Rock 'N Roll Case Study: Smiley Smile IS SMiLE
This is the second essay in our new column called "Rock 'N Roll Case Study". David Liljemark & Ronnie Dannelley discuss how the Beach Boys album, Smiley Smile IS SMiLE.

Smiley Smile IS SMiLE
By David Liljemark & Ronnie Dannelley

Dislcaimer: This essay presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The writers' purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones, of the remarkable music we will be examining.

Every once in a while, there comes a time for the ever so lovely anal-retentive SMiLE-freak Beach Boys-fan, to back away from his/her collection of homemade ”SMiLE” albums, and try this thought on themselves – what... *nervous itching* ...if... *cold sweat*... Smiley Smile really IS Smile?!

To some of you, this might be kicking in open doors. Others could perhaps use a reminder, that the Smile album wasn’t, and Smiley Smile was. The chase for Smile will always be a wonderful “would-have-been”, and it sure is a lot of excellent session material, demos and test mixes etc, but Smiley Smile was Brian’s definite idea of “Smile”, one year later after album sessions started (sessions, that in all fairness should be called the “Smiley Smile sessions” if we should ever have the pleasure of seeing them officially released). And most of all: it was a finished product. The Smile album was at no point finished (“it was never one album”, to quote Bruce Johnston), nor Smiley Smile being its substitute. It was all a process, “Smile” is not an album, but a songwriter’s mindmap, the way TO the album called Smiley Smile (and some additional tracks), with the back side that many, or most, people disapproving on what eventually was being released. Who or what to blame for that, feel free to debate and pick your guesses. Still, like it or not: Brian Wilson decided that this was what he wanted to put out. As always, he worked with other people and took impressions from them, for better and for worse. A genius all right, but often in need of input, collaborators. Which doesn’t make him any LESS a genius; that’s just the way he worked.

As many artists tend to do, they change their minds many times during the working process. The Beatles original ‘Get Back’ project changed in theme and scope to ‘Let It Be’. The Who’s ‘Lifehouse’ ended up as ‘Who’s Next’. The Smile album that was to follow-up Pet Sounds and the Good Vibrations single, was at first called ”Dumb Angel”. Then that changed to ”Smile”. Then the album came out as ”Smiley Smile”. That’s what you got.

If “Pet Sounds” set the standard for The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper´s…” album, Smiley Smile could be seen as setting the standard for “The White Album” aesthetic, which also had a “back to basics” recording approach but still a lot of studio “tricks” and songs ranging from the complex and sophisticated to the simplistic and chant-like; from fully (or over) produced to the “less is more”. Bob Dylan and The Velvet Underground, for example, also did their albums later in a more “basic” way, so after leading the “production race”, Brian Wilson took a turn and also lead the lo-fi (or even anti) production race. According to sales, people must’ve been taken by surprise. An avantgardistic move perhaps comparable to Lou Reed´s “Metal Music Music” (1975)? The latter-day Japanese “noise” movement and assorted art-rockers in general took that album to heart and has hailed it as a masterpiece in its own right. But has the “lo-fi” movement really acknowledged “Smiley Smile” as it should?

Smiley Smile seems to suffer from the inevitable comparison to Smile. After almost a year of hype, Smiley Smile could ONLY fail! Even the “original” Smile (the term is of course hypothetical - Smiley Smile IS “the original Smile”) could well have been a flop after that long a wait, just as Smiley Smile probably would’ve faired better had it been released in January 1967. Can’t wait too long? Oh, they could, and did. In his book “Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile!” (1988), Domenic Priore reasoned that, "even though the world missed SMILE, SMILEY SMILE is not without merit. Actually, the reason most people didn't care for SMILEY SMILE is that it came out in place of SMILE." But the bizarre truth is: they got Smile. The finished version. Only, they didn’t like it. Or didn’t “get it”. Or perhaps they had grown tired of waiting.

