Commentary by David Prokopy, November 1996
Early 1967, I had planned to make an album entitled SMILE. I was working with a guy named Van Dyke Parks, who was collaborating with me on some of the tunes, and in the process, we came up with a song called "Surf's Up," and I performed that with just a piano on a documentary show made on rock music. The song "Surf's Up" that I sang on that documentary never came out on an album, and it was supposed to come out on the SMILE album, and that and a couple of other songs were junked... because... I don't know why... for some reason didn't want to put them on the album. And the group nearly broke up, actually broke up for good after that. -Brian Wilson, 1968 Welcome to the wonderful, mysterious, and often frustrating world of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys' SMILE! In the nearly three decades since work on this fascinating piece of music was abandoned in a sea of speculation, much has been written and hypothesized about what "might have been" in the world of Sixties popular music. I hope these tapes, and the notes I've put together, can shed some light on the subject and allow you to appreciate what many consider to be one of the greatest pieces of contemporary American music. In writing these notes, aside from interjecting my own opinions and observations, I've relied heavily on the works of David Leaf (in his 1985 biography of the Beach Boys, the liner notes to the 1990 Capitol compact disc reissues, and the booklet to the 1993 GOOD VIBRATIONS box set), Byron Preiss (his 1979 biography of the band), and especially Dominic Priore's excellent collection of writings and contemporary press accounts, LOOK! LISTEN! VIBRATE! SMILE! (1988, revised 1995). Additionally, I've relied on information volunteered by studio engineer Mark Linett, who has worked with Brian and the Beach Boys on several occasions, in addition to overseeing the remastered Beach Boys catalog on Capitol Records, as well as the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set. Let's begin by clearing up one issue. SMILE, as it exists today on tape (both in the Capitol vaults and in the hands of collectors, including this tape set), is incomplete. When Brian Wilson abandoned the project in the spring of 1967, he left many pieces unfinished. Some were returned to later, either by Brian himself or the other Beach Boys (without Brian's involvement). But until very recently (the release of the SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY bonus track version of "Heroes and Villians" to be exact), no true SMILE track has ever been released exactly as Brian had intended it to sound. In the immediate years following the collapse of SMILE, much talk (usually spurred by other Beach Boys in the press) persisted that Brian fully intended to return to and complete SMILE. In short, it never happened. Historically, SMILE traces its roots back to the waning days of the 1966 PET SOUNDS album. Despite the relative lack of commercial success for that album, many critics heralded Brian's bold, serious approach to production and eagerly awaited his next effort. Brian was full of ideas for a follow-up. At various points, he talked of recording an album filled with water noises, a fitness album, and an album full of humor. Finally, he began working on an album that would incorporate all of these ideas and more. Brian promised that the album, which he tentatively titled DUMB ANGEL, would be "better than PET SOUNDS. It will be as much an improvement over Sounds as that was over SUMMER DAYS." Brian's initial concern, however, was the single he'd begun recording during the PET SOUNDS sessions, "Good Vibrations." Brian spent the better part of the spring and summer of 1966 working on "Good Vibrations," bringing in the group to record vocals in between dates on their almost never-ending schedule of tours. After "Good Vibrations" was finally completed (it was released in October 1966 and became an instant million-seller--the Beach Boys' biggest selling single up to that point, and their final number one single for over twenty years), Brian turned his full attention to his new project, now titled SMILE. (Brian: "[DUMB ANGEL] was just a passing title. SMILE was more cheery, so we used the more cheery title.") With newfound friend Van Dyke Parks supplying lyrics, Brian began what might have been his masterpiece. Sessions for the album (excluding "Good Vibrations," which Brian initially did not see as part of the album) spanned an entire year--May 1966 to May 1967. In December 1966, Brian delivered a handwritten note to Capitol records listing the songs he intended to include on the final album: Do You Like Worms Wonderful Wind Chimes I'm In Great Shape Heroes and Villians [sic] Child Is Father Of The Man Surf's Up The Elements Good Vibrations Vega-Tables [sic] Cabin Essence [sic] The Old Master Painter This list appeared on the back of the original album cover (400,000 copies of which were printed, along with a 12-page full color booklet containing band photos by Guy Webster and cartoon illustrations, depicting some of the song lyrics, by Frank Holmes). The disclaimer, "See label for correct playing order," indicated that Brian was still tinkering with the final running order for the album. By all accounts, he never finished. Thus, it's pure speculation as to how the final record would have been sequenced. For these tapes, I've based my selection mainly on a sequence proposed by Priore in his book (with slight modification). In fact, there is still raging controversy as to exactly how "finished" SMILE was when Brian scrapped the project. Priore contends that Brian was essentially finished, and all that was left for Brian to do was to assemble the final master tape. Session records and surviving tapes tend to refute this notion. From all accounts, the album was nearly finished. Significant work has been done (and, in many cases, completed) for every track Brian had listed in his memo to Capitol. The problem was that no one (especially Brian) seemed to know where to stop. Also on this set, I've collected various outtakes (if such a word can be used for an album that itself was never released), alternate and instrumental versions from the SMILE sessions, as well as tapes of the original studio sessions themselves, which offer a fascinating and unique glimpse into Brian's creativity. The "album" itself appears on the first side of the first tape, with the "outtakes" filling out the remainder. The material on these tapes was taken from a variety of sources: bootlegs, official album releases (SMILEY SMILE, the album eventually released in SMILE's place in September 1967; 20/20, from 1969; and SURF'S UP from 1971), compact disc bonus tracks, the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set, and even tracks that, as of now, have never been widely circulated (legally or otherwise). Accordingly, sound quality varies from track to track (and sometimes within a track itself!), but the beauty and complexity of the music is unmistakable. So let us begin ... [Tape 1, Side A:] [SMILE - Side A] "Prayer" (B.Wilson) recorded: 4 October 1966 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono] Essentially, this is the only "track" on the album that we know, with any degree of certainty, where Brian intended to place it. Listening to the tape from the session (which appears on side B of this tape), it's obvious Brian intended this song to be the opening track on the album. Additionally, it appears that he didn't consider it an actual "track" on the album, thus explaining why it wasn't included on the list of album tracks he delivered to Capitol in December. The original track for this song was pulled from the Capitol Records vaults on 17 November 1968, when three of the Beach Boys (Carl and Dennis, and probably Bruce Johnston, but not Brian) overdubbed additional vocals in preparation for its release (as "Our Prayer") on 20/20. Brian once referred to SMILE as a "teenage symphony to God." Beach Boy historian Peter Reum from the FRIENDS/20/20 CD liner notes: "Brian intended for 'Our Prayer' to be the opening track, a spiritual invocation, for SMILE." "Heroes And Villians" (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 11 May 1966 - 2 March 1967 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono] Brian spent more time on this particular track than any other SMILE track, probably because it was to be the follow-up single to "Good Vibrations." (Although, as it was reported in the press, its release was frequently postponed-- much like the album itself.) Like "Good Vibrations," Brian recorded literally dozens of fragments for "Heroes And Villians, Part I," and "Part 2," which was to be the B-side of the single. The version of the song included here is an edit I made of the SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY bonus track version (which was mixed and edited 10 February 1967, and was most certainly "Part 1") and the actual single version. (I took the "Heroes and villains, just see what you've done" chorus and the "Stand or fall" verse from the released version.) It is unclear how much of this track was re-recorded for the eventual single version. It's obvious that most of Brian's lead vocal and the group's backing vocals during the verses were remade (listen to the generally "crisper" sound here, as well as the totally different backing vocal arrangement during the first two verses). Apparently, the acapella break after the "Stand or fall" verse was also re-recorded for SMILEY SMILE. Aside from that, despite reports to the contrary, it appears that the remainder of the eventual "Heroes And Villains" single (in essence, the entirety of the instrumental track, as well as the vocals from "My children were raised..." onward) was recorded originally during the SMILE sessions. "Barnyard" (B.Wilson(/V.D.Parks?)) recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [mono] For many years, it was assumed that "Barnyard" referred to the final section in the version of "Heroes And Villians" we just heard. However, with the release of the Vigotone SMILE bootleg (which includes many never-before heard SMILE pieces) in 1993, we have what is almost without a doubt the actual "Barnyard" segment, complete with the Beach Boys adding various barnyard animal noises (not unlike the