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Old 07-17-2017, 07:50 AM   #31
soniclovenoize
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Originally Posted by fuzzyroes View Post
I guess there's really no conclusive way to know what the order would be. What we do know is that (thanks to the list that was submitted to the record company that has since surfaced) the tracks that we have today are essentially what would have ended up on the album albeit for the most part unfinished versions. (so it's not like there's some trove of different songs that didn't pop up on the new versions)
Conclusive? No. But I believe you can calculate the probability of what was to be included, based on the session chronology and interviews at the time.

I think there are some things (not a trove though) that showed up on the new version that most likely would not have ended up on the final album, all of which Van Dykes wrote new lyrics in 2003 for them:
- "Song for Children"/"Look" - was one of the very first things recorded for the Smile project, and was quickly dropped and not worked on again. It even included a melodic passage that ended up on "Good Vibrations" (since it was started before "Good Vibrations" was finished) so this song really bit the dust.
- "On A Holiday" - like "Look", one of the early Smile songs that was worked on and then set aside and never revisited. This is important because all the other key tracks were revisited continuously.
- "Blue Hawaii"/"I Love To Say Dada" - this was one of the final things ever recorded for Smile, and some think it was after Brian had given up hope for the album. It's not exactly clear what these recordings were for, but it eventually evolved into Beach Boys "Cool Cool Water" off of Sunflower. But it may or may not have been on Smile, most people 1nclud3 it on their Smile mixes as the Water element. It certainly did not exist as "In Blue Hawaii" in 1967

And then it starts to get more complex... One of the interesting things about Smile is that some songs begat other songs. The fragments of "I'm In Great Shape", "Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine", "Barnyard", "All Day" (which turned into "My blue Hawaii"), the chorus of "Vege-Tables", the chorus to "Do You like Worms" and even the intro to "Fire" were all originally different segments of "Heroes and Villains". Brian would record them, then decide the segments were better off as their own songs and further develop them. So you can't be certain if things like "Barnyard" would have actually been on the album or it was just a scrap that got cut from "Heroes and Villains". Specifically, "I'm in Great Shape" was listed as it's own track, but we are uncertain exactly what would have been included in that, since it was not fleshed out really.

The order itself, I think my point in my essay was that it wouldn't have been conceptual and thus the order of the 12 tracks arbitrary (or at least a non-narrative)

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You theorized that the list submitted to Capitol Records wasn't meant to be a tracklist but merely a random list of the songs that would be included, but I'm not so sure about that. Vege-tables is listed near the bottom of that list and wasn't that one of the songs that was mostly finished and going to be angled as a single? If that's the case wouldn't it be one of the first songs wrangled off?
That's because the tracklist was submitted to Capitol in January 1967, but the final Vege-Tables tracking was done in April. When he wrote it, it wasn't finished, except for an earlier version which was most like a part of The Elements.

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Old 07-17-2017, 10:45 AM   #32
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Love reading stuff like this.

 
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:59 PM   #33
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I gotta say after thinking about it, your track-list is probably pretty spot on as to what would have been released in 67. You're bang on about Good Vibrations. Putting it last had to have been a byproduct of the touring plans.

 
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:14 AM   #34
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Thanks. I think the order is less important to 1) what was on it and 2) how they were put together. I think you could re-order those songs in the BWPS order, and it'd still mostly work.

 
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:54 AM   #35
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Trying really hard to not write a ten page essay on SMiLE right now.

 
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Old 07-21-2017, 02:14 PM   #36
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that should be ok

 
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:27 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by soniclovenoize View Post
Trying really hard to not write a ten page essay on SMiLE right now.
Go for it man. I enjoyed reading the write-up immensely. I don't think there was a stone you left unturned

 
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:34 PM   #38
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Thanks. I think the order is less important to 1) what was on it and 2) how they were put together. I think you could re-order those songs in the BWPS order, and it'd still mostly work.
Yeah man. It's a helluva good listen and a great progression from Pet Sounds. It's a shame everything to derailed. At the same time, I think people let their imagination run wild about what Brian Wilson was planning. I think you're spot on in the belief that it would have been an album in the same template as Pet Sounds.

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:06 AM   #39
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Oh OK well fuck it. Here's a song by song breakdown

"Our Prayer"
One of the few SMiLE songs that we're fairly sure where on the album it would have been placed; because Brian literally states during the session takes that "this is a little intro to the album". Recorded on October 4th 1966 a capella in four separate pieces that each featured about two vocal phrases and edited together in the end, Brian prepared a rough mix in December 1966 that was curiously missing the second-to-final vocal phrase. Despite being completely recorded and that rough mix assembled, the entire track was scrapped--most likely because the album itself was scrapped along with it's own introduction.

Hurting for Brian Wilson-penned material for The Beach Boys' 20/20 album (as well as pressure from Capitol Records to use some of the then-mythical SMiLE recordings), Carl & Dennis went back and assembled the track, adding additional vocal overdubs in November 1968. The finished track was included on the album.

It is of note that some SMiLE historians feel the song could have closed the SMiLE album instead of opening it, contrary to Brian's claim on the session tapes. This stems from a 1969 interview with Brian's SMiLE-era "crew" member Michal Vosse (who had witnessed much of the writing and recording of SMiLE firsthand) who had claimed:
"As to Smile itself—well, you know about "Surf’s Up." It was going to kind of close the album, and then after it was over they were going to a sort of choral, a-men sort of thing."
Does "Our Prayer" sound like an amen? Maybe...

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:38 AM   #40
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I find Smile a hard listen because of Wilson's mushy old man mouth. the old sessions are better.
not sure while he still included some shitty cheesy sound effects as well (the "wheee" whistle in heroes and villains)

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:40 AM   #41
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soniclovenoise this youtube comment mentions your help:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2evRSlTXja0

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 11:37 AM   #42
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"Heroes and Villains"
The flagship song for the SMiLE Project. Influenced by the success of "Good Vibrations" and it's modular approach (recorded in sections, which were modulations of the same musical theme, and edited together at the end), Brian tried to recreate a similar single for this new album project, this time with lyricist Van Dyke Parks invoking images of the Old West. Although compositionally a simple song, the lyrics became quite complex, intertextual and full of double entendre. To match this, Brian devised several sections, invoking a mini vaudeville play with several acts. The problem was, Brian consistently changed his mind of what musical 'acts' should be included in "Heroes and Villains", which resulted in a number of pieces on the cutting room floor, pieces that even sprang to life as their own separate songs (and likewise, several sections were gutted from other songs into "Heroes and Villains"!). The unfortunate reality is that this song, as a whole, was completely in flux since it's first rehearsal in October 2nd 1966 till it was finally finished for the reincarnated Smiley Smile album in June 1967. If you examined Brian's concept for "Heroes and Villains" at any one time during those 9 months, it would probably have been different as compared to another time!

