The Beach Boys :: SMiLE Sessions

We all knew this day would eventually come, it was only a matter of time. Earlier this month it was announced the sessions from the Beach Boys fabled Smile sessions would finally see an official release — and in grand fashion. Next month Capitol is releasing Smile via a variety of formats to satisfy all manner of Beach Boys fandom — from the simply curious to the obsessive. The former can pick up a two-CD version (itself boasting 40 tracks) while the latter can dig into the box set comprised of 5 CDs, vinyl, 7″ singles, etc. Sounds like fun.

I’m not going to rehash the storied history of these sessions (you can read about them here), suffice to say that in terms of ‘lost albums’ this is something akin to the holy grail for fans. Not surprisingly most reactions have been positive, though I did find this piece via the Guardian UK interesting: Why I frown upon the Beach Boys releasing Smile. In short, the author ponders whether the sessions should in fact remain in bootleg form as they have the past four decades; his reasoning being that to do otherwise (an official release) might scar the experience. Personally, I’m looking forward to comparing (and contrasting) the various and sundry “fan” imaginations of Smile I’ve collected and/or happened upon over the years to what Capitol releases in October.

What do you think? Hit up the comments — do you believe they (Capitol) should have left well enough alone, or are you looking forward to digging into what comes out?

28 thoughts on “The Beach Boys :: SMiLE Sessions

  1. I am kind of on the fence about this but I am leaning towards your opinion that it will be fun to compare the originals with the bootlegs which have been compiled by fans over many years. It may turn out that the bootlegs are better. Anyway I am looking forward to having whatever original material they are releasing to us in a nice package, hopefully, with some detailed notes and pictures from the period. What ever the official release turns out to be, it still is not going to be what it could have been when Brian Wilson originally conceived it.

  2. I’m PUMPED. I’ve got two or three SMiLE bootlegs that I regularly enjoy, but am excited for this release.

    The improvements in sound just from the remastering should make this set worth the $$$, but it will be a joy to see experience yet another ‘interpretation’ of the album.

  3. Looking forward to them. We’ll always have the miles and miles of unsanctioned boots, bring on the real.

  4. I’ve had boots of Smile for years, but I’m pretty excited about this box anyway. (One of my favorites is the Purple Chick remix of Smile, btw.) Even though I was wary of the Pet Sounds box, I ended up really digging in and loving it. So, hey, I can’t wait.

  5. Releasing smile has always been an almost lost cause due to the stigma surrounding it. Although, I was curious, was it even released on Brothers Records or is this a myth as well? Regardless, it will be great to get a full fledged release.

  6. As a big fan of the whole SMILE story & music this release news kind of saddened me. When I was a kid the Good Vibrations Box Set contained almost an album’s worth of “official” Smile tracks and I spent hours listening and listening. Then I started collecting the boots. I feel like we’ve all heard the sessions by now. Of course, that being said I wouldn’t mind listening through the massive box coming out, but wish I could be that young kid again – eager to hear the fabled takes…oh well…still diggin’ worms…

  7. I find this release far more interesting and worthwhile than Wilson’s completed version of Smile from earlier last decade. It’s fine if Wilson wanted to go back and complete what he started, but it was never going to be what the much younger and innovative version of himself intended. This, at least, puts even more of the original paint strokes together in order to let each person compose their own impressionistic version of an album that will never truly exist.

  8. i agree while i own several bootleg versions,,it would be interested on how the remaster the sound…..but on one hand the mythology of the album and it never being released is very cool

  9. I’m definitely on the fence about this. Not about actually releasing the sessions officially, but in the way they are doing it. i have no need to have this on a 2 cd set, I want it on vinyl. The test print is insanely rare and expensive when you find it– so that is out of the question. Now let’s see… I can get the 2 cd set for either 69.99 or 99.99, but no, maybe I’ll splurge and spend say 200 on a vinyl box set (w/o even the singles), but the cheapest box set they have available with the vinyl is 699.99! that is ridiculous. I’m gonna need to buy a fucking cheap light up diaroma with it? Fuck this movement of bundling music– it has become a tool to exploit die hard fans rather than to superserve them.

    I’m ragin!

  10. Now all we have to do is get Dylan’s complete basement tapes officially reissued…meaning those 100+ songs from 1967…

  11. SMiLE is in my top ten albums of all time (the bootlegs, not the recent BWPS). I’m guessing the official release will be essentially the same as what we already have on bootlegs, save the order. If the sound quality improves, that will be the real bonus. Other than that, the booklets will be nice, as will the chance to have it on vinyl. We’ll never know how the history of rock ‘n roll would have changed had it been released in ’67. Long live Aquarium Drunkard.

