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677791 Posts in 27363 Topics by 4046 Members - Latest Member: reecemorgan December 05, 2022, 10:27:25 PM
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Author Topic: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss  (Read 23714 times)
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« Reply #350 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.
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« Reply #351 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.
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« Reply #352 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.
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« Reply #353 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.
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« Reply #354 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!
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« Reply #355 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

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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.
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« Reply #356 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.
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« Reply #357 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!
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« Reply #358 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?
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« Reply #359 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. Smiley
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 03:44:05 AM by Zenobi » Logged
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« Reply #360 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.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 03:43:36 AM by Zenobi » Logged
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« Reply #361 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.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 03:43:20 AM by Zenobi » Logged
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« Reply #362 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.
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« Reply #363 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.
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« Reply #364 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”'
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 04:52:20 AM by Angela Jones » Logged
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« Reply #365 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.
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« Reply #366 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.
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« Reply #367 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?
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« Reply #368 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.
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« Reply #369 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.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 11:19:32 AM by Angela Jones » Logged
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« Reply #370 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.
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« Reply #371 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.
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« Reply #372 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.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 11:36:03 AM by Angela Jones » Logged
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« Reply #373 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."
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« Reply #374 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.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 11:47:13 AM by HeyJude » Logged

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