"Do You Like Worms?"
A great SMiLE track that was unfortunately never finished. Written about Western Expansionism and the plight of the Native Americans, the 'Bicycle Rider' seems to represent the white man spreading across the land. This is heard as a great piano/harpsichord figure, the chorus of the song. This is contrasted with the bombast of the fuzz bass, timpani and parade drums.
Like many of the other SMiLE tracks, "Do You Like Worms?" was recorded in sections, mostly on October 18th, 1966: Part 1 (the verse section), Part 2 (the 'Bicycle Rider' chorus played solo on a harpsichord), Part 3 (a middle eight part similar to the verse but featuring an erratic slide guitar eventually mixed out) and Part 4 (a reprise of the chorus played on a tack piano).
Two months later Brain returned to the song with The Beach Boys, whom added vocals on December 21st: backing vocals to the verses ("Rock, rock, roll, Plymouth Rock roll over"), backing vocals to the chorus, and lead & backing vocals to the middle eight (the faux Hawaiian chants). Unfortunately, that's as far as the vocal overdubs went, as lead verse vocals were never recorded (although one can hear Brian sing them to a band member off-mic when explaining the arrangement!). Luckily, he assembled two different (but similar) test mixes on this date, creating a blueprint of how the song should go.
Once Brian doubled-down to finish "Heroes and Villains" as a single in January 1967 he looked to other partially-finished SMiLE songs for material. First, he stole the harpsichord 'Bicycle Rider' chorus from "Do You like Worms" and overdubbed percussion, a fuzz bass part and group lead and backing vocals (oddly enough, the same lyrics as meant for "Do You Like Worms"; Brian wouldn't rewrite them to apply to "Heroes and Villains" until June). This piece was ultimately not used, but it is convenient (for us) that as a result, there is a "finished" chorus to "Do You Like Worms?".
The song remained a great mystery for SMiLE enthusiasts until 1988, when Mark Linett was tasked to plow through the vaults and compile a SMiLE release. Using Brian's 12/21/67 rough mixes as a template, Linett reconstructed the song for the project, and then again (in better fidelity) in 1993 for the Good Vibrations boxset. Brian & Darian Sahanaja used the same template as well for Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE in 2003, but took it a step further: they literally called up Van Dyke Parks and asked him what the unrecorded verse lyrics were from 1966! Astute listeners will observe that this modern vocal from Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE has a different melody and rhythm as compared to what was heard off-mic on 10/18/67, an example of revisionist history... or simply misremembering.
Last edited by soniclovenoize : 07-22-2017 at 01:56 PM.