Listen Vibrate SMiLE

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by tracksuitboy, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. tracksuitboy

    tracksuitboy New Member

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    A music history lesson:

    Back in 1965, Brian Wilson, the writer and producer of countless Beach Boy hits, heard The Beatles’ “Revolver” and thought: I can do better than that. So he wrote “Pet Sounds” (with lyricist Tony Asher). That album was largely ignored in the US but was massive in the Europe. Paul McCartney is said to have played the album over and over and over to John Lennon to ensure they would both be influenced by it. Brian went into the studio and spent $50,000 and took 6 months to record “Good Vibrations” – surely the most original 3 minute single to have ever been recorded. John and Paul were blown away even further and started work on “Sgt. Pepper”. Bolstered by the that million + selling single, Brian wanted to out-do “Good Vibrations” and “Pet Sounds” and spent most of 1966 recording new songs with collaborator Van Dyke Parks. Capitol Records, having ignored “Pet Sounds” (well, it wasn't surf music!) decided to get behind this new music Brian was recording, even going so far as to design the album cover (“Listen! Vibrate! Smile!”) and set a release date. But the album was never finished. The Beach Boys came back from their European tour and understood none of Brian’s new and experimental music. They refused to do the vocals and Brian felt betrayed. Brian felt pressured by all the publicity (articles in Rolling Stone and elsewhere ensured the ‘Brian is a Genius’ legend would grow), he got more and more into LSD and pot and, well, began to lose the plot in a serious way. It took him 30 years to come back to the real world. In the meantime, the legend of “Smile” grew as the “greatest record never to be released”.

    End of history lesson.

    Whilst Brian was revered by other artists, he failed to be recognised by the public as one of the great song-smiths of the 20th century; Paul McCartney described “God Only Knows” as the greatest song ever written and Leonard Bernstein espoused Brian’s talent. Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Roger Daltry and more all eulogise over him.

    Brian re-married in the 90’s and came back to the real world, releasing a couple of solo albums, including the stunning “Imagination” in 1998.

    His brothers Carl and Dennis have died, Mike Love (lead-singer and often collaborator with Brian on the early Beach Boy songs) tours the world pretending to be The Beach Boys, Al Jardine does much the same. But Brian, now at peace with himself, has re-discovered the songs he wrote which gave him the label “genius”. In 2002 Brian toured the world, performing “Pet Sounds” in its entirety to ecstatic crowds.

    “So what now” one of his touring band said. How about “Smile?” said another.

    In February 2004, Brian unveiled “Smile” to the world at the Royal Festival Hall in London in a series of concerts (‘gig of the year’ said Time Out). And now “Smile” has been re-recorded and released.

    Some of the original “Smile” recordings surfaced on Beach Boy albums (“Cabinessence” on 20/20, “Surf’s Up” on the album of the same name, “Wind Chimes” and “Wonderful” on “Smiley Smile” and “Good Vribrations” and “Heroes and Villains” as singles). Listening to the 2004 recording of “Smile” shows just how close Brian was to finishing the original in ’67 (most of the original recordings have been around as bootlegs and on the Internet for some years).

    Back in 1967, “Sgt. Pepper” was the album of the year and catapulted The Beatles to a higher echelon. Just think, if Brian has finished “Smile” then, he too would surely have been recognised not only as a fantastic tunesmith but also as a visionary.

    Is the new recording any good? You bet your boots it is but, if you’ve been brought up listening to homogenised pap then you’re brain won’t be able to handle all the twists and turns the music takes and what you will make of Van Dyke Park’s poetic lyrics, god only knows. Oh, and the new version of “Good Vibrations” is even better than the original!

    Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!

    Do yourselves a favour and go and get hold of a copy and discover what a fucking genius Brian Wilson is.
     
  2. headbang8

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    And one of the few artists ever to use a theremin in pop music, on Good Vibrations. Does he still use it on the new version?

    Wilson is an eclectic and brilliant man.
     
  3. tracksuitboy

    tracksuitboy New Member

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    Yes he does use one on the new version.
     
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