effect Brian used for the song "Country Feelin'" on the For The Children benefit album in 1989). Jules Siegel (who was with Brian during several SMILE sessions), writing in an October 1967 article in Cheetah magazine (that is, after SMILEY SMILE was released) quotes several lyrics from the SMILE album, including the couplet above. Brad Elliott, who wrote a piece reprinted in the Priore book titled "The Facts About SMILE" (which is my prime source for recording session data here) mentions that a section of "Heroes And Villians" commonly referred to as the "Barnyard" section was recorded 27 October 1966, featuring a saxophone and harpist. This could be either the section presented here, or the aforementioned final section to the bonus track "Heroes And Villains." Or it could be both. There is the possibility both segments were recorded the same day, and simply represent two different interpretations by Brian of the same theme (they are musically fairly similar). Either way, it's plausible that Brian intended to record more vocals for either section, using the lyrics above. (Priore suggests, in his attempt to further the notion that SMILE was finished, that Brian eventually decided to leave this as an instrumental, similar to how he scrapped lyrics for PET SOUNDS' "Let's Go Away For Awhile," and would do for FRIENDS' "Passing By". More likely, Brian simply never got around to recording the vocals before the album folded.) The source for this track, as heard on this tape set, is apparently originally from an acetate (a cheap "demonstration" record) produced during the SMILE sessions themselves. "Do You Like Worms" (B.Wilson(/V.D.Parks?)) recorded: 18 October & 21 December 1966 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono] SMILE was to be, among other things, a musical journey though the landscape of America. "Do You Like Worms" exemplifies this concept perfectly. Priore explains how the song follows the course of the Europeans across the American continent, from Plymouth Rock on westward, encountering "American Indians," and continuing westward to Hawaii (and beyond). The track opens with a percussive/piano-based main theme, followed by Brian's double-tracked lead vocal. This is followed by the "Bicycle Rider" theme, which is a piano interpretation of the "Heroes And Villians" chorus theme, along with an Native American-style chant from the band. On the box set, this theme also appears as the opening section to the extended "Heroes And Villains," complete with lyrics for this section. I've taken the liberty of editing that version (with the lyrics) into "Worms," since I have the feeling that was how the song was originally intended (especially given the theme of the song). The song returns to the main theme, now augmented with another chant (note the speed variations--Mark Linett claims this was a mastering error that went unfixed during production of the box set), and again to Brian's lead, then back to "Bicycle Rider" (sans chants). After this, we move further west, with a quaint Hawaiian chant from Brian, with the rest of the band providing backing. Finally, a return to "Bicycle Rider," which after winding down like a music box, starts up again and repeats ad infinitum, implying that the White Man's expansion is never-ending. Brian cut the instrumental track for this song, along with his lead vocals, on 18 October 1966. The group added their vocal contributions in December. "The Old Master Painter" (H.Gillespie/B.Smith; J.Davis) recorded: 14 & 30 November 1966 source: bootleg [mono] Actually, this track is a medley of "The Old Master Painter" and "You Are My Sunshine." After a brief instrumental snippet of "Painter," Dennis is featured on "Sunshine." A TeenSet article from 1966 relates how Brian came up with the idea of performing "Sunshine" in a mournful key and changing the lyrics to the past tense. The instrumental track was cut on 14 November, with Dennis' contribution added on the 30th. This particular version appears to have been taken from the 1988 "Linett" tape. That year, in anticipation of a proposed official SMILE box set release, Mark Linett went into the studio to catalog and produce rough mixes of many SMILE songs, apparently to give to Brian and the rest of the band for approval of material. A cassette of that tape was evidently stolen, and formed the basis of many of the surprisingly clear-sounding tracks that subsequently appeared on many bootlegs. (Linett would later use some of those exact mixes for the GOOD VIBRATIONS set.) "Wonderful" (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 25 August, 6 October, 15 December 1966 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono] Priore proposes that this song is very sexual in nature. It's not difficult to see why--think of "wonderful" as "female sexuality." Religious overtones play strongly in this song, as well. Not exactly a morality play, but at the same time celebrating the innocence of a young girl experiencing the onset of puberty ("when God reached softly and moved her body") and the loss of her virginity ("a boy bumped into her Wonderful"). Brian sings lead here, with the rest of the group providing backing. Note the slight lyrical changes, and the absence of the "Hey, Baba Ruba" section, from the SMILEY SMILE version. Session records indicate that Brian did produce an "insert" piece for "Wonderful" on January 9, 1967 (or, at least, scheduled a session on that date for that purpose). Is this the missing piece? Who knows? (More discussion of this in connection with "Vega-Tables" later on.) By the way, if Brian didn't intend to put an additional insert piece into "Wonderful," then "Wonderful" would hold the distinction as being the only SMILE song (save for "Prayer" and perhaps "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow") that didn't have any edits in the finished track! The mix of this song that appears here (from the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set) and on several SMILE bootlegs was one of the many that Mark Linett created in 1988. "Child Is Father Of The Man" (B.Wilson(/V.D.Parks?)) recorded: 7 & 12 October, 2 & 6 December 1966 source: bootleg [stereo] This song is conceivably the "masculine" flip-side to "Wonderful," which is why Priore places it here. This track is best known for being the basis for the startling coda to the released version of "Surf's Up." (More discussion on that point later.) This track is almost totally instrumental, save for the intricate group vocals during the chorus. Brian recorded the instrumental track and the first set of group vocals in October 1966, and added more group vocals in December. For this particular version, I've synchronized two bootleg versions in order to present the chorus vocals in true stereo (since each bootleg version has slightly different vocal overdubs). Incidentally, listen for the striking resemblance (particularly in the use of the muted horn) between this track and Dennis' FRIENDS cut, "Little Bird," recorded just two years later. "Cabin Essence" (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 3 & 11 October, 6 & 27 December 1966 additional recording: 20 November 1968 source: 20/20 [stereo] This song continues the "Americana" theme of the album. As Brian explained at the time, "This song was about railroads... and I wondered what the perspective was of the spike. Those Chinese laborers working on the railroads, like they'd be hitting the thing, but looking away, too... and noticing, say, a crow flying overhead. The Oriental mind going off on a different track." Brian recreates the sound of the rails amazingly (especially when you realize he uses no prerecorded sound effects), with the persistent cello line and the atonal metallic clanking. Additionally, listen for that staple of 1966 pop music, the "fuzz" bass, during the end. Brian also uses a banjo to mimic the sound of another popular mid- sixties instrument, the sitar. Despite the fact that this song wasn't completely finished until it was revived by the rest of the Beach Boys (or, at least, Carl and Dennis) in 1968 for release on 20/20, it appears that they at least did a fairly decent job at preserving Brian's original vision for the track. Test mixes done in 1966 (which appear in the "outtakes" portion of this collection) tend to confirm this. (More detail about the recording history of this song will be discussed in connection with these test mixes later.) [SMILE - Side B] "Good Vibrations" (B.Wilson/M.Love) recorded: 18 February - 1 September 1966 source: ENDLESS SUMMER DCC gold CD [mono] Brian originally did not intend for "Good Vibrations" to be part of the SMILE album. And although the production styles are similar, it's not difficult to see why. Placed in the context of SMILE, "Good Vibrations" sticks out like a sore thumb. But faced with a possible financial disaster on their hands with the avant garde nature of the album (especially after the relative commercial disappointment of PET SOUNDS), Capitol Records insisted that the million-selling hit be included on the album as a selling point. (Capitol even went so far as to plaster "Good Vibrations!" all over the proposed album cover. After all, reasoned the company, who wouldn't buy the album that had "Good Vibrations" on it? After the general failure of SMILEY SMILE, it became obvious that a lot of people wouldn't!) Not wanting a tiff with his record company to jeopardize the chances of his project ever seeing the light of day, Brian eventually relented. A historical note: In a contemporary interview, Dennis claimed that he played the organ on the "gotta keep those lovin' good..." section. Of course, in the same interview, he also implied that the rest of the group regularly played most of the instruments on their records, which indicates his level of credibility! For this collection, I've used the version of "Good Vibrations" that appears on the DCC gold CD version of the ENDLESS SUMMER greatest hits package, which lasts several seconds longer than any other commercially available pressing of the cut. "Look" (B.Wilson) recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [mono] One of the most talked-about aspects of SMILE was a suite Brian was working on entitled "The Elements." Broken up into four distinct songs (for "earth," "wind," "fire," and "water"), this was possibly