece of harmonic heaven was updated to sound hushed and full of foreboding.”

I think that's a pretty fair summation.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 25, 2022, 11:17:19 AM
Angela, I know that this mysterious piece of paper you have seen may “look official”, but I am telling you again that it is not. I am aware of exactly what was written down when throughout the entire Smile period, and I have access to some documentation that isn’t out in the open. I am informing you that what you’ve seen is not something from the 60s, nor does it reveal anything about Brian’s plans in the 60s.

There are lots of bootleg labels that have released various versions of Smile, there are endless fan mixes, and there have been attempts to release Smile for decades before the 2011 box set came out. You are looking at a track list for one of these. If I see it, I could probably narrow down just when and who it came from, but this is not a hoax, and it’s not elaborate. It’s just a list of songs someone wrote down that you’ve seen with no context. Unless, or course, it was presented to you as something that Brian planned - in that case, I’m afraid you have indeed been duped.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 25, 2022, 11:24:28 AM
Angela, I know that this mysterious piece of paper you have seen may “look official”, but I am telling you again that it is not. I am aware of exactly what was written down when throughout the entire Smile period, and I have access to some documentation that isn’t out in the open. I am informing you that what you’ve seen is not something from the 60s, nor does it reveal anything about Brian’s plans in the 60s.

There are lots of bootleg labels that have released various versions of Smile, there are endless fan mixes, and there have been attempts to release Smile for decades before the 2011 box set came out. You are looking at a track list for one of these. If I see it, I could probably narrow down just when and who it came from, but this is not a hoax, and it’s not elaborate. It’s just a list of songs someone wrote down that you’ve seen with no context. Unless, or course, it was presented to you as something that Brian planned - in that case, I’m afraid you have indeed been duped.

I can't prove that it IS official and my guess would be it would be more likely to relate to something planned long after 1967. It's not written, it's printed on headed paper, not that THAT proves anything either of course.

I suppose many of us have information that is not in the open. I do too and I won't be disclosing it.



Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Don Malcolm on July 25, 2022, 11:30:17 AM
Pardon any presumption on my part, but perhaps we can start to bring this sprawling thread to a point of closure by looking at the places where the best hard info about the SMiLE->SMILEY nexus can be found, so we can put it into the very pivotal perspective of what happened afterwards...

Will's data on what I like to call "the Wrecking Crew SMiLE" is a terrific summary, and highly useful as it was written; IMO the best application of it, however, would be to map that back against the track list for SMILEY SMILE and the 2004 BWPS to see how everything ultimately shook out. All of that, in a giant table, will still not completely resolve the issue that dominated a good portion of this thread (transition or profound break).

Since Brian went back and made the 2004 SMiLE, we should conclude that his response to the "SMILEY SMILE is SMiLE" assertion would be "no." But it's also abundantly clear that to make SMILEY SMILE, he was still caught up in the raw materials for SMiLE, which had swirled around in the January-March '67 "we need a single" phase that derailed his original vision. And the evidence that he was looking for alternatives to the "Wrecking Crew" approach to the material is sufficient enough to support the idea that he was at least subliminally preparing himself for what was done to create the SMILEY SMILE tracks.

So, in essence, both assertions are true--as far as each one of them goes.

What's received less emphasis here, due in part to the thread being directed to musicological concerns, is the band dynamic and how that played out from December '66 to June '67, when all parties undertook a fresh start on portions of the SMiLE material. From my perspective, the new information about the work done at Brian's studio (and the new material in the SUNSHINE TOMORROW and WAKE THE WORLD compilations tells us that Brian rallied from the ouroborous-like detritus of SMiLE and produced material at a prodigious rate for another ten months before something changed, at which point he became the reclusive, foregrounded "crazy/eccentric" character that folks originally surmised he'd become when SMiLE was "scrapped" (which we all know now didn't happen).

The understanding between Brian and the band must have been worked out in the late May '67 time frame GF has noted, but it appears that the understanding was fungible, as evidenced by the Redwood incident, which smacks of the notion that everyone in the band BUT Brian could be an outside producer. Despite this, the band worked as amicably on WILD HONEY as they had on SMILEY, but things shift once Brian has re-asserted some of his "offbeat/eccentric" qualities on FRIENDS (the worst selling BB LP to that point, despite the sizable retroactive love for it). It looks to me that this is where the crisis that was deflected/delayed by the decision to reboot SMILE(Y) really comes to the fore; the turmoil/uncertainty that comes into play here is due to the fact that the band is now dealing with a case of "a prophet is not without honor save in his own country" and folks could see a "crash & burn" scenario headed their way. It's at this point that the rest of the band really gets in gear to write their own songs, and Brian is much less active until returning with "Break Away" early in '69.

