|Studio album by The Beach Boys|
|Released||September 18, 1967|
|Recorded||May 24, 1966 - July 14, 1967,
Sunset, Western, Wally Heider, Columbia, & Brian Wilson's home studio, California
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop|
|Producer||The Beach Boys|
|The Beach Boys chronology|
|Singles from Smiley Smile|
Smiley Smile is the twelfth studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released on September 18, 1967 on Brother Records and Capitol. Released in the aftermath of the shelving of Smile, Smiley Smile is best known for its sparse and lo-fi production. Upon its unveiling, the album was received with confusion.
The release of "Good Vibrations" in October 1966, teamed with the heavy marketing of Smile placed great expectation on the band to produce their next studio album. Originally intended for a Christmas 1966 release, by mid-1967, the band had yet to release any material and their popularity in the US started to suffer. The official cancellation of Smile and the band's failure to appear at the Monterey International Pop Festival furthered this popular downturn. Still owing an album to Capitol, the pressure was immense for the group to release new material and to remain relevant.
Smiley Smile was primarily recorded in Brian Wilson's home studio in June and July 1967. Though the album reached number 9 in the UK, Smiley Smile only resonated moderately with US audiences, reaching number 41 on the Billboard charts—the lowest chart placement the band had yet had for a record. Though initially reviewed in the US with indifference, Smiley Smile has grown in stature over the years to become a cult and critical favourite in the Beach Boys' oeuvre.
After "Good Vibrations" topped the singles charts in late 1966, the Beach Boys' next album project (eventually titled Smile) was eagerly anticipated. Sessions for the album continued through most of 1966 and by late in the year it was evidently nearing completion. However, in December 1966 hesitation to the project from within the group led to the departure of Brian Wilson's writing partner Van Dyke Parks and progress was further hampered by a range of factors including Wilson's deteriorating mental health, the group's ongoing lawsuit against their label, and Carl Wilson's legal battle against being drafted into the US army.
Although some recording and editing continued into early-1967, the project eventually ground to a halt. In May 1967 the scheduled release was officially cancelled, the Beach Boys pulled out of their headlining spot at June's Monterey Pop Festival and Smile (which took longer to record than any other Beach Boys album) was scrapped.
Writing and recording
After the announcement that Smile was shelved in May 1967, the Beach Boys were still under pressure and contractual obligation to record and present an album to Capitol Records. From the several hours worth of material recorded from May 1966 to May 1967 only portions of the backing track for "Heroes and Villains", recorded in October 1966, and the coda for "Vegetables", recorded in April 1967, were sourced for Smiley Smile. In addition to this, "Good Vibrations", which had been recorded sporadically from May 24 to September 1, 1966, was placed on Smiley Smile in its original form, reportedly at Capitol's insistence to help bolster sales as it had been a number 1 charting single, despite reported objections from Brian.. Beyond these examples, the large majority of Smiley Smile was recorded in a modular approach at Brian Wilson's home studio in Bel Air from June 3 to July 14, 1967.
The studio set up at Brian Wilson's house was, in its mid-1967 incarnation for Smiley Smile, in its infancy. Due to the sporadic nature at which Brian decided to produce the record at the house, there was little time to fully outfit the Bel Air residence as a proper equipped recording studio. The Beach Boys recorded the album using what was predominantly radio broadcasting equipment which was lacking many technical elements and effects found in conventional studios. This led to unconventional ways of achieving particular sounds at the home, such as a replacement for what would be achieved by an echo chamber. Jim Lockert, engineer for Smiley Smile recalled "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", and has spoken out about other peculiarities of the sessions which include vocals being tracked in the shower. Due to this eclectic mix of recording paraphernalia and curious methods of tracking the sounds, Smiley Smile possesses a distinct signature sound.
Smiley Smile includes versions of several Wilson/Parks compositions originally intended for Smile. "She's Goin' Bald" borrows the verse melody from a Smile fragment known as "He Gives Speeches", "With Me Tonight" derives from a discarded movement of "Heroes and Villains", "Fall Breaks and Back to Winter" is an instrumental that has similarities to "The Elements: Fire", and "Wind Chimes", "Vegetables", and "Wonderful" were re-recorded with radically sparse new arrangements. The only remnant of Smile presented remotely like its original form was "Heroes and Villains", which went through numerous permutations before the selection of a shorter version included on Smiley Smile. "Little Pad", "Whistle In" and "Gettin' Hungry" were recorded and originated during the June to July sessions.