Bruce Johnston once stated that “…most of Smile is available now.” Sure, it was the day Smiley Smile came out! Bruce’s statement might not only have referred to the songs, or the fact that a lot of session material has since been released, but also the themes to Smile. That some of the original themes to Smile, especially the ‘humor’ aspect, made a clearly prominent or stealth-like appearance in the Smiley songs. Lots of ideas are indeed "recycled" in different ways. We aren’t here to talk about why Smile wasn’t released as first planned in January 1967. Rather, we would like to discuss how much it was realized AS WAS planned, how much of “Smile” actually did end up in Smiley Smile; not just some of the songs themselves and some of the first fragments, but the original themes and ideas of Smile. To show that Smiley Smile IS Smile.


In May of 1967 Derek Taylor spoke of the fate of Smile in his press release. Smile “has been SCRAPPED. Not destroyed, but scrapped”. Could this mean that there was still some merit seen in the songs, but they would be ‘converted’ into other songs? This was effectively the fate of the Smile songs. They were reshaped, in constant chase of improvement. Brian himself stated, “1967 should bring a series of surprises for everyone from the Beach Boys.” Had he already decided to change direction on Smile? On the transition from Smile to Smiley, Mike Love explained, “We are finishing it now. We knew the title and the songs months ago already. Only Brian played the tapes again a few times and found it necessary to skip some songs. That’s what happened. Capitol finished the sleeve in April already. I don’t know how many sleeves they can throw out now, just because the lineup of songs and some songs have changed completely.”

First, let’s mention Brian’s mind-frame at the very start of the Smile project. One of Brian’s earliest quotes about Smile was, “I’m writing a teen-age symphony to God”. ‘Symphony/symphonic’ is defined as: “something that in its harmonious complexity or variety suggests an interweaving of themes.” Secondly, another early Smile theme was ‘psychedelic music’. Brian stated, “Psychedelic music will cover the face of the world and color the whole popular music scene. Anybody happening is psychedelic.” ‘Psychedelic’ is defined as “imitating, suggestive of, or reproducing effects (as distorted or bizarre images or sounds) resembling those produced by psychedelic drugs”. Thirdly, Smiley Smile was no mere psychedelic rehash of the Beach Boys ‘Party’ album. There was still the experimental spirit of Smile, just in a new direction.

There have been speculations on whether Smile was to be a “concept album” or not, Domenic Priore even suggesting the theory of the Smile album as something of a continuous song cycle with “link tracks” between songs, a theory that has since been heavily criticized. A lot of topics has been suggested: ‘Americana’, the elements, physical fitness - and humor. ‘Humor’ seemed to be one of the main themes of the Smile album, dare we say even more important than the ‘Americana’ theme. In describing Smile, Brian said, “The album will include lots of humor - some musical and some spoken. It won’t be like a comedy LP - there won’t be any spoken tracks as such - but someone might say something in between verses.” David Anderle added, “Brian was consumed with humor at the time and the importance of humor. He was fascinated with the idea of getting humor onto a disc and hot to get that disc out to the people”.

Smile might not have been a “concept album”, but when considering the amount of “laughter” that occur in several songs on Smiley Smile, it is tempting to call IT a "concept album". No, no link tracks, no side-long song cycles, but there is definitely the theme of humor, and this “humor album” has ”laughter” (in different ways) in quite a number of songs:

Vegetables: the “giggling” backing vocals.
Fall Breaks...: the “haw haw” (almost sounds like a barking dog) and the played Woody Woodpecker laugh.
She's Goin' Bald: not de facto “laughs” maybe, but a humorous/silly speed-up section.
Little Pad: the “stoned” laugh in the beginning.
Wind Chimes: the accordion (?) ”laugh” at 1:26.
Wonderful: the utterly strange insert and children giggling (more audible on sessions on bootleg)

“Laughs” like these were tried out during the Smile sessions, in Surf´s Up (the horns. Bootlegged sessions named “George Fell Into His French Horn” shows this furthermore) and in the Heroes & Villains “Alternate take” (the “Cantina” version). There is also a demo version of Vega-Tables with so loud laughing that it at times almost drowns out everything else. And in “Heroes And Villains (Sections)”, there is a part that also includes laughter, a growing crescendo of grunts casually referred to as “Swedish Frog” (possibly the “swine section” that Al Jardine in a Goldmine interview 2001 said that he hated).