This discussion may seem that it's not really related to the main issues in the thread, but I submit it is, simply because Brian made the decision to set aside the maelstrom of approaches that had buffeted and battered his original plan for SMiLE in order to keep the band together and avoid a family meltdown. He could have said "To hell with you guys, I'm moving on." But it appears that he wanted to get them to a point where they could carry on credibly with at least a significantly reduced amount of input from him. After three LPs of mostly still being in charge and writing the lion's share of the material (SMILEY-WILD HONEY-FRIENDS), he probably realized that he'd have to pull the plug more drastically in order to get them to the point where they could operate in that matter. But lo and behold, SMiLE enters the picture again in late '68, when, during the onset of his depression and reclusive phase, the band (or, more specifically, Carl and Dennis) pick the carcass of SMiLE for two tracks to fill out the 20/20 LP. That ensures that SMiLE will always be a Beach Boy thing, and that any chance of Brian using the unreleased portion of it for his own purposes was quashed.

All of that probably (and what was done with COOL, COOL WATER and SURF'S UP) probably explains why it was twenty-five years before another chunk of SMiLE appeared (in the '93 box set) and another dozen years transpired before Brian was ready to deal with it on his own terms. Perhaps there were some moments along the way where Brian may have wished that he'd actually "scrapped" it all. Thankfully, the fact the the band rather perversely validated SMiLE by using it as a "come-on" for the media and the fans prevented any possibility of that happening. And, as Liz notes, it became necessary to use the "SMiLE myth" to lift the band out of its "discarded prophet" status with the release of "Surf's Up."


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: HeyJude on July 25, 2022, 11:42:36 AM
Great stuff, love reading the deep-dives into the minutia of "Smile."

I'll go very deep on any number of topics and I have mentioned in the past not liking too much of the sort of reductive arguments trying to over-simplify things to more easily understand or discuss them. Not that that methodology is never useful when making more broad characterizations. But some folks here have done the deep-dive work on "Smile" and also *listen* to the stuff and understand it beyond raw data, so I think it's very important to acknowledge and respect that.

Not to be reductive, because I'm not drawing *any* conclusions from this, but simply something worth pointing out from someone who has done deep-dives on many eras of the band's career and then watched them talk about it sometimes in the most jaw-droppingly confusing, inaccurate ways: These people, Brian and all of the members and everybody in that "Smile" orb in any way, were and are people. And they had lives. They lived lives, and while they were remarkable and extraordinary in many ways, they were also people who had the same foibles and sometimes inexplicable behavior that we all see in ourselves and/or others.

I sometimes like to paraphrase a tiny bit from a Mark Lewisohn interview. This is a guy who has obviously done a deep dive on the Beatles sessions (yes, I know EMI commissioning you to write a sessions book and opening the vaults for you is not as labor-intensive in many ways as fans and scholars of the BBs having to chase down stuff, but we can safely say Lewisohn knows the nuts and bolts and minutia on the recording side of things quite well). But in writing his biography of the Beatles, he has done the deepest of deep dives on their *lives*. And one of the things he said in an interview in the last several years was very apt to discussing  the BBs. I'm very loosely paraphrasing, but he simply reminded that the story of the Beatles collectively and individually, *including their music*, is their *lives*, and they never thought of their lives as organized by LP releases. I think some fans have to start from there with the Beatles or BBs, organizing the "story" of the band in terms of LP releases/projects, or a strict chronology, even down to individual days during a group of sessions. Now, to be clear, this is VERY IMPORTANT when unraveling what actually happened. I don't feel the need to beat around the bush: While interviews with band members can be useful and important, the actual evidence/data/historical record is far, far more reliable.

But when you're going back to a quote from Brian or any of these guys, even contemporaneous quotes, and certainly more so anything happening after the fact, they might be wrong. I'm not saying these guys weren't sharp and sometimes still can be. But memories can quickly morph, and I could easily see memories of 1966/67 smushing together, even *in* 1967.

Also, they were a *business*; they never stopped recording and touring. It's not insane that they didn't like have a ceremony to close the "Smile" sessions with a dramatic locking of the vault. They kept recording. *Everything else* was pretty fluid, including what they thought was the *very nature* of what they were recording. But they we always recording.

Al Jardine at the end of the band's 2012 reunion honestly truly thought it could continue. This in spite of Mike having already booked dates.

These guys sometimes don't see what's right in front of them, and when it comes to "Smile", it's clear if you had polled all the members once per month from 1966 through to the end of the 60s, you'd get *vastly* different answers about *very seemingly fundamental* questions about "Smile", such as "is it canceled?", "will it come out?", "why didn't it come out already?", and so on.

And this is all not even getting into the possibility of *purposeful* obfuscation of information, or some of Brian's classic go-to methods of dodging "Smile" questions in interviews, etc.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: WillJC on July 25, 2022, 01:29:22 PM
I think the most clear and honest explanation of what happened to Smile might be what came straight from the horse's mouth when Brian talked about it in Jan '68: "We pulled out of that production pace merely because I was about ready to die. Y'know, I was trying so hard. And all of a sudden, I just decided not to try anymore, y'know, and not do such great things, and such big musical things. And we had so much fun. The Smiley Smile era was so great, it was unbelievable - personally, spiritually, everything. It was great. I didn't have any paranoiac feelings. No paranoia."