the most ambitious part of the whole SMILE project. For years, it was assumed that these four songs (all presumably lyric-less, if not instrumentals) were to be grouped together. However, following Priore's suggestion in his recent update, I believe perhaps the songs might have been spread out over the album, interspersed with similar songs (either thematically or musically) on side B of the album. (Of course, Brian never got to the sequencing stage, so once again this type of speculation is entirely academic and a matter of personal preference.) The other problem with "The Elements" is that two of the four cuts intended for the suite remain a mystery, and a continued source of contention among SMILE enthusiasts. Two of the cuts--"Love To Say Da Da" and "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow"--are very obviously the "water" and "fire" cuts, respectively. However, very little is known about the "earth" and "wind" cuts, so the two tracks chosen for this collection (and by Priore) are again speculative, and used more for convenience and "feel" more than because of any hard evidence linking these tracks with "The Elements." One of the revelations in Priore's recently updated book has been the correcting of several titles associated with bootlegged tracks over the years. One of the more significant screw-ups was a mix-up involving two instrumental tracks. The first, heard here, is a track called "Look" (according to the original tape box--Elliot's research shows no session log with that title; hence, unfortunately, no date can be tied to this track). For years, this song was presented on bootlegs under a different title ("Holidays," which as we will see is actually the title to yet another SMILE instrumental). Again, its placement here as the "earth" segment of "The Elements" is almost entirely out of convenience ("Look" being one of the remaining SMILE cuts that apparently isn't "tied" to any other song). Note, however, the reoccurrence of a musical theme from "Good Vibrations," played by the xylophone and piano during this cut. "Vega-Tables" (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 4, 6-7 & 10-14 April 1967 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono] There has been debate over whether "Vega-Tables" and "Wind Chimes" were really the respective "earth" and "wind" elements. Both of them are listed as separate tracks on the original album cover. (Priore speculates that this is because they both had potential as singles. In truth, "Vega-Tables" was in fact mentioned several times in the press as the possible first single from SMILE, apparently due to the frequent delays with "Heroes And Villians." Priore's book features a recently-uncovered photo of Brian in front of a fruit stand that was apparently shot for the cover of the "Vega-Tables" single!) In 1978, Brian discussed the "air" segment: "Yeah, there was a cut--a piano piece, an instrumental, no vocals. We never finished that." (More on this point later.) However, there is one piece of evidence indicating that at least "Vega-Tables" was an "Elements" piece--for the illustration for "Vega-Tables" in the original SMILE booklet, the caption reads, "'My Vega-Tables' The Elements". (The italics appear in the booklet.) Again, by placing known and suspected "Elements" tracks with songs from the original list of twelve that Brian submitted to Capitol, we eliminate the conflict (somewhat). Then there's the Paul McCartney story. In the SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY CD liner notes, David Leaf relates the tale of how McCartney visited the studio and lent a mouth for the chomping effects on this song. But Leaf seems to indicate that Paul participated on the SMILEY SMILE take. But evidence (press reports from the time about Paul's visit to Los Angeles, and Elliott's research) indicates that he visited Brian and the group on 10 April. (Reportedly, he was carrying an acetate copy of the recently-completed "A Day In The Life," from the then- unreleased Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which he played for the Beach Boys. Also, according to Elliott, Paul and the Beach Boys apparently recorded an impromptu version of "On Top Of Old Smoky" late in the evening after the "Vega- Tables" session.) And just who exactly is singing the lead vocal on this track? In the aforementioned CD notes, Leaf credits Al Jardine with the lead on the SMILEY SMILE take, which is clearly a group vocal throughout. Listening to this version, it appears as though Brian and Al split the lead duties. Two additional notes: First, notice that the "I know that you'll feel better..." section was later used for the end of the SMILEY SMILE version. Second, listen as the track fades out. Fading in is a piece that sounds remarkably like the "Hey, Baba Ruba" section from the SMILEY SMILE version of "Wonderful"! This was most likely just a case of the producers of the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set simply throwing in an extra snippet they found in the vaults. No indication is given as to when this short piece was recorded, what it's called, or even if it's truly part of "Vega-Tables." Could this be the missing "Wonderful" insert from January 1967? "Holidays" (B.Wilson) recorded: 8 September 1966 source: bootleg [mono] Another track that was thought to be what it was actually not. Priore recently revealed that the track commonly known as "Tones" was, in fact, called "Holidays" (and, of course, the track originally thought to be "Holidays" is, in fact, "Look"). There is stronger indication (although, again, no documented evidence) that this track was meant to be the "air" piece. It obviously sounds "airy." Additionally, note that the music for the second segment (perhaps the unfinished "piano piece" Brian made mention of?) was later recycled as the "whispering winds" section of the SMILEY SMILE version of "Wind Chimes." Priore indicates that perhaps one of the sessions logged as "Tones" in March and April of 1967 was in fact the finishing sessions for "Holidays." It seems unlikely that Brian would wait that long to finish a song he had started over six months before (and subsequently left untouched). On some of the earliest SMILE bootlegs, someone apparently snuck in Miles Davis' recording of Gil Evan's "Here Comes de Honeydew Man" and attempted to pass it off as "Holidays." However, the track presented here is most definitely a SMILE original. "Wind Chimes" (B.Wilson) recorded: 3 August, 5 & 10 October 1966 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono] This track is very different from what was eventually released on SMILEY SMILE. The song has three major sections. The first is a delicate theme, with Brian (possibly double-tracked with Carl?) singing lead. Second is a full-blown section, with horns and a group vocal. (Linett reports that Brian's original mix of the song had this segment repeated once more.) Finally, a quieter multitracked piano section--note that Brian later recycled the musical theme of this section for the 1967/68 outtake "Can't Wait Too Long/Been Way Too Long." (Despite inclusion on various early SMILE bootlegs, "Can't Wait Too Long/Been Way Too Long." is actually a track from the WILD HONEY and FRIENDS period. It can be heard as a bonus track on the SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY disc, as well as on the box set.) Notably absent from this version is the "whispering winds" section that later appeared on SMILEY SMILE. Mark Linett notes that this is one of the few genuinely "finished" SMILE tracks. Again, this mix (as used on the box set) was done in 1988. "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" (B.Wilson) recorded: 28 November 1966 source: bootleg Possibly the most infamous SMILE track, much legend surrounds the "fire" segment of "The Elements." The most famous tale of this track is that, after recording it, Brian learned of a rash of fires that broke out in the Los Angeles area near the recording studio where he was working. (I've never seen evidence that there was indeed an increase in fires in the area.) Brian took this as a sign that his music was somehow giving off "bad vibes," and the fable continues that he destroyed all the existing copies of the recording. "I don't have to do a big scary fire like that," he is reported to have commented. "I can do a candle and it's still fire. That would have been a really bad vibration to let out on the world, that Chicago fire [apparently referring to the title of the song, which is named after the legendary cow that supposedly started the Great Chicago Fire around the turn of the century]. The next one is going to be a candle." Regardless, he obviously did not destroy the tapes (the true story is that Brian simply locked the tapes in a vault), or we wouldn't be listening to the song right now. The song is broken up into two sections. First is an organ and bass driven piece, on top of which are added just about every type of whistle one could imagine. Interestingly enough, this piece is included on the box set under the title "Heroes And Villains [intro]," recorded 1 March 1967. (Mark Linett says this is how the tape box was labeled--however, on his 1988 "rough mix" tape of SMILE material, Linett lists the piece, curiously, as "Fire Intro." Linett's 1988 combination of the two pieces from that cassette is heard here.) The second section of the song is a heavy, percussive-based piece, with swirling strings that give it a very eerie feel. (Leaf notes that the swirling vocal tag on the "Walk On By" bonus track on the FRIENDS/20/20 CD is similar to "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow.") David Leaf notes in his write-up of the SMILEY SMILE song "Fall Breaks And Back To Winter (W.Woodpecker Symphony)," "The bass line for 'Fall Breaks' is similar to the bass line from the SMILE piece 'Fire.' The basic track for 'Fire' has never been released on record, but it can be found on the home video, 'The Beach Boys: An American Band.'" The segment Leaf is referring to is a short promotional movie Brian shot for the song (along with the album, he planned on making short films for most, if not all, of the songs) which features both sections of the song. During the first section, Brian is seen in the studio, conducting the musicians. (Brian had ordered dozens of toy fireman