Apr 112011

Ah, The Beach Boys‘—or should I say Brian Wilson‘s—aborted Smile…the stuff on which Rock Town Hill was constructed!

I’ve called bullshit on this album since first hearing a bootleg copy that my close personal friend E. Pluribus Gergely dropped an outrageous sum on circa 1989. He’ll be better able to tell you the details on this mail-order purchase, but EPG is, shall we say, an extremely thrifty man by nature. Only a presumed gift from the rock gods can get this guy to pony up more than $2 for a record, and in the days before easy digital downloads of unreleased material the rock gods did not offer many presumed gifts of this magnitude.

I’d already owned and felt extremely dissatisfied with The Beach Boys’ “consolation” album, Smiley Smile, for a good 8 years. It was one of those albums that no amount of drugs could redeem for me. Now and then I could impress a friend by sequencing a mercifully short song like “Vegetables” or “Gettin’ Hungry” alongside a “poppy” song by The Residents, but otherwise the album was useless outside of the masterful “Good Vibrations,” which any rock fan should have already owned and loved. Gergs warned me that, based on his initial spins of the Smile bootleg that it would be disappointing, but I had some hope. I’d always been more capable of appreciating “experimental” music than my heavily formalist friend. We listened to the bootleg release and damn if it wasn’t as bad as Smiley Smile, maybe worse.

To this day someone will tell me that there’s no way I could pass judgement on the album, that the song segments had not been properly sequenced; that the lack of quality control on any bootleg, especially this one, had to be taken into account; that Leonard Berstein would have loved it had it ever been finished; etc. I’m not buying it. If the disjointed, forced, chromatic and boogie woogie melodies of “Heroes and Villains” are any indication of the highest aspirations of Brian Wilson’s work during this period I’m not buying it. I’m also not buying the “finished” version that Wilson’s latest band of puppeteers completed or the supposedly-to-be-released original version that the man’s original crypt keepers have finally seen fit to cash in on release.

I’ve steered clear of Smile for years because the subject gives me so much agita, but yesterday I broke down and watched an “unmaking of” documentary, Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile. Have you ever seen this thing? The cast of enablers who participated in this thing is astounding, and even more astounding is that not a single Beach Boy’s perspective was included other than quotes from the time of the anticipation of the album’s release. As Van Dyke Parks and Wilson’s other crew of enablers from that period and then go-to contemporaries and “rock experts” like Elvis Costello, George Martin, and Jimmy Webb spoke unconvincingly about the brilliance of this unfinished album I got myself worked into such a lather that I had to hit the PAUSE button and call Plurbie. I’m still upset by what I watched last night, and I’m still questioning the two elephants in the room that were left unexamined:

  1. What if the music Wilson and his crew were making actually did fall a bit short of “visionary”; what if it was headed in a direction that the broad swaths of The Public, even the Hipster, Drug-Taking Public, would have quickly rejected?
  2. What do any of the modern-day (or circa 2004, when the documentary was released), surviving Beach Boys feel about this thing in retrospect?

As the story went on and the touring members of the band came back from the road to hear what Wilson and his studio cats had been putting together initial feedback from the actual Beach Boys, as you know, was not that positive. Despite some horseshit quote from Dennis Wilson that the album was better than god—on acid, or whatever, all accounts are that the guys who would have to go on the road and sing that nonsense to actual humans thought the album was awkward and not in keeping with the band’s sound. The makers of this documentary and Wilson’s enablers, of course, to a man interpret these reactions as his simpleton bandmates being unable to understand their genius leader.

Maybe, like me, some of his bandmates could appreciate the “degree of difficulty” of those Smile arrangements but didn’t feel they added up to anything that musical or enjoyable or emotional. Maybe, like me, some of his bandmates simply felt that Brian was engaged in some thumb-sucking or dick-waving musical exercises that might eventually lead to something more coherent, if he’d take a step back and chase the enablers out of the studio for a week.

