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633267 Posts in 25348 Topics by 3605 Members - Latest Member: Sunny Down Snuff June 20, 2018, 08:26:30 AM
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Author Topic: Had SMiLE been released, what would Brian have subsequently done?  (Read 856 times)
Watamushi(Polly Poller)
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« on: May 31, 2018, 01:29:45 AM »

This is kinda similar to the ongoing "What if..." thread, so I'm a little reluctant to ask, but I'll ask anyway.

If SMiLE had been completed and released early in 1967, what would Brian have worked on subsequently? 

Would he have burned out on recording, or he would've worked on something like Wild Honey? Or Smiley Smile? Or something else?

Sorry if this question is pointless, but this is one of the what-ifs I'm always wondering.
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Jukka
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2018, 01:52:50 AM »

We'd be without Smiley Smile or Lei'd in Hawaii (which would be a bummer), but I believe Wild Honey would have happened in one form or another anyway.

Think about other big names: The Beatles and Dylan both went back to stripped down, relatively basic rock after their big, epic albums (Pepper & Blonde on Blonde). Brian, who was keeping an eye on what the competition (especially the Beatles) were doing, would have taken his cue from their moves, I presume, just like he did with Smile.
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Pitter Patter
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2018, 04:08:42 AM »

I think if SMiLE was finished and released, it would've been successful in reigniting The Beach Boys' popularity, but in a completely different way to it was when they were singing about surfing/cars/summer. They would've been appreciated as part of the hip psychedelic scene alongside The Beatles, early Pink Floyd, the Laurel Canyon artists/bands etc. and their next few albums would be much higher anticipated than they were in reality.

I agree Brian probably would've followed up SMiLE with something similar to Wild Honey, although Mama Says most likely wouldn't have been on it. Friends would remain mostly unchanged as well, apart from perhaps the Child is The Father of The Man section from Little Bird. It does make me wonder what the SMiLE songs on 20/20, Sunflower and Surf's Up in this universe would be replaced with.
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WonderBill
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2018, 08:20:12 AM »

I agree Brian probably would've followed up SMiLE with something similar to Wild Honey, although Mama Says most likely wouldn't have been on it. Friends would remain mostly unchanged as well, apart from perhaps the Child is The Father of The Man section from Little Bird. It does make me wonder what the SMiLE songs on 20/20, Sunflower and Surf's Up in this universe would be replaced with.

I have all my music on iTunes and it includes SMiLE. So for practical purposes I replace Our Prayer and Cabinessense on 20/20 with Sail Plane Song and Olí Man River, respectively. The rest of it is the same.

Iíve never noticed any references to Child is Father of the Man in Little Bird. Could you elaborate on that, please?
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Pitter Patter
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2018, 08:59:02 AM »

I agree Brian probably would've followed up SMiLE with something similar to Wild Honey, although Mama Says most likely wouldn't have been on it. Friends would remain mostly unchanged as well, apart from perhaps the Child is The Father of The Man section from Little Bird. It does make me wonder what the SMiLE songs on 20/20, Sunflower and Surf's Up in this universe would be replaced with.

I have all my music on iTunes and it includes SMiLE. So for practical purposes I replace Our Prayer and Cabinessense on 20/20 with Sail Plane Song and Olí Man River, respectively. The rest of it is the same.

Iíve never noticed any references to Child is Father of the Man in Little Bird. Could you elaborate on that, please?

Listen at 1:24.  Smiley
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"Doing it to others is the golden rule, but doing it to you would be really cool..." - Mike Love just before he fired Brian, Al and David from the line-up , 2012
Chocolate Shake Man
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2018, 09:15:17 AM »

I think it would have been a crossroads moment. If Brian wanted to continue being part of the production race, I think that the band would have split up. If his preference was to keep the band together, I think they would have had to go the Wild Honey route. In fact, I think that was very much the dilemma Brian was facing in 1967 anyway.
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Needleinthehay
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2018, 09:40:19 AM »

Even if it had gotten them popular with the psychedelic rock scene that was popular during that period, that movement only really lasted a few years, about 66-70 was the height. They might have stayed hip for a few more years, but then what? My guess is they still would've been has-beens after stuff like Led Zeppelin started taking over.
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SydBarrett
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2018, 11:34:30 AM »

I think if SMiLE was finished and released, it would've been successful in reigniting The Beach Boys' popularity, but in a completely different way to it was when they were singing about surfing/cars/summer. They would've been appreciated as part of the hip psychedelic scene alongside The Beatles, early Pink Floyd, the Laurel Canyon artists/bands etc. and their next few albums would be much higher anticipated than they were in reality.