Another reoccurring humoristic theme tried out during the Smile sessions is slight "parodies" of other songs, or using them for funny effect (Could one maybe say that this started with their “weird take” – although not humorous - on Sloop John B on Pet Sounds?):

Friday Night/I Wanna Be Around - with the hammering sounds, “aow!”-shouts etc.
You Are My Sunshine - made gloomy with the past tense of lost love.
My Little Red Book – Brian singing by the piano covering Burt Bacharach in a rather amusing way 14/2/67 (this has leaked out in fan circles although has yet to be bootlegged); for more “silly voice” stuff check out “Vegetables promo” on Hawthorne CA (2001), taken from a tape known in fan circles as the “psychedelic reel”.
"Heroes & Villains sections" has a part lifted from "Gee" by The Crows.

This “crazy covers” theme is featured on Smiley Smile, with the "What a blow" part in "She’s Goin' Bald". It is “a goofy take-off on "Get A Job"” by The Silhouettes, according to the CD liner notes. (Is that "Too Late Mama"-part also a cover snippet??) The preoccupation with classic doo-wop and R´n´B would be even more evident on the Wild Honey album.

The sequencing of the silent tag of Wind Chimes, a fade so quiet – and beautiful - that you have to turn up the volume more and more to hear it – to suddenly get the blaring Gettin’ Hungry riff loud in your ears. Is this also a “gag”, verging on slap-stick? The B-side to the single Heroes And Villains, “You’re Welcome” is also comic in a way; an “inverted” fade, a chant that fades up and when it has finally reached full volume - the song has ended. Hardly radio-friendly.

The change in production technique is a striking difference between “Smile” and Smiley Smile. Marilyn Wilson explained, “We moved into the Bel-Air house about April 1967. I think the move may have had something to do with what happened to Smile. You know, new house, new things. We had a studio in the house.” Talking about the production of Smiley Smile, Brian said, “We did it [Smiley Smile] in 3 weeks. We had about 6 months before that we we're doing different things that we junked. And we ended up doing the whole thing here at the house with a sort of entirely different mood and approach than we originally started out.” It is the home studio sound, and possibly the mix that most people resent about Smiley Smile. A final word on the production from Brian, “Time can be spent in the studio to the point where you get so next to it that you just don’t know where you are with it…you just decide to chuck it for awhile.” But Smiley Smile should perhaps not be seen as an exhausted LACK of focus, but as a RETURN TO focus (if focus actually was lost, at all?). Brian Wilson finally decided on how to put the songs together, concentrated on “humor”, changed to a new vital way of producing, both basic and experimental. A return to his true musical path? Maybe that goes for the lyrics too - the other striking difference between “Smile” and Smiley Smile being the absence of many of the lyrics by the album’s original lyricist Van Dyke Parks. Brian Wilson said: “[Dumb Angel] was just a passing title. Smile was more cheery, so we used the more cheery title.” The 'Smiley Smile' title is credited to Barry Turnbull . If the public, through rock journalists’ preview reports, had gotten an idea about what “Smile” was going to be all about, this title further emphasizes the “humor” angle, possibly also a dose of the Beach Boys “Party!” album aesthetics, in all logic to how the album turned out. “Smile” had maybe gotten even “smilier”?

Although the recording location changed, there is a major technique of Smile, which translated to Smiley Smile: the ‘Modular’ format of the music. “I’m using some new production techniques that I think will surprise everyone,” Brian promised at the beginning. Again, we bring up the experimental nature of ‘psychedelic’ music, including voice manipulations, speed-up trick etc. Let’s compare two observations, one during Smile and one during Smiley. During Smile, David Anderle described, “Brian was cutting sections of music as they were coming to him. He was going in and recording them. He wasn’t doing them as ‘this is this song, and this is that song.’ He was always interchanging parts. ‘Cause at one point, he’d say ‘OK. This is “Surf’s Up” or this is “Bicycle Rider” or “Vegetables.”’ And then a night or two later, maybe the first verse and chorus of what had been ‘Bicycle Rider’ was all of the sudden the second verse of something else. It was continually changing at that point…I was always being thrown because I would hear something, and then I’d come back the next night, and he’d be shuffling around [the pieces]”. Compare that description to Jim Lockhart’s description of the Smiley sessions: "The Smiley Smile album was done on eight track in segments that were never put together in one tape. The intro was on one reel of tape, the first verse was on one reel of tape...When you take a song you have an intro, first verse, a chorus, second verse, a chorus, and then you have an ending. Each segment of that thing was on a different tape for each cut of the album." In addition to the continuation of the ‘modular’ theme, the ‘experimentation’ angle should be addressed as well. Jim Lockhart said, "There was so much experimentation... [On "Vega-Tables"] we had celery coming out of our ears - and carrots! - you'd never believe the stuff the guys were chewing in front of the microphone. Brian's swimming pool had a leak in it and was empty, so we put a microphone in the bottom of this damn near Olympic-size pool and the guys laid down inside the pool and sang so the sound would go down the wall of the concrete pool into the microphone - and that was part of the vocals on one of those songs."