Early Construction
Initial recording sessions in October 1966 spawned a 'Verse' section that was literally later 'sampled', with different overdubs featured on the same recording to create different verses. On that date, the backing track for the fragment "Barnyard" was also recorded; a week later, the instrumental fragment "I'm in Great Shape" was also recorded. At it's earliest inception, both "Barnyard" and "I'm In Great Shape" were simply different pieces of "Heroes and Villains" (following the first verse), as performed for the DJ Humble Harve as a demo in November 1966. Also, keyboardist Al Kooper claims that Brian had played him a version of "Heroes and Villains" which contained "My Only Sunshine". No recorded evidence of this has emerged, but it's plausible due to the in-flux nature of the song and the SMiLE project in general. After setting the basic groundwork for "Heroes and Villains" in October with the 'Verse', 'I'm In Great Shape' and 'Barnyard' sections, Brian moved on to other SMiLE songs, leaving H&V in this unassembled state.

January Construction
After recording the bulk of the SMiLE album, Brian decided to focus his energy solely on finishing "Heroes and Villains" as a lead single that December. After adding vocals to the verse, he returned to the track, this time with a new vision of it's structure (possibly because by January 1967 "I'm in Great Shape" was extracted as it's own song. More on that later). On January 3rd, Brian & The Beach Boys recorded a number of separate sections: 'Mission Pak', 'Bridge to Indians' and 'Pickup to 3rd verse', a capella linking movements meant to connect other pieces together; 'Part 1 Tag' a piano instrumental meant to conclude the first section of the song presumably; and 'Bag of Tricks' a bizarre instrumental interlude that consists of party favor and percussion effects. Also recorded was a segment called 'Do A Lot', which was extracted and became the chorus to "Vege-Tables". Brian also decided "Heroes and Villains" needed a chorus, so he literally stole one from a different song "Do You Like Worms?". On January 5th, 'Bicycle Rider' was recorded, meant to be the chorus of "Heroes and Villains" (logged as 'Part 2' [which is debatable; more on the "Part 2" debate later]). It's unclear how useful these recordings were, as these early January H&V sessions were ultimately not used...

February Constructions
After a few week's break and a rethink, The Beach Boys returned to the song on January 27th and cut a number of new segments: 'In The Cantina', a segment that effectively replaced both 'I'm in Great Shape' and 'Bicycle Rider'; an a capella "Children Were Raised' which was actually a second verse; 'Whistling Bridge' which is self-explanatory; 'All Day' a series of solo piano pieces that were extracted and evolved into its own track ("I Love to Say Dada", which itself evolved into "Cool Cool Water"). At the end of the session, Brian constructed a series of test mixes, the longest of which featured the structure of:
Verse 1 / Whistling Bridge / My Children Were Raised / Verse 2
On February 10th, the whole group assembled into Columbia Studios and added group vocals to the segments, and Brian made what I believe was his only finished version of "Heroes and Villains" from the SMilE Sessions. After stealing the 'Fade' from the separate track "The Old Master Painter/"You Were My Sunshine", the structure now featured:
Verse 1 / a capella verse / In The Cantina / My Children Were Raised / Verse 2 / Whistling Bridge / Fade
This alternate version only survives as a mono master and has been on several releases, notably on the Good Vibrations boxset from 1993 and as a bonus track in the 90s reissues of Smiley Smile. While Brian probably turned this master into Capitol as his final H&V single, he unfortunately changed his mind several days later...

On February 15th an elaborate new segment to "Heroes and Villains" was recorded called 'Prelude to Fade'. Then on Feb 20th, the Beach Boys recorded four separate sections of a new arrangement of "Heroes and Villains", some a capella with minimal percussion and piano backing, chanting the lyrics "heroes and villains" as a very psychedelic barbershop sextet. The first section included a preamble of Davis/Levy's "Gee", and the third section devolved into drug-induced laughter and harmonized sighing (and someone stating "Swedish Frog"). It's unclear how these sections could have fit in with the previous sections of H&V--especially the final master prepared ten days earlier--since they are in a different key and conclude with a diminished chord. Some believe these recordings (as well as the previous 'Prelude to Fade') were meant as the b-side to the "Heroes and Villains" single (aka "Part 2" but more on that later). Others think this was Brian's attempt at creating a chorus for the song with no chorus. Either way, after assembling a rough mix of the four sections, all of this was scrapped.

March Construction
Brian Wilson now entered panic mode. The sessions tapes seem to suggest that on the 27th, 28th and then March 1st, Brian attempted to completely re-record "Heroes and Villains" from scratch, with completely new 'Intro', 'Verse', 'Chorus' (a version of the 'Bicycle Rider theme in a key that fits H&V) and 'Fade' sections recorded under new master numbers. Although this 'Intro' has recently been reappropriated for "Mrs O'Leary's Cow", nothing was done with these recordings and unfortunately the SMiLE sessions were reaching it's conclusion.

Smiley Smile Construction
With SMiLE dead and Brian having a new vision for an album recorded mostly at his home in June 1967, several of the previous H&V sections were resurrected, with Brian not giving up on the song. A new slower a capella 'Children Were Raised' section was recorded, as well as new vocals for everything (including the previous session's 'Chorus') and an underlying organ part to connect the sections. This new construction of "Heroes and Villains" was finally released on Smiley Smile:
Verse / Chorus / Verse 2 / a capella verse / barbershop My Children Were Raise / Chorus

Without a doubt, "Heroes and Villains", as it resulted on Smiley Smile, lacked the magic and vaudevillian wonder as initially conceived 9 months earlier, with so much of the fun left on the cutting room floor, known only to bootleggers who created their own versions. The release of the final February 10th master in the 90s showed how SMiLE could have been. When Darian Sahanaja and Brian were arranging their SMiLE tour in 2003, the pair decided to create a new "Heroes and Villains" that included elements of both the Smiley Smile version and the fan-favorite Feb 10 "Cantina" mix. This compromise, although certainly not concise, was a happy medium and seemed to regain some of the magic of the SMiLE sessions. This is how the song finally appeared on The SMiLE Sessions.

Last edited by soniclovenoize : 07-22-2017 at 12:16 PM.

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 11:49 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by TuralyonW3 View Post
soniclovenoise this youtube comment mentions your help:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2evRSlTXja0
Oh yeah that guy. He gave me a heads up on it when he did it.

The thing about SMiLE is, is that Brian Wilson accidentally created the words first user-interactive album. Since it was never finished and all these pieces are (well, were) just sitting there on bootlegs and box sets and bonus tracks and such, the SMiLE aficionados just simply rolled their own SMiLE. That is how it's been for decades, and that is the next step for fuzzy. Go beyond what I've done and roll his own SMiLE, probably using some of my edits, some other fan-made edits, official edits and bootlegged stuff as sources. That's what it's really about. There really is no SMiLE, and it's only what you want it to be.