Brian's being sort of humble with the 'great things' line - we know from band members that he was still drilling them for hours on their vocal parts, producing everything at a very high level, and still creating complex, dynamic music that I wouldn't consider creatively diminished from what came before (and time has been very kind to Smiley Smile), but it's definitely a dramatic change in tone if not technical production approach, or the way he arranged things, which had been gradually brushing up to the essence of Smiley Smile over the previous months without quite making the leap to embracing that as an entire aesthetic. It's the laid-back, low-key, non-competitive thing. 'Music to cool out by'. Brian stopped chasing the charts and 'important music' acclaim from the rock press, dialled back his social circle to heal personal relationships in the family, and started making music efficiently and happily again for the first time since probably about October '66. Music that he wanted to make for himself, without the self-imposed pressure. There's another pretty enlightening quote from Brian in a magazine around March off the back of that lengthy stretch of Heroes sessions where he said he felt like he was "losing his talent", working harder than ever but getting less satisfying results. Carl also said more than once that Brian threw Smile away because he stopped getting any fulfilment out of it.

Mike has a quote in the Byron Preiss biography that I think does a really good job of understanding where he was at:

Brian took a benign, passive interest, instead of a dominating interest. At that time something had happened to his whole ego drive. It had been very powerful until the time of “Heroes and Villains’” release – he was about ready to come out with the Smile album and he was feeling very dynamic and creative and then something happened… chemically that completely shattered that – that made him the complete opposite…that made him want to withdraw… But he was always shy; he was too sensitive. There was a fine line and he went over that line… He was still creative though. Instead of Smile he did Smiley Smile. It was light, mellifluous, laid-back. It was dynamic in a passive sort of way, it was a revelation of where his psychology had gone to. It dropped out. He dropped out of that production race – the next big thing after Sgt. Pepper. Brian had lost interest in being aggressive and he went in the other direction – still creative, and different, but it wasn’t competitive.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 25, 2022, 04:34:19 PM
I believe in a multiplicity of Smiles, and I have no interest in saying what is or is not legitimately Smile. Smile contains multitudes. Brian Wilson Presents Smile is absolutely, authentically, Smile. It sure as *hell* has a stronger claim to being Smile than the *imaginary version of Smile I, a fan, have created in my own mind!* And yet, it's also true that the Smile-of-the-mind which has been laid out in one of the multiple conversations that make up this long and polyphonic thread, is certainly more accurate, historically, to what Brian was aiming for in the fall of 1966 than Brian Wilson Presents Smile. These two facts are not in contradiction. They are just based on different ways of viewing the world. The historian versus the artist, perhaps, although it is certainly more complicated than that!

For what it's worth, the Smile that is most important to me, the most *real* Smile, the Smile closest to my heart, really, is the Smile Liz is talking about it, the Smile described by her tracklist! This, at least in my view, is the consensus-Smile of the 1990s. The Smile that Domenic Priore and countless other researchers and musicians put together through intensive effort, as they tried to understand and make sense of the bootlegs that were coming out in the last two decades of the 20th century. Those bootlegs, in turn, increasingly took on the shape of that research, until an album arose, in countless related permutations, that made musical and creative sense. This is the Smile I first encountered as a child. I think Liz is flat wrong that there is any possibility of this iteration of Smile representing something that existed in 1967. But I don't think Liz cares very much about that in the end. She is looking at all this from a different angle, and I'm *so* glad she shared her perspective here, because it is what seeded this whole amazing conversation; we've all been bouncing off of her provocations, and going in all kinds of interesting directions because of it. And if the parts of this thread that were the *most* interesting to me were, I suspect, the *least* interesting to Liz, well, that just says that we're two different people with different interests and different approaches to life and art.

As someone a few pages ago very insightfully pointed out, the 1990s Smile of countless bootlegs and Look, Listen, Vibrate, Smile (with Heroes and Villains up front and Cabinessence at the end of Side 1 and the elements leading us into Surf's Up), became an important model, in many respects, for Brian Wilson Presents Smile. And that fact, the fact of the original creator of the work incorporating aspects of the legend and incorporating some of the theories of fans into the work itself, is one of the most poetic and incredible facets of the whole Smile story. And then, in an even more poetic and cyclical and beautiful ending, the original 1966 and 67 recordings were edited into the rough template of Brian Wilson Presents Smile, becoming the first disc of the Smile Sessions. I suspect that the vast majority of future fans of this music will almost certainly start there, and get a version of Smile built on this whole incredible rich history. And that Smile, the 2011 Smile, is also legitimately Smile. It *is* Smile.

But there are other Smiles. What might Smile have been in December, 1966, that unknowable potential, is a Smile that obsesses me personally. This obsession leads me to a place of deep, deep interest in questions about what exactly was recorded when. Others here have little interest in this question, or don't even really see it as a question that makes sense, which is perfectly fine. But these Smiles are Smile too. What might Smile have been in March, 1967? What did Smile look like at the moment that it morphed into Smiley Smile? All these imaginary Smiles have worked their way into fan theories and fan mixes and bootlegs and contributed to the endless permutations of this music that make it such fertile and creative ground.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 25, 2022, 04:56:51 PM
Well said, BJL... it all matters!