It is also worth noting that Smiley Smile was the first LP since 1963 without photos of The Beach Boys on the front cover (except for the french edition),and the Smile cover was also drawn.


At one point in time, late 1966, Brian Wilson gave Capitol a hand-written tracklist of 12 songs intended for Smile. A lot more stuff had obviously been recorded, but maybe not meant for inclusion (or de-/reconstructed into other songs) - at that time it was what he had decided on though, hence album covers and booklets were printed (although with the addition ”See label for correct playing order”). One would assume, that these tracks were finished, that is written, preconceived, although not completely finished as in recorded and put down to tape (and mixed and put together). Also, according to session tape, the a capella ”Prayer” was to be ”a little intro to the album”, so maybe there were 13 songs, but he might have changed his mind, since it wasn’t on the list. According to Brian's handwritten list and the printed cover slicks only, Smile consisted of:

1. Do You Like Worms (B. Wilson- V.D. Parks)
2. Wind Chimes (B. Wilson)
3. Heroes and Villians (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
4. Surf's Up (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
5. Good Vibrations (B. Wilson-M.Love)
6. Cabin Essence (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
7. Wonderful (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
8. I'm In Great Shape (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
9. Child Is Father Of The Man (B.Wilson-V.D. Parks)
10. The Elements (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
11. Vega-Tables (B. Wilson-Van Dyke Parks)
12. Old Master Painter (Haven Gillespie-Beasley Smith)
Compare this to the release of Smiley Smile in September of 1967:

1. *Heroes and Villains (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
2. * Vegetables (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
3. #Fall Breaks and Back to Winter [W. Woodpecker Symphony] (Brian Wilson)
4. #She's Goin' Bald (Wilson-Love-Parks)
5. #Little Pad (Brian Wilson)
6. **Good Vibrations (B. Wilson-M. Love)
7. #With Me Tonight (Brian Wilson)
8. *Wind Chimes (Brian Wilson)
9. Gettin' Hungry (B. Wilson-M. Love)
10. *Wonderful (B. Wilson-V.D. Parks)
11. #Whistle In (Brian Wilson)
* (4 songs) Songs that were re-recorded or drastically changed from their “original” Smile version.
# (4 songs) Songs that were possibly parts or fragments that have their origin in the “original” Smile. Again, you can use David Anderle’s portrayal of Smile tunes, “…a lot of those titles were at that point really just the tracks without the lyrics put on. That’s way it was so easy to interchange.”
**(1 song) Remained the same on both albums - essentially the 45 rpm. This leaves ‘Gettin´ Hungry’ as essentially the only “new” song.


Heroes and Villains: The discussion of Heroes and Villains could take up a whole separate essay! There are several trains of thought. Some say that the ‘cantina’ version is the final, some say it’s a test mix. Some say that the final Heroes and Villains is yet to be heard. There’s also talk about an early acetate stashed away in the vaults. THE final Heroes & Villains version though, is on Smiley Smile! As of June 14, 1967 Brian was still re-editing the sequence of the song from being long to the released version. At one time Brian called H&V “a three-minute musical comedy”. Later he said, “I was completely satisfied with the record two months ago. I haven’t done anything about it after that time. I see it like this: every Beach Boy record has it’s own story, not only musically, but also the lyrics. This story has to be told in 3 or 4 minutes, it’s just like a book. The persons come alive, they speak, and have their wants. That’s why we need so much time for every record.” Finally, Jim Lockhart describes the Smiley version: “We had the complete song, but they just wanted to use part of it. Brian wanted to change what had been done on the rest of it. I think he wanted instrumentally and vocally to make it more complex. I think he wanted to finish the song, it was a challenge to him. We went and re-recorded from where we started off the old tape, the rest of the song at the studio in the house. We did the parts and the music tracks and most of the guys played their own instruments…It was done in pieces and the vocals were done to complete the song.”