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:47 PM   #44
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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 08:25 AM.

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:50 PM   #45
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"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.

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Old 07-22-2017, 02:16 PM   #46
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"The Old Master Painter/You Were My Sunshine"
A very curious track indeed, the medley of the old Gillespie/Davis standard and the Charles Mitchel standard, the later transposed in a minor key and sung in past tense. As aforementioned, Al Kooper claimed this was originally a part of "Heroes and Villains" (and was probably recorded on May 11th, 1966 but was scrapped and taped over), but by November 14th it was extracted from H&V and was it's own track. By then it also featured a fade-out, called Part 2, recorded on that day with Part 1 with lead vocals from Dennis recorded on the 30th. Master tapes of that vocal track have been lost, so all known copies are sourced from (not great-sounding) mono acetates. It is of note that the original version of "The Old Master Painter" featured lyrics, and Brian even sings them to a cello player off-mic during the tracking sessions; it is unknown if Brian & The Beach Boys simply never got around to recording the vocals, or if it was always intended as an instrumental.

In looking for material to finish "Heroes and Villains" on February 10th, Brian stole the Fade for "Old Master Painter" and reappropriated it onto H&V and recording new backing vocals for it (as heard on the 2/10 Cantina mix). That unfortunately left "The Old Master Painter" with no ending, which could explain why the title is listed last and noted with parenthesis, later crossed out, on the memo to Capitol Records from The Wilsons listing the tracks for SMiLE.

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 02:56 PM   #47
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Keep going

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:58 PM   #48
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"Cabin Essence"
One of the absolute great accomplishments of the SMiLE sessions was "Cabin Essence", which spins a tale of a home on the grange, with a chorus of migrant workers constructing the railroads. To match Van Dykes Parks' exceptional lyrics, Brian creates a similar audio picture with contrasting instruments: banjos, bouzouki, dobro, harmonicas, cello, fuzz bass and a percussion that sounds eerily like railroad nails. Left unfinished once SMiLE was abandoned, it was luckily one of the few to have seen though to completion by Dennis & Carl Wilson, presumably according to how Brian envisioned it in 1966.

Interestingly enough, Vosse claims that "Cabin Essence" began as three separate entities and were later combined into one song; he even claims that the 'Bicycle Rider' chorus was, at one time, tested out as a segment of "Cabin Essence"! There is no audio evidence to back this up though, so if it is true, Brain had to have resolved on the three sections of "Cabin Essence" by October when the backing track was recorded.

Recording of the backing track was done in one marathon session on October 3rd, 1966, and like the other SMiLE tracks, was recorded in pieces: the verse (dubbed 'Home On The Range'), chorus (dubbed 'Who Ran The Iron Horse') and the tag ('Have You Seen The Grand Coolie'). Brian made a rough mix of it's instrumental construction at this time, solidifying the structure and heard by Vosse. A couple sessions saw The Beach Boys attempt vocals on 12/21 and 12/27, accomplishing backing vocals for the verses, lead & backing vocals for the chorus and lead & backing vocals for the tag. Lead verse vocals were not recorded as it was this song--specifically the lyric "Over and over the crow flies, uncover the cornfield" which Mike Love objected as too abstract, alienating Van Dykes Parks from the project. This was apparently the turning point of SMiLE that begun Brian's downward spiral that doomed the album. Before the sessions ended, Brian again made several short test edits of the segments with various vocal overdubs, possibly in order to see how the transitions flowed from section to section.

Just like "Our Prayer", Dennis & Carl dusted off the multitracks to "Cabin Essence" in 1968 for their 20/20 album, under pressure from the label to revive some of the abandoned SMiLE material that had so heavily been hyped the year before. Using Brian's test mixes and Van Dykes' lyric sheets as a template, the song was reconstructed and Carl recorded his lead vocal for the verses (with Mike adding a counterpoint lyric to the second chorus). Released as the final track on 20/20, it remains a highlight of The Beach Boys late-60s discography.

 
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Old 07-22-2017, 07:38 PM   #49
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"Wonderful"
Another amazingly beautiful composition that tells of a girls' adolescence, "Wonderful" is an example of Brian nailing down the perfect SMiLE arrangement, only to second guess himself and fall down the rabbit hole of rerecording, trying to fix what was never broken in the first place, only to resolve in a complete opposite arrangement for the eventual Smiley Smile album.

The first version of "Wonderful" recorded August 25th, 1966 was sparse and driven by a harpsichord and upright bass with a triumphant trumpet interjection. It's simplicity matched the elegance of the melody and lyric, and Brian tracked his own lead vocal on October 6th after slowing the tape down one whole step. The group's backing vocals were overdubbed on December 15th, master mixes were prepared and marked "FINAL" on the tape box. Another song easily completed for SMiLE... Or so Brian thought.

A few weeks later, Brain seemed unsatisfied with "Wonderful" and decided to restart from scratch. On January 9th, 1967, The Beach Boys cut a new, decidedly more uptempo version, again based around the harpsichord but with an overdubbed drums, bass and mandolin. This second version features idiosyncratic backing vocals that state "Om pretty baby won't you rock with me Henry"--leading this version to be dubbed the 'Rock With Me Henry' version. An unusual a capella tag was also taped on this day, with a chanted "mama mama mama" underscore. With only half a lead vocal, it was hardly completed nor a highlight of the SMiLE session and this version too was abandoned.

Near the very end of the SMiLE sessions, Brian attempted a third version of "Wonderful" on April 10th--possibly meant as the b-side to the "Vege-Tables" single he was working on at that time--but only got as far as a solo piano track with some tinkering group backing vocals. This third "Wonderful", like the other two, was abandoned; this time in an even more skeletal state.

After the demise of SMiLE and it's rebirth as Smiley Smile, Brian cut a brand new fourth version of "Wonderful" at his home studio in June. After abandoning a piano-based version, Brian resolved on a delicate but slightly disturbing organ-based arrangement with a series of haunting vocal overdubs. Oddly enough, this new version featured a middle section stolen form the February 20th "Heroes and Villains: Part 2" iterations! This frankly bizarre arrangement of "Wonderful" exemplifies Brian's attempt to completely deconstruct and invert SMiLE's intended majesty with unsettling ambiguity and a lo-fi aesthetic, as well as his tendency to bastardize and appropriate melodic ideas from SMiLE into other post-SMiLE songs. Luckily, the serene initial incarnation of "Wonderful" was featured in the 1993 Good Vibrations box set and it's arrangement used in 2003's Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, with the author implying admittance that the first version of "Wonderful" was the definitive take of the song.