There have been many angles to this conversation, and I think the lines have been blurred a bit. Objectively, Love to Say Da Da was not considered to be the "water element" in Brian's 1966-67 recordings, but also, In Blue Hawaii is presented as the "water element" on BWPS (although it's not explicitly stated as such). At some point long before BWPS was constructed, this interpretation of LTSDD as water came to be among fans. Now, it may have arisen out of misinterpretations of Brian's original plan... but that doesn't matter to some. The confusion, the misconceptions, the bootlegs, the fan mixes... they all started the Smile craze, and all the legend and the myth was incorporated into BWPS. Not to mention that the guy who assembled BWPS was a massive fan whose introduction to Smile was the bootlegs!

Now, I might not personally care all that much about BWPS, and the Beach Boys' 1960s recordings may really be all that truly matter to me, but different elements (pun intended) of Smile appeal to different people. So while track lists of bootlegs from the 80s and 90s don't reveal anything about Brian's initial vision (and we would be wrong in making such an argument) they do reveal something about the way that Smile has grown over the decades in the collective mind of the fans. THAT is what some people here are really interested in, and I think that we are debating about different Smiles at some point in this thread - no, LTSDD was not part of The Elements in 1967, but in 1998? Maybe! That's an interesting discussion itself! That is the stuff that's open to interpretation, which we can actually use the changing, evolving notion of Smile to understand.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: SMiLE Brian on July 25, 2022, 05:03:04 PM
I am a semi- illiterate  poster but I appreciate this thread and everyone in it. SMiLE is great thing and I love everyone who will debate it.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 25, 2022, 06:35:18 PM
Wasn’t there talk back in the mid 90s of a SMiLE computer program where you could mix your own, kinda like Todd Rundgren did, or am I having a moment?


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: guitarfool2002 on July 25, 2022, 06:46:44 PM
Wasn’t there talk back in the mid 90s of a SMiLE computer program where you could mix your own, kinda like Todd Rundgren did, or am I having a moment?

"(Don) Was and Todd Rundgren have been encouraging him to convert all the 36-odd hours of Smile pieces to CD-ROM. "That would preserve the mystique, and be the only honest way to present it - Brian saying to the world 'I don't know how to finish it; You do it."

Pulse! magazine, November 1995, Brian and Van Dyke on the cover.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 25, 2022, 07:44:27 PM
I think the most clear and honest explanation of what happened to Smile might be what came straight from the horse's mouth when Brian talked about it in Jan '68: "We pulled out of that production pace merely because I was about ready to die. Y'know, I was trying so hard. And all of a sudden, I just decided not to try anymore, y'know, and not do such great things, and such big musical things. And we had so much fun. The Smiley Smile era was so great, it was unbelievable - personally, spiritually, everything. It was great. I didn't have any paranoiac feelings. No paranoia."

Brian's being sort of humble with the 'great things' line - we know from band members that he was still drilling them for hours on their vocal parts, producing everything at a very high level, and still creating complex, dynamic music that I wouldn't consider creatively diminished from what came before (and time has been very kind to Smiley Smile), but it's definitely a dramatic change in tone if not technical production approach, or the way he arranged things, which had been gradually brushing up to the essence of Smiley Smile over the previous months without quite making the leap to embracing that as an entire aesthetic. It's the laid-back, low-key, non-competitive thing. 'Music to cool out by'. Brian stopped chasing the charts and 'important music' acclaim from the rock press, dialled back his social circle to heal personal relationships in the family, and started making music efficiently and happily again for the first time since probably about October '66. Music that he wanted to make for himself, without the self-imposed pressure. There's another pretty enlightening quote from Brian in a magazine around March off the back of that lengthy stretch of Heroes sessions where he said he felt like he was "losing his talent", working harder than ever but getting less satisfying results. Carl also said more than once that Brian threw Smile away because he stopped getting any fulfilment out of it.

Mike has a quote in the Byron Preiss biography that I think does a really good job of understanding where he was at:

Brian took a benign, passive interest, instead of a dominating interest. At that time something had happened to his whole ego drive. It had been very powerful until the time of “Heroes and Villains’” release – he was about ready to come out with the Smile album and he was feeling very dynamic and creative and then something happened… chemically that completely shattered that – that made him the complete opposite…that made him want to withdraw… But he was always shy; he was too sensitive. There was a fine line and he went over that line… He was still creative though. Instead of Smile he did Smiley Smile. It was light, mellifluous, laid-back. It was dynamic in a passive sort of way, it was a revelation of where his psychology had gone to. It dropped out. He dropped out of that production race – the next big thing after Sgt. Pepper. Brian had lost interest in being aggressive and he went in the other direction – still creative, and different, but it wasn’t competitive.