hats for the musicians to wear, and also had a bucket of burning wood brought into the studio to add ambiance. Note also, during this segment, Mike Love's "smoking" gesture and roll of the eyes, perhaps a reference to his displeasure with Brian's apparently "drugged out" music.) As that section winds down, Brian drifts off and dreams, as the second section begins, that he and the band are firemen who are called to fight a blaze. The song and film end with the Beach Boys driving away on a fire engine. In actuality, it's the group vocals in "Fall Breaks" that resemble the bass pattern of "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow." If anything, the bass and organ from "Fall Breaks" sound suspiciously like the "Heroes and Villians (Intro)"/"Fire Intro" tape. Although longer versions of this track appear on bootleg (as can be heard later on this tape set), I've chosen the 1988 Linett version for the "album" segment for its sonic clarity. "I'm In Great Shape" (B.Wilson) recorded: 17 October & 29 November 1966 source: bootleg [mono] "Rebuilding after the fire," as Brian apparently explained this song at the time. For several years, one of the great mysteries of SMILE was a selection listed on the back cover as "I'm In Great Shape." Elliot's research showed that vocals for this track were recorded on 17 October 1966, with an instrumental track added in November. However, no track that had surfaced had ever seemed to fit. For a brief period, it was assumed that the song was actually the "Eat a lot, sleep a lot..." segments of "Vega-Tables." However, very recently, it has been established that "I'm In Great Shape" is actually a track that has recently surfaced on bootlegs under the title, "Woodshop Song." Elliot mentions that "I'm In Great Shape" was also known under the title "Friday Night." Mark Linett recently revealed that the tape box for the track listed on the Vigotone bootleg as "The Woodshop Song" was, in fact, labeled "Friday Night." (Linett also mentions that the opening music for this track is in fact an old standard called "I Want To Be Around.") As further proof that, indeed, the final missing SMILE piece has at last been unveiled, Elliot's research shows that the 29 November instrumental track was logged in at 1:38 long. "The Woodshop Song," as it appears on the Vigotone bootleg, clocks in at 1:36. The "vocal" session in October may in fact have been the group recording the sound effects loop heard during the second half of this track. (Those hammering and sawing sounds were later used during the fade-out of "Do It Again" on the 20/20 album.) Finally, recently-unearthed session records show that the "Friday Night (I'm In Great Shape)" track recorded 29 November listed some of the session musicians as playing a "drill" and a "board drop." Session bassist Carol Kaye reportedly told a fan that she remembers the session for "I'm In Great Shape" as featuring "workshop sound effects." This, of course, raises another question--if the session musicians were adding the sound effects, what exactly was the October vocal session for? "Love To Say Da-Da" (B.Wilson) recorded: 16-18 May 1967 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono] For many years, it was assumed that "Cool, Cool Water" (or at least, a section of it) from SUNFLOWER was the "water" section of "The Elements." However, with the release of the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set, the mystery is finally solved. "Love To Say Da-Da" was the last track recorded before Brian abandoned SMILE. In fact, studio records show that Brian had booked another session for this track, but it was canceled. (Priore suggests that this last session was, in fact, to assemble the final master tape. Given the enormous amount of work remaining on many key SMILE tracks, this seems highly unlikely.) The next time Brian entered a recording studio, it was to work on SMILEY SMILE. "Cool, Cool Water," however, was begun during the WILD HONEY sessions (29 October 1967, to be exact). The track, as it stood at that point, can be heard on various bootlegs, as well as (abbreviated, but in stereo) on the box set. Later, during the SUNFLOWER sessions, the WILD HONEY track was pulled off the shelf for further overdubbing, as well as recording of totally new sections. (It's been speculated that the "rumbling" middle section of "Cool, Cool Water," with its eerie, directionless group vocals, is actually a SMILE-era recording.) Brian does some interesting vocal work here. Presumably, his voice was slowed down, giving it a deeper sound (much like the "masculine" voice he used during the mid-70's). "Surf's Up" (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 8 November & 15 December 1966 additional recording: 1971 source: SURF'S UP [stereo] Probably Park's finest hour as the lyricist for this project. His sense of word play ("hand-in-hand, some ..." vs. "handsome," his play on "... hall, a costly ..." and "holocaust," and the double meaning of "canvas the town," in the context of a theatrical setting--the original phrase, according to Parks' handwritten lyrics, was "Paint up the town") is magnificent. It's been speculated that Brian chose to work with Parks in an attempt to capture some of the subtle lyrical wit of John Lennon or Bob Dylan. Although arguably the most beautiful track on the album, evidence shows that possibly none of the released version was actually intended for the SMILE album. Let's trace the history of the song: On 7 November 1966, Brian and five horn players entered the studio to work on the horn arrangements for "Surf's Up." The resulting session produced a tape commonly known as "George Fell Into His French Horn" which featured Brian and the horn players half-experimenting and half-joking with their instruments. (A section of this tape appears later in this collection.) The following day, he returned to the studio with a full cast of studio musicians, to record what was logged as the "1st movement" of "Surf's Up." (Again, a tape of this session can be heard later.) The instrumental track for the first section of the released version is taken from this session. On 15 December, Brian and the rest of the Beach Boys held a vocal session for the song, presumably using the 8 November track. However, this was never used (Jules Siegel reports that the session had "gone very badly"--this may be the session Brian refers to when he mentioned that the group "almost broke up" in connection with "Surf's Up"). The lead vocal for the released version (as sung by Carl) was recorded in 1971. Also on 15 December, late in the evening, Brian recorded a solo demo version of the entire song, playing piano and double-tracking his lead vocal. The performance was for the benefit of the film cameras documenting the performance for an upcoming CBS television special, "Inside Pop" (hosted by Leonard Bernstein). However, this performance wasn't used for the show. But, the recording itself was used--for the second section of the released track. Again, more vocals (the "child is father of the man" coda) and instruments (bass) were added to this section in 1971. A few days after the 15 December solo session, in his home, Brian performed the song again for the cameras. This was the performance seen on the "Inside Pop" documentary, and it is also available on the "American Band" home video. (Both solo performances can be heard, in their entirety, on the second tape in this set.) However, that's not the end of the story. On 23 January 1967, Brian scheduled two more sessions for "Surf's Up" (one for each section of the song), now featuring strings in the arrangement. Neither of these sessions has seen the light of day--possibly because Brian canceled the sessions before anything was recorded. (However, Priore's book contains several photos apparently taken at this January 1967 "Surf's Up" session.) Regardless, it's apparent that Brian was unhappy with the 1966 model(s) and had at least thought of re-recording the entire track in the new year. It has also been recently revealed by Jack Rieley--who served as the Beach Boys' manager and frequent collaborator in the early Seventies, and who attended the 1971 "Surf's Up" session--that Brian not only attended the 1971 session, but essencially arranged the overdub sessions. Rieley also claims that Brian had intended the "Child is father of the man" coda to be part of "Surf's Up" (although it was Rieley himself who penned the oft-quoted final couplet). Of course, this all contradicts the story "Brian" tells in his autobiography, where he claims that "Surf's Up" was included despite his protests. For this set I've included a slightly different version of "Surf's Up" than is readily available today--for example, the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set. On most versions of the song, mysterious stray talking can be heard near the end of the track, just before the "child is father of the man" coda. On the version included here (taken from the European CD version of the Ten Years of Harmony collection), that talking--the origins of which are still a complete mystery--is noticeably absent. One final note: Listen closely to the horn arrangement for this song. The first trumpet line quotes the "Woody Woodpecker" theme, a melody Brian would again steal for the SMILEY SMILE cut, "Fall Breaks And Back To Winter (W. Woodpecker Symphony)." [Tape 1, Side B:] SMILE outtakes For the "outtakes" section of this tape set, I've collected most of the various "working" versions, instrumental tracks, and songs presumably never even intended for the final album. I've arranged them (mostly) in chronological order so that one can get a "feel" for how the sessions progressed. "Good Vibrations" [sections] (B.Wilson/M.Love) recorded: 18 February - 1 September 1966 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box, bootlegs [mono] As is often noted, Brian spent much time and money on the "Good Vibrations" single. He spent countless studio hours tinkering and experimenting with every section, as is evident from this collection of bits and pieces. I took these pieces from a variety of sources; as such, it was impossible to track down where each individual piece comes from. However, the SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY liner notes indicate that the first section heard here is