 
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Old 07-26-2017, 04:59 PM   #50
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"Child is Father of The Man"
Another great mystery of SMiLE is "Child is Father of the Man"-- not because of some long-lasting and heated debate about it's logistics, but the fact that it was a key song that was simply never completed in 1966. A great skeleton of a song that could have been classic Brian Wilson at his creative height, we will never know Brian's original intentions of how a completed "Child is Father of The Man" would have sounded.

"Child is Father of the Man" was initially tracked on October 7th, 1966, again in two sections: the verse and a chorus. While the chorus was identical to it's remake the following week, this early verse was very different and rather uptempo. Four days later, Brian returned to the studio and recut the song from scratch, after completely rewriting the verse into something more serene and introspective, and composing a brand new third section: an ominous-sounding bridge. At the end of the session, Brian created a three-minute test edit of the completed instrumental track, which featured the structure:
chorus / verse / chorus / verse / chorus / bridge / half of a chorus
Assumed to be completed, the backing track laid dormant until receiving vocal overdubs two months later. On December 2nd and 6th, The Beach Boys overdubbed their group vocals to the chorus. The mastertapes to these vocal overdubs have since been lost, and all known versions are sourced from a pair of mono acetates, each featuring a different set of vocal overdubs to the chorus. No other vocals were ever recorded for the song. Brian wrapped up these vocal sessions with several test edits that featured the vocal-overdubbed chorus paired with different orders of the verse and the bridge, as if he was unsure how the structure should be, second guessing his three-minute standard pop song structure from October. Work on the song ceased when Brian's focus went strictly to "Heroes and Villains" in January.

Yet curiously the group returned to the song on April 10th, 1967, during a session devoted to recording "Vege-Tables". The brief, sparse take featured only piano and group vocals, again of only the chorus. It's unknown why and for what this was recorded: if it was meant as a demo, the start of a proper remake, or maybe a new section of "Vege-Tables" reapproprioated from "Child is the Father of The Man". Surely, it was not logged under the "Vege-Tables" master number (this new "Child" didn't have a master number at all), the session was logged as "Tune X" (a completely separate and seemingly unrelated March 1967 recording of a Carl Wilson original) and slated as "Nowhere". Very mysterious.

Echoes of the lost "Child is Father of the Man" were found later, with elements of it's melody appearing in "Little Bird" from 1968's Friends as well as the lyrics famously overlayed on top of the outro of the completed "Surf's Up" on that album in 1971 (more on that later). Other than that, nothing was heard or known.

With no lyrics barring a chorus and a structure only defined by Brian's October 7th test edit, SMiLE aficionados eagerly awaited how the song would emerge on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE. We were of course not disappointed... The song was debuted with new verse lyrics written in 2003 by Van Dyke Parks specifically for the project, with a concise structure: instrumental verse / chorus / verse / bridge
Yet for The SMiLE Sessions box set, it's reconstruction on disc 1 featured a revised structure: April 10th chorus / bridge / chorus / verse / chorus

 
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:05 PM   #51
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Finally got to sink my teeth into this and read the new content. Awesome work man. Fascinating to think that such cohesive music could have come out of such a dysfunctional environment with such an unorthodox way of writing. Just goes to prove what a songwriting genius Wilson was (and what good chemistry he had with VDP).

You should really publish a book or something man, or at least an E-book. There's still a massive fanbase who would enjoy reading this type of stuff

 
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:36 PM   #52
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Thanks, I just assume someone will compile all my shit and publish an E-book with my content.

It's funny though, go to the Smiley Smile messageboards, lots of people have written as much as well. We're talking like 60 pages of debating what "The Elements" was.

 
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:08 AM   #53
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That's rad, I'll check that out.

 
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:51 AM   #54
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"Surf's Up"
The centerpiece of SMiLE, I truly believe it's the greatest song written in the 1960s, possibly one of the greatest pop songs ever written. Hailed as Brian Wilson's masterpiece with a VDP lyric to match, the autobiographical song centers around the artist's journey, his heavenly inspiration and the music he creates. It's recording was filmed by a television crew for the documentary Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, featuring cutting edge pop and rock musicians and hosted by Leonard Bernstein, who praised the song in narration. It's broadcast in December 1967 fueled the mythos of SMiLE being revolutionary pop music, with "Surf's Up" to demonstrate it. This made SMiLE's death all the more dramatic, as simply no one ever heard what was reasonably touted as Wilson/VDP's masterpiece... Until four years later of course.

Like the rest of the SMiLE songs, "Surf's Up" was to be tracked in sections and pieced together later. Unfortunately, only the first movement of "Surf"s Up" was ever recorded, on November 4th, 1966 with overdubs on the 7th. Also recorded during the overdub session was an experimental and humorous 'Talking Horn' skit, bootlegged as "George Fell Into His French Horn".

Vocal sessions for the first movement with The Beach Boys occurred on December 15th but were met with strife and were unsuccessful. Later that night, after the rest of the group went home, Brian recorded a solo piano version with his own double tracked vocal, the version which appeared on Inside Pop. Unfortunately, that is as far as Brian ever worked on the song, aside from a one-off live rehearsal recording during the Wild Honey sessions, a recording that was lost for decades, until recently found and included on The SMiLE Sessions boxset.

After negotiating a new contract with Warner Brothers in 1970 The Beach Boys hired promoter Jack Rieley as their manager, who attempted to improve the group's image--and record sales--for the decade. One of his suggestions was to finish "Surf's Up" and 1include it on their next album. Carl & Dennis could only work with what they had: overdubbing new vocals onto the November 4th, 1966 backing track of the first movement, and simply using and overdubbing Brian's December 14th, 1966 solo performance of movement two. The story goes that in 1971 while the group was arranging the vocal harmonies for the coda of the second movement, Brian (who was otherwise complacent and partially absent during this period), overheard them from his room, rushed downstairs and gave them a scrap of paper with the 'A children's song" lyric to be song on top, once again taking charge of the group and guiding them to it's arrangement. It's unknown if this was a new 1971 idea or an old 1966 idea, but it is a perfect ending that reprises the ideas implied in "Child is Father of the Man". It became the title track of their 1971 album Surf's Up, their decade's highlight album.

The song was noted by both Vosse and Van Dyke Parks himself as to close the SMiLE album, but Darian Sahanaja took a different approach when arranging SMiLE for the stage in 2003. Grouping "Surf's Up" together with "Wonderful", "Look" and "Child is Father of the Man" as a suite of songs about the Cycle of Life, it closed the second movement of the show, the album and eventually the SMiLE Sessions boxset. The later release featured a new mix of the song with Brian's original lead vocal from his 1966 piano version digitally flown into the instrumental backing track, a task SMiLE aficionados and fan-mixers had already been doing for a decade (myself 1ncluded). A piece of Carl's 1971 vocal was left in, as Brian had not initially sung the lyric in 1966.

