The Beach Boys "SMiLE" (partially found recording sessions; 1966-1967)
In 1966, American pop band The Beach Boys released Pet Sounds, their 11th studio album. The record featured lush orchestration, experimental structures, elaborate chord progressions and the complex vocal harmonies the group was known for. Though considered a financial failure on release, Pet Sounds has become by far the group's most popular and well-remembered album, often cited as one of the greatest records of all time.
It was so big that the Beatles would go on to make "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in response to the album. But then in 1966, Beach Boys frontman and Pet Sounds mastermind Brian Willson began work on SMiLE, a highly ambitious record that would exceed anything that had ever been made at the time.
Unfortunately, SMiLE's recording process remains infamous to this day due to the huge amount of hype surrounding it. In the end, SMiLE would go unreleased due to issues with the record label, group infighting, and Brian Wilson's worsening mental state.
Though most of SMiLE's recording sessions have been released through the SMiLE sessions box set, half of the recordings still remain unreleased. This means that no stereo versions exist for any of the tracks except Heroes And Villains and Cabinessence. This also means that no stereo version of the #1 hit Good Vibrations can be released until the stem files are found.
Some other missing recordings include:
- A cover of "On Top Of Old Smokey," featuring Paul McCartney.
- An incident where Beach Boys member Mike Love had a heated exchange with songwriter Van Dyke Parks, resulting in Parks leaving the project.
- The vocals and lyrics for the songs "Look (Song For Children" and "On A Holiday."
- Paul McCartney eating carrots for the song "Vegetables."
- Guest vocalist Jasper Dailey's contributions to "Crack The Whip" and "When I Get Mad (I Just Play The Drums," though a mono version of his song "Teeter Totter Love" was released on the deluxe edition of The SMiLE sessions box set.
- The original planned mix for the album's 2nd single "Heroes And Villains," was scrapped for a shorter version when the single was released in 1967. According to Beach Boys member Al Jardine, Brian Wilson intentionally sabotaged the released version out of frustration over the album's collapse.
- The vocals for an untitled Carl Wilson composition simply referred to as "Tune X" on tapes. Brian Wilson conducted the session while Carl Wilson sang and played guitar. No information on the vocals has been released due to Carl's death in the 1990s.