Original Beach Boys 'Smile' album released

Photo courtesy of Guy Webster

A publicity shot of the Beach Boy's "Smile" 5 CD box set.

Courtesy of The Peter Reum Collection

Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. Photo by Jasper Dailey.

Courtesy of Brian Wilson Archive

The Beach Boys

Courtesy of Brian Wilson Archive

Brian Wilson

Courtesy of The Peter Reum Collection

Brian Wilson during the filming of the "Good Vibrations" promo film.


Capitol Records will release the Beach Boys "The Smile Sessions" Tuesday, after the original album "Smile" was tabled nearly 45 years ago.

During the late 1960s musicians were pushing the boundaries of rock music, said Domenic Priore, who wrote the liner notes for the current release, and the book "Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece."

It was "the year of the Monterey Pop festival, the year of the Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'; the year Jimi Hendrix came out and just basically changed acoustics as far as guitars and psychedelic music," he said.

"Smile" was recorded in 1966 and 1967 with the help of Van Dyke Parks who, according to Priore, brought a "more socially conscious, politically oriented lyric" to the traditional Beach Boys sound. The lyrics, however, were not without controversy. Mike Love, the band's lead singer, questioned the lyrics even as they pushed forward into the recording that distinguished the band more from its traditional rock and roll sound.

"Here they were," said Priore, "making this grand leap to where The Byrds and Bob Dylan and the more progressive groups were going; and ... Brian choked, he got too nervous, and couldn't make decisions on the final edit."

The album's tracks are exceedingly complicated, recorded in separate sections and woven together into a single song: "Every single piece of this album is in sections, so sometimes the sections would be 30 seconds, sometimes a minute, sometimes a minute and a half. Everything had to be spliced together, one of the tracks, 'Vege-tables,' has about eight different sections, and you know they're all different, but they work together," said Priore. The modular sound defines the album, and at times stumped even Brian Wilson who couldn't figure out how to to weave together the disperate sections.

The record was later tabled until it was recorded in 2004 by Brian Wilson and his current band, but this is the first time the original 1960s album has been released.

The current release set will contain out-takes and original takes from the band's 1966 and 1967 recording sessions. The album, said Priore, represents "the magnificence of the Beach Boys at its finest."

The album will be released as a five-CD box set and a less expensive two-CD version.

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