indeed from the actual first session for the song, during the PET SOUNDS sessions. So it is safe to assume that these sections span the entire six months' worth of sessions Brian dedicated to this one song. An additional note: The alternate vocal version of the chorus section (featuring Brian's enthusiastic, "Good vibrations, yeah!") is taken from the version of the song that appeared on the 1984 Rarities album. "Good Vibrations" [early take] (B.Wilson/T.Asher) recorded: date unknown source: SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY CD bonus track [mono] It's not exactly clear from when this early vocal attempt by Brian dates. However, based on comments volunteered by Tony Asher, it's apparent that this is the original "Good, Good, Good Vibrations" track that was original scheduled for (and subsequently dropped from) PET SOUNDS, with Asher's original lyrics. "Good Vibrations" [instrumental] (B.Wilson) source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono] Finally, we have this instrumental mix of the final single version, created especially for the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set. "Wonderful" [instrumental] (B.Wilson) recorded: 25 August 1966 source: bootleg [mono] "Wonderful" was one of the first songs begun for SMILE (after "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes And Villians"). Here we have the original instrumental track, featuring Brian on harpsichord, along with a bass, a french horn, and ukelele. Note that this track is presented at the same speed and pitch as the final overdubbed version (as heard on side A of this tape), yet Brian's count-in sounds noticeably slowed-down, indicating that perhaps Brian recorded the instrumental at a faster speed (and higher pitch) and slowed it down when the vocals were added. "Holidays" [session] (B.Wilson) recorded: 8 September 1966 source: bootleg [mono] Brian was very fond of recording all of his sessions--not just the music, but also the between-take chatter. As such, the Capitol tape vaults are filled with reels of session tapes, with Brian's detailed instructions to the session musicians (and, when present, the other Beach Boys). Throughout the remainder of this tape set, we will hear literally dozens of such tapes. So here we have session tape for the track that, until recently, was commonly known as "Tones" (or, alternately, as "Tune X"). It's interesting to note the apparent presence of both Van Dyke Parks (on piano) and Dennis Wilson (on percussion) at this session. (Brian refers to both by name). "Prayer" [sessions] (B.Wilson) recorded: 4 October 1966 source: bootleg [mono] This tape of the recording session again reveals Brian's original intention for this track. Someone (apparently Mike) comments, "This could be considered a track [for the album]." To which Brian replies, "Not really, though. We don't wanna do that. This is a little intro, you know, to the album." Drugs are obviously present on the scene, as well. ("Denny, do you have any hash joints left? I know you do." "You guys feeling the acid yet?") Note also Brian's comment at the very beginning: "We've gotta get to 'Wind Chimes.'" Elliot shows group vocals for "Wind Chimes" were in fact recorded the following day, so apparently they didn't get to it this day! (Note: An alternate mix of this track exists on many bootlegs, featuring a few seconds of laughter at the very end. Judging by the presence of vocal parts exclusive to the 20/20 version, it's clear that this version (including the laughter) is from the 1968 overdub session, and not the original SMILE sessions.) "Wonderful" [alternate version] (B.Wilson) recorded: 25 August & 6 October 1966 source: bootleg [mono] This is how the track stood originally in October 1966, with Brian multitracking his own backing vocals as a guide for the other Beach Boys to replace in December. "Cabin Essence" [instrumental] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) "Cabin Essence" [early version #1] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 3 & 11 October 1966 source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [stereo]; bootleg [mono] Work on "Cabin Essence" began on 3 October, when Brian cut an instrumental track called (according to session records) "Home On The Range." A week later, on the 11th, Brian recorded the remainder of the instrumental track (under the title "Cabin Essence") and the group laid down vocals for the "Who ran the iron horse?" and "Over and over" sections of the song. At the time, a test mix/edit was prepared for the completed work up to that point. That mix can be heard here. Additionally, I've included the instrumental mix from the box set here, since at this point in the sessions, the entire instrumental track had been completed. [untitled] ("She's Goin' Bald") (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [mono] This early version of what eventually became "She's Goin' Bald" on SMILEY SMILE was recently uncovered and presented on the Vigotone SMILE bootleg. Elliott makes no mention of the original SMILE-era version of "She's Goin' Bald," presumably because (during the SMILE sessions) it went under a different title. Leaf mentions in the SMILEY SMILE notes that an early version of "She's Going Bald" "had a completely different lyrics about a speechmaking businessman," obviously referring to this version. (My guess is that the lyrics above are Parks' original words, and that the ones on the SMILEY SMILE version were augmented by Mike Love. "She's Goin' Bald," on SMILEY SMILE, is credited to Wilson/Love/Parks.) It's possible that this track could be one of the dozens of titles that have surfaced in connection to this period. Judging from the rather abrupt ending of the track, it sounds as if it were possibly meant as a section of another song. (Priore suggests placing it immediately before "Wonderful"--perhaps implying that it's the missing January 1967 edit piece.) But, given the fact that most of the songs from this period were recorded in sections, that certainly doesn't narrow down the possibilities. Other than these bits on information, nothing else about this track is known. It has been speculated that this track is "I Ran" (as in "I ran [for a political office]"), a presumably-unreleased track recorded 12 August 1966 (with vocals added 13 October) that is mentioned in Elliot's article on the SMILE sessions. When asked about this, Mark Linett could neither confirm or deny, based on the lack of solid and reliable session information (since what was generally written on the actual tape boxes rarely coincided with what was logged on the studio session records.) "Do You Like Worms" [alternate mix #1] (B.Wilson(/V.D.Parks?)) recorded: 18 October 1966 source: bootleg [mono] An early "in progress" mix, probably from a contemporary (1966) acetate. Note Brian's alternate vocal on the "Hawaiian" chant near the end, which he would later re-record. "Smog" recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [mono] This tape, literally, speaks for itself. Apparently recorded as some sort of "public service announcement," this recording recently surfaced on the Vigotone Leggo My Ego CD bootleg of PET SOUNDS outtakes (although, as David Leaf mentions in his liner notes to the SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY CD, it dates from 1967). The tape would almost be funny, if it weren't such a glaring indication of Brian's mental state at the time. [Tape 2, Side A:] "George Fell Into His French Horn" recorded: 7 November 1966 source: bootleg [mono] An experimental piece Brian recorded the day before the first "Surf's Up" session, using the five horn players he'd hired for that session. (The session was logged as a "Surf's Up" session, which explains why session records for this tape did not show up under the title "George Fell Into His French Horn" during Elliot's research.) Essentially, the tape is made up of bits and pieces Brian recorded while experimenting with the musicians, attempting various tricks with them. It's not clear what Brian's ultimate intentions were for this tape. He mentions something about "sound effects," but doesn't seem to elaborate more on his intent. Note, however, that he does incorporate some of the "atonal" ideas into the horn arrangement he eventually uses for "Surf's Up." In sections of the tape, one can hear Brian directing the horn players to try various techniques, such as playing the lowest note each instrument can produce. In other sections, he has them attempt various forms of "talking" with their horns, beginning with the musicians having a "musical" conversation, and concluding with an apparently semi-scripted segment where they actually talk through their instruments. Brian supposedly asked Capitol to pay the musicians double for their vocal contributions, but his request was denied! "Surf's Up" [session] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) "Surf's Up" [instrumental] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 8 November 1966 source: bootleg [mono]; GOOD VIBRATIONS box [stereo] A tape from the second "Surf's Up" session shows Brian again taking charge in the studio, instructing the percussionist on the exact sound and tempo he wanted for the song. The final take included here (which was also released on the box set), complete with additional horn overdubs (mixed significantly louder), was the one later used for the 1971 SURF'S UP version. "The Old Master Painter" [instrumental] (H.Gillespie/B.Smith; J.Davis) recorded: 14 November 1966 source: bootleg [mono] A slightly different instrumental take than the one used for the final version. The most noticeable difference is in the solo saxophone at the end of the track. "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" [alternate version] (B.Wilson) recorded: 20 November 1966 source: bootleg [stereo; mono] Two alternate versions (according to Siegel, Brian recorded 23 takes of this track). The first is in stereo, but is marred by a very obvious edit near the end. The second, which apparently is the only full take (without edits or fades) in circulation, features added "fire" sound effects (which may or may not have been Brian's idea--note that the "American Band" version also features these effects). "Cabin Essence" [early version #2] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 3 & 11 