Saturday, February 5, 2011

Surf’s Up and So are Renewed ‘SMiLE’ Rumors!

Are Rock & Roll rumors any less rumory when they come straight from the Rock & Roller in question? I leave that to the gods to decide. Meanwhile, here’s a mere morsel of news that may (hopefully) blossom into a full-blown feast this coming summer. During a recent interview with the, interviewer Jeremy Roberts asked interviewee and Beach Boy Al Jardine if there are any “plans for a new Beach Boys archival project” to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary. Jardine responded:

“Capitol Records plans to issue a Beach Boys version of Smile sometime this summer to begin the celebration of The Beach Boys’ anniversary. Smile is the Holy Grail for Beach Boys’ fans, so it will be good.
I don’t have many details on it, although we didn't do any new recording. I'm happy to see it finally come out. Brian’s changed his mind about releasing the material, but it was inevitable, wasn’t it? (Al chuckles).”

By now, SMiLE should require little introduction to anyone reading this site, but in short, it was Brian Wilson’s experimental, whimsical masterpiece he intended as a follow-up to Pet Sounds in late 1966. For a variety of reasons—including great dissent from the other Beach Boys, apparently including Jardine—SMiLE was shelved, and Brian was left embittered and distraught over the project’s failure. Generations of bootlegs have informed us of what a revolutionary work SMiLE would have been had it been released during its era.

Decades later, Brian rerecorded the entire album as a solo release, and the resulting work confirmed its brilliance, its strangeness, and its shocking accessibility. As wonderful as that solo album was (so wonderful, in fact, that Psychobabble chose it as the greatest album of the ‘00s), it would still be monumental to see the original recordings released in some official capacity.

For what it’s worth, a commenter on the fine site The Second, which is where I came across this item, had the following to say:

“This news is not a surprise. Beach Boys archivist/remixer Mark Linnet has been working on ‘Smile’ tape research and a possible CD/DVD set of 1972 concert recordings for the past 2 years, but has(apparently) been under a ‘gag’ order to not reveal anything more.”

I cannot verify this additional rumor fuel, but I thought it was intriguing enough to warrant repeat.

So, there you have it. If this post seems unduly skeptical, that’s only because SMiLE has been a constant source of rumor for as long as it’s been in the Rock & Roll lexicon. Of course, with Wilson releasing his own version of the album to great acclaim several years ago, he has clearly comes to terms with its importance, so it is not unlikely that he might finally OK the project Jardine describes above. If so, we may all have a reason to SMiLE soon…
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