In the Inside Pop documentary, Brian explained VDP's lyrics and the meaning of the song:
At home, as the black acetate dub turned on his bedroom hi-fi set, Wilson tried to explain the words. "It's a man at a concert," he said. "All around him there's the audience, playing their roles, dressed up in fancy clothes, looking through opera glasses, but so far away from the drama, from life — Back through the opera glass you see the pit and the pendulum drawn.'

"The music begins to take over. 'Columnated ruins domino.' Empires, ideas, lives, institutions—everything has to fall, tumbling like dominoes.

"He begins to awaken to the music; sees the pretentiousness of everything. `The music hall a costly bow.' Then even the music is gone, turned into a trumpeter swan, into what the music really is. Canvas the town and brush the backdrop. He’s off in his vision, on a trip. Reality is gone; he’s creating it like a dream.

"Dove-nested towers. Europe, a long time ago. The laughs come hard in Auld Lang Syne. The poor people in the cellar taverns, trying to make themselves happy by singing. Then there’s the parties, the drinking, trying to forget the wars, the battles at sea. While at port a do or die. Ships in the harbor, battling it out. A kind of Roman empire thing. A choke of grief. At his own sorrow and the emptiness of his life. because he can’t even cry for the suffering in the world, for his own suffering. And then, hope. Surf’s up! … Come about hard and join the once and often spring you gave. Go back to the kids, to the beach, to childhood. I heard the word of God; Wonderful thing; the joy of enlightenment, of seeing God. And what is it? 'A children's song!' And then there's the song itself, the song of children, the song of the universe rising and falling in wave after wave, the song of God, hiding the love from us, but always letting us find it again, like a mother singing to her children."

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Old 07-27-2017, 10:57 AM   #55
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"I'm in Great Shape"
Yet another great SMiLE mystery, what exactly is/was "I'm In Great Shape"? Originally conceived as a section of "Heroes and Villains" and tracked on October 27th, 1966, by January 1967 it seemed to have been promoted to it's own self-contained track according to the memo of the SMiLE tracklist submitted to Capitol Records. This is supported by Brian recording the "Bicycle Rider" chorus on the 5th and then "In The Cantina" section on February 7th, sections that replaced "I'm in Great Shape" in "Heroes and Villains". VDP has also stated that Brian put the song's concept in "another place".

The problem is, then, that "I'm In Great Shape" is less than a minute long with takes ranging from 30 to 45 seconds. Was there more to it or was that it? We have no direct evidence that it was, or even what Brian's intentions were for it outside of "Heroes and Villains". We only have a few clues, with the first being that "Friday Night"/"I Wanna Be Around" was labeled "Great Shape" on it's tapebox; was this an engineer's error or indicative that that segment was meant for "I'm in Great Shape"?

Another clue is the possible existence of a "Barnyard Suite". In the mid 1970s, Brian had this to say:
"[It] was going to be four songs—in four short pieces—combined together, but we never finished that one. We got into something else."
Was "I'm In Great Shape" this "Barnyard Suite"? Maybe, but that creates more questions: what else was included in this "Barnyard Suite", something that has absolutely no primary source that corroborates it's actual existence? Unfortunately, the Landy-controlled era of Brian Wilson is not that a reliable of source, and it's possible that Brian had missrememberd in the first place, confusing the Barnyard Suite with "The Elements".

The final clue--honestly a bit of stretch--was that session logs state that vocals were recorded for "I'm In Great Shape" on October 17th (yes, ten days before the backing track was recorded!). Although this master tape has never been found, it has been speculated that what was actually recorded was the early 'Cornucopia' version of "Vege-Tables" (more on that later). With the healthy association between vegetables and being in great shape, it is anyone's guess what "I'm In Great Shape" actually was.

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Old 07-28-2017, 10:19 AM   #56
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"Vege-Tables"
A highlight of the SMiLE tapes, "Vege-Tables" is the complete opposite of "Surf's Up", in that it is completely unpretentious, a pop song about eating vegetables! Brian meant every word of it, even later opening a health foods store Radiant Radish in 1969. Appropriately, this was one of the few SMiLE songs which survived it's rebirth onto Smiley Smile mostly unscathed, as it was rerecorded in an only slightly stripped own matter, pretty much staying as the song was allegedly initially envisioned. Regardless, the song has a long recording history for such a simple song...

Cornucopia Version
While studio documentation doesn't verify it, an early version of "Vege-Tables" was cut possibly on October 17th, 1966. This early version only featured the verse and bridge, played on a piano with very tight "yummy" backing vocals by The Beach Boys. It also featured an early lyric "Tripped on a cornucopia", which led to this recording being dubbed the 'Cornucopia Version'. It also lacked "Vege-Tables" notable "Sleep A Lot" chorus, someting that wouldn't appear until January 3rd, appearing as it's own segment of "Heroes and Villains". While many SMiLE aficionados claimed this was a finished track (with some claiming this was the Earth section of "The Elements"; more on that later), it sounds more like a demo to these ears, lacking any sort of technicolor instrumentation and modular recording approach, as the rest of SMiLE featured. Regardless, Brian left this recording and moved on to the rest of SMiLE over the next two and a half months, without a master number even being assigned to this version of "Vege-Tables".

April Single Version
After refocusing his energies for three months to producing one single release to spur on the SMiLE project, Brian had accepted "Heroes and Villains" was not going to be that single. By April 1967, Brian decided that "Vege-Tabels was a better candidate for SMiLE's savior, and begun a much more focused work on tracking it properly, as compared to both the scatter-brained "Hereos and Villains" and the simple 'Cornucopia Version' of "Vege-Tables.

Once again recorded in sections over a week's time, the core of the 'Verse' piano track and a lead vocal for the first verse lyric was tracked on April 4th, 1967. It is of note that the verse ended in an aborted attempt at the chorus that devolves into laughter and a breakdown (which was simply left in several mixes of the song!); Brian obviously meant to edit in a separate chorus, as he recorded three different versions later that week. The next day on the 5th, the Verse received it's set of idiosyncratic overdubs, including bass and a rather slapstick percussion track. Interestingly, it also received a vocal overdub of the lyrics of the second ("I'm gonna keep well, my vegetables") and third ("I know you'll feel better") verses playing simultaneously on different tracks, suggesting that the same master recording would, in the end, have been mixed down twice, for verses 1 & 2 and again for the 3rd, to make separate sections. But most noteworthy of all, was a percussion track that consisted of vegetables being munched and chewed, performed by none other than an uncredited Paul McCartney! The following day, The Beach Boys multi-part harmonies were added to the Verse.

On April 7th, recording continued with attempts for the chorus, featuring the group singing to a grand piano. This recording seemed a bit unfocused and scatterbrained, so Brian rerecorded the chorus on the 10th, featuring a piano, bass, glockenspiel and Dennis on a simple, reverbed pounding snare, with the group adding vocals. The group also tracked a short piano/vocal "Bop bop do do doo" 'Vocal Insert' meant to connect two sections. As aforementioned, the third versions of "Wonderful" and "Child is Father of The Man" were also attempted at this session, for unknown reasons.