October, 6 December 1966 source: bootleg [mono] In December, Brian and the band returned to "Cabin Essence," now adding vocals to the "Grand Coolie" section. Another test mix/edit was prepared (and is presented here), consisting of the three sections that at that point had vocals (the "Who ran the iron horse?," the "Grand Coolie," and the "Over and over" sections). "Surf's Up" [Brian solo performances] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 15 December 1996; December 1966 sources: source: GOOD VIBRATIONS box [mono]; bootleg [mono] Brian's two "demo" versions of "Surf's Up," both of which were filmed for the "Inside Pop" CBS documentary. The first was recorded in the studio, and the second at Brian's Laurel Canyon home. "You're Welcome" (B.Wilson) recorded: 16 December 1966 source:"Heroes And Villains" single b-side [mono] Apparently not intended for SMILE (although Priore places it at the very end, after "Surf's Up"), this track was eventually released as the flip-side to the "Heroes And Villains" single in August, 1967. (An alternate mix, created by Linett in 1988 and curiously given the title "Well, You're Welcome," does not feature the echo-drenched fade-in. It is not included here, simply because it is otherwise identical to the released version of the song.) "Do You Like Worms" [alternate mix #2] (B.Wilson(/V.D.Parks?)) recorded 18 October & 21 December 1966 source: bootleg [mono] Another alternate mix, presumably from Linett's 1988 tape. On this version, the group is brought into the fold. Still noticeably absent, however, is the group chant on the return to the main theme (as well as the "Bicycle Rider" lyrics). "Cabin Essence" [early version #3] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 3 & 11 October, 6 & 27 December 1966 source: bootleg [mono] The final work done on "Cabin Essence" during the SMILE sessions consisted of Brian adding his "doin-doin" vocals to the "Home On The Range" section of the song. One final test mix for the song was done, which can be heard here. Note that this mix features all of the elements of the eventual 20/20 release, in order. (Curiously absent is the "over and over" lead vocals, which had presumably been recorded by that point!) Also listen for the stray whistle sounds and other miscellaneous chatter. It's unclear whether this existed on the original tapes, or somehow "migrated" (via poorly-erased tapes during the bootlegging process) from other SMILE tracks. So all that remained to be recorded at this point was the lead vocal on the "Home On The Range" sections. This was done by Carl in 1968, presumably along with the vocals for the "truck drivin' man" section. It's not exactly clear who sings that section, although Dennis lays claim to it in an interview: "On 'Cabin Essence,' there's a line in there--'truck drivin' man'--which I sang. [...] It's mixed way down in the track and it's syncopated all the way through." "SMILE Promo Ad" source: bootleg [mono] Not a radio ad, as one might suspect initially, this was in fact included on a promotional album given to Capitol Records sales representatives in December 1966 to get them familiar with upcoming releases. Note the rather optimistic projected release date. untitled organ piece recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [mono] Recently unearthed, it's very unclear where this short, eerie organ piece (performed, and presumably written, by Van Dyke Parks) was intended to go, if anywhere. "Mama Says" [early version] (B.Wilson) recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [stereo] A heavier interpretation of this segment, which would eventually find its way into "Vega-Tables." It's possible that Brian had recorded this song under a separate title, or perhaps this recording was simply a "demo" for the "Vega- Tables" segment. Note that its simplistic arrangement is very similar to the early version of "She's Going Bald." "Vega-Tables" (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 4, 6-7 & 10-14 April 1967 source: bootleg [mono] A very rough mix done by Mark Linett in 1988, missing several of the elements later included on the box set version, but including much studio chatter and confusion. Perhaps the most striking feature of this version are the simultaneous lead vocals in many places. This can be explained by understanding the way Brian produced many of the tracks for this album. He would record a basic instrumental track for a section, mix that recording down to one track on a multitrack tape, then record the vocal tracks on the remaining tracks. Sometimes (in the case of this song, and songs like "Good Vibrations"), there would be two simultaneous lead vocals on the same tape, on different tracks. Then Brian would mix these sections down, creating two different sections (one for each lead vocal) from the same take. These sections would later be edited together for the final song. But in the case of this mix of "Vega-Tables," both vocal lines are present for some sections. [Tape 2 - Side B:] untitled piano piece recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [mono] A brief piano snippet, presumably recorded for "Heroes And Villians." (The engineer's mention of "tag to part one" presumably refers to "Heroes And Villians, Part 1.") Note, however, its resemblance to both the "Mama Says" melody, as well as the piano coda to "Wind Chimes." "With Me Tonight" [sessions] (B.Wilson) recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [mono and stereo] Brian spent a surprising amount of time for a song that, apparently, was not even intended for the album. Presented here are no fewer than four different interpretations of this relatively simplistic musical theme. (Note that, however, the basic chord pattern for "With Me Tonight" is strikingly similar to that of "Vega-Tables" and parts of "Heroes And Villians"--was "With Me Tonight" originally conceived as part of either of these songs?) The first section should be familiar to most Beach Boys fans, as it would eventually find its way into the version of "With Me Tonight" that was eventually released on SMILEY SMILE. After nearly ten minutes and a dozen or so tapes, Brian is finally satisfied with the group's effort. As we'll hear throughout this set (especially with the "Heroes And Villians" vocal sessions), Brian would spend an incredible amount of time and effort on segments that, on record, only lasted several seconds. As Mike Love would later say in regards to the "Good Vibrations" sessions: "I can remember doing 25 to 30 vocal overdubs of the same part, and when I say part, I mean same section of a record, maybe no more than two or three seconds, four seconds, five seconds long. On one passage of one little thing on 'Good Vibrations,' we did it over and over and over and over. And not only was it to get the note--we wanted the notes right--but the timbre and quality of each note, and how the four parts would resonate together, and then Brian would be hearing something that nobody could hear, including a dog, you know? And he would say, 'Do it again,' and we'd say, 'Do it again? What, are you crazy?' And it was exhausting, but it came out pretty good." The second section presented here is slightly more elaborate, and features the group overdubbing two vocal parts onto a bass track. (Note again the similarity between this bass line and the one used for "Vega-Tables.") The third section consists of Brian and the rest of the band "jamming" on the "With Me Tonight" chord progression. Brian plays harpsichord on this section, with the other Beach Boys providing hand-claps. (Listen for Brian admonishing Dennis for using something else for percussion--apparently Brian wanted the band to use only their hands.) The final section could be described as an "extension" on the previous one. The harpsichord arrangement remains, but the group vocals (which are now overdubbed, rather than live with the rest of the track) are more elaborate and polished, now combining the "On and on you go" melody with the "With Me Tonight" melody. (This section is presented here first in a lengthy stereo mix, then in a briefer mono mix, with additional handclapping. On some SMILE bootlegs, this mono piece is used as an "intro" to "Do You Like Worms.") Elliot apparently turned up no session logs for anything titled "With Me Tonight" in his research, indicating again that it was probably cut under a different title. For example, there is the aforementioned "I Ran." Brian recorded a track called "I Don't Know"--obviously a working title (the working title for "California Girls" was, originally, "We Don't Know")--on 12 January 1967, in the midst of a series of "Heroes and Villians" sessions. Or, perhaps, these are the "Tones"/"Tune X" tapes, which were recorded in March, just before Brian began work on "Vega-Tables." Again, it's still a mystery, and only an exhaustive combined effort of auditioning all of the SMILE tapes, in conjunction with the session logs that Elliot used for his research, perhaps aided by Brian and Van Dyke Parks, would be able to solve some of these mysteries. "Heroes And Villians" [sessions] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 11 May 1966 - 2 March 1967 source: bootleg [mono and stereo]; GOOD VIBRATIONS box set [mono]; "American Band" video [stereo] Brian spent more studio time on "Heroes And Villians" than on perhaps any other single track in his career. Sessions began shortly after he had finished PET SOUNDS, while he was still working on "Good Vibrations," and lasted well over a year, if one counts the minimal work he did on the song during the SMILEY SMILE sessions in June 1967. Presented here (on the remainder of this side of tape two, and throughout side A of tape three, and spilling over onto side B of that tape) is roughly an hour and a half of "Heroes And Villians" sessions and segments. Most of these tapes recently surfaced on the Heroes And Villains Sessions Parts 1 & 2 bootleg on "Wilson Records", with some coming from the (supposed) "Anderle" tapes. Most have never been heard by the public at large (and many Beach Boys fans, as well) before. Elliot's research into "Heroes And Villians" (note that I use the "ia" spelling when referring to the original SMILE version, and the "ai" spelling for the eventual single and SMILEY SMILE release) is rather slim, limited mostly to dates, and