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Author Topic: Original SMiLE.  (Read 12090 times)
Paul Childs
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« on: August 25, 2006, 08:46:04 AM »

Just something I thought about but seeing the original SMiLE was not finished and what was recorded still exists, couldn't Brian have continued to finish it in recent years with musicians from his present band?
Might be asking a bit much for the remaining Beach Boys (Mike, Al, and Bruce) to fill in on vocals as much as possible.
I know it would not be the same without Carl and Dennis and not quite the same as if it was finished back in the 60s but made as close and accurate as possible. Don't know if it could be done?
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2006, 09:07:07 AM »

I really don't think this sort of idea would have had any of the charm of what was eventually released as Smile. I think as released there was a nice amount of new found credibility because of the quality of the material and the enthusiasm brought from the various new musicians that came into the situation. I think there would have been far too much negativity and cynicism brought by the remaining Beach Boys, and besides it probably would have picked up a hell of a lot cheese along the way with Mike Love mouthing off. The interplay of Brian and Darian and co. was what allowed the music to be recorded, the interplay of Brian and the remaining beach boys would have most likely stopped it before it started.
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2006, 09:46:45 AM »

Don't forget the management's need to make sure that Brian Wilson never needed the Beach Boys.
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2006, 09:52:52 AM »

Just something I thought about but seeing the original SMiLE was not finished and what was recorded still exists, couldn't Brian have continued to finish it in recent years with musicians from his present band?

Probably not. Different sound, different instruments, different equipment.

The best living example I can use to compare the probable result with is "Sherry, She Needs Me."
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2006, 11:34:30 AM »

All of that is true...there's no way a later day BB's version would work. but don't fool yourself into thinking BWPS is better than what could have been in '67...it's clearly not. The BB's vocals are irreplacable, the textures, the blend, the vibe...the spirituality of siblings. Darian will be the first to tell you this. What they did with BWPS was really cool...but the orig. is beyond it, and when you add the context of time and place there is absolutely no comparison.
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2006, 01:40:18 PM »

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Probably not. Different sound, different instruments, different equipment.

The best living example I can use to compare the probable result with is "Sherry, She Needs Me."

The officially-released version of "Loop De Loop" is a good example of an old track with new vocals and sweetening overdubs.
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2006, 05:18:02 PM »

I usually subscribe to the opinion that original is best, and I know this argument has been going around ever since BWPS, BUT I have heard snippets of the original and possess the new version and I don't believe one is better than another.

The flavour is different on the original tapes but I have enormous respect for the renovating work that was done for the contemporary version.  I don't get why people want to put down updated material.  Yes, there is a difference in tone, resonance, feel etc etc.  Mono over stereo, overdubs etc.  Sometimes people are just too purist.

I like 'original'.  I like original Coca-cola (no adds), I like original oak beams, I like original when it's vintage designer clothing (can't afford it).  I got the chance to see the BB play with many original members.   But in this case, no.  Original members on SMiLE, nice but not necessary.  Even if Brian got bulldozed into doing it, it's still his babe, and as far as I'm aware, he's still the original Brian Wilson.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2006, 06:52:57 PM »

I usually subscribe to the opinion that original is best, and I know this argument has been going around ever since BWPS, BUT I have heard snippets of the original and possess the new version and I don't believe one is better than another.

The flavour is different on the original tapes but I have enormous respect for the renovating work that was done for the contemporary version.  I don't get why people want to put down updated material.  Yes, there is a difference in tone, resonance, feel etc etc.  Mono over stereo, overdubs etc.  Sometimes people are just too purist.

I like 'original'.  I like original Coca-cola (no adds), I like original oak beams, I like original when it's vintage designer clothing (can't afford it).  I got the chance to see the BB play with many original members.   But in this case, no.  Original members on SMiLE, nice but not necessary.  Even if Brian got bulldozed into doing it, it's still his babe, and as far as I'm aware, he's still the original Brian Wilson.