These possible points of view were never explored by the makers of this documentary. Instead they had to wheel out the age-old MIKE LOVE IS AN ASSHOLE angle, portraying big, bad Mike, the uncle of a fierce, rising NBA star, as a big bully for practically pinning Boy Wonder Van Dyke Parks against a wall to ask him to explain the “columnated ruins domino” line in “Surf’s Up.” Why shouldn’t a guy who’s being asked to sing that nonsense get an explanation from the lyricist? Why should the effective-if-limited nominal frontman of a wildly popular band need to buy into his “genius” partner’s every whim? Sorry, I’m getting mad thinking about all this stuff again.

In my opinon 2 heroes emerge from this documentary:

  1. Brian Wilson, for attempting to fly into the sun
  2. Mike Love, for doing the world of rock ‘n roll a favor and calling bullshit on the one album that would have put an end to summer

I ask you to find it in your heart of hearts to give thanks, if only this one time (I know you don’t all hold the man’s work on “Get Around” in the highest regard and share my view that “Kokomo” is “not bad” compared to most of the band’s post-Pet Sounds output), to Mike Love.

An unlikely hero.

  37 Responses to “Heroes and Villains: An Unlikely Hero Emerges From the Smile Saga”

  1. I’ll bite….

    I too vote Mike Love, for doing the world of rock ‘n roll a favor and calling bullshit on the one album that would have put an end to summer

    If Smile had come out, Mike would have been out of a job within the year. He’s barely on it, it has nothing to do with Cars / Girls / Surf and there were maybe 2 songs they could have / would have played live. They would have either broken up or gone the way of Jefferson Airplane and been weird for the sake of weird. Maybe they would have had a brief moment of relevance in the Woodstock era, but they would have never survived this direction for another record. Even The Beatles an The Stones knew to “Get Back” (The Beach Boys’ version of “Getting Back” was to deny that 1965 had ever passed)

    Were they doing the “oldies” thing already at that point or were they trying to introduce new material and trying to ‘evolve’ in 1967/68? It’s hard to think of The Beach Boys as ever being current (at least live), even in the 1960’s

    SMiLE (correct form?) was always meant to be a solo record for Brian. It WORKS (or WOrKS) as a solo record, even with other singers involved. I actually like this 2004 version very much.

    I have that boot and it sounds just like the 2004 Brian Wilson version just crappy sound quality. I paid $0 for it and have played it 2-3 times, and burned coppies to give out to my nerdy music friends for Christmas (suckers)

  2. Hey, Mod, you’re sounding pretty uptight over this.

    First, you’re sort of overlooking the fact that Mike Love never offered any real constructive criticism of Smile: no suggestions for improvement, no songs of his own (characteristic of the guy’s laziness that he waits around for Brian to do all the hard work, then balks at the songs he writes), and plainly dumb–no one, with all the time and resources could have convinced Love that lyrics (“columnated ruins domino”) could be poetic and not have a concrete meaning.

    I have a decent bootleg of Smile, and there is no question in my mind that it is indeed “psychedelic” (with its offbeat humor, segues, and all sorts of musical/lyrical experimentation). You can pan it if you want, but I seriously doubt the “hip crowd” at the time would not have really liked it.

    Again, who cares what the surviving Beach Boys thought? They were not involved in the process, so their opinion counts little. Brian put a lot of time and effort into Smile, and it deserves to be heard. Sure it’s not perfect, but few albums are.

  3. dr john, I’m not just sounding uptight; as I tried to make it clear I am uptight over it, and not because I’m not cool, or something like that. This cuts to the bone of some of my rock values.

    You write, regarding Love’s possibly unconstructive criticisms:

    …characteristic of the guy’s laziness that he waits around for Brian to do all the hard work

    Oh yeah? While Brian was getting high in a tent inside his house and piling up studio bills on un-hummable songs with lyrics no one will ever take to heart Mike was ON THE ROAD, working to support the band, working to keep Brian’s brilliant, beloved works (many of which Love cowrote, people so often forget) relevant, working to keep summer shining year-round. Who’s paying the bills now, and who cleans up around the house when all the Beach Boys are back in one place? (Well, it was probably Al doing most of the cleaning.)