Man these quotes are so great. Thanks! That Mike quote is especially interesting, for some reason.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: BJL on July 25, 2022, 07:53:06 PM
Objectively, Love to Say Da Da was not considered to be the "water element" in Brian's 1966-67 recordings, but also, In Blue Hawaii is presented as the "water element" on BWPS (although it's not explicitly stated as such). At some point long before BWPS was constructed, this interpretation of LTSDD as water came to be among fans.

I have a sincere question about this. Do you think that the evidence you're looking at actually shows that Love to Say Da Da was *not* considered to be the "water element?" Or does it just show that *there is no evidence* that Love to Say Da Da was the water element? Because *eventually* that music became associated with water, so merely in the absence of evidence, we wouldn't necessarily know when that association started in Brian's mind. Does that make sense?

While I was thinking about this I had a fun thought. We know that across Brian's career he constantly reused ideas. It definitely seems like more often than not, if Brian landed on a chord progression or feel or idea he liked, he'd quite possibly find a home for it eventually, maybe years later. Which made me think about that famous quote about "air" being a piano piece he never recorded. Given how we know Brian worked, doesn't it seem more likely than not that if Brian composed something he liked enough to include in his conception of the Elements, that eventually he probably would have come back to those ideas in some way shape or form and used them somewhere? And if you accept that, than it's more likely than not that we *have* heard the Air music. We just don't *know* we've heard it. We have know way of knowing where it ended up! It could be hiding anywhere, on any album from 1967 to the Paley Sessions!

Just a thought that tickled me :)


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: ♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇 on July 25, 2022, 08:46:55 PM
Wasn’t there talk back in the mid 90s of a SMiLE computer program where you could mix your own, kinda like Todd Rundgren did, or am I having a moment?

"(Don) Was and Todd Rundgren have been encouraging him to convert all the 36-odd hours of Smile pieces to CD-ROM. "That would preserve the mystique, and be the only honest way to present it - Brian saying to the world 'I don't know how to finish it; You do it."

Pulse! magazine, November 1995, Brian and Van Dyke on the cover.


Ahhh thanks!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 25, 2022, 11:11:28 PM
Objectively, Love to Say Da Da was not considered to be the "water element" in Brian's 1966-67 recordings, but also, In Blue Hawaii is presented as the "water element" on BWPS (although it's not explicitly stated as such). At some point long before BWPS was constructed, this interpretation of LTSDD as water came to be among fans.

I have a sincere question about this. Do you think that the evidence you're looking at actually shows that Love to Say Da Da was *not* considered to be the "water element?" Or does it just show that *there is no evidence* that Love to Say Da Da was the water element? Because *eventually* that music became associated with water, so merely in the absence of evidence, we wouldn't necessarily know when that association started in Brian's mind. Does that make sense?

While I was thinking about this I had a fun thought. We know that across Brian's career he constantly reused ideas. It definitely seems like more often than not, if Brian landed on a chord progression or feel or idea he liked, he'd quite possibly find a home for it eventually, maybe years later. Which made me think about that famous quote about "air" being a piano piece he never recorded. Given how we know Brian worked, doesn't it seem more likely than not that if Brian composed something he liked enough to include in his conception of the Elements, that eventually he probably would have come back to those ideas in some way shape or form and used them somewhere? And if you accept that, than it's more likely than not that we *have* heard the Air music. We just don't *know* we've heard it. We have know way of knowing where it ended up! It could be hiding anywhere, on any album from 1967 to the Paley Sessions!

Just a thought that tickled me :)

Very good question, and thanks for asking! Certainly the latter, and I think the former statement is also something that we can say with near certainty.

In the case of Love to Say Da Da, here are some very specific details on exactly what evidence exists. The song was tracked in December, and engineered at Columbia by Jerry Hochman, which we know via the handwriting on the tape box. Jerry wrote the song down as "Da Da", which you might argue was the original title, but "Worms" is also written on the same box (as the verse section was placed on the same reel), and that's obviously shorthand. So possibly, LTSDD's full title existed from the beginning. Let me explain the context of these sessions a little bit more - on December 27 and 28, Brian was working on Heroes, and these were the first dates that the song was officially incorporated with what were previously the choruses of Do You Like Worms (bicycle rider) and Cabin Essence (iron horse), which were now bridges of Heroes. Brian was working on his own, so the work here was limited to lead vocals and mixing, which was achieved for the Heroes verse and bicycle rider, and just mixing for iron horse (all necessary vocals were in place). He also worked on Wonderful in some capacity, possibly recording a new lead vocal, creating a new mono mix, or both. Either way, that work is lost to time. Wonderful was possibly a B-side for Heroes at this point.

But he also did these Da Da tracks, and the song appeared to be in 3 sections - the DYLW verse (a section from a dead song, which was now an intro for a new piece - note the similarities in arrangement/feel and harmonic rhythm to the later LTSDD part 1), the Rhodes section, and the taped piano section. Recorded in the same modular fashion as many Smile songs by this point. As DYLW had effectively been killed off for the sake of Heroes, this appears to be an attempt to fill the hole that Brian had created in the project. This is why I agree with you that Smile was a salvageable project by the end of 1966 - Brian, at first, seemed to be a lot more careful in his destruction of other songs, by either letting them work without the section he used for Heroes (Cabin Essence was to be chorus-less by now) or writing a new song to incorporate the remaining pieces. Later, he would give no thought to this destruction, and it would rule out a great number of compositions from being included on the album.