You're discounting the input of the other BB's on the project. The inflection of their voices alone. The vocals on BWPS were recreations, or facsimile of the original arrangements laid down by the BB's in '66/67. On BWPS they didn't try to come up  with something new or original...they copied the old arrangement as closely as they could. Instrumentally this was much easier because it's less of a human thing. But still even the instruments weren't all created by studio men on the orig. Smile. Carl was there on many Smile sessions adding his guitar and input. Dennis played drums or percussion on several tracks, Al was there on a few too.  The studio people's contributions and inflections in the moment of 66/67 were huge, beyond huge, and again they mimicked those on BWPS. It is by no means an original work. Brian didn't keep all of that info in his head for 37 years. They went back listened to the tapes, and copied what they heard as best they could. They filled it in and finished it, that's the best part about BWPS...it takes it to completion. I loved it. it sounds GREAT!!! It is great. It is Brian's baby. But it's no way as good as the potential of the original. It can't be because it's a partial forgery in a way. They say that about paintings that have been forged..."it looks better than the original"...yeah well some of Smile sounds cleaner or tighter than the original...but it loses something that can never be duplicated. It is recreating an original work by painting by numbers...and adding a minimal amount of new original creative thought to make it whole.  The problem is you can't say this without upsetting people because BWPS is so cool. I'm not at all trying to put it down. I'm calling it like it is...and giving the proper weight to context. Bottom line...the orig. was never finished so I'm happy to have the modern version. But I'd much rather have had a finished version of the BB's Smile...because it was the real thing. I like Coke too.
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2006, 12:37:40 AM »

Brian and Dennis damaged their voices beyond complete repair around 74-5. If it had been finished before then it would have been great but unless you can have the original vocal blend there's no use doctoring old tapes. Loop De Loop was finished but does anyone really like the new one comparied to the old. Al at least still sounds almost the same.
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2006, 06:36:02 AM »

Loop De Loop was finished but does anyone really like the new one comparied to the old. Al at least still sounds almost the same.

I do like the "new" one better than the original.
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2006, 11:08:17 AM »

Just something I thought about but seeing the original SMiLE was not finished and what was recorded still exists, couldn't Brian have continued to finish it in recent years with musicians from his present band?
Might be asking a bit much for the remaining Beach Boys (Mike, Al, and Bruce) to fill in on vocals as much as possible.
I know it would not be the same without Carl and Dennis and not quite the same as if it was finished back in the 60s but made as close and accurate as possible. Don't know if it could be done?

I don't know how much of the old smileshop is available here in the archives (or at the current smileshop), but this kind of talk has been going on here or hereabouts for years, and literally hundreds of thousands of words have been posted on the subject.

I think that, if you are a recent convert to Smile, then welcome! Smiley, but it might be worth doing a bit of research to familiarise yourself with the history.

For several decades all you had to do was say 'Smile' to Brian and he'd have a nervous breakdown. It was a very dirty word for a long time.

Part of Brian's recent (relative) piece of mind has been found by laying the Smile ghosts to rest with the help of his new band, and the guy is really now in a position where he wants to move forward, not back.

And as for getting Mike, Al or Bruce involved, the Beach Boys don't even exist anymore. There's just Mike and Bruce in a tribute band, Al being Al-like, and Brian Wilson doing his crazy thing when Melinda decides its time for more product. Smile belongs to the 1960s, man. Its where it was born, where it died and where it belongs. My belief is you should just accept it for what it is.

Brian has, I suspect, no interest at all in the Smile tapes. The only people that give a sh*t about them are people like thee and me that post here. If Capitol think they can make money out of it they may attempt to release a box set, but only if they can make money, and probably not in Brian's lifetime.