    As for your last question, I care what the surviving members think now. For instance, what if one of them said, “You know, looking back he was ahead of his time; we missed the boat on something special.” Or maybe one of them would say, “I still think that thing had no business being released under our band’s name.” Why not hear what someone might have had to say? None of the other members are at the “genius” level of Wilson, but they did have a pulse and functioning brains. Bruce Johnston produced his own share of hits prior to and after joining the band.

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    I feel bad for you, Mod. You obviously put a lot of time and thought into this post, and it’s clear that you see yourself reciting it in a bellowing voice through one of those Tibetan monk horns from a mountaintop somewhere. You want the world to hear you, acknowledge the wisdom of your contrarian position, and *take sides*. Even as a fan of the album, I feel your pain; you’re speaking my language, Jack!

    But you offer a false choice: love Smile and hate Love; or hate Smile and love Love. No! I love the album, but think Mike Love was basically correct. As Jungleland says, it was *not* a Beach Boys album… so Mike Love was right… and it’s GREAT!

    Bottom line: you’re picking a fight that I see no need to, uh, fight about.

    I love you, mannn, and I enjoyed reading this immensely, but you may be the only one shaking with rage over this.

  5. I feel your love and, more importantly, sense that you, more or less, agree with at least some of my premise. Thanks.

    I can see why you would love this album, but beware the enablers.

  6. Will any of us BUY the new Beach Boys’ SMiLE? Have any of them said anything about the release of the original/real recordings?

    ” With the blessing of original Beach Boys Al Jardine, Mike Love, and Brian Wilson, Capitol/EMI has put together a definitive collection, ‘The SMiLE Sessions,’ that will get a worldwide release this year (date tbd).”

  7. BigSteve

    I bought the remake of Smile when it came out a few years ago. I was extremely skeptical about it, but I ended up loving it more than I ever thought I would. So I’ll get this new one — just the album, not the version with a zillion outtakes — and hope it’s as good as that. Since it’ll have real Beach Boy harmonies, rather than reproductions of same, I’m hopeful.

    I am not thanking Mike Love for his role in this, though I like those post-Pet Sounds albums that actually were released just fine.

  8. I love post-sound Beach Boys. I love SMiLE for all it’s worth. I can’t even come up with a valid argument on how history looks at this project.

    For me, the entire thing is special musically and lyrically. I can’t describe the feelings it conjures in my soul. I have to point my finger at Mike Love (and the rest of the band ) for “tearing Brian down,” as Marilyn Wilson said in the Don Was doc.

    Perhaps it should have been a Brian solo thing. Like I said, history is a weird thing. I think this music will be judged accordingly and looked at as innovative over the years.

    I will buy the Beach Boys version simply because I am a sucker. I will probably buy the “ass-out” edition too. Even though I’m sure I own 90% of this stuff in some form or another and there will be no surprises. I do, however, bow at the alter of All-Things-Brian and will shell out the bucks for whatever the man is attached to. This is my cross to bear.

    Funny enough, the psychic link between myself and RTH never ceases to amaze as I listed to the self-titled Beach Boys 1985 release AND All Summer Long earlier today before reading this post…


  9. Mr. Mod, I think renting that Brian doc was your first mistake. This is the DVD you should have been watching instead: http://www.amazon.com/Beach-Boys-Satan/dp/B001DGFGQI.

  10. But isn’t it pretty hard work writing songs, especially at Brian’s artistic level?

    I’m guessing with your defense of Love as the hardest working man in show biz that you’re a big fan of those scenes in The Last Waltz, where they talk about how tough life “on the road is”–right?

  11. tonyola

    I will tell you flat out that your passing judgement is wrong-headed. Basing your opinion of Smile on a bootleg is like assessing the works of Beethoven from a pile of scrapped rehearsal recordings. One could say that Sgt. Pepper sucked if all one had were early run-throughs. Most of those Smile bootlegs have a lot of random crap that was just studio goofing or toying with ideas that were never even thought of as release-worthy. I’ve assembled a Smile album from a ton of bootleg stuff along with the best information available about the intended track listing. While there are certainly some off moments, much of it is truly brilliant.