  12. Here it comes, Mike Love will take credit for Smile, as he did with Pet Sounds, ahh Mikey, you were in Japan when Brian laid down the tracks for Pet Sounds. Mike Love is the Yoko Ono for the Beach Boys. He killed Smile, and he alone is responsible for the end of the Beach Boys. Brian didn;lt lose his mind in 66/67, he just didn;t want to be a Beach Boy anymore, and we have Mike Love to Thank for that……..Thanks Mike Ono !!!

  13. I think Smile is a great idea! What an uplifting way to make a new release! Thanks for the story! Looking forward to what you’re going to come up next!

  14. Interesting thoughts here….. Truth; whereas those of us who have been listening (and regurgitating) SMiLE for many decades now, it seems to me that this official release has a two-fold goal: both to allow a new generation of people to be turned on to this genius masterwork, and, perhaps, to COMPLETE the experience for us Wilsonites who’ve relished this hidden jewel all of these years.

    I, for one, am pretty stoked to check out the original artwork, photography, and liner notes that will accompany the official release. This era in the Beach Boys epoch has been fairly shrouded in the shadows of Smiley Smile… and the fact that Wilson was directly involved makes ALL of the difference in my eyes.

    And to the youngins — listen carefully 😉

  15. The fantasy will live on. This box set will just add to the conversations and the fun of putting together your own SMiLE mix. Unless Brian Wilson ever manages to remember and tell us how the album would have originally been released, there’s no way the Smile cult will die. Plus I’m this is only a fraction of the original sessions from 1967. It’s going to be interesting to see what kind of new mixes come as a result of this.

  16. Mike Love has definitely had his moments of bad judgement and questionable lawsuits, but over the years the tales of his antics have been exaggerated to a point that makes him sound like evil incarnate. Having met Mike a handful of times, I feel he’s gotten a worse rap than he should; agreed, he’s done some things I haven’t been to happy with (and actually embarrassed about!), but not all you’ve heard is COMPLETELY accurate (I’m expecting opposing views and that’s OK; this is just my own personal opinion). It’s true, he wasn’t stoked about SMiLE, but it wasn’t just that factor that put the brakes on the project…but true Beach Boy fans know THAT tale so I won’t rehash. Needless to say, I’m ECSTATIC over this release – I have my share of SMiLE boots as well – vinyl, CD and cassette – but this box set is gonna be the freakin’ top-of-the-heap and a Beach Boy fan’s dream come true.

  17. while a lot of us freaks have had the Smile stuff for years (thanks Internet!) I’m sure this official release we be new to 90% of folks.

  18. The prices for the various packages are RIDICULOUS. That stinks. However, i’ll be buying the double vinyl. As an aside, I have two hour long segued boots of SMiLE that were produced in a real studio, just two long mp3 files. They don’t stick just to SMiLE tracks either, which I know some fans objected to, personally it’s lovely to hear ‘Diamond Head’ or ‘Time To Get Alone’ in the mix of SMiLE tracks – but the flow is amazing, sound quality BRILLIANT. From memory they’re called ‘The American Experiment’ and ‘The Spiritual something or other. If anyone is interested i’ll dig them out and post them on my blog, just let me know..

  19. FYI,

    You can download the SMiLE Sessions tracks: Heros and Villains and Good Vibrations here:

    These are the files to be used to create a music video for the Capitol Records Beach Boys Music Video project. You’ll have to connect this w/ one of your accounts (…etc).

    No huge surprises on the Heros and Villains track…the sound quality is pretty good. I love that the Good Vibrations includes the “hum dee da” bridge….good stuff!

  20. After everything Brian Wilson has been though over the past 4 decades or so, especially regarding the ill-fated “Smile,” how could anyone possibly begrudge this ultimate rock-n-roll survivor the opportunity to finally finish the thing in grand style?

    Brian has been thriving and doing amazing things over the past 10 years, and this is the miraculous culmination. I can’t wait. God bless the man!

  21. I have fallen deeply in love with SMiLE. I have many many bootlegs with many interpretations of SMiLE. The art of diving into the vaults and bringing forth new mixes has always been a love of mine. It gives the Beach Boys more life, more opportunities, and because of our growing technology it also gives it a better sounding experience. I am interested in with this new box set to gather more ideas, and hopefully find some new SMiLE sessions that have not been released to the bootleg circuit. I know I already have over 40 gigs of SMiLE sessions and bootlegs, mixes, promos etc, I am hoping that new mixes come out. If anything, this should be a revitalization of the endless pursuit to make a perfect pop symphony.

  22. I enjoyed the BWPS release in 2004. I thought it was fab, but I do think the vocals lacked the warmth of the original Beach Boys track from 1966-67. Having heard quite a few, I think the Purple Chick re-construction is, thus far, my favourite version. However, that we’re now going to get the original Beach Boys tracks remastered and so forth, well, I just can’t wait to get this and hear it. In addition, without wishing to piss-off you chaps in the US, it’s being released a day earlier here in the UK *g*

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