One of the most brilliant moments of SMiLE was recorded at the following session, on April 12th: the Fade to "Vege-Tables". This dreamy sequence featuring ukulele, castanets, dual upright and electric bass, vibraphone and a string trio. Following, the Beach boys worked their magic and recorded a complex yet wordless multi-part vocal for the Fade, creating a stunning coda to a song about vegetables.

Not satisfied with the several sections cut so far, Brian led the group to record another chorus arrangement on April 14th, this time slower and a capella, featuring a whistled countermelody and a bizarre "row row row" underscore. Also recorded was yet another section, once again a slower, a capella arrangement of the third verse ("I know you'll feel better"), this section called the 'Ballad Insert'. These slower, a capella recordings created a great contrast to the slap-happy band recordings from earlier in the week. At the conclusion of the session, Brian compiled a (very rough) test edit of several of the "Vege-Tables" sections, what is commonly known as The April Assembly. The structure was as follows:
Verse 1 / Verse 2 & 3 (playing simultaneously) / breakdown Chorus (natural ending from Verse) / wordless Verse / Chorus from the 7th / Chorus from the 14th
While the edits between sections were rough and featured abrupt, long gaps, this seemed to be Brian's idea for the structure of the song. Unfortunately, it was never never to be compiled...

Smiley Smile Version
After SMiLE's demise, Brian rescued "Vege-Tables" from the ashes and (mostly) retracked it from scratch in June 1967 at his home. Featuring a minimal thumping bass as the backbone with the reemergence of the vegetable-chomping percussion, the "Do A Lot' chorus was curiously absent (later reborn as "Mama Says" from Wild Honey, recorded later that Fall). It is notable that Brian actually used the "Ballad Insert' from the 14th and Verse' (with Brian playing an organ live while mixing to mono), making this one of the few Smiley Smile tracks to actually feature recordings from SMiLE. The structure went:
Verse 1 / Verse 2 / wordless verse / Vocal Insert / Ballad Insert / Verse 3

Modern Constructions
For 20 years, that version of "Vege-Tables" is all anyone heard. It wasn't until 1988 when Mark Linett plowed through the Beach Boys vaults, tasked to assemble a SMiLE album. Linette assembled a rough cut of "Vege-Tables" obviously based around Brian's April 1967 Assembly, but with the edits refined to sound more natural. Five years later, Linett presented a better mix for the Good Vibrations box set that featured more unused sections, with a structure seemingly of his own design (as Brian would never have used a crossfade between the Chorus and Fade):
Verse 1 / Verse 2 / Chorus from the 7th / wordless verse / Vocal Insert / Verse 3 / Chorus from the 14th / Fade

With Linett's above mix being the definitive SMiLE version of "Vege-Tables", it was revised yet again ten years later by Brian and Darian for their SMiLE Tour. This rather concise version featured a structure similar to Linett's 1993 construction, but lacked the Fade-- probably because it was too difficult to perform:
Verse 1 / Verse 2 / Chorus from the 14th / wordless verse with Vocal insert overlayed on the final lines / Ballad Insert

A final revision was made--by Brian's request--to "Vege-Tables" for it's SMiLE Sessions construction in 2011:
Verse 1 / Verse 2 / Chorus from the 10th / wordless verse / Chorus from the 14th / Ballad Insert / Verse 3 / Vocal Insert / Fade

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Old 07-28-2017, 02:14 PM   #57
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Thanks so much for posting all of this SLN.

 
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:07 AM   #58
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"Wind Chimes"
Another one of the few SMiLE tracks that was actually finished during the original SMiLE recording sessions, I feel "Wind Chimes" exemplifies Brian Wilson's emerging fractured emotional state; the song revolves around a childlike obsession with a wind chime while simultaneously invoking some sort of sinister undertone. There is something very 'off' about the song, and in effect I interpret it as being very dark. Is this really just a song about a wind chime? Even though the song was finished in 1966, that recording was scrapped with all of SMiLE and re-recorded from scratch in a minimal fashion for Smiley Smile in 1967

Aside from obviously "Good Vibrations", "Wind Chimes" was the first SMiLE song to be tracked, even before the final sessions of "Good Vibrations" in September 1966. Again recorded in sections, Brian recorded a main verse on August 3rd, 1966, along with a Pickup and Ending section. This arrangement featured a floating celeste, harpsichord and piano in the verse before giving way to a loud chorus of drums, clarinet and saxophone. Following is a breakdown with the three keyboards playing an interlocking melody, with the heavy chorus reprising at the end. Brian later remade most of the sections of this, but his musical ideas for the whole song were already in place.

Brian returned to "Wind Chimes" on October 4th, re-tracking the main verse part lead by a marimba, upright bass and wood block percussion. Brian also recreated the previous session's keyboard breakdown himself, by multitracking various pianos. This process was described by Vosse:
"He took the tail end of "Wind Chimes" - which the way it was originally recorded was, again much more beautiful than on Smiley Smile - and he had a minute and a half tag on it where he took a stand-up tack piano and a grand piano; and, a track at a time, did little music-box overdubs; and then he went in and mixed them with different echoes on different channels into ... I've never heard anything like it… He was doing everything: he had an engineer there just to punch the tape thing, but he'd go in and mix in between. This was mainly done in Western Three, rather than Gold Star Studios which he used for a few things."

At the end of the session, Brian edited together a backing track using the newly-recorded Part 1, the original Chorus from August 3rd, and this new music box Ending. On October 10th, The Beach Boys recorded their vocals for the track, including Carl's lead vocal and the group's bombastic vocals for the chorus. The later was again described by Vosse in 1969:
"He did a great deal on it with blending vocal harmonies using the 8 track, getting things happening with voices that he had not done before, and that I had not heard before ... and since they recorded it in bits and pieces, there were several natural breaks in the song—and Brian did something I've never heard anybody do: by recording everybody and doing the song straight through, and going back to the tape and eliminating voices, he had this little section where voices sounded like little percussion instruments — because he took everything out and would only let one little thing come in at a time, so suddenly there was this break and it was funny, but it worked so well that it built up the rhythm and made the change in such a way that all I can say is he found a new way to make musical changes in a song."