On the composition itself - both Stephen Desper and Marilyn have commented about the song's subject matter being babies. Although Stephen did not directly engineer anything related to the song before it was CCW, he and Carl listened back to the tapes in attempts to revive the material a few times. Marilyn recalled that when Brian wrote this, he was sucking chocolate milk out of a baby bottle while playing the piano. You know, classic 1966 Brian Wilson stuff. This jives with everything about the song in both of its forms. The title is in reference to baby sounds, and the only vocals that were recorded for the May version are "a wah wah ho wah." It's a very Smile-ish little chant, but the syllables are definitely an intentional reference to baby sounds. I believe Desper called it something close to "baby sounds set to music." That is what the song was, and the fact that the edited sections of each version of the song (even the May production, which judging by the cancelled May 19 session, would have had at least one more piece) reach a length comparable to many of Brian's other Smile songs, seems to confirm that it was its own thing. The title being used consistently, with subtitles within that title (part 1, part 2, second day), essentially means that this was a song called Love to Say Da Da. Moreover, when you hear the Fire music... how evocative is that? You can practically see the fire. With Da Da? None of the musical cues imply a single thing about water. It's a baby song.

And how about the Elements side of things? Well, we actually do know about some of Brian's plans for the water section, and I'm surprised I haven't brought this up already. Michael Vosse has explained on a few occasions that he was sent out to make recordings of water, which he did actually do. Vosse told researcher Cam Mott that Brian planned to sample these sounds and use them as "notes" in some form, somehow. This was most likely in November, before the Fire section was recorded, and all the Elements plans went topsy turvy. But there were concrete plans for water; according to Brian, there was a written piece for air, and as we know, Fire was recorded. Earth was probably not far behind. But, beyond fire, nothing actually happened in the studio for The Elements. Things moved forward.

And to address the Cool, Cool Water connection - yes, it's nearly undeniable that Brian revived some old Elements ideas for this! In fact, Stephen Desper was told to do the same thing as Michael Vosse regarding water sounds, now for the purpose of CCW rather than The Elements. And he actually went above and beyond and physically created a keyboard of water sounds, which Brian wanted to use... and then just didn't. Brian, have some respect for the hard working engineers of the world! But yes, there are traces of The Elements in Cool, Cool Water, and of course, the music is based on Love to Say Da Da.

However, the transitive property doesn't apply here, and this is true of a lot of these connections that Brian has made in his music over the years. He reuses ideas, but he also combines a multitude of old, once unrelated ideas, into something new. This is something that the "LTSDD is water" originators failed to consider, but we can see it now in not just CCW, but a lot of tunes that came out of Smile material. Wind Chimes on Smiley Smile contains the melody and lyrics of... well, Wind Chimes, but the fade is the same music as Holidays! Does that mean Holidays and Wind Chimes were initially related? Nope, totally separate recordings, both their own songs, with ideas later combined in a new way. Same goes for dozens of variations of Heroes and Villains, and that's kind of where this really started to happen often - songs that were initially separate tracks being combined as one. It's a way to revive several incomplete ideas in a fresh way, without the need to use up more original music, and it's sort of beautiful, although destructive at times. This goes farther back than Smile, too. It's part of the essence of Brian's writing style, and it's a tool that never seemed to leave his "bag of tricks". He could be combining two unfinished songs as I type this.

Hope that helps!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 25, 2022, 11:38:18 PM
Now, there's another possibility here to consider...

What if Love to Say Da Da came from the Water element? What if Brian intended to record the exact same chord progression, maybe even with the June CCW vocal arrangement on top, and later turned it into LTSDD when the Elements went south? Well, that's a possibility to consider, and we can say that there's no evidence that it's true, but we can't necessarily disprove it.

However, I have a few reasons to doubt this. And yes, I know it's a theory I just invented that no one has even made. But I want to address this before anyone else brings it up.

Fire was, in part, a studio creation. Brian's friends at the session implied that he had just conceived the music immediately before, and much of the identifying "sound" of the record comes from the arrangement. Otherwise, it is a two chord vamp with a harmonized bass line, and that's all Brian really could have done, physically, on a piano. The water plans, as I've read Cam Mott's research on them over the years, seemed to be pretty vague. It sounds like Brian had a really cool idea for a concept, but that he had not yet written a piece of music that he would have put those water sounds to. Bringing back the "water keyboard" in the Desper era seems more like remembering an old concept rather than remembering the initial plan for what became another song. I'm not making any objective claim here, but it really does seem like "The Elements" was a more conceptual conception, rather than something Brian planned out one evening in full on a piano. That is probably a large part of why it fell apart so much faster, and in such a less complete form, than other Smile songs.

When Marilyn described Brian's bizarre ritual in writing LTSDD, it sounds like he was actually writing music on his Chickering grand - not repurposing pre-existing music to new vocal riffs. You can't even perform the vocal parts while you're sucking down chocolate milk, can you?