    The whole Beach Boys summer/surf thing was wearing thin by 1966 and had they continued in that vein, they would have been as out-of-date and old-fashioned as the Lettermen by 1968. Brian Wilson was looking beyond, even if his vision got distorted. Pet Sounds was a sales disappointment in 1966 by Beach Boys standards, but now look what people think of it. Even then, it gave the Beatles the proverbial kick in the ass to create Sgt. Pepper. Upon its release, “Good Vibrations” was rightfully thought of as astonishing. Even as a kid, I was stunned when I first heard it upon its release. – how could rock and roll be so dream-like, so complex? “Heroes and Villains” was also compelling and strange. While Smile was a non-starter and the Beach Boys slowly dropped off the coolness radar, the albums they made from 1966 to 1973 were the most interesting in their long career, even including the badly-flawed Smiley Smile. They didn’t have much success, though, so they pretty much gave up in 1974 and became a hugely successful nostalgia act, culminating in the truly wretched “Kokomo”. And Mike Love was happy.

    Smile might very well have turned out to be the flop of 1966/1967. There’s hardly any guitar on it, it’s not “heavy”, there’s not much real psychedelia, and much of it would have been too whimsical and playful for the mood of the era. But its reputation would have grown in time, and Mike Love would still be thought of as an asshole.

  12. tonyola

    The late Carl Wilson has said on a few occasions that he loved Smile. He tried to get Smile officially released a couple of times – once in 1972 and once around 1988. Apparently Brian was too out-of-it/scared (first time) or controlled by Eugene Landy (1988) to co-operate.

  13. Jeez, someone else beat me to the Satanic Beach Boys expose? I’ve had a draft in the works for months, but it’s draining. I want to get the story just right.

    Luckily I didn’t have to rent that Brian doc; it was on some cable station and I DVRed it.

  14. dr john, there was some marital humor feuling my post more than anything else. Remember, I named BOTH Brian and Mike heroes of this project.

  15. tonyola wrote:

    I will tell you flat out that your passing judgement is wrong-headed.

    Wait, did I stumble into the wrong blog?

    Thanks for bringing up the “you can’t judge a bootleg” argument. Whatever. I can and did. I’ve also judged the complete, officially released song “Heroes and Villains” as a piece of crap for years. It’s forced “weird,” like assholes running their hands in front of your eyes when you’re tripping and asking you if you see “trails.” When I hear that song I understand why some people don’t like the Beach Boys much at all, even their agreed-upon great hits. The finished song “Heroes and Villains” is the musical equivalent of a kid who gets picked on in school – and kind of deserves it. It’s the song of an arrogant, nerdy show-off (like a lot of us around here, outsiders may be thinking). It makes me sick, granted, possibly sick of myself.

    BTW, has ANYONE seen this doc beside me? I want to keep this discussion to Smile and the doc, not get side-tracked with those other Brothers Records releases and the relative merits of the addition of the two guys from Flame, OK?

    I look at it this way: when I’m sampling tracks to download from eMusic or wherever I get 30 seconds, maybe the first 30 seconds, maybe 30 seconds in the middle of the song. In most cases, I get a pretty clear idea of whether I’m going to be interested in a song or not. If the bootlegged versions or the 2004 “finished” version of the album do not fully represent Brian’s intent, I’m still getting plenty of 30-second samples. It shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds for me to know if a Beach Boys song is any good. Certainly there could be examples, but take that “Cabinessence” song, for example, which jumps – for no other reason than tape-splicing dick waving – from the typical Brian Wilson gently rocking on the waves rhythm to the fast “madman” rhythm. I’d rather listen to my Steve Reich albums. That’s my opinion and feeling on the album. I’m sick of having the “misunderstood genius” thing shoved down my throat. Can’t we be satisfied with the truly genius works the man completed and stop picking over his wasted carcass?