With one song now completed, Brian made a rough mono mix at the end of the session. Unfortunately, this fantastic recording was never actually heard by anyone other than Michael Vosse and other close SMiLE-era associates. Brian re-recorded "Wind Chimes" in a completely stripped-down, bizarre organ-driven arrangement for Smiley Smile in June 1967, which curiously concluded with melodic ideas stolen from another SMiLE casualty, "Holidays". The original "Wind Chimes" was finally heard nearly 20 years later, remixed by Mark Linett (but based off of Brian's original 1966 mono mix) for 1993's Good Vibrations box set. Interestingly enough, Darian & Brain chose to drop the exquisite music box Ending from October 10th in favor of it's original August 3rd ending (a keyboard breakdown followed by a reprise of the Chorus) for Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, a choice made in the name of an exciting live performance. That arrangement decision carried over onto it's construction on The SMiLE Sessions in 2011. Luckily, Brian's original intent for the song survives in his own 1966 rough mix and Mark Linett's modern remix on the Good Vibrations box.

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Old 07-30-2017, 02:15 PM   #59
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"I Love To Say Dada"
A very curious SMiLE track with a long history and several transformations, it was also the final piece recorded for SMiLE before the album was abandoned. Originally conceived as a song about a baby in March 1967, Wilson continued to work on the song and it evolved into the single "Cool Cool Water" from 1970's Sunflower. Although not a hit, the song became cherished by Beach Boys fans as a highlight of their 1970s work. It was eventually received new lyrics in 2003 and resulted as "In Blue Hawaii" on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE.

Early Versions - All Day
The first recorded versions of "Dada" were a series of untitled piano experiments recorded December 22nd, 1966, the same session that Brian tracked rough vocals to "Heroes and Villains". The first takes featured Brian playing the piano with taped strings, with a second attempt on a Fender Rhodes with overdubbed prepared piano. No master number was assigned to these, so it's unknown the purpose or for what song these recordings were meant for.

Next, an embryonic version of the song emerged during the "Heroes and Villains" sessions as a segment called All Day, recorded January 27th, 1967. Nothing was done with this, and it was obvious Brian was struggling to fit the various segments and modulations together cohesively.

May Versions - I Love To Say Dada
By the time Brian had moved into his new mansion on Bellagio Road in March, Brian must have cemented the All Day musical ideas into "Love to Say Dada", a song apparently about a baby. Brian begun tracking the song formally on May 16th with Part 1, a rollicking piano-driven intro with a marching percussion. The next day, Brian recorded Part 2, the main modulating verse section, this arrangement featuring a grand piano with plucked electric guitars and a clarinet. Mike Love apparently overdubbed a simple "wow wow who wow" vocal onto this Part 2, possibly at this session.

Unsatisfied with the Part 2's arrangement, Brian went back to the studio the following day on the 18th and retracked it, this time featuring a prepared piano, piccolos and whistles. This version was called Second Day, as it was called on the session tapes, which would probably denotes that it was the second day Part 2 was recorded. This whimsical Second Day version was never heard, as well as the rest of "I Love to Say Dada"'s sections, as it was the final recording before SMiLE was shelved. Interestingly enough, Brian never gave up on this musical idea...

Smiley Smile/Wild Honey Versions - Cool Cool Water
By the time Brian had recycled SMiLE into Smiley Smile, he had also apparently recycled "I Love To Say Dada" into "Cool Cool Water", as the first incarnation of it was recorded as two versions on June 6th, 1967, curiously at Western Studios instead of Brian's home studio. The song was left off of Smiley Smile but attempted again later that year during the Wild Honey sessions. Recording a much more elaborate version on October 26th and 29th, along with a "Cool Cool Water Chant" over an organ drone", the song again did not make the cut onto Wild Honey.

Warner Bros exec Lenny Waronker heard the unreleased Wild Honey outtake of "Cool Cool Water" and asked The Beach Boys to finish the song off as a single for their album Sunflower. Using the recordings from October 1967 as well as new sections recorded July 1970, the song was finally completed three years later, concluding that album, although it wasn't a hit as anticipated.

Modern Versions - In Blue Hawaii
The original SMiLE recordings of "Dada" were finally heard in 1993 on the Good Vibrations box set, mixed and compiled by Mark Linett. The track was eventually re-written into "In Blue Hawaii" on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE in 2003, featuring new lyrics by Van Dyke Parks. Finally, as it was presented on The Smile Sessions in 2011, Mark Linett used the original "I Love to Say Dada" backing track with flown-in vocal overdubs from the Wild Honey outtake version of "Cool Cool Water".

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Old 07-31-2017, 09:44 AM   #60
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"The Elements"
Probably the greatest SMiLE mystery of all-time, "The Elements" has puzzled SMiLE aficionados for 50 years now. Every SMiLE fan-mixer seems to have their own unique idea of what "The Elements" actually was or could have been, and the hope of getting concrete answers upon the release of the SMiLE Sessions in 2011 was unfortunately in vain. In a nutshell, "The Elements" was to be a four-part suite, in which each musical section would represent one of the four classical elements: Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. The origin and plan for "The Elements" was described by another member of Brian's SMiLE era crew, David Anderle, in 1968:
"Smile was going to be the culmination of all of Brian's intellectual occupations; and he was really into the elements. He ran up to Big Sur for a week, just 'cause he wanted to get into that, up to the mountains, into the snow, down to the beach, out to the pool, out at night, running around, to water fountains, to a lot of water, the sky, the whole thing was this fantastic amount of awareness of his surroundings. So the obvious thing was to do something that would cover the physical surroundings. We were aware, he made us aware, of what fire was going to be, and what water was going to be; we had some idea of air. That was where it stopped. None of us had any ideas as to how it was going to tie together, except that it appeared to us to be an opera. And the story of the fire part I guess is pretty well known by now."

Unfortunately, no one knows exactly what each element was supposed to be, accept for Fire. Everyone has theories (of varying degree of plausibility), but no real evidence. In the most non-bias way I can, let's break them down:

Fire
The only element we know for sure was Fire, as Brian specifically stated it: "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow". The title of the piece is a reference to the cow who belonged to Catherine O'Leary, who allegedly knocked over a lantern and started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The instrumental piece is infamous as being the catalyst for much of the SMiLE mythos and specifically Brian's mental illness, and the decline of the project.

Recorded at one session on November 28th, 1966, "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" featured three basses, drums & triangle and a string trio to create a rather ominous audio representation of a burning fire; Brian took it a step further and even overdubbed the sound of fire, started in a canister on the studio floor! The session was notable not only for it's experimental content, but that each band member was instructed to wear plastic toy firehats. Unfortunately, this session's proceedings were too experimental, as Brian though his music had actually caused a series of fires to spontaneously combust throughout Los Angeles, as explained by Anderle:
"And then there was a rash of fires in the city, and Brian became aware of this rash of fires, and then there was the fire across the street from the studio.... Brian's not superstitious, he's something that I can't name, 'cause I totally do not understand what it is, but he had a series of dialogs with me where at one point he asked if I would check the fire department, call the city fire department or whoever it was that I would have to call, to find out if there were more fires within this period in Los Angeles than in any other period in history. Because he really felt, I guess, the word is vibrations. Brian is very into vibrations, and made me, to this day, very aware of vibrations."

