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Smile (album)

Perhaps the most famous unreleased album of all time, The Beach Boys' Smile was intended as the follow-up to 1966's influential album, Pet Sounds. Disappointed by the comparatively poor sales of his previous project, Brian Wilson set out to record a song which would be full of "happy vibes". The result was Good Vibrations[?], a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic, which still stands as a milestone in recording history. Subsequently, Wilson attempted to construct his "teenage symphony to God" - a whole album using the kind of unusual sounds and innovative production techniques which had made Good Vibrations so successful. Working with lyricist Van Dyke Parks, Wilson recorded a series of breathtakingly beautiful songs including Surf's Up, Wonderful, Cabin Essence and Wind Chimes. The project started to hit problems when Wilson recorded the Fire piece for an Elements suite and became worried that his music was responsible for the start of several fires in the neighbourhood. Amidst increasingly erratic behaviour and much use of mind-expanding drugs, Wilson continued to record sections for use in other titles such as Heroes & Villains, Do You Like Worms and Vega-Tables without producing many finished recordings. Throughout the first months of 1967 the release date was postponed as Wilson proved unable to supply a completed version of the album, even though most of its components were finished.

Upon the release of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper in mid-1967, The Beach Boys scrapped the Smile album, speedily rerecording some of its music for the less ground-breaking, Smiley Smile. Extracts from the Smile sessions continued to surface on Beach Boys albums for the next few years, most notably on 20/20 and Surf's Up, and many of the original Smile versions were finally released on a 1993 box-set, Good Vibrations.

Track listing:

  • Do You Like Worms
  • Wind Chimes
  • Heroes And Villains
  • Surf's Up
  • Good Vibrations
  • Cabin Essence
  • Wonderful
  • I'm In Great Shape
  • Child Is Father Of The Man
  • The Elements
  • Vege-Tables
  • The Old Master Painter

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