Smiley Smile was remastered in 2012 featuring both mono and newly-mixed stereo versions of the album on one CD; it most prominently featured the first official stereo mix of "Good Vibrations".
When Smiley Smile was finally released in September 1967, after months of hype, its commercial and critical reception was modest, but unenthusiastic, peaking at number 41 in the US. Its reception a few months later in the UK was better; reaching number 9 on British charts.
Brian Wilson in a 1967 radio interview acknowledged, "We had done about six months work on another thing, but we jumped and ended up doing the entire thing here at the house with an entirely different mood and approach than what we originally started out with." When questioned on why the Beach Boys took the approach they did, he stated, "We just had a particular atmosphere—that we were working in that inspired the particular kind of things that were on the album."
Brother Dennis Wilson echoed Brian's sentiments that Smiley Smile was very much a product of its context, saying "Smiley Smile was just something we were going through at that time connected with drugs, love, and everything."Carl Wilson is reported to have called it "a bunt instead of a grand slam" comparing Smiley Smile to the much-fabled unreleased album that it eventually replaced.
Bruce Johnston noted that "Smiley Smile was an album that marked the end of an era." making reference to the fact that Smiley Smile marked the point where Brian Wilson began relinquishing his hold as the creative leader of the Beach Boys. Although the album was mostly produced by him, the production was credited to the group, a first. The following years and albums had Brian involved in varying capacities in music production. Though Brian was the producer or co-producer of a number of Beach Boys singles and albums during the late sixties and early seventies, including the co-producer of albums by American Spring, Stephen Kalinich and Fred Vail, it would not be until 15 Big Ones in 1976 where Brian would again hold the sole production credit on a Beach Boys album.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
Smiley Smile stands amongst the Beach Boys' most acclaimed albums, receiving numerous accolades and industry praise. Pete Townshend of The Who is a known admirer of the record, as is Robbie Robertson of The Band. In a 2012 interview with Time, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith stated that his "island" music picks would be albums by AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, and Smiley Smile, "Just for the melodic f--- all."
Richie Unterberger of AllMusic gave the album four out of five stars, calling it "a rather nifty, if rather slight, effort that's plenty weird", and noting that the media-hype of the collapsed Smile project at the time was much to blame for its lackluster reception in the United States. In 2007, Robert Christgau and David Fricke, writing for Rolling Stone, named Smiley Smile one of the 40 essential albums of 1967, declaring: "Towering it's not; some kind of hit it is."
|Mojo||United Kingdom||Mojo 1000 – The Ultimate CD Buyers Guide||2001||*|
|NME||United Kingdom||All Times Top 100 Albums||1974||62|
|OOR Magazine||Netherlands||The Summer of Love, the Best Albums of 1967||1992||23|
(*) denotes an unordered list
Sales chart positions
|1967||UK Top 40 Album Chart||9|
|1967||US Billboard 200 Albums Chart||41|
- US Singles
|1966||"Good Vibrations"||US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart||1|
|1967||"Heroes and Villains"||US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart||12|
- UK Singles
|1966||"Good Vibrations"||UK Top 40 Single Chart||1|
|1967||"Heroes and Villains"||UK Top 40 Single Chart||8|
Chart information courtesy of Allmusic and other music databases.
All songs written and composed by Brian Wilson except where noted.
