The beach boys Smile

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If there’s was ever a band that had the potential to match the Beatles, it was the beach boys. The beach boys formed in 1961 and originally produced music that sounded like surf rock. But it wasn’t until their album, pet sounds. For their work to be considered one of the most influential and greatest rock albums of all time. It even inspired the Beatles to create Sargent peppers. Which later would become one of the most influential and critically acclaimed albums in the history of music. But after pet sounds, they plummeted in terms of influence and commercially. No one in the public knows any singles or albums beyond ’66. But what if I told you that the beach boys had the chance to over top Sargent peppers. You see, the beach boys were producing an album in 1966 and in 1967 that would top pet sounds. It was called Smile
Pre-Smile
To get to the origins of Smile, we must understand the album that came before it. Which was pet sounds. As that album would predate many of the ideas, sounds, and influences from Smile. Brian Wilson was the leader of the beach boys and helped the transition of the band’s music from surf rock to pop rock. The reason for the transition was due to the Beatles rubber soul album. When he heard it, he was absolutely stunned and called a filler free record. It inspires him to challenge the band’s greatness that it brought. Gone are the days of singing about cars, beaches, and women. In with the use of LSD’s and deeper writing of his songs. Wilson had used the drug several times to create the songs of pet sounds. He was also influence by the composer Phil Specter with his wall of sound technique. As it was revolutionary in production wise. But some of the band members weren’t ready to move on from their typical sound. But they pushed forward and created pet sounds. But the album didn’t hit expectations as it did lukewarm in terms of critical reception and commercially. It did very well in the U.K, but not in the U.S where it reached Num. 10. So, the record company behind the beach boys put out a compilation album called the best of the beach boys. Which not only reached higher in the charts than Pet sounds, it hurt the chance of the beach boys’ chance of moving away from their original sound. However, the album inspired the Beatles to create Sargent pepper’s lonely-hearts club band. Which is known to be the most influential album of all time. In the later years after Pet Sounds release, it was hailed as one of the most influential albums.
Smile’s production
The release of the album devastated Wilson but went back to work to create a new single called good vibrations and changed his writing style. Which was a U.S chart topper and become a number one hit in the U.K. Despite being a stinker in the U.S, they’re doing great in the U.K. They become the bestselling album act in Britain which ended the 3 years reign of the Beatles. Wilson was confident as ever to move beyond their surf rock days, so he began construction of a new album, Smile. He hired Van Dykes Parks to write lyrics with him. To prepare for the recordings and writings of Smile, Wilson bought around 2 thousand dollars’ worth of marijuana and hash. The duo pulled out all night sessions of writing lyrics and pulling out various inspirations. In October of ’66, Wilson described the upcoming project as “a teenage symphony to God” and “that it would be as much an improvement over pet sounds as that was over Summer Days (previous album before Pet sounds)”. The album would focus on being musically and thematically linked. Using the sounds and production technique that made good vibrations. He expanded his technique that he used during good vibrations. The technique is to split songs into sections. It would be arranged into sections and the band would each section of the song. To see which take the best was. He would then take the best of the sections and create the song. The technique was incredibly unique in its time as it differs from the usual “one take” in mainstream music production. The sessions officially begun on August 3, ’66. Smile was going to be mainly going to be psychedelic rock, but Wilson doesn’t even consider it to be rock. Nobody knows what the track sequence was going to be even to this day, but we do know what the songs were going to be. The album would include Do you like warms, wind chimes, heroes and villains, wonderful, I’m in great shape, Surf’s up, the old master painter, the elements, child is the father of the man, Good vibrations, cabin essence, and Vega-tables. Heroes and villains were an essential part of the album as it was the structure of the album. Wilson dedicated himself to perfecting the song as there’re over 30 sessions for the song. Remember, he was using a technique that sliced up a song to sections. The concepts behind the album would focus on American history and music. It also focused on psychedelia, god, childhood, fitness, and poetry. An unfinished song called the elements, it was supposed to focus on health, fitness, and environmentalism. As the album was getting just more ambitious, the Beatles former press agent Derek Taylor joined the Beach boys. Devised a plan to reshape the public image of the Beach boys. With him promoting Wilson as a genius among his fellow peers, which he believed himself due to fellow famous musicians believing that too.
The collapse of Smile
Multiple problems surrounded the albums when the beach boys returned to the studios after their European December ’66 tour. Although Wilson had completed most of the tracks, members noticed that he had use LSD’s. One of the members said that one of the reasons for the project not being completed was because of the excessive amount of drug use by everyone. He started to have delusions and a growing sense of paranoia. One of his many delusions included thinking that one of his songs caused a fire, encouraged his musicians to wear toy firemen hats, holed up in his beds for days just smoking cannabis and eating candy bars, thinking Phil Specter taunting him with encrypted messages, and thought that a portrait of himself capture his soul. It also didn’t help that he increased his drug use in the beginning of 1967. But when the deadline for the album was missed, Wilson just continued trying to perfect heroes and villains. The release date was postponed as Wilson continue tinkering with his songs. It also didn’t help that several revolutionary albums by Velvet underground & Nico and Jimi Hendrix were released during the sessions. But the beach boys had a chance to release the album before the Beatles Sargent Peppers could. However, the project was still going downhill. The lyricist Van Dyke parks quite due to Brian’s growing problems and Mike Love. Love was one of the members of the beach boys who was pushing back against the new ideas of Brian Wilson and argued with Parks frequently. All this tension lead to Wilson allegedly burning the Smile tapes according to Derek Taylor on May 6th. He then quit the band and started focusing his attention on the Monterrey pop festival. Which the beach boys were going to attend but cancelled at the last minute. Many were upset by the withdrawal and many contributed it to the reason why the beach boys become washed up after Smile. To put the final nail on the coffin, the Beatles Sargent peppers released on June 1st.
Post Smile
The fame of the beach boys would fall as they released Smiley Smile. A practically rushed version of Smile that was only created to fill obligations from Capital records. It received mixed reviews by critics and became the worst selling Beach boy’s album in the U.S. Years after Smile cancellation, some of the Smile songs appeared on some of the later albums. The group said that they would finish the album at some point, but it was either forgotten or abandoned. After a couple of decades, Smile had landed in the spot of the most famous unreleased album. Bootleggers had passed around groups and it only spread further once the internet was established. In 2004, long after Brian Wilson left the beach boys. He was encouraged by his friends and peers to finish Smile. He reunited with Van Dykes Parks and completed the album. He released the album in September 2004 which landed at Num. 13 in the Billboard charts. 7 years later, the beach boys released the smile sessions which was basically the smile recordings. When arguing if Smile would have made an influential impact or not. To me, if they released the album several months before Sargent Peppers and being on the Monterrey pop festival. I think it would been more influential than Sargent Peppers. It wouldn’t outsell Sargent Peppers of course, they’re the Beatles. But when listening to the Smile sessions, I think it fleshed out the idea of a concept album. And when you listen to Sargent Peppers, the idea that they’re a different band is only explored in a couple of songs. Another thing is that I think the Beach boys would have a much better fate with their legacy. The public barely knows anything post pet sounds besides from a couple of songs. I don’t know, I just think it’s fun to speculate about Smile.

After note

Now that I’ve finished my Beach boys smile album, it’s time to finish my review of all Weezer albums. Which would hopefully break the record for the most words in a article.

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