You want Brian to finish Smile? He's done it, as far as he's concerned, and you can buy it in the shops.  3D






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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2006, 11:22:37 AM »

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Posted by: Jon Stebbins

Quote from: Lola Jane on August 25, 2006, 07:18:02 PM
I usually subscribe to the opinion that original is best, and I know this argument has been going around ever since BWPS, BUT I have heard snippets of the original and possess the new version and I don't believe one is better than another.

The flavour is different on the original tapes but I have enormous respect for the renovating work that was done for the contemporary version.  I don't get why people want to put down updated material.  Yes, there is a difference in tone, resonance, feel etc etc.  Mono over stereo, overdubs etc.  Sometimes people are just too purist.

I like 'original'.  I like original Coca-cola (no adds), I like original oak beams, I like original when it's vintage designer clothing (can't afford it).  I got the chance to see the BB play with many original members.   But in this case, no.  Original members on SMiLE, nice but not necessary.  Even if Brian got bulldozed into doing it, it's still his babe, and as far as I'm aware, he's still the original Brian Wilson.

You're discounting the input of the other BB's on the project. The inflection of their voices alone. The vocals on BWPS were recreations, or facsimile of the original arrangements laid down by the BB's in '66/67. On BWPS they didn't try to come up  with something new or original...they copied the old arrangement as closely as they could. Instrumentally this was much easier because it's less of a human thing. But still even the instruments weren't all created by studio men on the orig. Smile. Carl was there on many Smile sessions adding his guitar and input. Dennis played drums or percussion on several tracks, Al was there on a few too.  The studio people's contributions and inflections in the moment of 66/67 were huge, beyond huge, and again they mimicked those on BWPS. It is by no means an original work. Brian didn't keep all of that info in his head for 37 years. They went back listened to the tapes, and copied what they heard as best they could. They filled it in and finished it, that's the best part about BWPS...it takes it to completion. I loved it. it sounds GREAT!!! It is great. It is Brian's baby. But it's no way as good as the potential of the original. It can't be because it's a partial forgery in a way. They say that about paintings that have been forged..."it looks better than the original"...yeah well some of Smile sounds cleaner or tighter than the original...but it loses something that can never be duplicated. It is recreating an original work by painting by numbers...and adding a minimal amount of new original creative thought to make it whole.  The problem is you can't say this without upsetting people because BWPS is so cool. I'm not at all trying to put it down. I'm calling it like it is...and giving the proper weight to context. Bottom line...the orig. was never finished so I'm happy to have the modern version. But I'd much rather have had a finished version of the BB's Smile...because it was the real thing. I like Coke too.

John, I wasn't having a go at you.  I understand what you are saying and maybe what we are talking about here is provenance.  SMiLE would have had enormous resonance if it had been completed in the late sixties because of the context.  It wasn't.  Brian himself has said it was ahead of its time so you could argue that SMiLE properly belongs here and now, inevitably minus the BB voices.  I agree that minimal rejuvenation took place to produce BWPS, but if that hadn't happened, it wouldn't be SMiLE, it would be something else.  Original composer, original art... brought into 21st century.  I would like to have heard the original voices, but that's an impossibility.
It's like imagining that Pepper had never happened, until McCartney stuck and pasted it together in 2005.  I would say, "wow, nice music but where does it fit in".  I think SMiLE does fit in 2004, maybe not commercially, but artistically.  I think that's the test of whether something is real.  Maybe we agree to disagree.   Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2006, 11:25:23 AM »

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SMiLE would have had enormous resonance if it had been completed in the late sixties because of the context.
Sorry, I meant to say 'would not', IMO.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2006, 01:32:01 PM »

