The Beach Boys' Original Smile to Get Official Deluxe Release

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It's nearly impossible to talk about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys without bringing up Smile at some point. The unfinished album, which helped precipitate Wilson's fall into decades of despair, was hyped as the next big thing as it was being made. But, of course, it never came out. But now, the original Smile sessions are being stitched together by the Beach Boys' longtime engineer Charles Linett, with the blessing of Brian Wilson and the rest of the group. Hopefully it will offer a further glimpse of what the original might have sounded like.

Since Smile was never completed, what exactly will be issued? Linett says the goal is to present "the whole piece as close to as it was envisioned, or as is envisioned, as possible . . . and obviously with input from Brian and from everybody else."

Yes, Wilson remade Smile in 2004, and it was great. But you know, it's still different. And some will argue that reconstructing an album 45 years after the fact still won't provide an honest approximation of what the album might have been like, which is fair. But for Smile, whose extended legacy owes much to a rabid cult following on the Internet, an official release of the sessions seems like an appropriate bit of closure for those hardcore fans out there.

Come to think of it, I can't think of many classic albums that have benefitted from the Internet as much as Smile -- which experienced a cultural resurgence in the second half of the '90s. There are countless critical debates out there about tracklistings, recording sessions, creative intentions. And if you've never heard any of the original material, it exists in abundance across the Internet. You can find hours upon hours of studio sessions that are downloadable, along with reconstructions of the albums made by superfans.

The best piece to download is probably the Ryan Marks reconstruction of Smile (available here). Marks went through and pieced the album together himself in 2004, and many swear its the best imagining of the album.

As for the official reissue of the Smile sessions, there's no set date for release except for "later this year," but it will come in three versions:

"A two-CD set, an iTunes LP digital album and a limited-edition boxed set containing four CDs, two vinyl LPs, two vinyl singles and a 60-page hardbound book written by Beach Boys historian Dominic Priore."

And of course, the reconstructed album will be mixed in mono, just as Wilson intended it to be. Am I the only one disproportionately excited by that box set?

[via Billboard]

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Yeah, this is going to be incredible!!! Thank you Brian and Mr Linnett and Priore!


The release of the lost “Smile” album is wonderful news. Fans have been waiting decades for this album, which followed the landmark “Pet Sounds.” “Smile” is sure to include the trademark tight harmonies of the Boys.

One of the best examples of this is “Sloop John B,” the biggest hit from “Pet Sounds.” The song is an updated version of a West Indies folk song. On my Rockaeology blog at I write that Brian Wilson was inspired to create “Pet Sounds” after hearing the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” – "a whole album with all good stuff."


Nope, you are not the only one. I am most massively crtazilyt excited too!!!

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