Vegetables: This track was re-recorded, tightening the flow. There is no “mama says”-section (“Eat a lot, sleep a lot”) and no whistling verse, as could be heard on the extended mix on the Hawthorne CA album (2001). To bring up silent sounds in the mix like the sound of a glass of water being poured and chewing, pre-dates Einstürzende Neubauten´s similar work by decades.

Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (W. Woodpecker Symphony): The “Symphony” label again brings back Brian’s “teenage symphony to god” quote. It might also indicate a humoristic connection close to the “Silly Symphonies” cartoons. Some have said that this is a re-write of “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow" (a.k.a. “Fire”) music, especially noting the similarities between the bass lines. After the “Fire” debacle Brian said, “I don’t have to do a big scary fire like that. I can do a candle and it’s still fire. That would have been a really bad vibration to let out on the world, that Chicago fire. The next one is going to be a candle.” Could THIS be the candle? The syncopes in the percussion might also bear some resemblance to those in the Child Is Father To The Man chorus, but what “Fall Breaks...” is most related to, is “Heroes And Villains Intro”, whose sessions is often named “Bag Of Tricks”. The rising/falling scale also resembles the backing vocals of the “Who Ran The Iron Horse” section in Cabin-Essence, a song that probably was “scrapped” at that time, until it was dusted off and used some years later on the 20/20 album. Brian also talked about a Smile track called Barnyard, or “The Barnyard Suite that was going to be four songs - In four short pieces - combined together, but we never finished that one. We got into something else.” That’s the thing about these sessions – he always changed sections around, he/they always “got into something else”. Or the “suite” became as much/little a suite as Fall Breaks... is a “symphony”.

She's Goin' Bald: The Smiley version of this song is credited to: Wilson-Love-Parks. An earlier version of this song was taped with lyrics starting with “He gives speeches...”, a collaboration with Van Dyke Parks (who doesn’t seem to remember it now). No one really knows what it was meant for, if it was a section for some other song (there has been theories that it was part of "Do You Like Worms" at one point) or just a demo. Brian’s quote “The album will include lots of humor-some musical and some spoken” is very fitting to this song, and its spoken interim at 1:10.

Little Pad: David Andlerle mentioned the Hawaiian theme - “Brian got very much into chanting. Not just Hawaiian chants but chants in general.” At least the Hawaiian topic can be said to have its origin in Do You Like Worms. Also, the lyrics MAY be a re-write of the known but not recorded verse lyrics to Do You Like Worms (compare the syllables to “Once upon the Sandwich Isles / The social structure steamed upon Hawaii” to “If I only had a little pad / If I only had a little pad / In Hawaii”), perhaps also having the same melody, but all we can be REALLY sure of right now is the “Hawaii” thread.

Good Vibrations: Continuation of the ‘good’ theme? On June 11, “GOOD NEWS” was the first session held at Brian's home studio at 10452 Bellagio Road, Bel-Air for an unreleased SMILEY SMILE track. Also on JUNE 25 & 26 was “GOOD TIME MAMA” – another unreleased song. Or is it just a coincidence that the ‘good’ mantra is repeated? At first, Brian didn’t want it on the album, but he changed his mind - it was on his “Smile” list, and it was on Smiley Smile.

With Me Tonight: With Me Tonight grew out of Heroes & Villains, with earlier versions dating from Smile sessions. The "good" in the beginning of With Me Tonight fits with the "someone might say something between verses" quote above, often attributed to the "You’re under arrest!" line in the Heroes & Villains “Alternate take”. That “good” has also been noted as indicative of Smiley Smile’s supposed “sloppiness”, but bootlegged sessions show that it has been EDITED to fit right on the beat, which instead underlines the focus and deliberate “coolness” of Smiley Smile.