I completely agree that Smile is timeless, and fits in, or even seems progressive in the present. There is no doubt it would have had greater impact if released in 1967. Perhaps not immediately, but certainly within a few years it would have been recognized as something beyond Pepper , and all of the other sixties benchmarks. It's just too good to miss. It might have been missed for a few moments...but too many people would have pointed out its greatness to the uninformed. It probably would have been around 1972 that it would have finally been "generally" recognized as the greatest work of the sixties if not slightly before. But I know this is pure specualtion and the series of events that became the reality of Smile included intrigue, mystique, mystery...al of which gave it great notoriety even without a release until BWPS. But what was novelty and validation in 2004...would have been complete revolution in '67, simply the most unusual record ever in the mainstream of pop. Too many unusual things had already come over the Pop music horizon between 1967 and 2004 to give BWPS the kind of impact it would have had in it's original context. To me that makes the 2004 version kind of bittersweet.  But I'm with you, in that, in a way it doesn't matter. Smile, as a work of art, is for all-time. It defies time and trend...and any other limitation. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2006, 02:02:00 PM »

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But it's no way as good as the potential of the original.

Jon,

When you wrote that did you intend it to be cynical or ironic? It doesn't seem so, but...

There's a joke that you'll sometimes hear between an air traffic controller and a pilot where the controller will issue instructions to "fly at 1000 feet above indicated (altitude)". Obviously, this can't be done since as the plane climbs the indication on its altimeter rises too. So the plane can never be 1000 feet higher than it really is. Okay, not too funny (unless you're a pilot I guess). But maybe it'll help explain what I mean.

So BWPS - the realized work - isn't as good as the partially unrealized and incomplete early piece? Don't you think that no matter how good BWPS was, it would have ALWAYS been considered "not as good as it could have been". Isn't it kind of the same thing as the joke I referenced? I maintain it was impossible for it to measure up, because it was always referenced to a moving target - the original incomplete pieces. No matter how high BWPS flew, it should have always been higher. Even if BWPS was twice as good (whatever that means).

Any unfinished or unrealized project/work/concept/idea has infinite potential - how can anything ever measure up?

Just a thought.

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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2006, 02:25:18 PM »

Jim, I think you missed the point of Jon's point.
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2006, 02:40:37 PM »

Jim, I think you missed the point of Jon's point.

It's a moving target...or a moving point...certainly an evolving point. Robmac hints that the point of the point is there is no point. But I do agree with Jim in that there's no way BWPS can be as good, simply because it's not the original. Whether or not that was my point I think it's true. But besides the performance and the people involved it has to do with context and time. As difficult as BWPS was to create...or recreate...it wasn't quite like climbing the same mountain they climbed in 66/67. Technology and everything else that came in between changed that.

BTW...I loved the airplane/pilot/ controller thing. It reminded of that old Saturday Night Live skit...The Pepsi Syndrome. The guy in charge is leaving a couple of new employees to watch the nuclear reactor for the night. the last thing he says before he walks out the door is "Just remember...you can never put too much water in a nuclear reactor." Before long one of them spills a Pepsi on the console...and then things go wrong. Buzzers and alarms go off. One of the greenhorns thinks he meant NEVER put too much water in(so he wants to shut the water off)...while the other thinks , You can never put TOO MUCH water in(and wants to flood it)...and they argue away until the core melts down.

I guess you can never put too much context into the Smile argument.
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2006, 03:24:17 PM »

It was a typo - I meant "Jon's post".

And I think I agree with you.  Technology, of course made compiling a lineup much easier in 2004. But in 2004, you wound up with a great record that hints at what could have been. Instead of ending the SMiLE saga, BWPS wound up (for me) being another reminder of how it could have changed it's original time and context.

On a musical level, as a whole, I love BWPS. But on a track by track basis, the original SMiLE tracks were perfection! Compare '66 Wonderful to 2004 for example. I edited together a BB equivalent of BWPS and  my H & V edit sounds absolutely incredible. And dare I say superior to 2004. This is no way detracts from what was acheived in 2004 nor should it detract.  Original SMiLE is Babe Ruth, BWPS is Mark McGuire or Sammy Sosa.  So what if you're not Babe Ruth, being Sosa is still an amazing achievement.
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2006, 03:23:24 AM »

 ""Original SMiLE is Babe Ruth, BWPS is Mark McGuire""

.....BWPS is 'original SMILE' on steroids? never thought of it that way....   ; )
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2006, 10:48:33 AM »

With due respect to all of the above points, there is no original Smile. There is a series of unfinished fragments that Brian could not assemble because of untreated bipolar and amphetamine psychosis.