    You may all continue to think of Mike Love as an asshole. Who’s going to argue. I’m entitled to think Van Dyke Parks and the rest of the enablers are assholes. I’m entitled to think that the young Prock wannabes who have completed Brian’s vision and back him up on tour are assholes.

    Think about this, honestly: The Beach Boys’ Smile (any version you want, short of the imagined completed version that would have been as great as Brian envisioned it) or Journey’s Escape. As some of you know there’s no band I hate more than Journey, but to me Smile doesn’t have one song (excluding “Good Vibrations”) as good as one of the hits from that evil Journey album. This is as honest as I can be.

  16. BTW, tonyola, Mad props! for acknowledging that it may have been an uphill battle for that album to rise up the charts and turn stoned heads. Even if it had turned out as intended, I think it would have been a really whimsical album.

  17. Wow. Just when I was starting to get your “marital humor,” your latest, Mod, goes way off the deep end. I’d appreciate it, right off, if you’d quite referring to Van Dyke Parks as an “enabler.” He helped write the lyrics, and played a critical role: he doesn’t deserve to be put down for his genuine enthusiasm about and contribution to the project.

    And you may not like Parks, but what has he done to be called an a-hole?

    I want to think you may just be contrarian for claiming you like Journey’s Escape more, yet I fear that in reality you might really settle for such crap, so long as it’s well-produced and achieves what meager artistic goal it sets for itself.

  18. Here’s your hero Mike Love’s idea of a solo effort. By the way, he recorded this in 1977, not 1963 like it sounds. As dorky and wretched as this saccharine confection is, it could be worse. It could be some of the eco-blather or transcendental meditation preaching he peppered later Beach Boys albums with.

  19. misterioso

    My good, good friend hrrundivbakshi hit the nail pretty much square on the head. Quite possibly because the whole Beach Boys Thing means nothing to me, I have always liked Smile. A lot. Not “better than God…on acid” a lot, but as a piece of weird and very entertaining and occasionally beautiful music. It has so little to do with the Beach Boys that they never even enter my mind when listening to it. And to those of you selling the “you can’t tell shit from the bootlegs” line–really? You must have shitty bootlegs, then. I have a couple of different versions, and they sound great, thanks. And if the 2004 version is any indication, the record as bootlegged was pretty much done, and I think the only reason it never came out is because its creator went off the edge and the other nitwits in the band wanted nothing to do with the record, except to use it to pad out their mediocre offerings in the years ahead. And it may be true that ML was sure a hard worker. Perhaps he should have stayed on to sweep out the studio and empty the ashtrays. That, at least, would have been useful. Mod, as for not liking Heroes and Villains: that’s just goofy. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Or despite your face.

  20. BigSteve


    I’m sick of having the “misunderstood genius” thing shoved down my throat.

    Well there’s your problem right there. There’s too much myth between the music and your ears. I often feel this way about the Dead, that people can’t hear them because of all the preconceptions about them. There’s no way to work your way backwards to the point where you can hear the music with fresh ears unfortunately. Add a predisposition against drug-related music and also against California-based music, and Smile doesn’t stand a chance.

    Let me say that you are totally within your rights not to like this stuff. But that doesn’t mean you can call bullshit on it. People with a different cultural orientation will hear it with different ears.

  21. My point about the Smile bootlegs (I have a few too) is that along with the good and worthy songs, they contain a lot of junk like studio chatter, goof-ups, random noises, poor-quality fragments, abandoned ideas, and other bits that were never intended for release. Some of it is fascinating stuff. However, if I was making my opinion on Smile like Mod did without really knowing what material was included and the order it was meant to appear, I might wrongly conclude that Smile was a fragmented mess with a fairly high crap/good ratio.

  22. Mad props! to those of you who have taken the time to disagree with me, even if it means you cannot find it in your hearts to give Mike Love credit for at least one act of mercy killing.

    Shame on those of you who will wait to see me on the street or write me offlist for “telling it like it is!”