Wind Chimes: Another re-recorded track. Compare the Smile and Smiley Smile versions of Wind Chimes, and you’ll find that the latter is even more peculiar as a song, structurally/section-wise. You have the hidden beauty of the ‘whispering winds’ section, which is a development of the instrumental xylophone section of ‘Holidays’. Also, Carl has the lead on the re-record. This brings up the fact that Smiley Smile was credited to the production of the BEACH BOYS, while Smile was basically just BRIAN. Therefore, the leads were distributed more ‘fairly’ to the group? Or was this planned all along, that the “Smile” recordings (or demos) were prepared for the group members to sing leads on, but couldn’t do them properly, that they were key-wise out of their range, and had to be re-recorded because of that? (See Wonderful, below) Or was it to make a mark to the “Brian Wilson is a genius” hype, that The Beach Boys was more than a Brian Wilson solo project? Still, Smiley Smile shows Brian to be very much in control.

Gettin' Hungry: The only possible ‘new’ song? But who knows what this might have been made of.

Wonderful: re-recorded, twice. What people don’t realize, is that the version that is on the Good Vibrations Box Set, was probably a Brian demo, meant for Carl to sing on, but possibly in a too high key for his register (was that a reason also for Surf’s Up being put on hold?). But most of all, even this grand, beautiful version of Wonderful was also meant to include a bit of humor! Bootlegs reveal corny backing vocals going “yodelaihoo, yodelaihoo”. A later version was tried (seems also to be out of Carl’s range), with a backing vocals line repeatedly going “Aom pretty baby won’t you rock with me Henry”. Also, an insert was prepared (going “mamamamamamamama” with kolibri-like humming). So if you think the Smiley Smile version is messed-up with that crazy insert, the idea was probably not all new. (Could the children’s laughter on the Smiley version be the Boys, the speed-up thing again?). Another thing worth noting on the Smiley Wonderful version is that its insert uses the “Bicycle Rider” part that it shares with Heroes And Villains. Apart from the aforementioned “laughter”, this is the only case of a musical theme that occurs twice on the album. This self-referentially might also be for comic effect, jokingly hinting at the woman and man interplay as a heroes and villains game. The song seems to be about loss of virginity, which might explain the voices of children? “Tricks” like laughter and voice manipulation are often used many times, and the topic of humor and good-spiritness, chants, but not de facto musical themes, which perhaps goes against the “link track” theory of repeated variations of themes. This shows that you couldn’t have both Do You Like Worms AND the Smiley Heroes and Villains; not the “Cantina” H&V AND The Old Master Painter sharing the same tag, etc.

Whistle In: On January 27, an early version of “WHISTLE IN” was recorded . Considering the similarity of a Heroes And Villains segment to the vocal work of the released Whistle In, it could have been originally intended as a Heroes And Villains piece.


There is a bizarre mystery of the “10-track Smile-album”, which was possibly to use the 419,200 booklets that had been intended for the Smile album. In a memo dated July 25, 1967 Capitol A&R director Karl Engemann stated that he, "agreed with Brian that the best course of action would be to NOT include this booklet with the SMILEY SMILE package, but rather to hold it for the next album which will include the aforementioned 10 selections." Since more than two of the Smile tracks were included on Smiley Smile, the unrealistic idea of a 10-track Smile album must’ve been nixed before Smiley was even released. Even then, Smiley Smile was thought to be so different from Smile, when it really wasn’t. The first draft(s) of Smile was USED to MAKE Smiley Smile. A step on the way.

Afterwards, there wasn’t too much left to build on. Once you take Good Vibrations out of the equation (it was finished and released earlier) and the songs that were re-recorded/finished for Smiley Smile (Wind Chimes, Heroes and Villians, Wonderful, Vega-Tables), what is left of the original Smile line-up?

Prayer, which wasn’t on the list but anyway, came out as “Our Prayer” with additional overdubs (as if it wasn’t finished) on 20/ 20 (1969). So did Cabinessence, also overdubbed.

When the “Bicycle Rider” part was taken out of Do You Like Worms and put into Heroes and Villains (with changed lyrics, but they appeared again on the live version of Heroes & Villains on Beach Boys Live (1973)) as the chorus on the released versions, not much was left. The “Hawaii” idea/topic resurfaced in Little Pad (possibly also the vocal melody line, but that’s just speculation), and on Diamond Head (on Friends (1968)). The bass line in Be With Me (20/20) has similarities to the “Plymouth Rock” bass part.