The only finished Smile that exists is Smile 04, and both composer and lyricist deem that the finished Smile. Smile 67 is a wonderful,jumbled series of musical ideas that form a puzzle with pieces missing.

Smile as conceived was voted down as a Beach Boy project. In my opinion, they gave up their right to call it a Beach Boy project when they voted down Brian's original project ideas with objections to Van Dyke's lyrics. Goodbye Beach Boys, hello Brian Wilson. 
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2006, 12:05:41 PM »

With due respect to all of the above points, there is no original Smile. There is a series of unfinished fragments that Brian could not assemble because of untreated bipolar and amphetamine psychosis.

The only finished Smile that exists is Smile 04, and both composer and lyricist deem that the finished Smile. Smile 67 is a wonderful,jumbled series of musical ideas that form a puzzle with pieces missing.

Smile as conceived was voted down as a Beach Boy project. In my opinion, they gave up their right to call it a Beach Boy project when they voted down Brian's original project ideas with objections to Van Dyke's lyrics. Goodbye Beach Boys, hello Brian Wilson. 

With the exception of a couple of things you wrote in your third paragraph, there aren't many observers who will disagree with your description of the so-called "original SMiLE".

One simple reason the 1966-67 sessions are referred to as the "original SMiLE" is because it is MUCH EASIER to call it that, than to write "a series of unfinished fragments that Brian could not assemble..." every time we discuss the subject. That's a simple explanation.

Another more complicated reason is to make the distinction between the "original" recordings and the "re-recordings". When discussing the SMiLE music, some people (myself included), feel that the simple word "original" carries a lot more weight and validity than the word "finished", which you used, to describe BWPS.
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« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2006, 12:32:08 AM »

I can see your point regarding some of the songs. As an album. it's not a rerecording, it's a composition for live performance that outstrips anything the studio lp in the 60s could have accomplished unless performed live just as it was on the 2004-5  Smile tours. The live shows from 2004-5 are simply the best representation of Brian's music ever done. This is from someone who has caught well over 100 BB shows from the 60s on through.
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« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2006, 05:08:13 AM »

I'm glad to see some of you folks on the board.  Mr. Stebbins, Mr. Reum, and The Right Reverend Hanes, welcome!  I know what both Jon and Peter are saying here.  I love BWPS, saw it performed live from second row just between Brian and Darian.  What a marvelous performance!  Truly one of the best concerts I have ever seen in my 50 years.  I played the studio (BWPS) release just the other day after having given it a rest for awhile.  It still sounds great to my ears, and it will get played regularly in my house for years to come.  But here's the thing.  Jon has summed up my feelings on the subject perfectly.  There is a certain vibe to those 40 year old recordings that could not ever be duplicated.  The music is timeless, yes, but the things that Brian and Van Dyke AND the other Beach Boys were doing in the studio in 1966 and 1967 were revolutionary.  I have a hard time putting this into words, Jon has said it best, but if you listen to that stuff, with time, place, late '60s attitude and frame of mind taken into account, the recordings become even more amazing.  This was so far ahead of anything that was being recorded at the time.  And like Jon also said, the Beach Boys vocal blend could not be beat.  I sure would like to see a box set release, but I sure am glad to have the finished version, and the memories of the concert.

Peace, y'all. 
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« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2006, 09:07:13 AM »

I still don't understand whether this vote-down is being stated as a fact or an opinion/conjecture/deduction, did I miss where that was explained?
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« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2006, 10:24:40 AM »

I still don't understand whether this vote-down is being stated as a fact or an opinion/conjecture/deduction, did I miss where that was explained?

I am assuming conjecture, until I see some definitive proof one way or another.
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