I agree Brian probably would've followed up SMiLE with something similar to Wild Honey, although Mama Says most likely wouldn't have been on it. Friends would remain mostly unchanged as well, apart from perhaps the Child is The Father of The Man section from Little Bird. It does make me wonder what the SMiLE songs on 20/20, Sunflower and Surf's Up in this universe would be replaced with.

Heres how I would have done it

Wild Honey: Been Way Too Long
Friends: Same (Would be a nice call back)
20/20: We're Together Again and Ol' Man River
Sunflower: Same
Surf's Up: Retitle the album to Landlocked and make (Wouldn't It Be Nice) To Live Again as the closer
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Little Pistol
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2018, 12:31:30 PM »

We'd be without Smiley Smile or Lei'd in Hawaii (which would be a bummer), but I believe Wild Honey would have happened in one form or another anyway.

Think about other big names: The Beatles and Dylan both went back to stripped down, relatively basic rock after their big, epic albums (Pepper & Blonde on Blonde). Brian, who was keeping an eye on what the competition (especially the Beatles) were doing, would have taken his cue from their moves, I presume, just like he did with Smile.

Hi - first post on here!

Wild Honey was released a week or so before John Wesley Harding and two or three months before The Beatles signalled a "back to basics" trend with Lady Madonna. Brian's ahead of the curve although it's probably more like all these guys have acute commercial instincts. Once all the grand-standing with production became a cliche there was only one way to go really. Brian wasn't taking cues from anyone though, he knew it, even on Smiley Smile.
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Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2018, 06:53:14 AM »

Brian kind of indicated his plans. If he had successfully completed Smile and it was well received commercially and critically, he probably would have gone full steam ahead on making Brother Records an experimental, artsy label with the planned humor, fitness, etc. albums. Not sure how the rest of the BBs would have taken it, although if they each had an outlet for their own musical whims on Brother, it might have worked out. Of course, the material would have to have been more accessible than, say, John and Yoko's Two Virgins, The Wedding Album, Life With the Lions, etc.
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2018, 06:25:01 AM »

Interesting point Joel.  If Smile had been finished and been successful, I think Brian would have taken a break.  There would be no pressure to quickly followup an unsuccessful album with something more commercial (like he did with Wild Honey after Smiley tanked).  In the break Brian could have developed Brother records more, and produced other artists.  Redwood would have released the singles Darlin' and Time to Get Alone, followed by an album.   A Stephen Kalinich poetry album would be released (he was signed to Brother).  Other artists would be produced by Brian, Carl and Mike (the Pickle Brothers) - Ron Wilson, the Honeys/Spring, and probably others.  Lei'd in Hawaii would be released at the end of 67 as a stopgap album, then something akin to Friends would be the next Beach Boys album.  I suspect with the triumph of Smile, most of the songs on Wild Honey would have ended up being used for other artists, a couple would end up on Friends.
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SMiLE-addict
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 03:23:18 PM »

Maybe the Beach Boys would have turned into a American version of Yes.

Though if that happened, you'd probably have had a couple of the band members leave.
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Jukka
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2018, 01:57:26 AM »

As for the music, I'm happy things went the way they went. IF they'd gone for overwrought pop-classical-progressive direction even more, it could have turned cheesy. I, for one, shudder to think Beach Boys going Queen-Pink Floyd-progressive route in the seventies. But then again, I don't think there ever was danger of that. Brian was a song guy, who followed his muse. The songs he had in him were the ones we hear on Wikld Honey anyway, so possible changes in the timeline (had Smile been released, that is) wouldn't have been that big. Maybe less skeletal arrangements, but then again, even Smile was heading skeletal way during the final sessions.
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phirnis
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2018, 04:22:58 AM »

Speaking of Friends and Smile, that little guitar part at 0:10 in WtW always reminds me of Surf's Up. Maybe it's just me.
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