occasionally to descriptions of "instrumental" or "vocal" work. As such, it is nearly impossible to tell from when each of these sessions dates. Confusing matters further is the fact that Brian apparently was unsure of what segments were intended for which part until he sat down in February to edit the single. Hence, some sessions that were logged as "Part 2" were not, in fact, used for that part. (Many of the sessions logged as "Part 2" were apparently instrumentals. However, the actual "Part 2" was apparently mostly acapella.) Brian cut literally dozens of sections for this song, most of which were never intended for release on either part. Priore suggests that the "leftovers" were, in fact, meant to be "link tracks" scattered throughout the album. There is absolutely no evidence (unless Priore knows something he's not telling the rest of us) that this was (or wasn't) Brian's intention. Most of these leftovers, along with the entirety of "Part 2," were combined by Linett in 1988 as the "sections" mix heard on the box set. This lengthy mix, as well, was not meant to demonstrate how Brian had intended the final mix to sound, but simply (as he had done with the extended "sessions" mix of "Good Vibrations" first released on the SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY CD) to string various sessions together in a reasonably listenable order. For this collection, I've presented these session tapes and alternate versions, roughly, in the order they were eventually edited into "Heroes And Villians, Part 1" (as heard originally as a SMILEY SMILE/WILD HONEY bonus track, and subsequently on the box set) and the "sections" mix created by Mark Linett in 1988 (and as eventually heard, slightly altered, on the box set as well). That "sections" mix, as we will see, does contain the fabled "Part 2," which was intended as the original b-side to the original single. To kick it off, we have a couple of versions of the "Heroes And Villians Intro," the organ and whistle segment often associated with "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow." The GOOD VIBRATIONS box set indicates that this segment was recorded 1 March 1967, which Elliot's research shows is a valid "Heroes And Villians" session date. First, we hear Brian running through the circular piano pattern (with a touch of organ thrown in). Next, we hear the completed take (first in stereo, then the mono mix heard on the box set). (Note that on some bootlegs, a clever bootlegger has spliced this segment into the "cantina" segment, right after Brian's "You're under arrest!") Next, we have a session tape for the session for the opening segment of the song (i.e., the verse section). We hear Brian attempting to figure out a way to record the segment at a different speed and in a different key, to be sped up later. Also, Brian and cellist Lyle Ritz experiment with the cello line that drives this part of the song. After the session tape, we hear a stereo mix of the segment, followed by the mono mix from disc five of the box set (including an organ and slide whistle overdub). Finally, we hear the segment augmented with the Beach Boys' vocals. (Note that this vocal overdub is apparently actually from the SMILEY SMILE sessions, judging by the backing vocal arrangement.) Next up is the "cantina" section. First we have Brian attempting to perfect the piano backing track. Note Van Dyke's presence in the control booth, discussing with Brian and the engineer the correct microphone placement for the best sound. (In contrast with Brian's previous collaborator, Tony Asher, who rarely attended the PET SOUNDS sessions, Van Dyke appears to have attended the vast majority of the SMILE sessions, and could possibly have been considered to have been a co-producer with Brian.) Finally, we hear two alternate mixes of the final overdubbed version (first in mono, then in stereo), both featuring an apparently discarded idea of having the band imitate a train whistle! Brian recorded two separate versions of the "My children were raised.." segment, both with different backing vocal arrangements. The first, as heard here, was used for part 1. The second, heard later, was apparently intended for part 2. Presented here is a session tape from the backing vocal session of the first attempt. Bruce Johnston makes a comment about how, a year ago, the band was in Japan. (Photos from this tour are featured on the back cover of the PET SOUNDS album.) After a satisfactory take, Brian overdubbed his lead vocal (and a piano track, which is nearly inaudible of this particular version). Following this, we hear a brief vocal piece, essentially featuring the Beach Boys singing one low chord repeatedly. For the final mix, this piece was overdubbed with a Theremin (on one take here, we hear someone whistling the part) and drenched with echo. (Listen for Dennis talking to his wife Carol.) [Tape 3 - Side A:] Next up is a session tape from the coda section (the one often mistaken for "Barnyard," before the actual "Barnyard" segment finally surfaced). Carl is in attendance at this session, and Brian has him sing along with the live instrumental track (which was a rarity for this period--vocals were almost always overdubbed). After this, we hear two alternate mixes of the final take. On the first, listen very carefully for the faint sound of someone (Mike?) singing a few lines from "You Are My Sunshine." It's unclear when this was done, or even if it legitimately belongs with this song (or if it, again, is the result of poorly erased tapes during the chain of bootlegging). Two versions of the "Bicycle Rider" theme follow. The first, taken from the "American Band" video, is a stereo mix of the group's "Indian chant." Following that is the same segment, still in stereo, with the added "Bicycle Rider" lyrics overdubbed. A country/western-influenced variation on the main theme follows, complete with a full string arrangement. First is the session tape (note the abandoned ideas of a whistle, and the descending strings during the french horn at the end), followed by a stereo mix of the final take. Note that Brian mentions to Parks (who plays piano on this track) that perhaps this section was intended for further vocal overdubs. Next is another variation on the "Bicycle Rider" theme, played on piano. The final take features a second piano overdub. One more version follows, this time the instrumental version to what eventually became the "Heroes And Villains" chorus. From this point onward, we will hear the sessions for what would eventually become "Part 2." Priore recently revealed in his update that Brian at one point did edit "Part 2," but that the single master tape has since disappeared. In going through the tape vaults in 1988, assembling the "sections" mix of "Heroes And Villians," Linett recreated "Part 2," based mostly on Brian's instructions on the original session tapes. As mentioned, "Part 2" was mostly acapella, and was apparently thrown together relatively quickly, solely for use as the single b- side. Again, almost all of these are presented here in the form of session tapes of the actual acapella sessions, followed by the final take (often in stereo, if there was any kind of overdubbing). First off is a brief falsetto piece. Note Brian's attempt to get the band singing while actually smiling. Next is a beautiful group harmony, which sounds suspiciously like the opening harmonies to the group's 1980 song, "Goin' On.". (An attempt at a final chord for this segment is quickly discarded.) The next segment is broken into two parts. First, the "How I love my girl" segment (lifted from the Crow's doo-wop hit, "Gee"), which segues into a piano- backed segment. (Judging by Brian's comments on the tape, it sounds as if the piano part was recorded live along with the first segment, and that the vocals for the second half were subsequently overdubbed.) The next segment (represented solely by a stereo mix of the final take) is again actually two parts recorded as one. (Presumably, the piano for the first part was recorded first, onto which the vocals were overdubbed, explaining why there is no lengthy acapella session tape, as with the other segments represented here.) Note that on some bootlegs, someone has taken the "groaning" sounds from the second half and overdubbed them onto the "Barnyard"-like coda of "Part 1," apparently assuming that these "groans" were the oft-described "animal" sounds the Beach Boys recorded for "Barnyard." Next is another piano-based segment, featuring Mike's low "Ah-heroes, ah- heroes, ah-heroes and villains.") In the seventies, the Beach Boys would often incorporate this (along with the "Bicycle Rider" lyrics) into performances of "Heroes And Villains." (Check out, for example, the out-of-print 1972 In Concert album.) The next segment features the band singing low "Dum, dum"'s (we hear the session tape for this part), onto which additional "Dit, dit dit, heroes and villains..." vocals are overdubbed. [Tape 3 - Side B:] The second of the two "My children were raised" segments (the backing vocals now feature "boys and girls" sung syncopated) is represented here with a stereo mix. This segment, and the two that follow, were later lifted for the "Heroes And Villains" single, as it was eventually released in August 1967. The final acapella segment, begins with a lengthy session tape of the band attempting to perfect the backing vocals, first attempting it "open-mouthed," then settling on humming. (Listen also for an experiment with an echo chamber.) Finally, Brian and Mike's lead is overdubbed. (Mike was obviously enjoying himself during this session, asking Desper for a "vibrator and a dildo," prompting Carl's perfectly timed response: "Somebody bring Mike a bag of money.") Finally, a return to the "Heroes And Villians" chorus, with vocals overdubbed onto the existing instrumental track. "Heroes And Villians" [extended] (B.Wilson/V.D.Parks) recorded: 11 May 1966 - 2 March 1967 source: bootleg [mono] Finally, here is the "sections" mix, as originally assembled in 1988 by Mark Linett, and revised for the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set. (In essence, he removed the final three sections--the sections that were used for the SMILEY SMILE "Heroes And Villains"--and replaced them with an alternate mix of the "Part 1" coda.) I've included