|1.||"Heroes and Villains" (Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks)||B. Wilson/Al Jardine||3:37|
|2.||"Vegetables" (B. Wilson/Parks)||Jardine/B. Wilson/Mike Love||2:07|
|3.||"Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (W. Woodpecker Symphony)"||instrumental||2:15|
|4.||"She's Goin' Bald" (B. Wilson/Love/Parks)||B. Wilson/Love/Dennis Wilson/Jardine||2:15|
|5.||"Little Pad"||Love/Carl Wilson/B. Wilson||2:30|
|1.||"Good Vibrations" (B. Wilson/Love)||C. Wilson/B. Wilson/Love||3:36|
|2.||"With Me Tonight"||C. Wilson||2:17|
|3.||"Wind Chimes"||Love/B. Wilson/C. Wilson/D. Wilson||2:36|
|4.||"Gettin' Hungry" (B. Wilson/Love)||Love/B. Wilson||2:27|
|5.||"Wonderful" (B. Wilson/Parks)||C. Wilson||2:21|
|6.||"Whistle In"||C. Wilson/Love||1:04|
|2001 CD reissue bonus tracks|
|12.||"Heroes and Villains (Alternate Take)" (B. Wilson/Parks)||B. Wilson||3:00|
|13.||"Good Vibrations (Various Sessions)"||(instrumental)||6:57|
|14.||"Good Vibrations (Early Take)" (B. Wilson, Tony Asher)||C. Wilson with B. Wilson||3:03|
|15.||"You're Welcome"||The Beach Boys||1:11|
|16.||"Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" (Troup)||The Beach Boys||2:33|
|17.||"Can't Wait too Long"||B. Wilson with C. Wilson||5:34|
- The Beach Boys
- Al Jardine – lead, harmony and backing vocals; electric rhythm guitar; bass guitar
- Bruce Johnston – harmony and backing vocals; bass guitar; hammond organ
- Mike Love – lead, harmony and backing vocals
- Brian Wilson – lead, harmony and backing vocals; bass guitar; hammond organ, upright piano
- Carl Wilson – lead, harmony and backing vocals; electric guitar, bass guitar, percussion
- Dennis Wilson – lead, harmony and backing vocals; drums; hammond organ
Session musicians and production staff
- Chuck Bergofer – upright bass
- Hal Blaine – drums, percussion
- Jimmy Bond – upright bass
- Glen Campbell – guitar
- Al de Lory – tack piano
- Mike Deasy Sr. – guitar
- Stephen Desper – sound engineer
- Jesse Ehrlich – cello
- Jim Gordon – drums
- Carol Kaye – bass guitar
- Larry Knechtel – hammond organ
- Jim Lockert – sound engineer
- Paul McCartney – sound effects
- Tommy Morgan – harmonica
- Ray Pohlman – bass guitar
- Don Randi – harpsichord
- Lyle Ritz – upright bass
- Diane Rovell – backing vocals
- Paul Tanner – electro-theremin
- Marilyn Wilson – backing vocals
- Smiley Smile / Wild Honey CD booklet notes, David Leaf, c.1990.
- Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile!, Domenic Priore, c.1995.
- Catch a Wave, Carlin, c.2006
- The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience, Timothy White, c.1994.
- The Beach Boys – The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band on Stage and in the Studio, Keith Badman, c.2004.
- Badman, Keith. The Beach Boys. The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band: On Stage and in the Studio Backbeat Books, San Francisco, California, 2004. ISBN 0-87930-818-4 p. 200
- Carlin A., Peter. Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. Rodale Inc, 2006, ISBN 1-59486-320-2 p. 129
- allmusic ((( Smiley Smile > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))
- Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 37 - The Rubberization of Soul: The great pop music renaissance. [Part 3] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- Preiss, Byron (1983). The Beach Boys. New York: St Martins Pr. ISBN 0-312-07026-8.
- "Beach Boys Quotes". Surfermoon.com. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- allmusic ((( Smiley Smile > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))
- Priore, Domenic. Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile!. Last Gap, 1995, ISBN 0-86719-417-0 p. 194
- Unterberger, Richie. "Smiley Smile - The Beach Boys : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- [dead link]
- The Virgin Encyclopedia Of Popular Music, Concise (4th Edition), Virgin Books (UK), 2002, ed. Larkin, Colin.
- "The Beach Boys: Smiley Smile/Wild Honey | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork Media Inc. 2001-03-29.
- "Robert Christgau: CG: The Beach Boys". Robert Christgau.
- Leaf, David. "Smiley Smile/Wild Honey CD booklet notes". Album Liner Notes. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- Luscombe, Belinda (6 August 2012). "10 Questions for Steven Tyler". Time Magazine. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Unterberger, Richie. "Smiley Smile". Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Christgau, Robert and David Fricke. "The 40 Essential Albums of 1967". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Mojo Magazine, Winter 2001 http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/mojo_p4.htm
- New Musical Express Magazine, 1974 http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/nme_writers.htm#100_74
- Muziekkrant OOR, 1992, http://www.muzieklijstjes.nl/summeroflove.htm
- "UK Top 40 Hit Database". EveryHit.