In effect, Brian shelved "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" and claimed to have destroyed the mastertapes. The later is probably untrue, as the masters were utilized for 2011's SMiLE Sessions. But either way, this was the turning point in SMiLE, in which Brian realized the album wouldn't be all smiles. In the end, the song was never heard except on bootlegs. By 1993 though, the "Heroes and Villains" Intro (which admittedly invokes the images of a firetruck) recorded March 1st, 1967 was featured on the Good Vibrations box set and misappropriated as the Fire section. Since then, SMiLE fan-mixers have used the piece as an Intro to their "elements"--specifically "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow", an idea that went on to be used by Darian in his arrangement for Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, which influenced it's construction on the SMiLE Sessions in 2011. But the truth is this Intro was never a part of "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" or "The Elements", it was merely an Intro for "Heroes and Villains".

Air
Literally the only information we have to Air's identity is a short quote from a Landy-era Brian Wilson, contained in 1979's The Beach Boys by Byron Priess:
"Yeah. There was a cut--a piano piece, an instrumental, no vocals--we never finished that."
That's it. That's all we know. But what exactly was this unfinished, piano instrumental?

Plowing through the SMiLE tapes (that we know of), there are several contenders of varying degree of probability... The 'All Day' segments recorded for "Heroes and Villains" on January 27th were unfinished instrumentalist piano pieces, eventually rewritten and recorded as "I Love to Say Da Da" in May 1967 and then reborn as "Cool Cool Water" in June and October 1967 (more on those later). But they don't sound very airy, do they? Another option is the music box Ending recorded for "Wind Chimes" on October 4th; they certainly invoke the sound of air, is associated with a song called "Wind Chimes" and was a multitracked instrumental piano piece. The problem was that it wasn't unfinished; the piece actually completed the song "Wind Chimes". A third theory is that this Air piece was just an embryonic version of "Country Air", which would later appear on Wild Honey. Unfortunately there's no evidence to support this; wouldn't the fact that "Country Air" evolved out of one the most noted SMiLE mystery tracks be a relevant factoid which would have emerged over the last 50 years? Apparently not...

Some fan-mixers also simply claim "Wind Chimes" itself is the Air element. The problem with this is that both "Wind Chimes" and "The Elements" are listed on the January 1967 tracklist, implying they are both separate songs. Air must be something else entirely, and the debate continues...

Water
Unlike the previous two elements, we have no hard facts to suggest what Water was, only circumstantial evidence. But there are few ideas:

Many SMiLE fan-mixers use "I Love to Say Dada" as the Water element because the song eventually evolved into "Cool Cool Water". That is of course ignoring the fact that during the SMiLE era, the song was written about a baby and wouldn't be assigned to an aquatic theme until after the demise of SMiLE. Supporters of this claim also note that the final recording for "Dada" (and SMiLE as a whole) was called 'Second Day'. Could that be a bible reference?
"And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so."
Very interesting. But then again, it could have been called Second Day because it was the second day they had been working on Part 2 of "I Love to Say Dada".

Another fragment often used as Water is what was dubbed the "Water Chant", a multipart chant of "water water water water" on top of a droning organ. Unfortunately, this piece was recorded in October 1967, long after SMiLE bit the dust, so it could not have been Water, although it was used as the intro to "In Blue Hawaii" on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE.

A third possibility for the Water element is a recording that has never been heard. Vosse explains:
"And I was talking to Brian one day about water sounds on records—he and Van Dyke had both decided the album would have quite a bit of sound effects on it—and Brian had a list of things he did not want off sound effects records: he wanted us to get the real thing. That was really my first assignment for the record and he got me a Nagra - he didn't mess around, man, I had the whole thing - I didn't even know how to work one. And a list from Brian, and a stack like this of tapes; and off I went to get these sounds. And in the process of doing that we talked more and more about water. At first, Brian said he wanted to do a water album, so what we finally got it down to was that Brian and I collected, for a week, together, every kind of water sound we could: we like spent a whole evening in some chick's kitchen because she had a metal sink; and boiling water and toilets-went out to streams, went out to the ocean, went to water fountains - everywhere, man - garden hoses: one night we were up at three o'clock in the morning rolling pebbles down the street in front of his house because there was water in the streets — he was hearing all that; and when we got through, he listened to those tapes, and he told me, and I'm sure it was true, that he could sit down and edit those tapes and find the notes and construct a song so that all of it would come from the sounds of the water: he would do nothing to it except edit it, 'cause he said within that range of what we had recorded were all the notes in all the musical scales—the water has all that kind of varying pitch.
And that never got done.’"


Earth
Like Water, we have no hard evidence of what Earth could have been, only circumstantial. The leading theory is that Earth was actually the Cornucopia version of "Vege-Tables"! The evidence that points to this is a panel of Frank Holmes' artwork for the song "Vege-Tables", with the caption below it:
My Vege-tables" The Elements
To counter this, one could make the argument that Frank Holmes was working independently from Brian and Van Dyke Parks; how would he know?

But then again, a more recently-noticed clue was found in Peter Brown's 1983 biography of Paul McCartney, The Love You Make, concerning Paul's trip to Los Angels in April 1967:
"In LA [McCartney] met John Phillips and Cass Elliott of the Mama and the Papas and attended a Beach Boys recording session, where Brian Wilson was working on his "masterpiece" The Four Elements Suite."
This is notable because Peter Brown was not a Beach Boys/Brian Wilson insider, he was an Apple Records guy. While it was common mythos that Paul had crunched vegetables on "Vege-Tables" or even SMiLE, why specifically mention neither, but specifically identify it as "The Four Elements Suite"? Where would this information even come from, circa 1982?

The logic against "Vege-Tables" as the Earth element is the same reason why "Wind Chimes" couldn't be Air: the titles were listed separately on the Capitol tracklist. The reasoning around this is because it was the October 1966 Cornucopia version of "Vege-Tables" that was Earth; and by the time the tracklist was written in January, it had become it's own song.

Another suspect for Earth is the piece "Friday Night/I Wanna Be Around", based almost solely on bassist Carol Kaye's recollection that the construction effects of the piece was "Rebuilding after the fire". It is of note that the song was recorded the day after "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow", so this could be anecdotal rather than factual.

Psychedelic Sounds

One final possibility of what the various elements could have been lies within the recording session that has come to be known as Psychedelic Sounds. Recorded at Western Studio on November 4th, 1966, Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, along with their "crew" members of David Anderle, Michael Vosse, Jules Siegel, Danny Hutton, Arnie Geller and a final friend only identified as Bob, all gathered around a microphone and commenced not only a handful of humorous skits, but an impromptu chanting session on themes that Brian imagined. Coaching and instructing his group, Brian lead the group in a series of chants about vegetables, aquatic life and breathing & sighing. Could this have been the earth, water and air elements?

 
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