Moreover, throughout October 1966-July 1967, Brian was simply not a backwards thinker. Plans changed all of the time, but they always moved into something new. Old ideas that had already been abandoned were hardly ever revisited in their exact original form. Brian liked playing with the puzzle pieces floating around in his head, but making the same puzzle twice is boring. He never did it.

Also, Brian did say that he wrote Cool Cool Water in the new Bellagio house in March of 1967, as Liz pointed out earlier in the thread. Of course, he's off by a few months, but he remembers the song as a new creation in a new place, away from the Smile music of the past, although it's founded upon two essential pieces of Smile music. For what it's worth, when Bob Harris asked Brian in 1976 if anything on Sunflower was Smile material, he said no.

So, in short...

Is Love to Say Da Da (in either of its recording forms, under that title) the water element? No.

Did Love to Say Da Da come from ideas for the water element? Possible, but highly unlikely, given all of the above.

Did Love to Say Da Da later fuse with original ideas for the water element? Yes! This is Cool, Cool Water - not something that ever existed while Brian was working on an album called Smile, but it's a beautiful, cute little song that rose from the ashes.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 26, 2022, 12:01:47 AM
Now, there's another possibility here to consider...

What if Love to Say Da Da came from the Water element? What if Brian intended to record the exact same chord progression, maybe even with the June CCW vocal arrangement on top, and later turned it into LTSDD when the Elements went south? Well, that's a possibility to consider, and we can say that there's no evidence that it's true, but we can't necessarily disprove it.

However, I have a few reasons to doubt this. And yes, I know it's a theory I just invented that no one has even made. But I want to address this before anyone else brings it up.

Fire was, in part, a studio creation. Brian's friends at the session implied that he had just conceived the music immediately before, and much of the identifying "sound" of the record comes from the arrangement. Otherwise, it is a two chord vamp with a harmonized bass line, and that's all Brian really could have done, physically, on a piano. The water plans, as I've read Cam Mott's research on them over the years, seemed to be pretty vague. It sounds like Brian had a really cool idea for a concept, but that he had not yet written a piece of music that he would have put those water sounds to. Bringing back the "water keyboard" in the Desper era seems more like remembering an old concept rather than remembering the initial plan for what became another song. I'm not making any objective claim here, but it really does seem like "The Elements" was a more conceptual conception, rather than something Brian planned out one evening in full on a piano. That is probably a large part of why it fell apart so much faster, and in such a less complete form, than other Smile songs.

When Marilyn described Brian's bizarre ritual in writing LTSDD, it sounds like he was actually writing music on his Chickering grand - not repurposing pre-existing music to new vocal riffs. You can't even perform the vocal parts while you're sucking down chocolate milk, can you?

Moreover, throughout October 1966-July 1967, Brian was simply not a backwards thinker. Plans changed all of the time, but they always moved into something new. Old ideas that had already been abandoned were hardly ever revisited in their exact original form. Brian liked playing with the puzzle pieces floating around in his head, but making the same puzzle twice is boring. He never did it.

So, in short...

Is Love to Say Da Da (in either of its recording forms, under that title) the water element? No.

Did Love to Say Da Da come from ideas for the water element? Possible, but highly unlikely, given all of the above.

Did Love to Say Da Da later fuse with original ideas for the water element? Yes! This is Cool, Cool Water - not something that ever existed while Brian was working on an album called Smile, but it's a beautiful, cute little song that rose from the ashes.

It's not whether some bootlegs show Love to Say Dada as Water. The things that suggest it to me are the chant in Dada. As I've already pointed out, an article called SMiLE, Hawaii: Not Gibberish After All pointed out that the chant is not meaningless. Some spell it 'Wa Wa Ho Wa', other times it can be shown as 'Wai'. 'Wa' can be youth, 'wai' = WATER. (I believe it's 'wai' in The Surf Sessions notes.)

Dada was worked on between 16-18 May 1967. Cool Cool Water June 7th 1967. Less than 3 weeks between them. That doesn't prove it, of course. Suggests a 'maybe'.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 26, 2022, 12:23:28 AM
Angela, a fan's interpretation of a song is just that - a fan's interpretation. That's fun, and I do love that kind of thing. I encourage it really, even when I have a different interpretation! We can all add letters to the syllables that Brian sings, in order to create some justification for the way we wish to view it. But this does not actually say anything about Brian's plans, and if a fan theory is contradicted by detailed reports about the song from people who were literally in the room with Brian while it was being written, well, that should be obvious.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 26, 2022, 12:38:48 AM
It's bedtime, but I'm going to say one last thing, a little bit of a change in topic, but I've been thinking about Smile all evening and I want to say it.