A version of Surf´s Up came out on the album, which it named, 1971. Some say “bastardized”, some say “finished”!

I'm In Great Shape – how developed this track was, we might never know. The closest that has been made public, is on the Heroes & Villains demo on Endless Harmony (1998). A tracking session of that section has also been found but hasn’t been released officially nor on bootleg.

Child Is Father Of The Man. The bridge, very similar to the first part (verse) of the previously recorded Look, later showed up in Little Bird on Friends (1968). The chorus became the coda to the 1971 version of Surf´s Up, with some lyrics that we don´t know if they wer new or “new”.

The Elements. The Fire section was featured on the video An American Band (1985). That’s all that has been proved to be part of The Elements. See also comments on the bass line to Fall Breaks...

A Vega-Tables section (“Eat a lot”) eventually became a song of its own, Mama says, on Wild Honey (1967). It may also once have been a part of I’m In Great Shape.

Old Master Painter. A medley with You Are My Sunshine, (at one point including the tag to the “Cantina” Heroes & Villains, a tag which backing vocals was used on She’s Goin´ Bald) that just seem to have grown to a halt in the working process.

Some other sessions:
The hammering part from Friday Night/I Wanna Be Around (possibly part of The Elements?) was put on the tag to Do It Again (20/20) "Cool, Cool Water" on Sunflower (1970) has two SMiLE connections: it is said to be based on "Love to Say Da Da” (a purported SMiLE-era song) and it contains the water chant (which WAS recorded during SMiLE).

The idea of being stuck inside a music instrument that’s on the Surf´s Up session called “George Fell Into His French Horn” also echoes in the back of one’s mind when listening to the story of the “Pied Piper” in the “magic transistor radio” on “Mt. Vernon And Fairway” (7’’ featured with “Holland” (1972)).

During Smile, Brian talked about recording arguments for humorous effect, and also made some “gardener skits” for Vega-Tables (see “Vegetables promo” and the “Smile Sessions” bootleg box). Such an “argument” found its way to “T M Song” on 15 Big Ones (1976). He/they had done such things earlier too, on “’Cassius’ Love vs. ‘Sonny’ Wilson” on Shut Down Vol. 2 (1964) where they mock each other’s voices, and later Brian showed his self-depreciating humor on a possible radio spot (?) for Heroes & Villains, directing Mike Love to read some sarcastic lines about the track’s “bombing” on the charts.

There has also been Smile sessions & demo recordings released officially, most of all on the Good Vibrations Box Set (1993).


Carl Wilson once said, "Smiley Smile was a bunt instead of a grand slam." Some people prefer Smiley Smile to Smile. Anyway, it’s nice to have both; you have the ‘official’ Smiley Smile or you can put together your own fake ”SMiLE” album. Taken on its own terms, Smiley Smile is certainly a goodie, and a crazy one too. Its significant also in showing a new direction for Brian Wilson to explore, resulting in great albums such as Wild Honey and Friends. Bruce Johnston described Smiley Smile as, “Much better than ‘Smile’ but few fans ‘get it’…very organic album. Perfect album in my opinion. Brian Wilson's genius in top form except he probably would not agree with me”. So in contrary to Carl Wilson´s famous quote, Smiley Smile was perhaps the grand slam everyone mistook for a bunt.


Books, audio and video:

“Look, Listen, Vibrate, Smile” Domenic Priore, editor. 1988
“The Beach Boys” by Byron Preiss. 1979
“Heroes And Villains” by Steven Gaines. 1986
A&E BIO BRIAN WILSON- aired 6-20-99
“The Beach Boys & The Southern California Myth” by David Leaf. 1979
BBC Radio 1 "Smile" special 8/13/95
1967 radio interview with Brian about Smiley Smile
Bruce Johnston talks about Smile on the Beach Boys Britain message board April 10, 2001

Smile-related Web Sites:

Want to read more about the world of SMiLE? There are many, many sites. Start at the SMILE ALBUM PRESERVATION SOCIETY where you will find the largest UPDATED links to the relevant SMiLE sites on the web.
Updated Smile Shop links (this is an alternate site since the Smile Shop links are hopelessly outdated)
The Smile Shop
the Smile File.
Smile in their own words
Project Smile web page