  23. BTW, I actually own this Beautiful Dreamer doc that set Mr. Mod’s ire so, on a two-disc set with a SMiLE concert. I only watched it once when I first got it (promo copy) around 2005. But I distinctly remember two things about the documentary.

    1) While being interviewed, Darian, the frizzy-haired bandleader, launched into a very funny, but affectionate imitation of Brian’s halting speech. I found it kind of heartening that the band isn’t necessarily always walking on egg shells and kissing Brian’s butt 24-7.

    2) The revelation that Brian had to be hospitalized for nervous exhaustion (or something), possibly because revisiting Smile had brought back some bad vibes. I’m sure this kind of fact really gets Mr. Mod’s goat, but I appreciated that they disclosed this in the documentary, rather than give us a non-stop “Everything is fine!” mantra you’d expect from his protectors.

  24. I have seen the Brian Wilson doc — and I agree that it is one-sided, but to me, it’s just a really a long promotional film for the “re-imagined” Smile that Brian released. I bought the Wilson Smile with very low expectations, but I ended up loving it. To me, the doc was simply part of the big hype at the time. (I went to a doc film making class all those years ago and I was taught that good documentaries have a “point of view” — documentaries are not journalism, supposedly.)

    When the Brian of “Love & Mercy” was freed from the clutches Dr. Landy, the substitute support system seems not as bad, but I would have to agree they are enablers. I’ve seen Brian on his Smile Tour and the Pet Sounds Tour, and The Wondermints are a great band, but seeing Brian read lyrics off a teleprompter and shuffle around make me depressed.

    That said, I’ll buy this latest Smile too.

  25. P.S. Two week’s after I saw Brian on The Smile Tour, I saw The Mike Love-Bruce Johnston “Beach Boys” show. I walked out halfway, and an usher said you must not be a Beach Boys fan — I said, I’m walking out because I am a Beach Boys fan.

  26. diskojoe

    Mr. Mod’s opinion of Smile is basically the same as Dawn Eden’s, as expressed in an essay of hers in the book Kill Your Idols.

    Anyway, this is a rather interesting thread. I also own that Smile documentary, as well as a couple of boots, the 2004 remake, as well as seeing it done live in Bosstown & I’ll probably get the reissue if or when it comes out. The moment that I remember from that documentary is how Brian looked sad in the initial meeting w/the band to discuss the remake. I felt that memories were flooding back to him & that he probably wished that Dennis & Carl were around.

    As for the merits of Smile itself, I think that one possible flaw is that it seemed to hang together on that “Heroes & Villains” riff just a bit too much. I do think there were very good songs in there, especially the original version of “Wonderful”, which is a very beautiful song which was butchered on Smiley Smile. I do think that if Smile was completed & released in 1967 that it would have changed the pop/rock scene. I think the main problem was that Brian believed in the hype about him too much & that there was an excess of ego & drugs and that it collided w/Mike Love’s pragmatism in keeping the Beach Boys a successful attraction.

  27. bostonhistorian

    “Columnated ruins domino” makes perfect sense to me.

  28. hrrundivbakshi

    This, too, is fascinating, in a ghoulish kind of way:


    I look at the guys in the “band” and imagine them working at a furniture re-upholstery shop today. But see how happy they look in this clip — imagine how *lucky* they must feel to be part of the Beach Boys universe! It’s a never-ending gravy train for them… right?

    There’s a RTH thread in this clip somewhere, I just know it. But it would be a sad, sad thing to confront. Mike Love is the Stonewall Jackson of rock and roll — and guys like the “members” of Celebration are the crow-picked cadavers that eventually covered every bloody inch of his 1970s TM-rock Antietam.

  29. I own the SMiLE doc as well. I look at it as more a promo kit than truthful rock-type doc. I actually prefer watching the live performance on disc two. I also own bootlegs, the 2004 SMiLE, and the Good Vibrations box. I even went to see the SMiLE live show in 2004 and was happy to do so.