Smile was not finished, not in 1967 and not in 2004. But I believe it was close enough, that we have enough of it, to understand, conceptually, intellectually, and also in our hearts, what a finished Smile would have been, what it would have meant. Good Vibrations, Cabinessence, Wonderful, we have these songs in versions that are, for all intents and purposes, finished. The first two minutes of Surf's Up with Brian's vocal on the 1966 backing track. It is not hard to imagine a version of Surf's Up in which all three movements are produced to the level of that first section. It is not hard to imagine A Do You Like Worms finished to the level of Cabinessence, or the Fire Music brought to the level of Good Vibrations, howling, roaring, perfectly produced. I can imagine that album. Sometimes, late at night, with the lights off, sitting in silence, I can almost *hear* it.

And I believe, with all of my heart, that that album, that the album Brian Wilson came *this close* to finishing in December of 1966, would have been one of the great achievements of the human mind. That it would have stood alongside Van Eyck's Ghent Alterpiece and Michelangelo's Last Judgment and the Elgin Marbles and the Benin Bronzes, alongside Beethoven's late period and Bach's organ music and New Orleans jazz, against Einstein's theory of relativity and Tolstoy's novels. Pet Sounds is my favorite album of all time, but I'm not sure it belongs on that list, not really. Honestly, there is not a single piece of popular music recorded in the 1960s that, in my opinion, belongs on that list, that belongs among *the greatest creative acts of human civilization.* But that is what I hear in the Smile music. A bid for *that* list. That list of human invention and creative potential pushed to the absolute limit.

And so I love Smiley Smile, I really, really do. But f*** Smiley Smile. Smiley Smile is a great album. It's not Smile. Nothing is Smile, nothing can replace that incomprehensible loss, not how I see it.

Quoting this to repeat it. Love it. You could do a different SMiLE every year because the music lends itself to rearrangement, bits appear in more than one context and the lyrics also contain puns and double meanings. 'Van Dyke Parks states in a filmed conversation with Brian Wilson (Leaf, 2004) that together with SMiLE, they inadvertently created the world’s first ‘interactive’ album' so the fans have contributed to this too.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 26, 2022, 12:42:37 AM
Angela, a fan's interpretation of a song is just that - a fan's interpretation. That's fun, and I do love that kind of thing. I encourage it really, even when I have a different interpretation! We can all add letters to the syllables that Brian sings, in order to create some justification for the way we wish to view it. But this does not actually say anything about Brian's plans, and if a fan theory is contradicted by detailed reports about the song from people who were literally in the room with Brian while it was being written, well, that should be obvious.

I'm quoting the chant. I didn't write those words. I looked them up in a Hawaiian dictionary.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 26, 2022, 12:48:00 AM
Angela, a fan's interpretation of a song is just that - a fan's interpretation. That's fun, and I do love that kind of thing. I encourage it really, even when I have a different interpretation! We can all add letters to the syllables that Brian sings, in order to create some justification for the way we wish to view it. But this does not actually say anything about Brian's plans, and if a fan theory is contradicted by detailed reports about the song from people who were literally in the room with Brian while it was being written, well, that should be obvious.

VDP wasn't a fan he was the lyricist and collaborator.  If he had written in Italian presumably you would have translated that.  This is VDP we are talking about this is not accidental.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: sloopjohnb72 on July 26, 2022, 12:53:42 AM
The fan that I am referring to is the author of this article who came forward with this interpretation. The "lyric" in question was written by Brian Wilson, not Van Dyke Parks. Anyone's interpretation of this line is valid, and can be used to explain LTSDD as anything they want, as Smile is an interpretive piece of work that means something different to everybody. But nobody's personal interpretation proves that objective truths are untruths, or that Marilyn was hallucinating everything that she saw and heard when her husband wrote the song (although, I would probably think I was hallucinating if I were her! ;D).

Hope this makes sense.


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Angela Jones on July 26, 2022, 01:49:37 AM
The fan that I am referring to is the author of this article who came forward with this interpretation. The "lyric" in question was written by Brian Wilson, not Van Dyke Parks. Anyone's interpretation of this line is valid, and can be used to explain LTSDD as anything they want, as Smile is an interpretive piece of work that means something different to everybody. But nobody's personal interpretation proves that objective truths are untruths, or that Marilyn was hallucinating everything that she saw and heard when her husband wrote the song (although, I would probably think I was hallucinating if I were her! ;D).

Hope this makes sense.

The interpretation I was going by was a dictionary definition. Although I got the idea from the article, I got the definition from a Hawaiian dictionary. It could be coincidental I suppose!


Title: Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss
Post by: Galaxy Liz on July 26, 2022, 01:50:33 AM
I think many of you are rather misunderstanding the creative process. This will obviously differ from person to person and start in different ways and in a different order but a huge part of it is working out the form and linking the individual ideas which have been triggered in your head.  You have to then find out which things are realisable and which parts are not and rework in other ways the parts which are not.  The whole thing remains in flux right until the final moment and even then it is difficult to know when to stop and when it is finished.  

Perpetuating the notion that Brian was not moving things around and that there was a recipe which Brian followed strictly is not just wrong, it's provably wrong.  I don't know that Da Da was always intended to be the water ritual that brought Brian back from death in his LSD trip so is combined with the cries of a new born or if that is just the elegant culminati