The Mythical "Heroes and Villains (Part II)"
One of the great Smile mysteries is "Heroes and Villains (Part II)." The theory goes that this track was the b-side to the unfinished "Heroes and Villains" single, despite there being absolutely no hard evidence for this. This myth has been perpetuated to such a degree that the compilers of the SMiLE Sessions box set decided to tip their hat to it, calling a track by it's name, while also admitting they found no evidence for it's existence. There are several competing theories for H&Vp2, and I'll try to give a non-bias breakdown of them...
The Swedish Frog Theory
This theory goes that Brian completed what he thought was his final master of "Heroes and Villains" on February 10th. Five days later he was back in the studio, making more recordings that didn't seem to fit with what he recorded (Prelude To Fade on 2/15/67 and the Gee/Part 2 iterations/Swedish Frog on 2/20). Why? Because anything worked on after the 10th (but before he scrapped it all in March and rerecorded everything) was not actually meant for "Heroes and Villains" proper, but it's single b-side.
Evidence for this theory is circumstantial. Michael Vosse claims:
"The best version I heard, which was never completed, but at least I could see the form of it, was an A side B side version lasting about six minutes. It was a beautifully structured work; and Van Dyke was still very involved."
If you compile the Feb 10 master with Brian's rough edit of the Feb 20th reiterations (and end it with "Prelude To Fade'), you have about 6 minutes. Also, the Feb 20th iterations were logged as "Part 2" although that could notate the second part of the internal song, rather than a second part of the single. Despite no hard evidence, the Feb 20th iterations as well as other H&V session outtakes were slung together and included on The Smile Sessions box, probably out of convenience than accuracy. Evidence against this, is Vosse seems to be mentioning what he saw as a finished product, rather than what Brian saw as a finished product.
The Master 57045 Theory
This theory states that while most of the "Heroes and Villains" recordings were all recorded under the same master number 57020, some of the recordings were recorded under a different master number 57045, and that was supposed to be "Heroes and Villains (Part II)". The segments 1ncluding the 'Bicycle Rider' chorus from 1/5/67 and all of the remake sections from 2/27/67-3/1/67 (Intro, Verse, Chorus, Fade).
Evidence for this is that the "Bicycle Rider' section is logged as "Heroes and Villains Part 2", and the Chorus is
logged as "Heroes and Villains: Part Two". But like the previous theory, both of these sections were second 'parts' (aka choruses) of the same internal song, and doesn't necessarily mean it's a second part to the single. Evidence against this is that Brian's Master numbers were sometimes erratic and they often changed, and the separate master numbers for H&V might be a red herring. Also, if you edit together what Master 57045 could actually sound like in a logical song structure as per the segment designations, you end up with something sounding like a simple remake of "Heroes and Villains" proper, rather than a b-side continuation as suggested by Vosse.
The SMiLE Sampler Theory
Another theory functions as an alternate explanation for the above Master 57045 Theory and resolves it with The Swedish Frog Theory: that the b-side to the "Heroes and Villains" single was going to be a sort of SMiLE Sampler, a preview for the album. That is why everything recorded after 2/10/67 were remakes, intended to highlight various parts of the album, as one exclusive b-side on the single. That is also why there is a new master number assigned to the recordings...
Unfortunately there is no real evidence for this beyond analysis of what was recorded. Surely, Vosse or someone else would have mentioned this as Brian's intent? Without any actual evidence, this theory is conjecture, although admittedly interesting conjecture at least!
The 'There Was No Part II' Theory
The simplest explanation: there just never was a "Heroes and Villains (Part II)" to begin with. Despite changing master numbers, outtakes upon outtakes and 50 years of hearsay, there is simply no actual evidence that this stand-alone song existed, and any reference to "part 2" is simply the designation of a second part of the song that follows the verses. Evidence for this is that all of these sections--Bicycle Rider from 1/5/67, In The Cantina from 1/27/67, Gee and it's iterations from 2/20/67 and the Chorus from 2/27/67 all were designated as Part 2 or Part Two (with some of the Gee iterations designated as Part 3 and 4). Thus it's reasonable to believe that part 1 was the verse and all of these sections were meant to follow it, at different points in time of the song's recording process.
Last edited by soniclovenoize : 07-30-2017 at 09:25 AM.