the earlier version simply because it's more "rare," and because I believe those last three sections were, in fact, intended for "Part 2." (If not, they certainly fit better than the "Part 1" coda!) "SMILE Era Party" recorded: date unknown source: bootleg [mono] As mentioned earlier, one of Brian's habits was to record just about anything, possibly searching for inspiration, or for "sound bites" for his albums. This habit can be traced from "Our Favorite Recording Sessions" on All Summer Long, to "Bull Session With The 'Big Daddy'" on Today!, from the lengthy recording of a "Help Me, Rhonda" vocal session that has appeared on bootlegs, to the various session tapes from the PET SOUNDS sessions that were used for the box set. Jules Siegel recounts an episode where Brian took a portable tape recorder in a taxi to record his conversations with the driver. The tape heard here appears to have sprung from the same mentality. Recorded late one evening following a SMILE recording session (given that someone plays back a piece of "Do You Like Worms," this track might have been recorded in October 1966; aside from that, nothing else is known about the date of this recording), the tape features Brian, Van Dyke Parks, Brian's sister-in-law Diane Rovell (who also served as Brian's talent coordinator), journalists Mike Vossi, Paul Robbins, and Jules Siegel, as well as Brian's close friends David Anderle (who was, at the time, Danny Hutton's manager, and was in the process of setting up Brother Records) and Loren Schwartz (Brian's drug connection--the man who introduced Brian to marijuana and LSD). Interestingly enough, Brian seemed to be having a terrible time (he's apparently having a bad LSD trip). When someone plays the aforementioned snippet of "Worms," he says that he doesn't want to hear any music. Most telling, at one point, he even refuses to smile. Other SMILE Tracks Along with these "outtakes" are several other tracks that apparently have yet to be released, either officially or on bootleg. Among the tracks that Elliott mentions from his research are "Inspiration" (an instrumental, recorded 2 June 1966--by all accounts, this track has not surfaced on bootleg, and is not one of the "unknown" pieces heard on this tape), "I Ran" (instrumental track recorded 12 August, vocals on 13 October), and "I Don't Know" (another instrumental, recorded 12 January 1967--session records show this might be, in fact, a Dennis Wilson production). According to Mark Linett, "Endless Sleep"--which appears in a photo of tape boxes in the GOOD VIBRATIONS box set booklet--was a track Brian produced for another artist during this period). And apparently some people assumed that the quote on the back of the SMILEY SMILE album cover ("The smile you make returns to you"), which is credited to "Indian Wisdom," was actually a discarded lyric from a SMILE song with that title. (It's not.) So What Happened? Why isn't SMILE sitting proudly up there in your record collection, with all those other great albums Brian might have produced in its wake? Well, there are as many reasons as there are people involved with the story. First, it is generally agreed that the other Beach Boys (particularly show business-minded Mike Love) might have solidified the end of SMILE. Ever since the relative lack of success of PET SOUNDS, the other Beach Boys became increasingly weary of Brian's increasingly experimental (and uncommercial) approach. After all, it was the rest of the band that had to go out night after night and perform these complex songs in front of an audience (witness Mike's "whoo-whoo machine" when introducing "Good Vibrations" at a concert in 1966). And, frankly, the rest of the group was just having a difficult time "getting" what Brian was trying to do with the album. Van Dyke Parks recalls an argument he had with Mike about the lyrics to "Cabin Essence." Mike asked Parks to explain the line, "Over and over, the crow cries uncover the cornfield." Parks simply stated that he honestly had no idea what the line meant. Mike exploded. (Mike, recently, on his thoughts about the SMILE lyrics: "I would always try to connect with some meaning for the listener, whereas that was not the goal with Van Dyke Parks. I called it 'acid alteration' at the time.") Due mostly to internal struggles with the rest of the Beach Boys, and an inability to take some of Brian's childish behavior (canceling recording sessions due to "bad vibes," building a sandbox in his living room), Parks left the project. Brian was able to coax him back, but it would be the first of many splits. In early February 1967, Parks left again, resulting in a two-week break in the sessions. Parks returned, but it was obvious that the album (now several months overdue) was in serious trouble. By mid-April, Parks left for good to record a solo album (SONG CYCLE) for Warner Bros.--a project that obviously must have looked more promising than the sinking Beach Boys record. On 6 May 1967, the Beach Boys' press agent Derek Taylor reported that SMILE had been "scrapped." Then there was the business side. In February 1967, the Beach Boys filed suit against Capitol, claiming the record company had been withholding royalties. The Beach Boys and their management were also hard at work trying to start up the Beach Boys' own label, Brother Records, at this point. Even if Brother would eventually release the album, it was uncertain whether Capitol would distribute it, pending outcome of the lawsuit. Meanwhile, precious moments were ticking away for Brian. In the race to have the "newest" sound out on the street, he was falling far behind. The symbolic nail in the coffin may very may well have been the 2 June 1967 U.S. release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Maybe not so coincidentally, the following day, Brian and the Beach Boys convened at Los Angeles' Sound Recorders Studio to begin work on SMILEY SMILE. (From there, the sessions moved to Brian's newly-built home studio. In just over a month, the album was finished. The heavily-reworked "Heroes And Villains" was released on 31 July 1967, with the album following in September.) Finally, there was Brian. Much has been written elsewhere about his mental state at this time. Plagued by paranoia (aided most certainly by Brian's chemical diet of the time), he simply fell apart. He was certainly close to finishing the album (although, contrary to Priore's opinion, there was still much crucial work to be done). Perhaps the thought of literally piecing the puzzles of the album together was too much for him to even contemplate. As he said in 1976: "Time can be spent in the studio to the point where you get so next to it, you don't know where you are. So you just decide to chuck it for awhile." Again, it's no coincidence that SMILE was the last album by the Beach Boys over which he exerted total control. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that once the momentum was lost, it was impossible to regain. For months after its disappearance from the scene, talk of SMILE's impending release still haunted the press. Capitol memos indicate that Brian had even considered finishing and releasing it immediately after SMILEY SMILE. But months dragged into years, and although the occasional rumor still surfaced (right up until 1990, with the release of the two-fer sets) that Brian was hard at work, with or without the rest of the band, preparing to deliver his long-overdue masterpiece, nothing but brief glimpses have made it into the public eye. (Even at the time of this writing--November 1996--the rumor mill is buzzing that a three-disc SMILE box set is penciled in on Capitol's upcoming release list. Mark Linett, who would undoubtedly be a part of such a project, believes that it might happen, but cautions about getting one's hopes up when dealing with Brian and SMILE.) Brian remains rather tight-lipped about the whole subject. (Note the rather cursory discussion he affords it in his "autobiography.") He seems to have a love/hate relationship with the album. He seems to realize that this one unreleased album has turned him into a legend, but he's obviously pained by the memories of that period. Why didn't he finish the album? David Anderle: "If [Brian] can't act upon [something] immediately and see it happening in front of his eyes, it's not gonna work. If he has to wait until morning, it's not gonna happen. That's what happened with SMILE." Mike Love: "Brian had lost interest in being aggressive and he went in the other direction--still creative, and different, but it wasn't competitive." Dennis Wilson: "I think it was the drugs." But ultimately, the last word should be left to Brian himself. As he said in 1968, "[With] SMILE, I didn't think that the songs were right for the public at the time. I just didn't have a feeling... a commercial feeling about some of these songs, what we've never released. Maybe some people like to hang on to certain songs as their own little songs that they've written, almost for themselves. A lot of times a person will write... and will realize later... it's not commercial. You know, what they've written is nice for them... but a lot of people just don't like it. Maybe some people like to hang on to certain things..." Even more to the point, Brian said in 1976 that he had to destroy SMILE because "it was destroying me."© Copyright 1996 David E. Prokopy*. This file may be copied and distributed freely, provided this notice remains intacted.
*Dave Prokopy wrote in petsounds-digest Monday, April 19 1999 Volume 06 : Number 381
"[p.s., my website (http://members.iquest.net/~prokopy/), which still contains the last edition of my _smile_ tape set notes, (add "smile.txt" to the end of the above address) will also be removed within the next few weeks, partly because i've lost interest in maintaining it, and partly because i plan on leaving the indianapolis area (and therefore, losing my iquest account) within the next few months. so, if you want to see the notes one last time, you had better do so now. (or better yet, if someone wants to copy them and host them on their own website, please feel free - under the condition that you retain my name as the author, as well as understand that it IS a copyrighted original work.)]"
Thus we are honored to host this exquisite & legendary study on our site. John and Jon.