    I see Brian as a fragile soul. Perhaps I drink the Kool-Aid, but he seems “plugged in” when he’s making music. When I saw the live show, I noticed how the band “encased” Brian at the beginning of the first set (SMiLE was the second set) and it seemed as though they were protecting him. When I saw him a year later at JazzFest in New Orleans, Harry Shearer hosted a live “interview” with him inside one of the buildings. He had Darian and Jeffrey Foskett along just to prop him up. They didn’t do anything except maybe sing along, but they didn’t answer any questions. I suppose this is what Mod mean by “enablers.” My cynical side has often wondered if his current wife and band (and David Leaf) are just riding the gravy train, but I’d rather think that Brian Wilson is a happier individual thanks to these people. Maybe it’s like Treves in The Elephant Man when he thinks that he has turned John Merrick into a freak all over again? Landy was a total leech, but it can be argued that Brian was physically fit and healthy during that period. Current wife Melinda is no doubt “good for Brian,” but one really wonders what it’s like in that house sometimes.

    I’m an optimist, so I like to believe that Brian is a happy, healthy individual and that he has left all those demons far far behind him. It makes me glad that Brian is still here making music and doing that Brian Wilson thing that I love so much.

    Every time I see Mike Love in interviews, he comes across as a bit smarmy and just a general dislike overcomes me (kind of like when I see Donald Rumsfeld). I understand the argument that he helped cowrite many of the beloved Beach Boys hits. And I can appreciate his dedication to keeping the summer alive. Many, many people see “The Beach Boys” every year and leave happy. This is all thanks to Love. However, I wouldn’t go see that band if they were playing for free around the corner from my house. I wonder how many folks will shell out the bucks to see “The Mike Love Band?”

    Like I said earlier, perhaps I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but Brian’s music has always seemed to help me through some really tough times and I totally feel that spiritual connection. SMiLE is nothing short of amazing to me no matter whose name it’s released under.

    Just one more thought: Did anyone notice that the lyrics are different on the 2004 version of “Good Vibrations?” I’ve always thought this was a sort of “screw you” to Mike Love. Something like “You hated this thing so much, we won’t even sing your lyrics.” If I am not mistaken the “she’s already working on my brain” line was the original lyrics.


  30. diskojoe, that’s a wise take on all perspectives expressed so far. Thanks. I didn’t know Dawn shared that opinion. She’s a nice person whose paths mine have crossed a couple of times over the years. I tried to get her into the RTH scene a few years ago, but she’s moved onto post-rocking activities, if there can be such a thing.

  31. Mike Love got his revenge on the Wilsons for the Beach Boy’s 1978 M.I.U. Album. Recorded at the Maharishi International University in Iowa (the source for the M.I.U. name), the record was pretty much a Love/Jardine project with a little help from a sick and ever-worsening Brian. Dennis and Carl pretty much stayed away and both later condemned the album. It’s as idiotically uninspired, chipper, and cheerful as Celebration.

  32. I hope you are right Brian wanting to do what he’s doing. One thing’s for sure, he’s the last Wilson brother standing.

  33. misterioso

    I think it is fantastic that we were able to have this discussion, hash things out, and arrive at the consensus that Smile is just terrific and that Mike Love sucks. High fives all around!

  34. Tonight I will celebrate in advance the kudos that will be coming my way about 30 years from now, when I’m too old to appreciate them. The future rules!

  35. tonyola

    I just realized something, having listened to Mike Love singing “Rock and Roll Music” off of 15 Big Ones – he sounds *identical* to the lead singer of the Ohio Express. It’s not hard at all to imagine him singing “Yummy Yummy Yummy”, is it? That song suits his songwriting style, too…

  36. diskojoe

    Thanks for your kind words about my post, Mr. Mod, I appreciate it.

    My thought about the supposed “finally” release of the 60s Smile material is that the surviving Beach Boys probably realize that it’s the remaining asset they can cash in on, like a family who has held on to a ’60s musclecar in their yard for decades, not selling it to anyone until they finally need the money before it completly rusts away.

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